Eggplant and Kale Pakora

Pakora are a favourite street food in India, and one that can easily be made at home. Recipes use a chickpea flour batter into which vegetables are dipped and then deep fried. I like to serve these Pakora with sea salt and lemon juice only, but they are commonly eaten with Indian sauces and chutneys.  One word describes them. Delicious. Incredibly delicious. Have a glass of chai with them – I also love them with a small cup of spicy rasam.

In frying the pakora (also called pakoda, bhajji and bhajiya) the aim is to cook the vegetable in the same amount of time that the batter takes to become crispy. It is about temperature, so it is a good idea to test-fry a few pieces before cooking the whole batch.

The types of vegetables that can be used include potatoes, onion rings, eggplant, sweet potatoes, softer pumpkins, lotus root, cauliflower and greens such as spinach, kale and amaranth leaves. Make sure that any greens are really dry before using.

Similar recipes include Red Onion and Green Chilli Pakora, Okra and Cauliflower Pakora, and Vegetable Fritters.

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

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Yummy Zucchini Dip with Yoghurt Sauce and Buttery Chilli Pinenuts

Just when you had thought you had seen everything, charred/burnt zucchini crosses your path. In the same way that you would char eggplants for dishes like Babaganoush, zucchinis can be roasted and turned into delicious dips and spreads. After charring, the flesh is slippery, silky, smoky and delicious.

Then, in Middle Eastern Style, the mashed zucchini flesh is topped with a sauce made with yoghurt and Roquefort cheese. In the original of this Ottolenghi recipe, the sauce uses an egg to thicken it. As we do not cook with eggs, we use the age old trick of adding besan (chickpea flour) to the cheese-yoghurt mix, and let it cook out to produce the most beautiful sauce. It is tangy and intriguing, this sauce.

THEN, over the top of what already feels like a whole dish, chilli buttery pinenuts are drizzled, and that is scattered with za’atar. Divine. Inspired. Gorgeous. It challenges Baba Ganoush for deliciousness.

As mentioned (you could guess anyway, right?) this is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar dishes include Babaganoush, Baingan Pora, and Smoky Aubergine with Tahini and Pomegranate.

Browse our Dips and our Spreads, and our Zucchini recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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

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Pea and Mint Croquettes in Chickpea Flour Batter

You will adore these green croquettes – how spectacularly coloured they are, especially for Winter when foods can be darker hued. They make great snacks, dipped into the creamy sauce. They will become a favourite, I am sure, and the croquette mixture can be made and shaped the day before you want to cook them. Keep them in the freezer to help with the shaping of the croquettes, and bring them out 30 – 60 mins before cooking.

This is sort of an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. But his recipes use eggs and we do not cook with eggs. So the recipe has been altered significantly. Yet we still credit Ottolenghi with the inspiration. We replaced the eggs with chickpea flour and used a chickpea flour batter. It is a change that worked extremely well, and the result is amazing. We have not crumbed our croquettes, but you can do that. We did use a little polenta on some to give extra crispness.

Untypically, these taste healthy and fresh, yet still have that addictive, moreish streak of all fried things.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Broad Bean and Mint Vadai, Maddur Vadai, and Kothimbir Wada.

Browse all of our Snacks here and our Pea recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Winter recipes.

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

Are you looking for a TV snack – something to eat while you are curled up binge watching the latest series, or watching Eurovision, or Tour de France, or Master Chef, or The Voice, or any other favourite program?

Well here it is. Forget the bag of crisps or corn chips. Go for okra rolled in dukkah and baked. A few minutes to prepare and 10 minutes to cook, and you are right for the evening. You can make your own dukkah beforehand, or purchase from any providore or shop that sells Middle Eastern ingredients.

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Sesame Potatoes

A friend of mine makes the most beautiful yet simple potato dishes – sometimes with cumin and sometimes with sesame. Oh they are good – we eat them with ghee-dripping hot roti and a cuppa tea while we chat. There is nothing better.

Similar dishes include Aloo Bhindi, Saag Aloo, and Aloo Gobi.

Browse all of our Potato dishes and our uses of Sesame Seed. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Every Meal some Simple Greens

Even Vegetarians need their greens, and sometimes, if we are truthful, we don’t place enough emphasis on bringing these various and beautiful vegetables into our diet. How are you going? Vegetarian or not, we can use some help to bring green beauty into our lives at the kitchen table.

If we look around the world, various cuisines use tricks (I prefer to call them habits) t0 increase our intake of elements that are healthy and perfectly compliment the cuisine of the area. The ubiquity of yoghurt in Indian cuisine, for example, the Salads of Thailand, the Salad course of France, and the Greens before Dinner custom of parts of Italy.

