Aromatic Lemon and Curry Leaf Rice

This rice dish, very delicious I must say, is cooked in the oven. This method is  very handy if you are cooking a large meal and want to leave the stove top for other dishes. The general method can be used without the addition of the aromatics. Ottolenghi has this recipe in his book Plenty More but I have tarted it up just a little. As much as I love Yotham and crew, they need to get a better handle on Indian ingredients (IMO), so I have added or changed out a couple of things in this dish.

Try to get hold of fresh curry leaves on the stem for this dish – they freeze or dry well, so don’t worry if you end up with a big bunch. One of the ways in which curry leaf flavour is layered into a dish is to use them in several different ways in the same dish. Flavour a broth with them, as Ottolenghi does, saute/fry them in ghee or some other oil because the flavour is most easily transported by oils, and add crushed leaves to the final dish. I have used the last two methods in my version of this dish.

Serve the dish with an Indian pickle and a vegetable or lentil curry.

We have several ways of cooking rice, and this oven method is one more. Also try Oven Finished Rice, Buttery Steamed Rice, and The Absorption Method.

Similar recipes include Turmeric Rice, Saffron, Date and Almond Rice, Carrot Rice, and Lemon Rice.

Browse all of our Rice dishes, and our Indian Recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. All of the Ottolenghi dishes we have made are here. Or explore our Early Summer recipes.

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Avocado and Black Bean Salad with Green Tomatoes

Black Beans are so good and great in Summer as they add a little more substance for cooler days without feeling heavy and too wintery. If you haven’t used them before, they are a good stock item in your pantry. We are not keen on too many cans in our pantry, but black beans have joined the tomatoes, coconut milk and chickpeas (for emergencies).

Here we pair black beans with avocado and feta for a creamy salad that zings with lime juice.

We also add green tomatoes. What??, I hear you ask. Green tomatoes are a magnificent slightly sour and very crunchy ingredient ideal for salads, especially those with Mexican or South East Asian overtones. They are used extensively in parts of the world but not much in the English-speaking world. You may have seen the film Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (or not), but the use of green tomatoes extends far beyond being crumbed and fried (as delicious as they are). Try them in Indian dishes too, as a replacement for, or along side, the usual souring agent in the dish (tamarind, lime or lemon juice, dried pomegranate seeds, kokum, golpar, sour grapes, verjuice, etc). There are parts of the world that use sour to great effect in their cuisines – Persia and India come to mind.

I hope you enjoy this salad, it is very very good.

You might enjoy some other Black Bean recipes. Have a look at Turtle Bean Soup, and Black Bean and Cabbage Salad with Orange Dressing.

Try some Bittman SaladsCucumber and Avocado Salad with Asian Dressing, Wombok and Radish Salad with Peanut Dressing and Artichoke Hearts with Feta Salad.

All of our Black Bean recipes are here, and our Avocado Recipes here. Salads are all here (there are a LOT), and Bittman Salads here. Or take some time to explore our easy Late Summer Recipes.

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Radicchio Risotto | Risotto al Radicchio

Oh goodness! The vibrant colour of the bitter leaves of radicchio! I love them in my kitchen, but they are not the cheapest of vegetables to buy so they are not a weekly visitor. However, radicchio is so versatile, and incredibly good.

Today we make a risotto with this glorious vegetable. It is added at the beginning of the cooking process, and thus becomes very tender during the 20 mins of stirring that makes a risotto.

Do be careful about the rice that you use for risotto. You will get the best results using a risotto rice. You can read more about that here. My favourite at the moment, and the one that I used for this dish, is Carnaroli.

Are you looking for Radicchio recipes? Read more about this incredible vegetable here. Try Grilled Radicchio with Shallots and Dill, and Red Rice Congee topped with Radicchio.

Try other risottos too – Beetroot Risotto, Caramelised Pumpkin Risotto, Mushroom Risotto, and Asparagus Risotto are some of our favourites. You can see how to make a basic risotto here.

