Curry Laksa with Fried Tofu

Talk about a meal in a bowl, Laksa is the bomb. Anyone who has been to S.E. Asia will have had this dish in street stalls, fragrant, hot, and spicy. The good news is, it is not so hard to make at home. Perhaps some of the optional additions that are available in roadside stalls are not common in other countries, but you can replicate the fragrance and spiciness of the dish.

In this recipe, a spice paste is made by blending the ingredients then cooking it off slowly before adding stock and other flavour enhancing ingredients. This beautiful broth is served with noodles, sprouts, herbs and other toppings.

This recipe 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 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 – 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 Malay Coconut-Curry Stock (another excellent base for Laksa), and Asian Broth.

Browse all of our S.E. Asian recipes and all of our Soups. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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

Continue reading “Curry Laksa with Fried Tofu”

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Turnip Soup with Yoghurt and Coriander-Walnut Paste

Out of Afghan comes a soup with Turnips – in fact turnips feature strongly throughout the Middle East around to Afghanistan. This recipe cooks the turnips with spices and leeks and serves it as a creamy soup accompanied with a paste of coriander, chillies, garlic and walnuts. Turnips when cooked are so gentle. They are definitely an under-rated vegetable here in Australia.

The coriander paste in this recipe includes vinegar, and the tang of the acid with the sweetness of the turnips is delightful.

Similar recipes include Cream of Roasted Swede Soup, Radish with Coconut Milk, Georgian Coriander and Walnut Paste, and Zhug.

Browse all of our Turnip dishes and all of our Soups. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Turnip Soup with Yoghurt and Coriander-Walnut Paste”

Hot and Sour Mushroom Soup

Recently in the kitchen we have renewed our love affair with miso soup. While others will tell you to spend time making stocks and broths for miso soup, and cook any number of ingredients, I have a wonderful, never-fail, 5 minute approach to making miso soup. The secret is, there is little that needs to be pre-cooked for miso soup. The most I do is to soak some cute little beancurd bows (but even the pre-soaking can be skipped), and perhaps some noodles. They soak while the kettle boils and the ingredients are sliced. Mix miso with hot water until dissolved, pour into a lovely bowl, add the thinly sliced ingredients and a few other flavour enhancers (see my post), the noodles if using, the beancurd perhaps, and sip contentedly. Deep flavours, comfort and nourishment. What more could you want?

Ottolenghi’s approach to what I consider to be his version of my miso soup (without using miso, let me be clear). Yet his is faaaar more complicated. It is a kitchen-sink style approach. Perhaps he should use miso! He considers this recipe to be a variation on Asian soups such as Thai tom yum or Vietnamese pho. The key is the stock, which must be rich and hearty, with many layers of flavour. And, miso or not, the broth is extraordinary! Hot and sour as promised. Earthy and deep, yet with a lightness too. It was a real surprise.  Make double and freeze half.

He doesn’t add noodles, but you can. I recommend making double the amount of broth, make the mushroom soup as-is, then decide how to use the second half with the noodles. Mushrooms and noodles. Greens and noodles. Fried tofu and noodles.

It’s interesting to me that he doesn’t include dried shiitake mushrooms in the stock (and sliced for the soup). Dried Shiitake are a vegetarian’s best friend when it comes to dark, flavoursome broths. Anyway, this is how I make an Asian Stock that is so delicious it is worth keeping some in the fridge and freezer, and using it for whatever you are making – rice, risotto, noodles, …. Ottolenghi’s is rather similar, come to think of it. But my broth is light and summery, his is deep and earthy.

You’ve guessed it, this is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More. In fact, it is 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. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Similar recipes include Curry Laksa with Fried Tofu, and Slightly Pickled Mushrooms with Tamari and Sesame.

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

Continue reading “Hot and Sour Mushroom Soup”

Dried Fava Bean Soup with Roasted Garlic, Mint and Coriander

The general range of dried fava bean (broad bean) soups and purees tend to be gently flavoured – a few herbs, some olive oil. They are delicious, of course, and I have a soup that is a definite Winter favourite. But dried fava beans can also provide a beautiful base for stronger flavours – say, roasted garlic, roasted onion, chilli, some roasted tomatoes, a little acid in the form of cider vinegar. How delicious! This soup makes you think about fava beans in a different way!

There is a recipe in the 15 yr old book Mexican Kitchen, by Rick Bayless, that sparked this recipe. This recipe takes his ingredient palette and tweaks them quite a bit for our kitchen, and for easily available ingredients. It is an impressive soup, perfect for cold winter nights. It will thicken a little on standing, so you may need to thin with a little water if you are making the soup at night for the next day.