In a time where dimension and complexity are the buzz words of the food world, simple is a welcome point of difference. Simple, where the taste of the ingredients shine through strongly and identifiably.

The Greens before Dinner custom is one that resonates in this household. It is very simple:

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Farinata, Socca, Pudla, Cheela – Making Chickpea Flour Pancakes

Many parts of the world have pancakes, fritters, or thicker, baked “pan” cakes that are made from chickpea flour and water. In these variations, an infinite array of flavourings are added to the base – spices and herbs; thinly sliced vegetables such as onion, tomatoes, and zucchini, beans sprouts; coriander leaves to give a fresh crisp punch; basil or parsley oil is a terrific addition.

The various versions of the chickpea pancake – farinata in Italy, socca in France, pudla or cheela in India – are often found in the streets of cities and at roadside stalls in the rural areas. They are served on parchment paper or piece of banana leaf, and devoured hot on the spot.

The batter can be made several days before using, so plan ahead and use spare moments to mix the batter, ready for a quick snack or a mezze dish.  Mix up a double amount, and make pancakes one day, and baked chickpea pizza a day or two later. Divine.

See below for a range of pancake recipes made from chickpea flour batter. Or browse all of our Farinata and Pudla. Alternatively, explore our other Late Autumn dishes.

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Begun Pora with Bori | Bengali Eggplant Puree with Fried Urad Dumpling Crumbles

Begun Pora is the Bengali rustic cousin of the Punjabi Baingan Bharta, less well known than Baingan Bharta but no less well loved. This has the tastes of Bengal and is totally different in flavour to its cousin. We have already posted one recipe for Begun Pora – but today’s recipe is a different version of that dish.

The idea for this particular dish came from Bengali Cooking: Seasons and Festivals, a wonderful and highly readable book on the amazing food of that state. The author describes how he uses bori in his Begun Pora. What a great idea! It may not be traditional, but it is full of flavour.

Similar recipes include Urad Dal with Onions Four Ways, Smoky Aubergine with Tahini and Pomegranate, Begun PoraBaingan Bharta and our Wadi recipes.

Are you after Eggplant recipes? Try BabaganoushSaffron and Rose Scented Eggplant, and Japanese Baked Eggplant.

Or perhaps you would like other Bengali dishes. Try Bengali Vegetable Kitchari and Bengali Rice Kheer.

Have a look at all of our Eggplant recipes, and all of our Bengali recipes. Perhaps you want more Indian dishes. Or simply explore our Early Autumn feasts.

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Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips

Are you in the same boat as me – have never before jumped on the Kale Chip bandwagon? Phew! Glad we are friends. But at some time we have to try them, and when we do, we wonder why we ever waited so long.

Fresh from making Garlic Chilli Curly Kale, there was half a bunch of Curly Kale sitting sadly in the fridge. So late one afternoon, they became our afternoon snack. There are as many recipes as there are people in the world, but this one has the wonderful salt-vinegar combo that is quite mouth watering.

Similar recipes include Asian Kale with Sesame and Crispy Shallots, Burnt Spring Onion Dip with Chilli-Garlic Kale, Fava Bean Falafel, Crispy Fried Okra, and Cauliflower Pakora.

Browse all of our Kale recipes and all of our Snacks. Or browse our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Paprika Oven Chips

One of our favourite things to do with potatoes is to cut them into wedges, coat them in cumin powder, black pepper and oil, and bake until crispy. Ottolenghi has a variation on that theme in his book Nopi which are equally delicious. They are easy to make, a Friday night delight if you make a large plate of them. Munch in front of a streamed movie, perhaps with a salad, or some salsa verde. Of course they also go very well with any main dish or Summer lunch. Under the gum tree. Or just with some yoghurt or even pickle as a snack. Any which way.

These chips are SO amazing, if you haven’t made them yet, put them on the list for this week.

Similar dishes include Salt and Vinegar Kale ChipsCumin and Black Pepper Potato Wedges, and Sweet Potato Wedges with Lemongrass Creme Fraiche.

Browse all of our Potato recipes, and all of our Ottolenghi dishes. Or explore our Mid Summer collection of recipes.

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Aussie Scones

Scones, those English and Australian afternoon-tea essentials, slathered with strawberry jam and whipped cream, are often the star of our afternoon snacks. From a young age, I would make scones for visitors. As soon as I could, I would slip away and leave them to chat with others in the house. I would head for the kitchen and whip up a batch of scones, bringing them out still hot from the oven to the delight of everyone who happened to be there at that time.

In fact, it takes only 15 minutes to produce a basket full of lovely hot scones that are feather light.

Sometimes you can eat them just with butter, or without sugar but with cheese mixed into the batter and sprinkled over the top before baking. Jam and cream is very traditional. Sultanas can be added to the dough. Pumpkin scones have a reputation in Australia but they are not something that I make more than once a decade. Or omit the sugar and add a little black pepper, and serve them with a large bowl of soup.

