Vadai with Yoghurt

Truth be told, making Indian batters from lentils or pulses is a challenge. The Indian grinder is not available here, nor the ubiquitous mixi with its multiple contains all for a different purpose. My Indian friends pop over to India at least once a year, so their kitchens are purpose built for Indian cuisine.

You will find numerous people advise high speed blenders, like Vitamix, for grinding batters, and I bought one with this in mind (and my old blender had had its day). It was Ok, I have to say, but still hard work. At the same time I bought a popular high-mid-range food processor – high speed with a twin blade. I decided to experiment with it to make batter for these vadai, and am really happy with the result. Quick and easy, no need to use a tamper to push, as with the blender, and I wiped the batter down only twice. There was no need to add extra water. To say I am over the moon is an understatement.

These deep fried vadai, a simple form of Medhu (Medu) Vada, are made from Urad dal with a few spices. They are the type that are soaked in yoghurt for 30 mins – on their own they are a little dry. They can also be soaked in Sambar, or, as I do when I am in a hurry, serve with a bowl of seasoned yoghurt and dip each bite into the yoghurt so that you get a luxurious amount over the vadai.

Similar recipes include Beetroot Vadai, Maddur Vadai, and Broad Bean and Mint Croquettes.

Browse all of our Vada and all of our Indian Snacks. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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Snake Bean Sambar

Sambar! That one word is enough to have us running to the table. Today’s sambar is made with Snake Beans, also called Long Beans. It has a base of onion, carrot and potato. I have broken one of Meenakshi Ammal’s cardinal rules – only one vegetable per sambar – but I’ve kept the onion, carrot and potato to small amounts. I don’t think she will mind.

Similar recipes include Okra Sambar, Drumstick Sambar, and Green Tomato Sambar.

Browse all of our Sambar recipes and all of our Snake Bean dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

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Puy, Beluga or Horse Gram Lentil Stew with Aubergine

For this divine Wintery lentil stew, an earthy, dark lentil is called for. Puy lentils are a common choice, and the dark Beluga is excellent. I also love to make it with either Horse Gram or Matki lentils – brown, earthy and delicious lentils that you can get from your Indian shop. How good these are.

Despite the very familiar ingredients, the result is a bit magic and unexpected. It is an O. M. G. dish. The texture of the lentils with the silkiness of the eggplant. The pop of the tomato flavour, the way the sour cream enhances the dish, the heat of the chilli and the Greekness of the oregano.

Serve as it is, for a light meal, or bulk it up by spooning on top of rice, on slices of grilled or toasted sourdough. You can serve the stew either as a hearty starter or a side, or as a main served with any grain you like. It can be made up to three days ahead and kept in the fridge–just warm through then add the creme fraiche, oil, chilli flakes and oregano before serving. It’s at its best served warm, but is also very good at room temperature.

This is an Ottolenghi recipe – or at least it was until I, naturally, played with it a little. The key change was in the lentil used, but if you like you can check the original recipe. We always feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area, or to massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Similar recipes include Beluga Lentil Salad with Pomegranate Molasses, Citrusy Beetroot with Puy Lentils, and Horse Gram Dal.

Browse our Horse Gram, Puy, Beluga and Aubergine recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Aama Vadai

Aama Vadai (also calledΒ Paruppu Vadai or Masala Vadai) is a traditional snack that is made during Tamil New Year and also Ramnavami. Made from a variety of lentils and spiced with chillies, asafoetida, curry leaves and coriander, it is a delicious snack. It is also a very popular street food snack in South India.

Aama means tortoise in Tamil. But never fear, they do not contain tortoises, it is named this way because of the hard crispy outer shell of the vadai.

Similar recipes include Vadai with Yoghurt, Broad Bean and Mint Vada, Thattai Vada, and Pea and Mint Croquettes.

Browse more Vadai recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Winter recipes.

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Aamti with Drumsticks and Coconut | Maharashtrian Dal

Aamti is a lentil dish from Maharashtra that is made with toor dal and defined by its souring agent – tomato or tamarind – as well as cumin, chillies or chilli powder and fenugreek. Aamti also contains Goda Masala or, if that is not available, Garam Masala can be used.

This is the second of our Aamti recipes. In this one we have included drumstick vegetables to add texture and flavour. If you are not familiar with Drumsticks, they are long, thin and tapered vegetables that grow on a tree. Their outer skin cannot be eaten as it is fibrous and tough. It is the inner pulp and seeds that are delicious and add flavour to dishes. Consequently, the pieces of drumsticks are sucked between the teeth to extract the inner goodness. It might sound strange, but I know that once you have tasted drumsticks you will be addicted.

