Golpar Namak

Persian Hogwood seeds, ground into a powder called Golpar, makes an interesting spice – slightly bitter, earthy, woody.  You will find it quite aromatic too. It is used a lot in Middle East countries, and you can buy the seeds Middle Eastern or Afghan grocers. You might be able to buy the powder, but I can only get the seeds and grind them myself.

I got chatting to a gentleman in the local Afghan shop, and he says that Golpar is known and commonly used in Eastern European countries too. It is sometimes called Angelica seeds, but that is incorrect.

Golpar Namak is the powder mixed with salt. It is a great seasoning, useful for almost anything, and especially good with beans, grains, rice and lentils. Try it sprinkled over cucumbers and pomegranates. If you can find sour plums, use it with them too. Put some in your preserves and chutneys.

Read more about Golpar here.

Browse all of our recipes using Golpar, and all of our Middle Eastern recipes. Or try our Early Summer recipes.

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Grape Vine Leaf Powder

Lately, I have been using a powder made from blanched, dried and ground grape vine leaves as a spice and flavouring. It has a deep red grape, woody flavour. We use grape leaves in cooking – e.g. dolmades, cheese wrapped in grape vine leaves, casseroles and baked dishes lined with grape leaves – AND that they dry easily, so I thought that powdering them might work. It does. It is still an experiment and work in progress, but I am sharing the beginnings with you.

It goes well mixed with ghee and stirred through rice, sprinkled over feta cheese, and scattered over vegetables before they are roasted. Mixed with salt it is an excellent seasoning and into yoghurt as you make a sauce, dressing or dip. It is an interesting umami type flavour.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Grape Leaf Encrusted Rice Pie, Burghul Dolmas, Baked Yoghurt in Vine Leaves, Grilled Pecorino in Grape Vine Leaves, and Mushrooms Cooked in Grape Vine Leaves. Other spice mixes/powders include Sundakkai Podi, and Chaat Masala.

Browse all of our Grape Vine Leaf recipes, and all of our Spice Mixes. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Sundakkai Vathal Paruppu Podi | Dried Pea Eggplant, Spice and Lentil Mix | Dried Turkey Berry Spice Powder

Sundakkai Vathal are dried pea eggplants (also called turkey berries), and they have a salty, slightly bitter taste. They are quite addictive, but are an adult taste. You have to grow into them. We adore them.

One way to use them is to grind them into a powder. Sometimes we do this without mixing them with anything else – saute them in a tiny bit of ghee until the puff a little, then grind into a powder, and sprinkle on rice and into dishes. It is amazing!

This recipe is a podi, or a South Indian spice mix, which includes lentils, pepper and chillies. You can add cumin as well. Curry leaves are crisped and ground with the other ingredients. It tastes great with hot rice mixed with ghee, and used to make Sundakkai Vathal Kuzhambu.

Other Spice Mixes include Garam Masala, Chaat Masala, Grape Vine Leaf Powder, and Sambar Powder.

Browse our other Podi recipes. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring recipes.

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Garam Chai | Chai Masala

Warming spices combined with tea – a classic Indian Chai

What a wonderful, warming drink this is! Pure relaxation – a cup of Masala Chai and allowing your mind to empty and drift across the universe.

Chai is an Indian spiced milk tea that is generally made up of a rich black tea, full cream milk, various spices and jaggery or other sweetener. The spices used vary from region to region in India, and even amongst households. The most common are cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper. Because of the spices, Chai produces a warming, soothing effect and gives one a wonderful sense of well being. Chai must have a sweetner added or the spices can’t share their full robust flavours. The sweetness brings out an intensity of flavour.

Are you looking for similar Chai recipes?  Try anoother Chai Masala, Tim’s Chai, Yogi Chai, Chai Masala for the Relief of Colds, Cutting Chai, and Peppery Chai. There are Chai Variations here.

All of our Chai recipes are here, and our general Tea recipes here. Browse our other Teas and Coffees, and explore our Indian Recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Check out our Mid Winter recipes.

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Georgian Coriander and Walnut Sauce or Dip

Coriander and walnuts – who would have thought the zingy freshness of coriander would pair well with the earthy brown flavours of walnuts? It seems they do, with a plethora of recipes around for pastes and sauces containing the two ingredients.

This recipe is a little different than most. I first saw in The Guardian newspaper. It includes dried apricots. The sauce is both slightly sweet from the apricots, a little peppery and fragrant from the herbs with a pinch of heat from the chilli and, well, garlicky. This sweet, pungent sauce is a mainstay of Georgian national cuisine. It works beautifully as a marinade – try rubbing it on vegetables before baking or BBQing. Stir into cooked red beans. Marinate some tofu in it. Glaze cooked carrots with it. Put it in your soup. And it is rather good with roasted summer vegetables too. It is great included in your salad dressing. Spread it on your salad sandwiches. You will constantly find more and more ways to use this glorious paste.