There is a smokiness to this dish, because of the roasting of the main flavour ingredients. Also, I used black fava beans which have a slight smokiness about them too. The black colour of these beans is in the skin, so once peeled, they will not turn you soup black! You might come across them if you search, but I was given these by a neighbour who dried his own. (If you want to increase the smokiness of this soup, use smoky paprika instead of the chilli paste.)

Similar dishes include Fava Bean Soup with Potatoes, Fava Bean Soup or Dip with Herbs, and Fava Bean Soup with Turmeric and Herbs.

Browse all of our Fava Bean dishes, and all of our Soups. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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

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A Collection of 20 Soups for Mid Autumn | Seasonal Cooking

The weather suddenly turns cold around the middle of Mid Autumn, whether that is April in the Southern Hemisphere or October in the Northern Hemisphere. Rain sets in heating is turned on, jackets and raincoats come out of the closet. Scarves, gloves and hats are at the ready.

In the kitchen, citrus fruit is beginning to ripen, root vegetables take pride of place, and lentils and beans begin to appear on the table again. We bake, because the oven warms the kitchen. And hot soups and broths again appear, to bubble away on the stove top.

Enjoy our 20 Soup Suggestions for this month that heralds the colder weather to come.

Continue reading “A Collection of 20 Soups for Mid Autumn | Seasonal Cooking”

Thai Inspired Red Lentil Soup with Aromatic Chilli Oil

When Autumn arrives, the first thing I make is Rice Pudding. For Ottolenghi it is this Thai inspired soup that he makes when the arrival of autumn is officially announced. And what a way to celebrate Autumn! It is fresh, creamy and loaded with flavour. Great choice, Ottolenghi!

Making this soup with split red lentils (masoor dal) will give you a brighter coloured, but it can also be made with whole red lentils. The recipe does not specify which one. Whole lentils provide a deeper flavour and darker colour, and they won’t blend to as smooth a soup, but are just as fine to use if you prefer to. I have made today’s soup with whole lentils.

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More. It is 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. 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 Red Lentil Soup with Thick Yoghurt, Red Lentil Soup with Spices, Ginger and Garlic, and Masoor Dal with Green Peppers.

Browse all of our Red Lentil dishes and all of our Soups. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Amaranth Leaves Masiyal | Dal with Amaranth Leaves, Green Chillies and Cashews

Masiyal is a South Indian dish made from dal and vegetables. It can be made with toor dal or mung dal, or a mixture of both. It can contain tamarind (but not always) but will always include lots of vegetables. There are no ground or powdered spices, it is only seasoned with a few selected spices.

The recipe is another from the doyen of TamBram cooking from South India, Meenakshi Ammal, in the first volume of Cook and See. It is in the chapter of Poritha Kuzhambu, and is one member of the family of toor-dal based vegetable dishes.

This same recipe can be made with a range of green leaves –  fenugreek leaves, radish tops, etc, or with ridged gourd. I guess in these modern times we could use beetroot leaves too. You can make it thin as a Kuzhambu, or thick as a Koottu, depending on personal preference.

Similar recipes include Ridged Gourd MasiyalBrinjal Chidambaram Gothsu, Pitlai, and Poritha Kuzhambu with Amaranth Leaves.

Or alternatively, check out all of Meenakshi Ammal’s dishes that we have made. All Indian recipes are here. You might like to browse our Indian Essentials. Or take some time to explore our Early Autumn collection of recipes.

Continue reading “Amaranth Leaves Masiyal | Dal with Amaranth Leaves, Green Chillies and Cashews”

Creamy Mushroom Soup

Who doesn’t have a love for mushrooms, so divine and surprising in taste and texture? Mushroom soup is especially good, creamy and buttery, and it’s even better on a cold night. Nothing beats it.

Come Mid Autumn, that longing for more warming dishes arrives all of a sudden. One day you are eating cucumber salads and the next day it is rice pudding, risotto and soup. You look outside and the delicious yellow light of Autumn has arrived, bringing its long shadow and the rays of light that play amongst gaps and in-between leaves. And all of a sudden your pantry fills with barley and beans and lentils. Ah yes, Summer is well gone, and Winter cometh. Here we are, twixt and between.

And it is so good. This is one of our first soups of the season this year, and it is this retro recipe, still good in it’s simplicity. Let’s face it though, mushroom soup is never pretty in its brown-ness. So don’t forget to brighten it up with lots of chopped parsley and sprinklings of black pepper.

Are you looking for Mushroom recipes? Try Hot and Sour Soup, Mushroom, Spinach and Blue Cheese Salad, Mushrooms for Toast, Adzuki Beans with Rice and Shiitake Mushrooms.

Or are you seeking some Soup dishes? Try Turnip Soup with Yoghurt and Coriander-Walnut Paste, White Bean Soup, Hungarian Mushroom Soup, Mung Bean Soup with Spinach and Cumin, and Cauliflower Walnut Cream Soup.