Aamti is very easy to make if your toor dal is already cooked (I keep cooked toor dal in the freezer), and your drumsticks are already cooked (our friends provide us with drumsticks and I freeze them too). If so, it will take under 10 minutes. This recipe comes from Sukham Ayu, a book by Jigyasa Giri on Auyrvedic cooking at home. I have added my own tweaks, of course.

Similar recipes include Aamti Bhaat, Poritha Kootu, and Dal Tadka.

Browse all of our Dals and all of our Maharasthrian recipes. 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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Red Rice – Rice in Tomato Juice

Remember Rice-a-Riso? It seems it is still being made and sold in supermarkets, but only in Chicken flavour. As a teenager and young adult I loved the tomato one. Imagine my surprise when I first made this dish and it tasted exactly like tomato rice-a-riso. It was a nostalgic moment.

This recipe is very simple, but because it is versatile I need to walk you through a few things first.

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Spicy Beluga Lentils | Black Lentils with Yoghurt

We quite adore Beluga Lentils – they are named beluga as they are supposed to look like little beads of caviar. I wouldn’t really know about that, but do know they are both delicious and easy to turn into a gorgeous dish. They cook quickly, and they hold their shape. They can be used instead of French Green Lentils/Puy Lentils in any dish.

This dish is eeeeasy, with spices toasted, onion and garlic sweated off, and then lentils added and cooked. It can be made ahead of time, finishing off with the yoghurt and sour elements at the time of serving. It can also be frozen at that point, for those late nights especially after a long working day.

Make double the amount of lentils, if you wish, and keep them for salads. They make gorgeous bases for lentils salads.

Similar recipes include Beluga Lentil Stew with Eggplant, Puy Lentils with Asparagus and Watercress, Citrusy Beetroot with Lentils, and Crushed Puy Lentils with Tahini and Yoghurt.

Browse all of our Beluga Lentil dishes. Or be inspired by our Late Winter recipes.

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Moth Bean Kitchari | Matki Khichuri

There are many many versions of Kitchari – I recently saw a list of 90 different kitchari recipes. And that would just be the tip of the iceberg. Today we make kitchari with Moth Beans.

Moth Beans (pronounced Mot-h) are packed with nutrition. Here they are cooked with rice, onions, garlic, spices and tomato, for a delicious any-time meal or snack. Omit the onions and garlic if preferred.

Similar recipes include Bisi Bele Huriyanna, Moth Bean (Matki) Dal, Latka Kitchari, Bengali Vegetable Khichuri, and Cauliflower and Broken Wheat Kitchari.

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

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Persian Saffron Rice

Saffron rice – it’s a classic of the Middle East, and one that is so gorgeous. This is a simple recipe that gives 2 colours to the rice. Always use good saffron – nice long threads with an earthy and sweet aroma.

Serve with any Middle Eastern or even Indian dish. You will love it.

Are you wanting other ways to use saffron? Try crushing a tiny piece of saffron into a glass of champagne or sparkling apple cider, turning the drink into a golden elixir. And coffee spiced with saffron and cardamom is a wonderful, soothing drink. Try our Saffron and Spices Tea – relaxing and amazing.

Similar recipes include How to Cook Buttery Steamed Rice, How to Cook Rice with the Absorption Method, and Simple Oven Finished Rice.

Saffron dishes include Saffron Mograbieh with Broad Beans, Saffron, Date and Almond Rice, and Dates and Saffron Soaked in Spiced Ghee.

Browse all of our Rice dishes, all of our Saffron dishes, and all of our Persian recipes. Our Middle Eastern dishes are here. Or explore our Early Summer recipes.

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Green Mango Rice | Mamidikaya Pulihora

India must be the country that has the most appreciation of rice. It boasts thousands of different rice varieties and many many more dishes that feature rice as the main ingredient. Rice is never ever relegated to a side dish, playing second fiddle to the main dish or dishes of the meal. There it is, front and centre, always. Pulaos, Kitcheri, Biryani, Bhats, Pongal and Mixed Rices are examples of well known rice dishes.

Pulihora is a South Indian rice which is usually made with tamarind. But the same dish can also be made with green mango or with lemon juice as the souring agent. It is a rice dish that plays homage to the love of sour tastes in Tamil Nadu and beyond. In this recipe, the tamarind is replaced with green mango, and some carrot adds a sweet counterbalance and colour.

This dish is also called mangai sadam and mavinakayi chitranna in different regions. The recipes vary a little, e.g. coconut might be added, but theΒ  base is essentially the same. In South India mango pulihora is made during certain auspicious occasions and festivals too.

Similar dishes include Red Rice in Tomato Juice, 30 Indian Dishes for Mid Summer, Saffron Rice,Β  Saffron, Date and Almond Rice, Ghee Rice with Pandanus, and Green Mango and Coconut Rice.

Browse all of our Mixed Rice dishes, all of our Rice dishes, and Green Mango Recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and the Indian Essentials Series is here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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