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.

Continue reading “Keerai Molagootal | Spinach with a Peppery Coconut Gravy”

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Pasta and Roasted Sweet Peppers Salad with Walnuts

A pasta salad! Some may say this is corny, but we love them, and they are also such a good way to use up left over cooked pasta. This one takes some sweet roasted peppers – at least some red ones, but add green, yellow and orange if you have them, and tosses them with any cooked and cooled pasta and toasted walnuts. Goats cheese or Persian feta is optional. Today we left it off, but it does make a good addition to the salad.

Are you after other Pasta dishes? Try Fettuccine with Cheese and Pepper, Hand Made Pesto, and Light Pasta Lunch Salads.

What about other Capsicum dishes? Try Roasted Pepper Salad with Mozzarella and White Beans, Tomato and Red Pepper Salad with Crispy Flatbread, Lime and Chilli, and Roasted Peppers and Eggplant Salad.

Browse all of our Pasta dishes, and all of our Capsicum dishes. Our Italian dishes are here. Or explore all of our Late Autumn recipes.

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Cooking the Softest Chickpeas

Absolutely years ago, Lucy posted a method for cooking chickpeas that takes FOREVER but yields the softest chickpeas that are also perfectly intact. They don’t disintegrate – usually there is a fine line between “hard as a bullet” and “falling to pieces” with chickpeas.

The recipe, Lucy notes, comes from Jude Blereau’s book Wholefood. And you do have to plan ahead with up to 36 hours of soaking and 5 – 8 hours of cooking. IF you have the time or IF you want glorious chickpeas for a special dish, then this method is worth it. Usually I cook chickpeas overnight in the slow cooker with some baking soda to soften the skins, and love the results, but this recipe takes them to a whole different level.

This is a great weekend dish – put them on to soak on Friday night and put them in the oven on Sunday morning. In Winter, the kitchen will be warmed beautifully for all those hours.

Similar recipes include All about Chickpeas, Hummus, Falafel and Slow Cooked Tomato Chickpeas.

Browse all of our Chickpea recipes, or explore our Early Winter dishes.

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Mysore Rasam | Second Method

This is our second version of Mysore Rasam from Meenakshi Ammal. It varies slightly from the first version, but as we know with Indian cooking small changes can make significant taste differences.

Mysore Rasam is similar to Kottu (Plain) Rasam, in that it includes toor dal to give the rasam a beautiful silky texture. It also uses the water from cooking the dal to round out the flavours. It is also rather like Plain Dal Rasam with different spices. And in this recipe, rasam powder is not used, rather the spices are sauteed and ground while the toor dal cooks.

You might also be interested in reading about the difference between Rasam and Sambar.

Similar recipes include Cumquat Rasam, Spicy Tomato and Dal Soup, and Pepper Rasam.

Browse all of our Rasam recipes, and all of our Indian dishes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring recipes.

Continue reading “Mysore Rasam | Second Method”

Green Puy Lentils, Asparagus and Watercress

Green lentils, brown lentils, red lentils, black lentils, yellow lentils, split peas, dried peas – the world of Western lentils is quite different to the world of Indian lentils. It presents a challenge to your pantry space if you commonly cook lentils from both cuisines. Two of the coloured lentils we adore and keep in our pantry each winter – the green French or Du Puy lentil, and the black Beluga lentil.

This salad is terrific, mixing hot green lentils with parmesan and asparagus with a dressing made from watercress and parsley. In many ways, this dish is about the parmesan rather than the lentils, dressing or asparagus. That yeasty, earthy umami flavour with the lentils and dressing as a base will have you coming back for more and more. The asparagus offers a delightful crunch.

It is an Ottolenghi recipe from his book Plenty. Currently we are cooking from his book Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by.  For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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

Continue reading “Green Puy Lentils, Asparagus and Watercress”

Baked Millet with Ginger, Pumpkin and Daikon

Millet at last is getting the recognition that it deserves, its wonderful healthy properties exposed for all to see. Mind you, most natural foods are super foods in their own right – our current fascination with super foods is simply because the particular trend of the moment is to discover a new’ish ingredient from another cuisine and recognise its health properties. Turmeric. Moringa. Goji berries. Cranberries. And now, millet. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if we also discovered the health benefits of, say, turnips, parsley and pepper – those things that are right here under our noses and on our kitchen benches. I love how we widen our choice of kitchen staples through learning about the essentials of other cuisines – but I do get a bit tired of food fashions. Sigh. But back to millet…

There are lots of different millet varieties, but the common one, Pearl Millet is the one that is used in this dish. Certainly, try it with others – foxtail millet, barnyard millet, finger millet. The result will be different, as they cook up differently, but just might be wonderful too. Do try it and let me know. Pearl Millet has different names in the different areas of India: Kambu (Tamil), Bajra (Hindi, Bengali, Odia and Punjabi), Sajje (Kannada), Bajri (Gujarati and Marathi) and Sajja (Telugu). This dish has Japanese style flavourings, but imagine one that subs out those flavours for Indian flavours. Stay tuned, I may just do that.