Why not browse all of our Mushroom recipes? Or or all of our Soup recipes. Or check out our easy Mid Autumn recipes.

Also, explore recipes from our Retro Recipes series, vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006.

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Chickpea and Butter Bean Noodle Soup | Ash-e Reshteh

This dish is a fabulous, heart warming and thick soup from the Middle East – it seems like it is an Iranian echo of Minestrone or perhaps of the noodle soup your mother served you as a child when you were poorly. In Iran it is called ash-e reshteh, and it is the sort of soup that makes you feel happy, wholesome and nourished, all at the same time.

You might find resteh noodles at a Middle Eastern grocery, but if not, use linguine or Asian flat noodles. Japanese noodles will work too. In fact the noodles can even be left out and the soup will still be deliciously amazing.

Make sure that you purchase the type of reshteh noodles that are specifically for soup – there is another variety that has been toasted for use in rice dishes. My local Afghan grocery has the soup noodles called Pottage Macaroni even though they are long noodles rather than the short tubes we usually think of as macaroni. The instructions for cooking are cute. It directs you to:

Add the content of package to the stuff of cooking and boiling pottage. After nearly 10 mins of your favourite time, eat the prepared pottage.

Another alternative is to make your own noodles. They are made from a wheat flour dough without eggs, and cut flat and not very wide.

This is an Ottolenghi recipe from Plenty More. It combines chickpeas, lima (butter) beans and yellow split peas with noodles, herbs and spices for a filling, interesting soup that even has an aroma of the Middle East. In fact this soup can be made with a variety of lentils and legumes – red kidney beans are very common.

Today it is 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. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Similar recipes include Hot and Sour Soup, Baked Lima Beans with Celery, Spicy Chickpea and Burghul Soup, Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Zaatar, Dried Fava Bean Soup, and Parsnip and Barley Soup.

Browse all of our Soups, Noodle Dishes, Chickpea Dishes and Butter Bean Dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Chickpea and Butter Bean Noodle Soup | Ash-e Reshteh”

Spicy Chickpea and Bulgar Soup

A friend and I recently hit the local Greek Warehouse and then the Central Market in Adelaide, and I found myself stocking up on Wintery food – lots of dried beans, lentils and grains, different flours, Greek herbs, and some new baking trays. It is a fairly subconscious thing that we do, change our diet as the seasons change. At this time our body starts to crave soups, salads with beans and lentils, and rice puddings. Baked dishes. Gratineed vegetables. Bulghar (Burgul) dishes. Slow cooked food a la Grecque. Ah the joys of Winter in the kitchen.

So overnight some chickpeas are cooked in the slow cooker. I find that the best ways to cook them is to slow cook them, unsoaked, for 9 hours, and they are perfect for any dish.

This recipe is one from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More. It is one that has done the rounds in various publications and Ottolenghi modifies it slightly each time. In the book, he pairs it with a feta-creme fraiche paste, and elsewhere he replaces it with coriander oil, or salbitxada – a sharp and lightly sweet Catalan sauce. I’ve included all options here, so choose one that suits your mood or the weather. One option is to make a huge pot of soup, and serve with feta-creme fraiche paste one day and with salbitxada the next. The soup does need a little something stirred into it at the end, to liven it. Use lemon juice if you don’t have the time to make the paste or the sauce.

This recipe is a mid-week Soup, substantial enough to be eaten with heaps of flatbread and a green salad. It is hearty and comforting. The flavour improves even more if you allow it to stand for a few hours. Ottolenghi says it feeds four, but I say it will feed 6 or 8, depending on the hunger levels.

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have made in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Similar recipes include Chickpea, Lima Bean and Noodle SoupRoasted Cauliflower Soup, Dried Fava Bean Soup, and Barley and Vegetable Soup.

Browse all of our Soups, all of our Chickpea recipes, and all of our Burghul dishes. We have other Chickpea Soups. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Spicy Chickpea and Bulgar Soup”

Gentle Tomato and Dal Rasam | Indian Tomato Pepper Broth

Rasams, the ubiquitous Tamil dish, have traditionally played the role of stimulating the appetite, aiding digestion and balancing the body’s health with the spices used Not a pre-cursor to meals as in the Western sense, Rasams are drank with the rest of the meal, tipped over rice and/or used to moisten drier curries.

As the Indian cuisine globalises, some less spicy rasams are becoming more popular. These dishes can be eaten Western style (as soup), or in the traditional Indian style (with rice). They are not the Indian Soups in the true sense, they still sit squarely under the Rasam category, but perhaps are a little less spicy.

This Rasam is peppery, rather than chilli-hot. It is strongly tomato-flavoured, and is definitely a wonderful dish. Enjoy it by the small bowlful as a soup, or as a gentle rasam in the traditional way.

