The Little Italy Salad | Tomatoes with Mozzarella

Where would we be without tomatoes? Here is yet another version of a Tomato Salad, one that pairs them with Mozzarella. Fresh or traditional mozzarella can be used – both are great. Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella and Boccancini balls go so well with tomatoes, but so does the traditional, drier Mozzarella. Normally associated with pizza, it is also nice eaten sliced or cubed as part of an antipasto plate or in a salad. That’s the one we use today, but you can choose either.

Are you after other Mozzarella Salads? Try Grilled Fennel with Fresh Mozzarella, Marinated Zucchini Salad with Bocconcini, and Mozzarella and Eggplant Torte.

Or other Tomato Salads? Try Fennel, Potato and Tomato Salad with Garlicky Mayonnaise, Red Pepper and Tomato Salad with Crispy Flatbread, Chilli and Lime, and Cherry Tomatoes with a Soy Dressing.

Browse all of our Tomato Salads, our Mozzarella Salads, or indeed all of our many many Salads. Or take some time to explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Fennel and Feta Salad with Sumac and Pomegranate

Fennel is a capricious vegetable, pretending to be summery with that fresh, crisp taste that needs nothing more than some salt and olive oil before it lands on the table. But only sorry specimens of fennel are available through Summer, and at exorbitant prices. But as Autumn wanes and winter pikes its head around the corner, fennel appears with bulbs big and firm, and the prices plunge.

Before the cold weather hits, it is important to taste some of those minimal dishes with fennel. I promise, if you slice fennel thinly, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, your salad dish might not make it to the table. It becomes so more-ish that it can be completely polished off in the kitchen before the rest of the meal is finished.

And blessings continue in the late Autumn. All of a sudden pomegranates fill the green grocers’ shelves again. Those ruby red kernels that add sheer joy to any dish and look divine at the table. These kernels of happiness also speak of Summer, but it must be of Summer-gone, because Autumn and early winter is their real season.

Fennel and pomegranate, unsurprisingly, make a great match in the salad bowl. One crunchy and liquorishy, and the other slightly tart and juicy. Ottolenghi in his book Ottolenghi, pairs them with feta and sumac. This must bring four of Ottolenghi’s most loved ingredients together – he uses them a lot.

He recommends Greek feta for the bite that it gives, but I have fallen in love with a more Middle Eastern feta, one that I can get from the local Afghan grocery. It is creamier and gentler, and I adore it. In this recipe, use your favourite feta too.

Would you like more Fennel recipes? Try Braised Fennel with Capers, Olives and Ricotta, Fennel, Potato and Tomato Salad with Garlicky Mayonnaise, Grilled Fennel with Fresh Mozzarella, and Fennel a la Grecque.

Or some Pomegranate dishes? Try Pomegranate Molasses, Pomegranate Salad with Green Coriander and Lime, and Crab Apple and Pomegranate Jelly.

Browse all of our Fennel dishes, Pomegranate recipes and the Ottolenghi dishes that we have made. All of our Salads are here. Or explore our Late Autumn collection of recipes.

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Simple Thakkali Thayir Pachadi | Pureed Tomato in Yoghurt with Mustard Seeds

Vegetables in yoghurt are easy dishes to prepare, and decidedly delicious. The North Indian versions are raitas, and the South Indian are called Pachadi (or Khichdi in some regions).  This recipe is from South India which is renown for its seasonal and simple dishes, devoid of too many spices. Made with minimal ingredients, the food is healthy and tasty.

In this recipe the tomato is simmered to remove the distinct raw flavour of the tomato. It is then pureed and mixed with yoghurt and some spices. It is gentle and special.

Similar dishes include Roasted Eggplant Pachadi, Okra Pachadi, and Boondi Pachadi.

Browse all of our Pachadi recipes and all of our Yoghurt dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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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.

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Vendakka Khichdi | Okra in a Coconut Yoghurt Sauce | Ladyfinger Pachadi

Vendakka Khichdi is a delicious and common side-dish from Kerala. It is crispy fried okra in yoghurt flavoured with a green chilli-cumin-coconut sauce. It is often included as a part of Onam or Vishu Sadya. Otherwise, it is often served with Sambar and beautiful Indian pickles.

