Aloo Hing Jeera | Potatoes with Cumin

Of course, practice, perseverance and knowledge builds skill. This week I have been looking back as some recipes that I made all those decades ago when I began learning about Indian food. I’ve been cooking many of them again, and the results are almost terrifyingly different. A dish I thought was very basic, this recipe for Aloo Hing Jeera, I had marked as “subtly spiced, needs onions, better the next day, add green chilli and ginger.” That observation was not especially incorrect, according to my Western-trained palate at the time.

The same dish, made today, is beautiful, spiced well, the gravy is amazing and the texture of the potatoes with the spices is what I have come to expect of Indian food. My tastes have changed, I have experienced more widely, I have read widely and spoken to people both here and throughout India about food. AND, I have cooked and cooked and cooked Indian dishes. All shows in the difference between this dish and the one I made nearly 20 years ago. I hope you enjoy it.

Similar dishes include Sesame Potatoes, Aloo Bhindi, and Saag Aloo.

Browse all of our Potato dishes and our Indian recipes. All of our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Aloo Do Pyaja | Potatoes with Onions | An Indian Home Cooked Recipe

While the current fashion of food photography and food videos has been helpful to many home cooks, especially when cooking unfamiliar dishes, it has done a great disservice to home cooking. The requirement for everything to be instagram-worthy has meant that the rustic dishes without visual appeal are sidelined and instagrammed out of existence. It’s a pity. More than that, it is a shame.

Moreover, the word Peasant as attached to food is beginning to be seen as derogatory. I have never thought of “Peasant food” as been anything “less than”. I think of it as extraordinary food being produced without the influence of fashion and with local and common ingredients. My real favourite sort of food. Isn’t it what we strive for at home – cost effective and flavoursome food with local ingredients?

I am often amazed by the simplicity of Indian home cooked dishes, and how much flavour can be put into a couple of ingredients with a couple of spices. These sorts of dishes, so simple, so easy, are rarely seen on social media. I hope you enjoy this one. This is a simple recipe – not the best looking, made with minimal ingredients, but very very tasty. Serve with some Indian bread as an afternoon snack or as part of a meal.

By the way, Do Pyaja (also spelt Pyaza) means double the onions or lots of onions. There are many recipes for this dish, from the Punjab through to Rajasthan. Some have peas or a dose of cream, for example, a more complex spice mix, and it can be a wet or dry curry. But I adore this recipe for its simplicity. It is real home cooking.

Similar recipes include Aloo Hing Jeera (Potatoes with Cumin), Sesame Potatoes, Saag Aloo, and Potato Subzi.

You might also like to browse all of our Potato recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Check out our easy Late Winter recipes too.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. It is cross posted on our sister site, Heat in the Kitchen. It appears there as part of the Retro Recipes series of recipes which documents our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

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Potato Pallya | Potato Puttu | Indian Mashed Potato

Hooray for Indian food, and for its immense variety. And wouldn’t you know it, mashed potato has an Indian twist, and we are adding it to our different potato mashes:

We have TWO versions of the mash for you today. We have been making the first one FOREVER, and the original recipe comes from Nilgiri’s, the iconic Sydney Indian Restaurant. Traditionally this recipe from Karnataka is semi-mashed or coarsely mashed and still retains the texture of cubed potatoes. It is a great filling for dosa, but it can be made as a side dish in Indian or even Western style meals. It goes well with rice, roti and poori.

The second one is from Tamil Nadu, and has the same style but different ingredients.  It is a Puttu style dish – a peeled and mashed vegetable, tempered with spices, green chillies and onion. This Potato Puttu includes coconut and goes well with rice, sambar, rasam, kootu and kuzhambu, especially puli kuzhambu.

Similar recipes include Aloo Do Payaja (Potatoes with Onions), Sesame Potatoes, Aloo Bhindi, and Saag Aloo.

All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Winter recipes.

The first recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. It is cross posted on our sister site, Heat in the Kitchen. It appears there as part of the Retro Recipes series of recipes which documents our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Stuffed Okra | Bharwan Bhindi

There are a number of stuffed okra dishes, and each is so good and so worthy of being made. Use fat okra for this dish – they can be long or short, but they do need some body.

This is a beautiful stuffing made from coconut (use frozen if you don’t have fresh), coriander leaves and spices. The recipe calls for Goda Masala, and you can make your own or purchase it from your Indian grocers. If you can’t find this lovely spice powder, use Garam Masala instead.

This recipe’s inspiration comes from the beautiful and well-known book Sukham Ayu: Cooking at Home with Ayurveda Insights, by Jigyasa Giri. I love this gentle book which builds Ayurvedic wisdom, sattvic approaches and down-to-earth Indian dishes.

Are you after other Okra dishes? Try Okra with Sambal and Coconut Rice, Sri Lankan Okra Curry, Warm Salad of Charred Okra, and Okra with Race Kuzhambu.

Browse all of our Okra dishes, recipes from Jigyasa Giri and Ayurvedic dishes. All of our Indian Recipes are here. Or take some time to browse our Early Winter dishes.

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Vendakkai Poriyal | Stir Fried Okra

It’s been more than 18 months since I began a crush on okra, and developed a project to explore this incredible vegetable which is available here all year round via Asian and Middle Eastern shops. In that time, we’ve made 60 or more Okra dishes, and,totally fallen in love with the long tapered “fingers” known cutely in India as Lady’s Fingers. Many of those recipe posts are in the queue to be published over the coming months.