Are you after other Rasams? Try Kottu Rasam, Garlic Rasam, and Pepper Rasam. A different Tomato Lentil Rasam can be found here. Or browse our collection of dozens of Rasam recipes.

Have a look at our Indian Soups as well. Try South Indian Beetroot Soup, Creamy Indian Tomato Soup, and South Indian Cauliflower Soup.

Browse all of our Rasams, all Indian Soups, and indeed, all of our Indian recipes. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Gentle Tomato and Dal Rasam | Indian Tomato Pepper Broth”

Miso Soup with Wakame

Miso has made its way back into our kitchen. A favourite of old, somehow it disappeared from our ingredients some time ago. But I adore soup made simply from dissolving a spoon of miso in hot water. Sip. Feel relaxed. Comforted. Rested.

There are dozens of different types of miso. Today we’re using Genmai. Genmai Miso is a mellow, sweet, golden miso paste of whole soybeans and brown rice which is traditionally aged in cedar kegs for up to 18 months. It is good for soups, sauces and slow cooked dishes, and is often referred to as Brown Miso. This is a version of the recipe that came with the miso – I have tinkered with it a little. It is an unusual one for me, as I usually just add sliced vegetables to miso dissolved in hot water. It is quick, easy and delicious, and sautes the vegetables briefly before adding to the soup.

Please remember to offer miso soup to your friends and family when they are overwrought, when they are having a hard time, when they are so tired they can no longer stand up, when they have a young kids or babies that won’t allow them to sleep, or when life throws enormous challenges at them. It is incredibly restorative.

Please also read my recipe for making amazing miso soups.

Similar recipes include Miso Sesame Dressing, Tofu, Spinach and Sesame-Miso Napoleans, and Japanese Baked Eggplant with Miso and Sesame.

Browse all of our Miso recipes and all of our Soups. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Miso Soup with Wakame”

Cumin Seeds and Pepper Rasam

This beautiful  but very easy rasam recipe is another from Meenakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See. We have a project to cook as many of her recipes as we can, and currently we are making her classic rasam recipes.

This one is flavoured with cumin seeds and pepper. One option is to make it with pre-prepared rasam powder, but can be made without the rasam powder and with extra pepper. The option is explained in the notes following the recipe.

Are you interested in other Rasams? Try Gentle Tomato and Dal RasamTomato Indian Rasam Style, Kottu Rasam, and Garlic Rasam.

You might also be interested in the following articles:

Our simply explore all of our Rasam recipes. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to browse our Late Summer recipes.

Continue reading “Cumin Seeds and Pepper Rasam”

Beautiful Cold Avocado Soup

I have a couple of Avocado Soups that I make in Hot Weather. This is one of them. The other is also an amazing cold soup – Avocado and Celery.

This recipe has a little hit of sweet chilli amongst the familiar tastes of garlic, coriander and lemon.  It is an easy soup, not pureed (although you can if you want to), but the ingredients are chopped finely and pulled together with some stock. Make it early in the day for the afternoon or evening – this allows time for flavours to develop.

Have a look at other cold soups too. Try Quick Cucumber and Tomato Cold Soup, Chilled Beetroot Soup, and Cream of Asparagus Soup. Here is how to make a range of easy cold soups in Summer.

Are you after other Avocado recipes? Try Guacamole, Cucumber and Avocado Salad, and Retro Recipes with Avocados.

You might also like all Avocado recipes here. Or check out Cold Soup recipes. Take some time to explore our easy Mid Summer recipes. Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series – vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006.

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Pepper, Chilli, Cumin Seed Rasam

I had been making Vada for a snack and wanted a rasam to have with them, so we grabbed Meenakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See to make the next rasam in the Rasam chapter of Vol. 1. The flavouring of this rasam is chilli and pepper (sautéed and ground to powder), with untoasted cumin seeds and fresh curry leaves (also ground to a powder). These spice combinations are combined with a tamarind base.

We are about half way through our project of making all of the classic Rasam recipes from Volume 1 of Meenakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See. We are loving this project, and adore her books. It would be the only book that I have come across that walks you through how the flavour of recipes change with minor adjustments to the ingredients or method. Cooking through a chapter of her books is like receiving personal tuition in the very basics of South Indian (TamBram) food. These books would be my most treasured cookbooks.

This rasam is flavoured with cumin seeds, chilli and pepper. It is made without Rasam Powder, and grinds the spices as you go. But it is easy to make and very very delicious. It is spicy, peppery, hot, tangy, and so very good.

Are you interested in other Rasams? Try Gentle Tomato and Dal Rasam, Cumin Seed and Pepper Rasam, Tomato Indian Rasam Style, Kottu Rasam, and Garlic Rasam.

You might also be interested in the following articles:

Our simply explore all of our Rasam recipes. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring recipes.

Continue reading “Pepper, Chilli, Cumin Seed Rasam”