Sri Lanka has a wonderful cuisine, layered of course by the cultural backgrounds of the inhabitants. The South Indian influence is strong, and many dishes are similar to the cuisines of Tamil Nadu, but with a twist bought about by local ingredients. This is an Okra Curry, a simple one with only green chillies to spice it, and the okra are simmered in coconut milk. Easy to make and beautiful to eat.
In this okra dish, the okra are slit and stuffed with an onion-based spice mixture before being quickly sautéed and then steamed until tender. It is a delicious dish that does not pack a chilli heat punch. The spices used are gentle and warming, and it is a good dish for convincing your friends that okra is a special and wonderful vegetable.
This is a Madhur Jaffrey okra dish. She seems to have a special affinity to okra, and loves them with onions.
Bhurji are pan-fried Indian vegetable dishes that are not quite dry, but not really wet dishes. They are dry yet damp dishes. The best known Bhurji is made with eggs and is somewhat like scrambled eggs. But we don’t cook with eggs, so the Bhurji that we make are pure vegetarian. They are similar to the Thoran of Kerala and Poriyal of Tamil Nadu. Bhurji is an Andhra dish.
This one is made with greens and sweetcorn, with spices. Spinach and Sweetcorn is a loved combination in India – the sweetness of the corn playing nicely with the spices against the slight bitterness of the spinach. This dish can be served as it is, a perfect side dish to a meal. Or serve it with cumin rice or some roti for a snack. It is also very very good as a filling for Toasties – Indian style toasted sandwiches. Use it as a filling with some cheese and perhaps sliced tomato.
Radishes without their peppery tang
The little red radish is so easy to grow that kindergartens grow them to introduce children to the joys of gardening. It takes only 3 days for green shoots to appear, and a few weeks later they are ready to pick, these little red or white ping pong balls. The flavour is tangy, a little on the peppery side with its sharp pungency that pleases adults, especially with a sprinkling of sea salt. Perfect for nibbling, they also make such a pretty addition to salads. They are a bit peppery for kids, though.
Not surprisingly, they say that radishes have health giving properties – it clears the sinuses and soothes sore throats.
This beautiful recipe comes from Kylie Kwong via Lucy Nourish Me who adapted it from the original. I have altered it again. This recipe diminishes the level of radish’s sharp tanginess. It is the perfect balance of sweet, sour and salty. Use as it is as a side dish, or with a bowl of beautiful rice. Toss them in salads or into sandwiches. Lucy says that thinly sliced carrots also work very well with the radishes in a salad with some lettuce leaves.
Feekeh! No longer an ingredient that we need to travel across town to buy. With several Afghan shops closeby in my new neighbourhood, those sorts of ingredients now go on the weekly shopping list. Oh, the joy!
This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More, one of my fav of his books. Beans are cooked and mixed with walnuts, then drizzled with a minty-tahini dressing. The dressing is what ranch dressing would taste like if it spent a few months traipsing through the Middle East, so they say.
Yotham advises beans of the best quality for this dish. He also says that the walnuts can be omitted, but we are loving them so much this season, so they are definitely in. They provide a texture in this salad that is otherwise missing.
This is our first Freekeh recipe that we have posted, but there will be more. Check back here later to see what we post.
This Kothsu (Gothsu, Kosthu) is a tamarind based South Indian (TamBram) curry that is made by sautéing onions and popping them into a spicy tamarind gravy. While Eggplant Kothsu, with and without tamarind, is better known, this recipe with onion is just as tasty and enjoyable.
This is another Meenakshi Ammal recipe, a variation on the Brinjal Kothsu with Tamarind. This recipe is from Vol 1 of her 4 volume set of Cook and See, and appears in the Poritha Kuzhambu chapter. It is easy to make, and is wonderful with rice.
Or browse all of the Kothsu dishes, and all of the Onion dishes. Meenakshi Ammal’s recipes are available here. Browse all of our Indian recipes and our Indian Essentials. Or simply explore our Late Autumn dishes.
This dish represents the way that Okra is served in many parts of Delhi and also in the Punjab, Bengal and other parts of North India. Okra are cooked with a caramelised onion paste, and the success of the dish depends on the onion paste being cooked to the right depth and consistency. Then tomato puree is added with spices to make a delicious sauce.
This dish comes via inspiration from Madhur Jaffrey, and like all of her dishes, it is very successful. The okra are meltingly tender, and the sauce coats them beautifully.
Or perhaps other Okra recipes. Read more about Okra here. Then try okra in Sambar, and in Moar Kuzhambu. And make Sri Lankan Okra in Coconut Milk, Okra Stuffed with Onions, Mustard Okra Fry, Sri Lankan Okra Curry, and Spicy Dried Okra.
