Mango Dal / Kootu

Mangoes are coming back into the local Asian shops – there have been green mangoes for a while, but recently the early sweet mangoes are appearing. We needed no further prompting to celebrate the long Australian Mango Season with mango dal.

All the flavour and taste of mango is in this kootu as tamarind is not added – it is full of natural flavours. You might think that it would be too sweet, but the spices mellow the sweetness. The recipe is meant for a sweetish mango, but a slightly sour one can be used as long as it is soft enough to melt into the dal. Our local shop will have sweet-sour mangoes later in the season. These would also work with this dal. Today I have made it with a very soft sweet one.

It is quite a simple dal with few spices, but that is the beauty of the South Indian style of cooking.  If you feel it is too sweet, add a little amchoor (to layer different mango flavours) or lime or lemon juice. I never find this is necessary, but it is an option if you prefer. I like with good chilli heat and slightly salty.

This is a very traditional Tamil recipe. It is one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from her cook books Cook and See. One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through these books, as they are traditional recipes.You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Browse all of our Mango dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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Rice, Millet, Lentil and Burghul Congee with Roasted Cauliflower

The great thing about congee is that, once you have perfected the cooking method, it can be made with a wide range of lentils, beans, grains and rice. Rice congee is the most well-known, but congees can be made from rice mixed with other grains, beans and lentils, or made without rice at all.

Today we made a clean-out-the-pantry congee, and it is delicious. It was made with lentils, burghul, millet and rice. In the photo it is topped with roasted cauliflower, green herby sauce, herbs, roasted cauliflower leaves, sesame oil and pickles. But you can top your congee with whatever your heart desires. That is the beauty of congee.

Remember to cook congee on the lowest possible heat, so it is barely simmering. Use a heat diffuser, especially for the second half of cooking, otherwise it may stick to the bottom of the pot and burn. I prefer to cook it in a Chinese clay pot – I believe the flavour is superior, and I keep my pot for congee only.

Similar dishes include Congee, Red Rice and Adzuki Congee, and Quinoa Porridge.

Browse all of our Congee dishes. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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Kerala Mung Dal with Onions, Garlic and Green Chillies

In Kerala, there is an amazing dish, Neyyum Parippum, which is mung dal cooked with few spices, and with a fair amount of ghee added. Because the amount of ghee is frightening (but delicious), different versions of the dish abound, introducing more spices and less ghee. Here is one of them, given to me by a Keralite friend.

Similar dishes include Masoor Dal with Green Chillies, Dal Tadka, and Mung Dal with Cumin and Spinach.

Browse all of our Kerala dishes and all of our Dals. Our Indian dishes are here. Or enjoy our Late Winter dishes.

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Ridge Gourd Dal | Peerklankai Paruppu

Ridge Gourd is also known as Ribbed Gourd, and it makes a particularly lovely dal. It is a simple dal recipe that perfectly accompanies rice and roti. It is also very good with curd rice. This is a dish loved in Tamil Nadu.

The recipe is one of Meenakshi Ammal‘s from her cook books Cook and See. One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through these books, as they are very traditional Tamil recipes.You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Similar dishes include Mango Kootu, Kerala Mung Dal, Ridge Gourd Masiyal,  and Poritha Kootu with Simple Spices.

Browse all of our Ridge Gourd dishes and all of our Dals. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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

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Greek White Bean Soup | Fassoulatha Se Tessereis Ekdoseis

Bean Soup is a national dish of Greece, and is also popular through nearby countries such as Turkey, Kurdistan and Armenia. Simple and honest, it is still offered to guests along with accompaniments such as crusty bread, cucumbers, olives, sliced celery, and sliced radishes. Beans are so popular in Greece that road side stalls and even petrol stations sell them during harvest time.

There are many variations to this soup as you can imagine. Each household will have its favourite way of making it, and that will vary with the seasons and the available ingredients. Ingredients that are swapped in and out include mint, parsley, celery, hot pepper flakes, red capsicums and cracked wheat (burghul) or roasted non-sweet corn kernels which are often added with the beans to make a creamy soup.