My most favourite way to eat it is as a dip. It is non-traditional, but I have to let you into a secret. This is very good with some Middle Eastern flatbread. Put it on your next mezze or tapas plate.

According to Georgian legend, God took a supper break while creating the world. He became so involved with his meal that he inadvertently tripped over the high peaks of the Caucasus, spilling his food onto the land below. The land blessed by Heaven’s table scraps was Georgia.

Georgian of course refers to the country in the Caucasus rather than the southern U.S. state or the period of time when knights roamed England.

Are you looking for other coriander recipes? Similar recipes include Yoghurt and Kaffir Lime Spread, Coriander PasteZhoug, the Middle Eastern Coriander Paste and Dip, White Bean, Sage and Roasted Garlic Spread, Coriander Pesto, and Coriander and Coconut Chutney. Also similar is an Apricot Chutney that can be made with dried apricots.

Or try these: Carrots and Green Peas with Green Coriander, Coriander and Lemongrass Vichyssoise, Pudla with Green Coriander, or Urad Dal with Tomato, Coconut and Green Coriander. Coriander Fritters are pretty good too.

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Raw Beetroot and Herb Salad

How great is the earthy taste of beetroot! Growing my own, the earthiness and its inherent sweetness are both intensified in these fresh-from-the-ground crimson balls.

This crunchy salad is a good way to start or end a meal, or to serve as part of a spread of vegetable-based dishes. It is an Ottolenghi recipe, simple in its design and gorgeous in its delivery. It is very crunchy with the beetroot raw and the toasted nuts and seeds. If you like it a little softer, quickly saute the julienned beetroot, like we do in the Beetroot and Carrot Salad.

Everything can be prepared in advance, kept in the fridge, and combined when you’re ready.

We have some similar Beetroot recipes. Try Roasted Beetroot and Garlic Salad with Walnuts, Beetroot with Yoghurt Tahini Dressing, Beetroot and Goat Cheese Salad with Rocket, and Beetroot, Orange and Black Olive Salad.

Also try Purslane Salad with Herbs and Burrata.

You can browse all of our Beetroot recipes here. Or have a look through our Ottolenghi recipe collection. We love Salads and have so many. Browse them here, or explore our easy Mid Summer recipe collection.

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Coriander and Coconut Fresh Chutney

A fresh South Indian Chutney made from pureed coconut and coriander.

This is a simple Indian chutney. There are three varieties of chutney: fresh chutneys, cooked chutneys, and dry chutneys. Fresh South Indian chutneys are smooth purees made from uncooked ingredients, perhaps seasoned with a tadka of mustard seeds, dal, and curry leaves. They are best freshly made, but they stay good for a couple of days if refrigerated. Made from raw ingredients this type of chutney is unlike most other dishes which have at least some degree of cooking.

Chutneys add zing to a meal and are an essential part of a South Indian meal time. They can be prepared with a limitless variety of ingredients.

Similar recipes include Fresh Radish and Mint ChutneyCoriander and Coconut Chutney, and Ginger, Coconut and Yoghurt Chutney.

Are you looking for chutneys? There are a range of Eastern and Western Chutneys here and here. Browse our Coriander dishes here and here. Or explore Indian recipes here.

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Coriander Paste | Cilantro Paste

Coriander (Cilantro) paste is useful in so many cuisines – Greek, other Mediterranean, Indian, Vietnamese, Malaysian and other SE Asian dishes, to name a few. Sadly, it is difficult to keep fresh coriander in the kitchen for very long. One way to have that delicious flavour on hand at all times is to make coriander paste. For other ways, check out how to preserve fresh herbs. I recommend tall, tightly sealed, plastic containers – I have found this the best way.

This is a great paste for stirring into soups and broths, adding to Indian and S. E. Asian dishes – add a generous spoonful when frying off other ingredients – or adding to sauces.

Are you looking for other coriander recipes? Similar recipes include Zhoug, the Middle Eastern Coriander Paste and Dip, Coriander Pesto, and Coriander and Coconut Chutney. Also similar is an Apricot Chutney that can be made with dried apricots.

Or try these: Carrots and Green Peas with Green Coriander, Coriander and Lemongrass Vichyssoise, Pudla with Green Coriander, or Urad Dal with Tomato, Coconut and Green Coriander. Coriander Fritters are pretty good too.

Read some more about Green Coriander, and also How to Use Leftover Green Coriander.

You might also like other Coriander dishes and other Coriander Pastes. Middle Eastern dishes are here and here. Perhaps also browse all of our Pastes – we have some good Chilli pastes indeed. Or simply take some time to browse our Mid Summer recipes.

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Tulasi Rasam | Spicy Indian Broth flavoured with Indian Holy Basil

Rasam, a spicy Indian broth, made with Indian Holy Basil.

A Tulasi plant was recently gifted to me and I have been enjoying an abundance of Tulasi teas (infusions) and Tulsi Chai. But Tulasi can also be included in Rasam, and it makes a very special dish.