Check out all of our Risotto recipes, and all of our Italian recipes. We have some other Radicchio recipes too – check them out here. You might like to browse our easy Late Summer recipes here.

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Black Bean and Cabbage Salad with Orange Dressing

An Autumn and Winter salad, this one. Cabbage, fresh can crisp, with black beans and an orange juice vinaigrette. It’s refreshing and filling at the same time, making it perfect for either lunch or dinner.

Cabbage is often paired with caraway seeds, but if you are not a caraway lover, do what this salad does – use cumin instead. The flavour is different, but a similar bite to the flavour is there, and it pairs just as well.

Neither cabbage nor black beans are seen often in this kitchen, so it is nice to bring them together here.

If you are looking for other Cabbage recipes, try Fancy Pants Coleslaw, Chilli Cabbage, Cabbage Thoran, Kimchi, and Napa Cabbage and Radish Salad.

Similar recipes include Black Bean and Avocado Salad with Green Tomatoes.

Are you looking for other Salads? Try Mung Bean and Baked Carrot Salad, Fennel and Apple Salad, and Moroccan Carrot Salad. Or Creamy Salad Dressing, without Eggs.

You can browse all of the Cabbage Recipes here. Take some time to browse our many many Salad recipes, or our easy Mid Autumn recipes.

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Norom Shada Khichuri | Latka Kitchari | Bengali Soft Kitchari

Bengalis love their kitchari, and love the rain. Often the two go together – as the rains come, the consumption of kitchari increases exponentially.

There are dozens of types of Kitchari. It is eaten in different forms all over India, but even in Bengal alone, many varieties exist. Kitchari style dishes can vary from pilaf/pulao-like dishes, to the more porridge-like Pongals of Tamil Nadu and the beloved Bisibelebath of Karnataka.

This kitchari is a well-cooked – that is, it is quite soft and moist, almost slightly soupy. It is delicious and it is perfect on a rainy day, any where in the world. The defining characteristics of this kitchari is that it is very soft (norom) and white, as well as healthy.  It is mostly tempered with onion and garlic. (It can also be served very soupy, almost like an Indian version of Chinese Congee. We will add a recipe for this version later on and add a link here.)

I have seen Kitchari referred to as Hodgepodge. My goodness! A hodgepodge is a random assortment of things — a group of things that don’t quite fit together. There is a dish from Nova Scotia called Hodgepodge but it is nothing like Kitchari. It is a collection of beans, peas and potatoes cooked in one pot. It is also common to call Kitchari as risotto. Again this is a great misnomer. Kitchari must be one of the most well known of Indian dishes outside of India, thus it is surprising to see Indian cooks give it other names. You can read more about that here.

Are you after other Kitchari dishes? Try Bengali Vegetable Kitchari, Gujarati Kitchari, and Bengali Bhog Kitchari.

Or are you looking for other Bengali dishes. Try Bengali Rice Kheer.  There are more Bengali dishes coming, so check back here.

Browse all of our Kitchari recipes and all of our Bengali dishes. Our Indian recipes are here. Or take some time to explore our lovely Late Autumn dishes.

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Bhuna Khichuri | Bengali 5 Lentil Kitchari with Toasted Mung Dal

The warm weather disappeared and our thoughts turned to kitchari as it rained and rained and rained. Researching Bhuna Kitchari, I came across a very interesting recipe, one that took time and extraordinary care over the making of this dish.  Bhuna Khichuri is a richer version of Kitchari and injects flavours not only through the spices used but also by the slow frying of onions, the roasting of the mung dal and the frying of the other lentils and rice. There are 5 lentils used in this dish. The word Bhuna actually comes from the roasting of the moong dal and the frying the rice as the kitchari is made.

It is true that this recipe for Bhuna Khichuri is fussier than others – more steps and an attention to detail. But the end result justifies the means. Often at our house Kitchari is made in the rice cooker, and it is pretty fast and pretty good. But when time allows, more complex variations yield wonderful results. The recipe isn’t difficult – let me reassure you – it just has a few more steps. I have followed the original recipe fairly closely, with just a few alterations.