Brown rice and other whole grains such as millet, barley, oats, quinoa, spelt, rye, and teff are considered by macrobiotics to be the foods in which yin and yang are closest to being in balance, and many macrobiotic dishes are built around these grains.

This recipe has its genesis in the macrobiotic movement. Macrobiotics is not as popular any more, and its yin/yang approach to food is avoided by the mainstream cooks – they are also packed full of less common ingredients such as Chinese toasted sesame oil, seaweeds, umeboshi and tamari. But I love them – they are rustic and homely in style with flavours that are sort of Japanese, but not quite.

Do try this recipe – like tray-baked meals, this one cooks away in a low oven for an hour and a half, without you having to lift a finger. Pure heaven. You don’t have to be on a macrobiotic diet to enjoy it. The millet is cooked with the mentioned macrobiotic flavours, and with daikon (white radish) and pumpkin. I always use Butternut or Jap pumpkin – they are our favourites – but any pumpkin and most squashes will work.

Similar recipes include Barnyard Millet Kitchari, Barnyard Millet with Yoghurt, Escarole Salad with Millet, and Daikon and Pumpkin Curry.

Browse all of our Millet dishes, our Pumpkin Dishes, and all of our Daikon recipes. Or explore our Late Winter dishes.

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Burnt Aubergine and Mograbieh Soup

Mograbieh is a gorgeous large couscous, one of several varieties available around the Mediterranean and Middle East that includes maftoul, fregola, giant couscous, pearl couscous and Israeli couscous. They are generally widely available – some in supermarkets but the best in Middle Eastern groceries. Although there are differences, they can be interchanged in many recipes.

This recipe is a delightful and unusual soup – who has heard of eggplant soup before? Today we have one for you. It is Israeli in origin, and features in Tamimi and Ottolenghi’s book Jerusalem. The texture is from the mograbieh and fried eggplant, and the smooth soup base is char-roasted eggplant and tomatoes.

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking mainly from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Mograbieh and Artichoke Pilaf, Saffron Mograbieh Pilaf with Broad Beans, and Couscous Lunches.

Browse our Eggplant recipes. Mograbieh dishes, and our Soups. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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

Continue reading “Burnt Aubergine and Mograbieh Soup”

Chermoula Aubergine with Bulgar and Yoghurt

Baked eggplant is gorgeous, transforming the vegetable into something quite different to our usual choices in cooking eggplants. It was Japanese cuisine that had me first baking it – I wanted to reproduce the flavours of my favourite Japanese dish of the moment, one with miso, sesame and mirin. And so this recipe was born, in the days before internet and food cookbook fashions. It has always been a family favourite.

Of course, it is more common to bake it these days, in all sorts of ways – stuffed, sliced, coated in breadcrumbs. Even Ottolenghi finds a way to bring his touch to it – by smothering it in chermoula and serving the gorgeous baked dish with burghul and yoghurt. Yum. It is a recipe from Jerusalem, and it is one that I have marked Magnificent. Eggplant and chermoula is a common combination from Morocco to the Middle East – Paula Wolfert also has a cracker recipe for eggplant slices that have been baked and then smothered with chermoula. It is in her book The Food of Morocco.

In this recipe, halved eggplant is coated in the chermoula – a mix of spices, lemon and garlic – then baked before being served with a tangy burgul (bulgar) mix of herbs, sultanas, olives and almonds, and a spoonful of yoghurt.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

“Served separately, both the aubergine and the bulgar salad from this dish are delicious with the accompanying Greek yoghurt, but all three together are a match made in food heaven. Chermoula is a potent North African spice paste that is ideal for smearing on your favourite vegetables for roasting.”

Similar recipes include Japanese Baked Eggplant with Miso and Sesame, Eggplant Baked with Harissa and Chickpeas, and Baked Garlicky Eggplant with Feta.

Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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

Continue reading “Chermoula Aubergine with Bulgar and Yoghurt”

Butternut with Buckwheat Polenta and Tempura Lemon

Butternut Pumpkin features often in our Kitchen in Winter – roasted, in soups and mashed on its own or together with white beans or polenta, in risotto and salads, or in dals and curries. It was a joy to see that Ottolenghi uses it too, of course he does, so another recipe was completed for our project of cooking his books.

This is not a difficult dish, but it does take about 90 mins to bring it together. The pumpkin is baked, polenta is make, tempura batter is made and rested for 45 mins, the lemons are cooked, and then it all comes together. The lemon of the tempura is divine! It is exactly what the dish needs – without the warm, lemony flavours of the flesh and rind the dish falls flat. It reinforces the fact that Ottolenghi’s dishes are meant for all the ingredients to be eaten together. If, for example, there is polenta left over, add lemon juice or other tart ingredients to balance it out. Likewise the garlic that is cooked with the pumpkin – the smoky earthy flavours of the garlic are absolutely essential to the final dish.

This dish is from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar dishes include Caramelised Pumpkin and Peter’s Wet Polenta and Tomato Layers.

Browse all of our Pumpkin dishes and all of our Polenta recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.
Continue reading “Butternut with Buckwheat Polenta and Tempura Lemon”

Puy Lentils with Witlof and Honeyed Walnuts

Would you put honeyed lentils and honeyed walnuts with witlof or radicchio and herbs? Not many of us would. But Ottolenghi will, and does, and the earthiness of the puy lentils and the bitter of the Belgian Endive (witlof) or radicchio and the salty funkiness of the cheese balances the honey beautiful.

Ottolenghi recommends Manuka honey, but not only is that expensive (even in Australia), it may be difficult to source in other countries. Use a strong flavoured honey instead. Manuka honey tastes almost medicinal, so that is the sort of flavour you are after.

This Ottolenghi dish is from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

Rich, sweet, sticky honey paired with crunchy, spicy walnuts and bitter radicchio topped with cheese – what’s not to like?

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Puy Lentils with Asparagus and Watercress, Citrusy Beetroot with Puy Lentils, Puy Lentil Sundal, and Endives au Jus.

Browse our Puy Lentil recipes and our Witlof dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

Continue reading “Puy Lentils with Witlof and Honeyed Walnuts”

Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind

Poritha Kuzhambu is a delicious dish defined by the addition of coconut and cumin seeds. Many of our recipes for this dish have been made without tamarind, but today’s recipe includes that wonderful, sour tang.

What makes Poritha Kuzhambu different from Sambar and Pitlay is its ground masala with coconut, cumin and urad dal (black gram dal). Some households use black pepper instead of cumin. Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind can be made with a medley of vegetables or a single one, often with the addition of a legume. Meenakshi Ammal always suggests using only one vegetable for Poritha Kuzhambu and a mixture of vegetables for Kootu. Although in this one, when listing the vegetables, she seems to relax that rule just for a moment for this recipe, suggesting that vegetables can be used in combination, but later instructions imply again that for Kuzhambu, one vegetable is best.

Another feature of Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind is that it often includes lentils and/or beans together with the traditional toor dal (red gram dal). We have made this with toor dal and chickpeas. Delicious!

This recipe is indeed one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from the first volume of Cook and See. This recipe is a tangle! Like the first ones in the book, for Sambar, this recipe definitely takes some detective work to untangle. Thoughts have been put down without logic and structure, so I have done my best to add sequence and process to the instructions. I do hope that you enjoy.

Would you like to try other Poritha Kuzhambu recipes? Try Simple Poritha Kuszhambu, and Ammal’s “Method Three” Poritha Kuzhambu.

Are you looking for general Kuzhambu Recipes? Try Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu and Race Kuzhambu.

Why not browse through the recipes of Meenakshi Ammal? They are here. She certainly is my guru of Tamil cuisine.

Then browse all of the Poritha Kuzhambu recipes. All of our Sambar and Kuzhambu dishes can be browsed here. Have a look at all of our Indian recipes. Or you may like to explore our Early Autumn recipes.

I would also suggest trying the Kootu recipes – these are very similar but have a thicker consistency.