Browse the Madhur Jaffrey dishes we have made, all of our Subzi dishes, and all of our Okra dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to explore our Early Winter dishes.
Eggplants come in all shapes and sizes, colours, tastes and textures. Sadly, we only get to cook with a few varieties through our Green Grocer and 1 or 2 more through our Asian Grocers. Thai Eggplants are a particular favourite, a little crunchier in texture than the European variety, and a real affinity with Asian flavours such as toasted sesame and soy.
Radishes at their most soft and gentle
Growing radishes must be the easiest thing under the sun. They don’t need a lot of attention, and suddenly, they are fully grown and fully flavoursome. Sliced thinly and salted is our favourite way to enjoy them, although they go into salads and sandwiches too, and sometimes they go into a quick pickle to have with rice or other dishes.
Today, we are treating them French style, cooked in a little butter. This removes the heated tang from the little bulbs, leaving them soft and tender in texture and taste.
A beautiful dish from Ottolenghi – one that takes time to produce a marvellous dish
Pottering in the kitchen today, I had a little more time so brought together Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem Artichoke recipe from his book Plenty. Simple to make, it takes just a little time as you need to roast the artichokes, make the charred tomatoes, blend up the basil oil and grill the halloumi. It appears a random combination of ingredients, but it is not so. A perfect combo of bitter, sour, sweet, crispy, crunchy, soft and creamy.
Sometimes bitter greens are not available, so I substitute nasturtium leaves which are always plentiful here. And some rocket leaves.
We don’t often cook radishes, but they can be sautéed or braised easily. Most people prefer them raw, but for a change, braising them can be an exciting alternative.
This recipe braises them with raspberry vinegar or red wine vinegar, with sugar added to make a sticky glaze. It is rather interesting.
My radishes are home grown and quite small this year, so I reduced the cooking times. They are topsy turvy and not uniform in size, and I quite like the variation. We have round ones and long ones.
Are you looking for other Radish recipes? Try these: Jicama, Radish and Green Mango Salad, Slightly Pickled Cucumber and Red Radish Salad, Quick Pickled Radishes with Asian Flavours, and Spicy Radish with Coconut Milk.
Cabbage and Carbs always go well together, right? And this dish of cabbage with pasta is divine. It is a great cold weather dish, and perfectly good for any time of the year as a Sunday Supper. It is a rustic dish, but don’t let that dissuade you.
Sometimes I cook this dish and the family aren’t home yet, and I pick at it in the kitchen until there is a definite hole in the side. It is so delicious with the nutty, slightly stretchy Emmental cheese. So easy to make just 3 ingredients – I cook the pasta and use the pasta water to blanch the cabbage. A few minutes assembly and into the oven it goes for about 20 mins – faster if you have a good fan forced oven. Take it bubbling to the table – your family will be begging for it again and again.
Truly, this dish almost needs a wood fire and a large glass of red. Eat on its own, with salads, or as an accompaniment to other dishes. Left overs are good fried up for breakfast! You could almost say that this comfort dish is NOT a Sydney dish. It is built for Melbourne and Adelaide, and all year round in Tassie. 🙂
Are you looking for Pasta dishes? First, check out our home made eggless pasta. Then try Pasta with Zucchini and Parsley Pesto, Pasta Sauce with Aubergine, Red Pepper and Tomato, and Light Pasta Salad.
Also browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series – vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006.
Okra and Orzo Rice go so well together. Some time ago, we made Orzo Pasta Rice, a version of Vermicelli Rice, and the mixture of the two (rice with either orzo pasta or vermicelli) is utterly delicious. Today, we are pairing it with some simply cooked but oh so delicious okra, cooked on the stove top.
The okra, with Middle Eastern Flavours, is cooked with tamarind, dried apricots, prunes and spices, for that special Middle Eastern sweet-sour taste.
We all love Parmesan sprinkled over baked dishes – that leathery melted sheet that results is chewy and yummy, the result of direct heat. But the complex flavours of parmesan are better preserved when, grated, it hits food still warm from the oven or stove. In fact, in Italian food, Parmesan is used widely but sparingly and rarely sees direct heat.
We use that practice with these gorgeously roasted Parsnips. It is Winter, and Winter = Parsnips. A simple dish to make but oh how very wonderful.
As Winter marches on, we want dishes that we can cook in the oven, to add another source of heat to warm the kitchen. Baked dishes are also usually hearty, so they warm and nourish the body in a way that we only seek in Winter. Gratin dishes are so perfect, ticking every box.
This dish layers potatoes with cheese, covers them with milk and cream, and bakes it until bubbling and golden. Delicious!