The secret to this dish, which I recommend that you note, is the frying of the onions – caramelise them – the quality of your ginger-garlic paste, toasting of the mung dal and the frying of the rice. The texture of the dish is wonderful! Also, on occasion I have used urad dal and matki (moth) beans when I have been out of masoor or mattar dal. Both need to be in the longer soaking.

Similar dishes include Norom Shada Khichuri, Bengali Vegetable Kitchari, Maharashtrian Masoor Sprouts Kitchari,  and Gujarati Kitchari.

Browse all of our Kitchari Recipes. Browse our Indian recipes here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Quinoa, Parsley and Lemon Salad with Cannellini Beans

Today’s recipe is for a common style of salad around the Mediterranean – it is light and full of sunshine! Herby and lemony, it feels so healthy and is ideal for outside eating in Summer.

The Mediterranean style salad of quinoa and cannellini beans is quick to put together. Super simple once the beans and grains are cooked, it is ready in minutes and very delicious. It is an Ottolenghi recipe that does not have a mile-long list of ingredients or dozens of steps in the recipe. Tucked away in a corner of a page in his book Plenty More, it is a salad that should not be missed.

It is a very white salad, so it looks great served next to a salad with lots of tomato or pomegranate seeds. If you use red quinoa, it looks very elegant against the cannellini beans!

Similar dishes include White Bean Salad with Tahini, Grilled Eggplant Salad with White Beans, and Roasted Red Pepper Salad with White Beans.

You might like to see our other Quinoa recipes and Cannellini Bean recipes. All of our Salads are here. Browse all of our Ottolenghi recipes here, or explore our collection of easy Early Summer dishes.

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Pearl Barley and Porcini “Risotto” | Pearl Barley and Porcini with Parmesan

Well, I have been known to be quite pedantic about what makes a risotto and what does not. I have this in common with Nigel Slater. It is a constant surprise the lengths some recipes go to, to be called a risotto.

But ok, this recipe is not a real risotto, that is why the quotes are there. But is is a dish with beautiful flavours, cooked with pearl barley which is stirred while it simmers, to cook it slowly. It is beautifully flavoured with red wine, porcini, pecorino, and, would you believe it, currants for a dark musky note and a hint of sweetness.

The amount of liquid needed to soften barley can vary, so stir in more liquid if the specified amount is not quite enough.

Similar recipes include Risotto with Radicchio, Charred Okra with Spiced Tomato Barley, Barley Pilaf with Mushrooms, and Parsley and Barley Salad.

Browse all of our Barley recipes, all of our real Risottos and our Mushroom dishes. Or explore our Late Spring dishes.

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Mysore Rasam | First Method

In the end, rasam is just flavoured water. But as Indian food is the most refined cuisine in terms of the layering of flavours to achieve complexity and exquisite balance, flavoured water is amazing! Hot, spicy, tangy, salty, herbaceous, it hits the palate like a flavour bomb, and stimulates all aspects of digestion. I am a lover of Rasam, and am generally found having multiple servings.

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 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.

In order to cook the toor dal while I potter around the house and garden doing other things, I have a little trick that I will share with you. I don’t have a pressure cooker, so first thing in the morning I rinse the dal and pop it into a saucepan with ample water. Then it is placed on the stovetop on the lowest heat available. Covered, I know that the dal will be perfectly cooked in 1 hour without me thinking about it. I do check the water level about half way through, but other than that, I can get on with the day without having to watch the pot. Perfectly cooked dal will be ready to make rasam for lunch. Or pop it on when you first get home from work or picking the kids up from school, and it will be easy to make rasam for dinner.

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

Similar recipes include Coriander Seed and Red Gram Dal Rasam, Tomato Rasam, Tomato Lemon Rasam, and Garlic 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.