You can read more about the extraordinary healthy properties of Tulasi here.  Tulasi can also be spelt as Tulsi or Thulasi, or called Holy Basil. Don’t get it confused with Thai or South East Asian Holy Basil, it is an Indian Holy Basil and quite different to the Thai herb. Our Tulasi recipes are here.

Similar dishes include Cumin Seed Rasam, Coriander Seed and Red Gram Dal Rasam, Lime Rasam, Cumquat Rasam and Tomato and Dal Rasam.

You might like to read about the difference between Rasam and Sambar. And find out how to make a rasam powder. Are you looking for other rasam recipes? Try here for tomato rasam, garlic rasam, lemon rasam, parappu rasam and others. All of our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. And find inspiration in our Late Summer recipes too.

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SPRING – 6 Ways to Cook and Eat for Healthy Living in Spring | Seasonal Cooking

For those parts of the world that are moving into Spring, inspiration for healthy spring eating.

Maintaining a balanced diet is the first casualty of a busy lifestyle. I often wonder what on earth we women did when we left the home and went out to work. (Please, no spam about this. I am ancient enough to have been a part of that movement and I will bore you to death with stories should you dare spam me about this. It was an exciting, exhilarating time for women. But now? We rock the cradle, clean the house AND run a business.) Continue reading “SPRING – 6 Ways to Cook and Eat for Healthy Living in Spring | Seasonal Cooking”

How to make Crispy Garlic, Crispy Sage and Crispy Curry Leaves

Crispy herbs and garlic are good to strew over all kinds of dishes.

Use crispy garlic to top vegetables, soups and mashes. It adds texture, flavour and another dimension to dishes. Sage and Curry Leaves likewise.

Browse all of our How To posts here and here, and Garlic recipes here and here. Find some inspiration in our Autumn recipes here.

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A Wicked Tamarind and Lime Dressing and a Thai Betel Leaf Salad

A wicked, wicked salad.

I remember my first trip to India, travelling the back-roads of Goa with a gorgeous Indian tourist guide for the day. He pointed out some betel nuts drying on the sides of the roads. In all of my naivety, I said to him “Don’t betel nuts make you go funny?” With a sage wiggle of his head, he replied “My dear, there are many things in India that make you go funny.”

How right he is, and not all of them in the hallucinogenic way.

Actually, betel leaves have many uses in India and beyond. Some of them spiritual, some of them artistic, some of them culinary.  Today’s use is in a salad, and it is not Indian, but Thai, with the telltale flavours of sour, sweet and hot melded perfectly together.

I have heard that Betel Leaves are not from the same plant as Betel Nuts, but rather a plant closely related to pepper. They can be eaten raw, and are often used as a wrapping for food in India and Thailand.

You might also want to try Miso Sesame Dressing, Steamed Thai Eggplant and Zucchini, Steamed Eggplant with Sesame and Soy, and Ottoleghi’s Steamed Eggplant and Soy Dish.

Our Thai dishes are here, and our Salads here. Be inspired by our Summer dishes here and here.

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Adai | Thick Chunky Multi Lentil Dosa

Wonderful thick chunky Indian pancakes or Dosa.

Adai is a wonderful thick chunky Indian fritter style dish or Dosa. It is difficult to use English terms to describe Indian dishes. Dosa varieties can vary from something close to a thin fritter to being like a flatbread. Dosai are made from flours (lentil flour and rice flour) and are cooked in a pan, so technically they can be called Indian pan cakes. But really, they have little resemblance to them that it is best to stick to the Indian names. You might like to read Indian Flatbreads – Pancakes? Or not? 

This recipe is for Adai, a type of Dosa.Adai batter does not require fermentation, like some dosa batters. Apart from the soaking time, they are quite quick to make.

Similar recipes include Potato Dosa, Cheela, and Coconut Dosa.

Browse our Dosa recipes here, and our complete set of Indian recipes.  Or be inspired by our Mid Spring recipes.

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Vatral Kuzhambu

Dried Onion Dumplings in a Spicy Tamarind Broth.

This is  S. Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See book’s Vatral (Vathal) Kuzhambu. Vathal or vatral are vegetables that have been salted, spiced, and dried in India during the hottest parts of the year. They are not only delicious, but also an excellent way of preserving vegetables for the colder and wetter seasons. They come in all guises, and are often made at home.

You can make your own, but they are also available at Indian stores and groceries. They go wonderfully well in a tamarind-rich spicy gravy.

You might like to explore other recipes for kuzhambus, sambars and rasams. Are you wondering what is the difference between a kuzhambu and a sambar? You might like to read this post that answers that question. Or browse all of our Indian recipes here and here. Explore our Indian Essentials here.

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Unusual Herbal Teas, Coffees and Infusions

Wonderful teas/infusions to make, especially in times of gratitude.

When the world seems a little out of kilter, have a cuppa tea. Need a lift? Make coffee.

Why not also try Cardamom Coffee, and Barley Coffee.

You could also browse all of our tea recipes. Learn about different spices here. Or be inspired by our Mid Autumn recipes.

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