These favourites are not, take note, *not* the American scone, pronounced scoh-n, more like our biscuits than this light and fluffy delicacy. Ours is pronounced sco-n, a short “o”, as in pond.

Similar recipes include Australian Quick and Easy Date Slice, Oatcakes and Griddle Cakes.

Browse all of our Biscuits (there are not many, we don’t have a sweet tooth), and our Desserts. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Egyptian Dried Fava Bean Falafel with a Mint Yoghurt-Tahini Sauce

Falafel come in all shapes, sizes, ingredients and countries. In Australia, we are very familiar with the Lebanese version made from chickpeas and less familiar with the ones made with dried fava beans (dried broad beans). In Egypt, for example, this variety is very common.

Some people, Claudia Roden is one example, believe that the best falafel are found in Egypt. The reason is that the fava bean is lighter and moister than chickpeas. And in this latter point they are correct – chickpeas, especially pureed chickpeas or chickpea flour, are especially drying. You may have noticed when making Pudla. Once you have tasted fava bean falafel, you may never go back.

These can be made beforehand and kept in the fridge until needed. Either form the falafel, pop them in the fridge and cook them just before serving. Or cook them and keep for later. They will loose outer crispness but are still absolutely delicious.

Just a word on the fava beans. Look for the smaller, yellow, split fava beans, not the large, brown beans. They are easily available in Greek and Middle Eastern groceries.

Similar recipes include Paprika Oven Chips, Broad Bean Falafel, and Middle Eastern Falafel.

Browse all of our Fava Bean dishes and all of our Egyptian food. Our snacks are here. Or explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Stuffed Vine Leaves | Dolmades

Dolmas, or Dolmades, are little parcels wrapped in grape vine leaves and simmered until the filling is cooked and the vine leaves are tender. Although there is always a rush to make them in Spring as the vine leaves appear, they can be cooked right through to Autumn. Indeed, if you are diligent enough to freeze or preserve vine leaves, they can also be made in Winter. Of course, if home preserving is not your thing, you can always purchase preserved vine leaves (I’ve seen large jars of them). The leaves can be stuffed with many things, but rice, burghul, or a mix of the two, are common.

These dolmas are stuffed with burghul (bulgar, or cracked wheat) and rice in a typically Middle Eastern version with currants and pine nuts. They are delicious. Serve with lemon wedges.

Similar recipe include Burghul Wrapped in Vine Leaves, Grape Leaf Encrusted Rice Pie, and Grilled Pecorino Wrapped in Vine Leaves.

Browse all of our Grape Vine Leaf Recipes, and all of our Dolmas. All of our Middle Eastern dishes are here. Or explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Kurkuri Bhindi | Crispy Spicy Fried Okra

This recipe is a variation of this other Kurkuri Bhindi recipe. Instead of carefully removing the seeds, this time the seeds are left in place, and the okra are halved or quartered rather than carefully splintered.

In this Rajasthani recipe, the okra slices are marinated in spices and, just before frying, are coated in chickpea flour and rice flour. The flours form a self-battered coating on the okra. After frying, they are a crispy snack that can be eaten with a meal or any time that you have the munchies.

Are you interested in Okra recipes? Read more about Okra here. And try Teeny Dried Okra Vathal, Crispy Okra in Yoghurt, Salad of Charred Okra with Tomato, Ladyfingers Recheio, Avial, and Spicy Dried Okra.

Or are you looking for Rajasthani recipes? Try Urad Tomatar Dal. We have more recipes planned, so check back here in the future.

Why not browse all of our Okra recipes, and all of our Indian dishes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Have a look at our range of snacks. Or simply explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Yoghurt and Kaffir Lime Leaf Spread

We have always loved dips and spreads, despite the dodgy connotations of previous decades. In fact we hear that they are definitely in vogue again. They never went out of fashion in this household, and I have posted many on this site. Share with friends as a snack or mezze dish, and they are also the ultimate comfort food – eaten on the couch binge watching Netflix, with crackers, flat bread, or vegetable sticks. Dips spread easily on toast, or in sandwiches, wraps and tostadas or Quesadillas.

And we adore yoghurt based dips and spreads. What a way to begin a meal!

This Ottolenghi recipe is a take on tzatziki but it includes zucchini, is spiked up with lime juice and kaffir lime leaf, and uses mint or coriander rather than the traditional dill. It is gorgeous and delicious. It is from his book Plenty More.

In fact it is our Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely.

Similar recipes include Zucchini Dip with Chilli Pine Nuts, Burnt Spring Onion Dip with Chilli-Garlic Kale, Yoghurt with Cucumber and Mint.

Browse all of our Dips and our Spreads. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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