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Freekeh Pilaf with Herbs and Yoghurt Dressing

Such a wonderful earthy flavour, Freekeh, that strange sounding name (to Western ears) belonging to the nutty grain. Sold whole or cracked, it is easy to find at Middle Eastern stores, some providores and some bulk lentil and grain places. Freekeh actually means rubbed – the process of removing the grains from its husks.

Like quinoa, freekeh is full of protein, with a beautiful smokiness, and is dead easy to cook. It is Middle Eastern duram wheat that is picked while unripe then traditionally roasted over wood fires to burn off the husks – hence its wonderful smoky flavour. Surprisingly it is also a little sweet, so a squeeze of lemon or lime always does wonders to a freekeh dish.

Freekeh is so unusual as generally the grains we use have been allowed to mature and dry on the head.

This dish is a take on an Ottolenghi dish from his book, Plenty, but has some minor variations. It is beautifully cooked by simmering for 15 mins and then leaving covered, to steam until cooked. Then it is tossed with herbs and topped with garlicky lemon yoghurt before serving.

Similar recipes include Green Beans with Freekeh, Walnuts and Tahini, Barley Pilaf with Mushrooms, and Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf.

Browse all of our Freekeh recipes and all of our Pilafs. Our Middle Eastern dishes are here. Or browse our Late Spring collection of recipes.

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Saffron Mograbieh Pilaf with Broad Beans | Israeli Couscous Pilaf with Broad Beans

Mograbieh is a large couscous/pasta in the shape of pearls. Similar products are known by various names – Ptitim, Israeli Couscous, Jerusalem Couscous, Pearl Couscous, Ben-Gurion rice, Maftoul, Lebanese Couscous, Giant Couscous, and more. It is also similar to the Kabyle Abazine and the Sardinian Fregula.

Although they can be used interchangeably, technically speaking, there are some differences between the products of different countries. Some are an extruded pasta, similar to Italian orzo, made with semolina and flour which is toasted to dry. This one has a nuttier flavour than normal couscous. One type is Ptitim, or Israeli Couscous, is a type of toasted pasta and shaped either like rice-grains or little balls and was developed in Israel in the 1950s when rice was scarce.

Others, like Mograbieh (Lebanese) and Maftoul (Palestinian), are rolled and dried large couscous pearls about the size of tapioca pearls, and when cooked they have a chewy buttery flavour and are larger than Israeli Couscous. These starchy pasta balls swell and become soft and chewy when cooked and are fantastic at absorbing the flavours of the dish they are cooked in.

Sadly, the globalisation of food has meant that differences get smoothed over, and names get mixed, or all the variations merge into one product. Locally, for a long time I was only able to find the extruded pasta type, but more recently a local Afghan shop stocks the best Mograbieh. The pics show the extruded type – I will update when I make this dish again.

For this recipe, a celebration of Spring, use any of these types, cook it with saffron and add broad beans and chilli. You can even use Italian orzo pasta or risoni if you wish.

Are you perhaps after Broad Bean recipes? Try French Braised Lettuce, Peas and Broad Beans, Fava Bean Puree with Dill, Glorious Five Bean Salad, and Tawa Broad Beans.

Also try our Freekeh Pilaf with Herbs and Yoghurt Dressing.

You might like to browse our Middle Eastern recipes, our Israeli recipes and our Orzo recipes. Enjoy all of our Late Spring recipes here.

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Saffron, Date and Almond Rice

Goodness, what a beautiful rice dish. Ottolenghi again creates magic with this Iranian recipe that he credits Claudia Roden’s classic A Book Of Middle Eastern Food. He believes that Irani people cook the best rice, and I have to say he might be right.

This recipe takes a bit more effort than banging some rice into the rice cooker, but for special occasions, and for weekends, it is definitely worth it. The rice grains are beautifully separated and soft. The dish has a sweet overtone from the dates, and conjures up beautiful Middle Eastern feasts on low tables in tents with thick rugs covering your legs.