Similar soups include Fava Bean Soup, White Bean Soup, and Italian Barley and Vegetable Soup.

Try other Greek recipes, and other White Bean dishes. Browse all of our Soups. Or take some time to explore our Late Winter recipes.

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Cluster Bean Dal Kootu | Kothavarangai Paruppu Kootu

Cluster Beans are similar to green beans except smaller, flatter, crunchier, tougher, and slightly but nicely bitter in taste. They have quite a distinctive taste. In Australia it is rare to find them fresh, even though they are grown here. They must all be exported. But frozen cluster beans are common in any Indian grocery.

Cluster beans are also known as Gawar Ki Phalli or Gaur in Hindi and Marathi, and Kothavarangai in Tamil.

The recipe is one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from her cook books Cook and See. One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through these books, as they are very traditional Tamil recipes.You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Similar recipes include Ridge Gourd Dal, Sambar, and Aviyal.

Browse all of our Cluster Bean recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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Another Very Simple Chickpea Salad with Olives

Simple and easy, nutritious and delicious. What more could we ask? Tinned or cooked chickpeas can be used to make it quick and simple, but I always prefer the taste of soaked and cooked chickpeas.

Chickpeas are so versatile. Used almost all over the world, many cuisines feature chickpeas in some form or other. This means that they can be used with many different flavour combinations to great effect. In this recipe, we use olives, herbs and zucchini. A little bit Italian, perhaps.

Similar recipes include a French Simple Chickpea Salad, a Simple Delicious Bittman Chickpea Salad, and Chickpea “Tabbouleh“.

Browse all of the Chickpea Salad recipes and all of the dishes featuring Chickpeas, explore the Bittman Salads and check out all of the many many Salad recipes. Be inspired by our easy Mid Summer recipes too.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series.

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Brinjal Asadu | Simple Eggplant Kootu

I am repeatedly saying that I love potatoes, and India has some of the best potato dishes in the world. I should have also mentioned that the same is true about eggplants. This particular eggplant dish is wonderful! Simply flavoured, it is also very quick and easy to make.

Kootu loosely means a thick vegetable dal in Tamil, and Asadu loosely translates to silly or someone indulging in bad-behaviour, or simple. This is a simple kootu, one that is only made with eggplants. It does not have many spices, just tamarind, turmeric, chillies and a tadka. You can say that it is behaving badly in the spice department due to its simplicity.

The recipe is one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from her cook books Cook and See. One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through these books, as they are very traditional Tamil recipes.You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Similar recipes include Cluster Bean Kootu, Brinjal Kothsu with Tamarind, Brinjal Rasam, and Baingan ka Salam.

Browse all of our Kootu dishes and our Eggplant recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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Black Glutinous Rice Congee

Having a special clay Chinese cooking pot certainly turns the focus to congee – the pot (in my simple mind) adds something undefinable and delectable to the congee that is not achievable in other pots and pans. Today our congee is cooked with black glutinous rice. I mixed it with a little white rice this time, but it can be made without the white rice.

For more information on making Congee and Chinese Clay Pots, check this article.

Similar dishes include Congee Bowls, Rice, Millet and Lentil Congee, Quinoa Congee with Tomatoes, and Red Rice and Adzuki Bean Congee.

Browse all of our Congee recipes and all of our Chinese dishes. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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Murungakkai Elumicham Sambar | Drumstick Sambar with Lime

I love this simple Drumstick Sambar recipe. We have friends who grow drumsticks, so there are always some in the freezer. We also grow our own limes now, so this dish is quite precious – using fresh and home grown produce.

This recipe is so very simple, using a minimum of spices. I hope you enjoy.

Similar recipes include Okra Sambar, Drumstick Rasam, Classic Sambar, and Drumstick Sambar with Curry Leaves.

Browse all of our Drumstick recipes and all of our Sambars. All of our Indian recipes are here, and 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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