This subzi is a quick okra dish, ready in less than 20 mins, and layered with spices. Its a great tiffin dish and can be served with rice and a chutney for a quick meal. Or afternoon snack.
Well, the news is out. I love broad beans and have had quite a broad bean fest this year, eating them in various ways and forms on most days. This recipe is a gentle braise that is very much French in style, gentle in style and flavours, but glorious as a dish.
It uses those lettuce leaves that can withstand heat – cos and iceberg are two that are ideal for this recipe. You can use other leaves, but make sure that they are not too strongly flavoured or else they will overwhelm the dish.
This dish is an Armenian classic, one that brings sweetness through fruits into a dish with the softness of long-cooked okra. This recipe is a straightforward version of the dish – some recipes add tamarind and spices, but this one is quite an easy dish to cook while retaining the beautiful flavours of the cuisine. Tartness is added to the dish with lemons and tomato puree.
The okra are first sautéed and then cooked in the tomato puree with the apricots and lemon, for 40 mins or so, until meltingly soft. You will love it.
This is a beautiful Autumn and Winter dish that can also be made with Spring vegetables. Today it might be Spring here, but leeks and carrots are still on the menu on the colder days of this transitional season. We have had such cold weather this year, even breaking records for the coldest November day in 50 years.
You can vary this dish. For example, use leeks only, or carrots only. Potatoes on their own are also very very good.
Read about Cooking a la Grecque Style.
This dish 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.
Another inspired mushroom dish with the ’70s flavours of sesame oil and tamari. Delicious.
Spring is one of the best times for mushrooms, and we have been using them a lot lately. Today, it is a delightful pickle, a quick pickle. Use the mushrooms as a side, as a salad, incorporated into other salads, or mixed with charred broccoli! I know that you will enjoy them.
Perfect for a light lunch.
While this dish can be cooked on the stove top or in the oven, it is the perfect dish for a weekend BBQ. Served with yoghurt and flatbread, it is a perfect light weekend lunch.
Use either hot or mild banana chillies. Hot Banana chillies contrast well with the more mild filling. Mild Banana chillies have a mild sweet flavour, despite their chilli-related name. They are not at all hot or spicy. And we temper the heat of the spices in the stuffing by using warming spices and only a little chilli, adjusted to your taste.
Bharwan means stuffed in Hindi. The stuffing is made from chickpea flour and spices, moistened with tomatoes. You can basically add any ingredient of your choice into the stuffing. The combination of the banana chillies and mild tangy stuffing is quite flavoursome and this dish makes a great light lunch or side dish. It is a recipe from Rajasthan in India.
Grape vine leaves add a subtle flavour to dishes that are cooked on them – even wood-fired BBQs using grape vine “wood” adds a subtle taste and aroma to foods cooked over that fire.
It is a wonder that we don’t use vine leaves more for baking foods. As well as the flavour, the leaves themselves can be eaten if you have baked in a low heat (otherwise, they go a little crispy).
Elizabeth David in her beautiful book An Omelette and a Glass of Wine, gives a recipe for baking mushrooms with vine leaves. She first saw the recipe in Edmond Ridhardin’s 1913 book L’Art du Bien Manger. It is as good today as it was a century ago.
You might like to explore other Elizabeth David recipes, or browse Mushroom recipes. This dish could also be cooked in a covered BBQ – have a look at other BBQ dishes also. Or simply scroll through all of our Mid Spring recipes.
Sometimes we forget that Simple is Better. I do say that a lot, because sometimes we forget. As I write Nigella Lawson is being savaged for her “too simple” new cookbook. It is difficult to understand – Jamie Oliver didn’t face the same criticism with his 30 Minute Meals, 15 Minute Meals, or meals with just 5 ingredients. But we really have become used to complicated food – Ottolenghi, for example. His beautiful food cannot be called simple. Master Chef dishes are mind bogglingly complex. We all want to be Iron Chefs.