This dish is cooked like a biryani, in layers. It needs a very low heat – raise the pot above your heat source a little if you can (eg place a roasting rack or heat diffuser over the heat source). It could also be cooked in a very low oven, but you’ll miss the crunchy rice that forms at the bottom.

Recently I needed to replace my saffron, so I ordered some from Saffron Only. It is the most beautiful saffron! Far better that what I had been using. If you love saffron, check her out on Instagram. (I only recommend products when they are excellent, and am not recompensed for my recommendations.)

Similar dishes include Kosheri, Green Mango and Coconut Rice, and Rice with Orzo.

Also try Saffron and Rose Scented Aubergine, Golden Saffron Spiced Tea, and Dates and Saffron Soaked in Spiced Ghee.

Browse all of our Rice dishes and all of our Ottolenghi recipes. Or take some time and explore our Mid Spring collection of dishes.

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Sri Lankan Ghee Rice with Pandanus | Buttered Rice

Ghee rice is such a celebratory dish, rich in flavour and great to accompany light spicy dishes. This rice is flavoured with pandan leaves and curry leaves, adding sultanas to highlight the sweet floral notes of the pandan. It is exotic and luxurious, and a delight at the table.

I was never much bothered with washing and soaking rice, but basmati deserves this attention. I love the aged basmati rice with its long beautiful grains, and soaking definitely adds to the finished product. Please make the time to soak the rice while you chop the onion and get the other ingredients ready.

Similar recipes include Sri Lankan Coconut Curd Rice, Sri Lankan Yellow Rice, and Sakkarai Pongal. Also try Sri Lankan Pol Roti.

This rice dish adds to our collection of mixed rice dishes. You can explore them all here. It is a Sri Lankan dish, and you might like to browse our other Sri Lankan recipes here. Or perhaps have a look at our Indian recipes too. Our Late Spring recipes are here.

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Beetroot Risotto

Beetroot Risotto is something very special. Bright ruby red, luscious, creamy, just perfect with a glass of wine and a salad. Enjoy!

We have been making this risotto since 1999 – that’s such a long time. Risottos for us are a wonderful Friday night meal if we are eating and relaxing at home. The week is done, we can take our time, chat, listen to music, drink a little wine if we are in the mood.

I love to make this when I can find beetroot straight out of my garden. The first time I made it, all those years ago, was with fresh beetroot straight from an organic Clare Valley vegetable garden. The difference in taste to store-bought beetroot is amazing. Right now, we try to keep our own beetroot growing in our garden.

The risotto is such an beautiful colour. Serve on white or green plates for maximum effect.

If this is the first time that you are making risotto, read Risotto Basics 101 first. If this is the first time you are roasting beetroot, have a look here.

Similar recipes include Risotto with Radicchio, Parsnip Risotto, Asparagus Risotto, Beetroot and Pinot Risotto, and Risotto with Mushrooms.

You might like our other Beetroot recipes or our other Risotto recipes. Check out our easy Late Spring recipes here.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006.  You can find other recipes from that blog in the Retro Recipes series.

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Kiribath | Sri Lankan Coconut Rice

A celebration dish from Sri Lanka

Tropical countries around the globe have their own versions of coconut rice. This one is from Sri Lanka, and is different to our other Coconut Rice dishes in that the rice is allowed to over-cook and become very soft and tender. It can be served hot, but if allowed to cool it solidifies and can be cut into diamond shapes.

Sri Lanka has a beautiful red rice which is often used to make this dish. It is nutty in taste, but is much softer than brown rice. This coconut rice is an auspicious dish in Sri Lanka, being made on every important day, festivals, celebrations and on the first day of each month to mark to symbolise luck and happiness.

Similar dishes include Sri Lankan Ghee Rice, Yellow Rice with Yoghurt, Green Mango and Coconut Rice, and South Indian Coconut Rice.

Have a look at our other Coconut Rice dishes, and explore our Sri Lankan dishes. All of our Rice Recipes are here. Or simply browse our Late Spring recipes.

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