Continue reading “Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind”

Puy Lentils with Ragout of Mushrooms and Preserved Lemon

Puy lentils are one of my favourite lentils. Yours too? This recipe is a fairly complicated one -lots of processes – cooking the lentils, roasting the vegetables, cooking the leeks, cooking the mushrooms, and making the creamy preserved lemon sauce, all before plating. But it is so very delicious, and a perfect Wintery dish.

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

It is Ottolenghi Cook the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Du Puy Lentils with Witlof and Honeyed Walnuts, Celeriac Hummus with Cauliflower Tabbouleh, Du Puy Lentil Soup, Beetroot and Du Puy Lentils, and Puy Lentils with Feta and Tomato.

Also Mushrooms, Garlic and Shallots with Lemon Ricotta.

Browse all of our Puy Lentil dishes and all of our Mushroom recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

Continue reading “Puy Lentils with Ragout of Mushrooms and Preserved Lemon”

Quinoa Porridge with Tomatoes and Herb Oil

Quinoa is making its way into our kitchen more and more – it is a delicious grain (actually it is a seed that acts like a grain) and is very easy to cook. This is a recipe that you will love, both for its flavour and its versatility.

In this recipe, Quinoa is cooked much longer than usual until a porridge-like texture is achieved, then it is enriched with butter and feta. It is topped with tomatoes and a herb oil, and the result is satisfying and comforting in a way that will appeal both to lovers of quinoa as well as those still in need of some convincing.

This is an Ottolenghi recipe, a cracker of a dish, from his book Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area, or ones that we already have in our kitchen. For this recipe, Ottolenghi chars some cherry tomatoes. But we have used our own dried tomatoes in oil with some lovely roasted garlic that we had sitting in a fridge. It is divine.

It is Ottolenghi Cook the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note again that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar dishes include Red Rice and Quinoa Salad, and Quinoa, Parsley and White Bean Salad.

Browse all of our Quinoa dishes, and all of our Tomato recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

Continue reading “Quinoa Porridge with Tomatoes and Herb Oil”

Spicy Slow Cooked Tomato Chickpeas with Burrata, Perfect for Breakfast or Supper

Sunday afternoons in Winter are the perfect time for slowing down, and what better way to do that than to slow cook a great dish for a Sunday night supper. Today, we have a 5-hour dish for you – chickpeas simmered ever so slowly in a thick spicy tomato stock. The chickpeas are excellent served on toast or in toasted sandwiches, but today we add some burrata and leek strings. We love slow cooking.

This recipe is excellent for a Sunday supper, but also very good, cooked beforehand, for a slow Sunday breakfast or brunch. Beans on Toast, what could be better!

The dish can be cooked in a slow cooker. (Perhaps it is one for your instapot? I don’t have one, so cannot advise you one way or another, but perhaps? Let me know.) It would also go well at a low heat in the oven. Or, cook it as I have, using a heat diffuser on my lowest gas flame, so that the tomato sauce is barely bubbling.

The recipe is an adaptation of one in Ottolenghi’s Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

In fact, it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column (this recipe is on the same theme but slightly different, and quicker, than the one in his book).

Similar recipes include Baked Lima Beans with Celery, Tuscan Baked Beans with Sage and Lemon, and Rustic Spicy Butter Beans.

Browse all of our Baked Beans recipes, and all of our Chickpea dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

Continue reading “Spicy Slow Cooked Tomato Chickpeas with Burrata, Perfect for Breakfast or Supper”

Farinata, Socca, Pudla, Cheela – Making Chickpea Flour Pancakes

Many parts of the world have pancakes, fritters, or thicker, baked “pan” cakes that are made from chickpea flour and water. In these variations, an infinite array of flavourings are added to the base – spices and herbs; thinly sliced vegetables such as onion, tomatoes, and zucchini, beans sprouts; coriander leaves to give a fresh crisp punch; basil or parsley oil is a terrific addition.

The various versions of the chickpea pancake – farinata in Italy, socca in France, pudla or cheela in India – are often found in the streets of cities and at roadside stalls in the rural areas. They are served on parchment paper or piece of banana leaf, and devoured hot on the spot.

The batter can be made several days before using, so plan ahead and use spare moments to mix the batter, ready for a quick snack or a mezze dish.  Mix up a double amount, and make pancakes one day, and baked chickpea pizza a day or two later. Divine.

See below for a range of pancake recipes made from chickpea flour batter. Or browse all of our Farinata and Pudla. Alternatively, explore our other Late Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Farinata, Socca, Pudla, Cheela – Making Chickpea Flour Pancakes”