I *love* to get back to basics. Simple food, simply cooked, banging with uncomplicated flavours where the ingredient shines. Grilled Peppers with Olive Oil. A plate of Olives. Crumbled Feta. Cucumbers with Rice Vinegar. Green Beans with Garlic. A plate of Spinach. Yoghurt with Cumin. Crusty Bread. Grilled Eggplants. Steamed Potatoes. The list goes on and on. So today, this is a reminder that salt and pepper is often all that is needed.
The recipe today is a Broad Bean Salad, simple style. We add a second salad that takes the minimalistic version and adds olive oil, lemon juice and feta. It too is delicious without being overly complicated.
Both are great additions to a tapas spread or a mezze plate. They even make a great afternoon snack.
Other Broad Bean dishes to try are Orecchiette with Broad Beans, Broad Beans with Feta and Preserved Lemon, Young Broad Bean Pod Puree, Broad Beans with Crispy Garlic, Broad Bean Salad with Tomato and Thyme, and Glorious Five Bean Salad.
Glass Noodles are wonderful – silky, soft and translucent, they are great in salads, soups and stir fries. Other names for these noodles include Cellophane Noodles, Chinese Rice Vermicelli and Chinese Vermicelli. They don’t take much to prepare – stiff like wire when you buy them, they soften with a short soak in hot water, and within about 5 minutes they are ready to toss with other ingredients. But don’t mix them up with Indian rice Vermicelli, that is vermicelli of a different type.
This salad takes some fresh, younger spinach and wilts it with sesame oil before tossing with the glass noodles. You can sprinkle with some sesame seeds to complete the dish.
If you are like me, you love a plate of greens now and again. And if they are straight from the vegetable garden, there is nothing better. This is an easy dish to whip up and is fragrant with the garlic and spring onions.
The recipe can be made with just the leaves, or, if you have an abundance of stems, it is also good made with just the chopped stems. But mostly, I mix the two.
At last we have a snake bean dish for you. Snake beans are generally available at Asian and Indian groceries. They are long beans, with a tougher outer layer than, say, our green beans. They are terrific in Asian and Indian dishes. Today we make a Sri Lankan curry, using Coconut Milk, Pandan and the Sri Lankan Curry Powder, Badapu Thuna Paha. If you can’t find this spice mix in your Indian and Sri Lankan groceries, and don’t want to make it, use any warming roasted curry powder (as spicy as you like – or not). At a pinch you could use Malay Curry Powder, Sambar Masala or Garam Masala.
Green Beans are a good substitute for Snake Beans if you can’t locate the longer ones.
It’s the weekend and so it is Okra time again. This recipe sautés the okra briefly and then tops them with a chilli-garlic oil. Crispy okra with chilli and garlic – what could be better? And it is tossed with basil leaves for a light and totally gorgeous dish.
Perfect Saturday afternoon snack
How good these Parmesan Potatoes are! The saltiness of the cheese, the crispness from baking, and the freshness of the broad beans. It is a great snack indeed, or a first course, or an excellent side at a BBQ.
The potatoes are sliced thin and baked in a hot oven with parmesan cheese. It is very simple to make. The broad beans are quickly sautéed with garlic, and their texture goes so well with the potatoes.
This is an African influenced dish of barley and okra. We have made it with pearl barley, which is cooked with tomatoes, and then charred okra is added. A warming, Wintery dish.
This is often made with black barley, and there are a number of recipes available for it. As black barley is not yet available here, normal barley is a good substitute. Note that the barely is so very good, it can be cooked on its own, or topped with other vegetables, for example, charred or roasted cauliflower.
Or other Okra recipes? Try Slightly Charred Okra with Chilli, Garlic and Thyme, Warm Salad of Charred Okra, Whole Okra Stuffed with Onions, and Sri Lankan Okra Curry.
Sometimes we want a quick dinner without too much fuss. Here it is. Put the rice cooker on, cut up the cauliflower, and dinner is ready in a trice.
The cauliflower is sautéed with seasoning until tender, and then spiced just with garam masala and chilli. You don’t need to grind spices or make spice pastes. This is a simple curry. My friend Priti shared her recipe with me after preparing it for lunch one day.