Okra has become an important part of our life, but perhaps it is time to release the obsession and cook it less often. Admittedly, there are still quite a few recipes in the okra pile to tinker with, so there might be more….

One of the greatest finds of this project has been the number of ways that the Middle Eastern countries and India uses Okra. We have boiled, steamed, fried, deep fried, sauteed, baked and dehydrated Okra. Each dish has been a revelation. We have pared, chopped, slit and diced okra. We have learned to control the sliminess. We have battered okra. We have hand dried dozens of the tapered Lady’s Fingers over the course of a year.

Today’s dish is a very simple, but gorgeous, South Indian treatment of Okra. It is a remarkable, fresh dish. Another stir fried recipe, just with a few simple spices. The wonder of Tamil cooking is how simple easy dishes can taste amazing. There are variation upon variation of stir fried okra dishes – see here and here – but each is different and delightful.

Similar recipes include Stuffed Okra, Crispy Okra in Yoghurt, Lady Finger Masala, and Bhindi Subzi.

Browse all of our Okra dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Spicy Turnips in Yoghurt | Kashmiri Shalgum Curry

We have had a bit of a thing for turnips this year, and recently we found the most gorgeous ones at the Organic stall in the Adelaide Central Market. It seems a crime to peel them, but we did, and made this gorgeous curry that comes from Kashmir.

The turnips are cooked with spice powders until tender, then coated in a yoghurt sauce. The central spice is fennel and it is a great match to the creamy turnips.

Similar dishes include Turnips with Quince Molasses, Turnips with Mustard Greens in a Creamy Sauce, and Turnip Soup with Coriander-Walnut Paste.

Browse all of our Turnip recipes and all of our Kashmir dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Winter recipes.

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Sri Lankan Mustard Greens with Coconut (Suitable for Any Greens)

Winter is the time for Mustard Greens, and we love them. This recipe, with its origins in Sri Lanka and the South of India, treats them very simply without a lot of spice, and ensures that the flavours of the Mustard Leaves shine through. In fact, any greens can be used in this recipe – spinach, kale, chards and any local greens that might be in your area. Try it with cabbage too, its delicious.

Similar recipes include Mustard Greens with Mooli (Daikon), and Turnips with Mustard Greens in a Creamy Sauce.

Browse all of our Mustard Greens dishes, and all of our Sri Lankan recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Brinjal Kothsu with Tamarind | Sutta Kathirikkai Gothsu | Roasted Eggplants in a Spicy Tamarind Gravy

This Kothsu (also spelled Gothsu or Kosthu) is a tamarind based South Indian curry that is made by roasting and mashing eggplant and popping it into a spicy tamarind gravy. It is the second Kosthu of this kind that we have posted. The first one, Brinjal Tamarind Kothsu, uses a different spice mix with the eggplant. These Kothsu recipes are different to many others as they are made with roasted eggplants which gives them a smoky flavour.

Some people get these two Brinjal Kothsu dishes confused with Chidambaram Brinjal Kothsu, but they are different. Chidambaram Brinjal Kothsu is made with toor dal and without tamarind. Today’s Brinjal Kothsu is made without any dal, and includes tamarind. There is only a little gravy which is thickened with some rice flour, so it just coats the eggplant. You can see that the two dishes are quite different.

This recipe can also be made with plantain (green banana) or onions instead of eggplant. See the notes below the recipe for more details.

Are you after other Kothsu recipes? Try Brinjal Tamarind Kothsu, Cabbage Kosthu, and Chidambaram Brinjal Kothsu.

Or would you like other Eggplant dishes? Try Pitlai, Aubergines in Coconut  Milk, and Baingan ka Bharta.

Or browse all of the Kothsu dishes, and all of the Eggplant dishes. Meenakshi Ammal’s recipes are available here, and all of our Indian recipes are here. Or simply explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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Sesame Potatoes

A friend of mine makes the most beautiful yet simple potato dishes – sometimes with cumin and sometimes with sesame. Oh they are good – we eat them with ghee-dripping hot roti and a cuppa tea while we chat. There is nothing better.

Similar dishes include Aloo Bhindi, Saag Aloo, and Aloo Gobi.

Browse all of our Potato dishes and our uses of Sesame Seed. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Keerai Molagootal | Spinach with a Peppery Coconut Gravy

A bunch of beautiful spinach leaves from the garden – what can be better than cooking them with toor dal and coconut with a pepper hit? This recipe is a Palakkad recipe – from that region in Kerala on the border of Tamil Nadu. The area is a melting pot of influences especially Tamil and Malayalam. This dish is quite traditional. Some recipes include pepper and others do not. As it’s name indicates with pepper, that is how we cooked it. It is quite similar to a kootu, but subtly different. It is much like the Poritha Kuzhambu of Tamil Nadu.

In Kerala, many different greens are used for this dish, even cabbage. It can be made with chowchow, long beans, snake gourd and yellow pumpkin. Mixtures of vegetables such as plantain, carrot, yam, potato and chowchow, are also excellent. Indian greens include mulai keerai, paruppu keerai, thandu keerai, palak keerai, and ara keerai – oh to have the same range of greens here.

Similar dishes include Moringa Leaf Dal, Poritha Kootu, and Ridged Gourd Masiyal.,

Browse all of our Spinach dishes. Our Kootu recipes are here. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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