The okra is sliced and fried and then mixed into a yoghurt base flavoured with mustard seeds, cumin, green chill and coconut. It is one delicious dish, served warm.

This dish, which is a Khichdi, should not be confused with Kitchari – the Indian dish of rice and lentils. Khichdi is a Kerala yoghurt-based style of dish, similar to a Pachadi or a Raita.

Similar recipes include Tomato Pachadi, Sri Lankan Okra Curry with Coconut Milk, Bhindi Raita, and Okra in a Spicy Yoghurt Sauce (you can use okra in place of pineapple).

Or browse all of our Okra dishes here, and all of our Indian recipes too. And explore our Mid Winter series of recipes.

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Artichoke Hearts with Mozzarella and Candied Citrus

Artichokes are not something that appear in our kitchen, ever. But they are used by Ottolenghi quite regularly in his recipes, so the hearts from the deli section have made an appearance. Recently we found a large jar of the best artichoke hearts, reasonably priced, in a crazy Vietnamese-Eastern European shop close by to my home. Fresh artichokes are still waiting to be braved – we can’t yet see the value-add for the work and price involved, to be frank.

This lovely recipe, from Plenty More, is one of Ottolenghi’s easiest if you use hearts or bases rather than fresh artichokes, and forgo candying the lemon rind. Then it takes just a few minutes to put the salad together. It is fresh and delicious. Frozen, jarred or deli-section hearts or bases can be used.

But we mixed it up (of course). The mozzarella we used is smoked. And we candied the peel and segments of cumquats from our cumquat tree using palm sugar. The result is dark peel and syrup but oh so very delicious. It takes about 15 mins to candy citrus peel, and it is worth doing for this salad. The sweetness contrasts well with the artichokes.

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 dishes include The Little Italy Salad, Artichoke and Potato Salad with Preserved Lemon Mayonnaise, Tomato and Lettuce Salad with Lemon, Mograbieh and Artichoke Pilaf, and Artichoke Hearts and Feta Salad with Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Artichoke recipes and our Mozzarella dishes. 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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Pomegranate Raita

We’ve come a long way in Australia, foodwise, in the past decade or two. Not far enough – we have lost the wide variety in each vegetable, and do not yet have proper labelling of variety, growers and location. But when it comes to pomegranates we do have edible ones now! Thank goodness! When I first brought them into our kitchen the only locally available pomegranates here were sour and hard to the point of being inedible. It was after a beautiful road trip in India, eating pomegranates in Kerela with every breakfast (piled onto my plate).  Now, edible varieties are commonly available, frozen kernels are stocked by supermarkets (with all the dangers of eating mass processed frozen foods, sadly), and this year a tree will grace our garden.

Locally, I find 2 types of pomegranate – the usual bright red one with bright red kernel, and a larger pomegranate with a pink skin and paler kernels. Both are great.

Pomegranate kernels are perfect garnishes for almost anything Middle Eastern, much North Indian food, and any salad. They turn an Ok salad into something instagram-worthy.

Today, we make a Raita, a glorious use of both pomegranate kernels and yoghurt. Serve as you might any salad, with any Indian meal, or just with Indian flatbreads or a little rice.

Similar recipes include Asparagus Raita, Pomelo Raita, Carrot Raita, and Okra Raita.

Wondering what to do with your pomegranates? Here is how to extract pomegranate juice, and use it to make Pomegranate Honey, Pomegranate Vinegar and Pomegranate Molasses.

Browse all of our Pomegranate dishes and our Raitas and Pachadis. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.
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Minty Yoghurt-Tahini Dressing and Sauce

If you are like us, you will love the different ways that sauces and dressings can be made with yoghurt. And yoghurt and tahini combine amazingly well. Today is another variation on this theme, making a beautiful Egyptian style sauce and dressing that is perfect with salads, falafel and other snacks.

It is very easy to make, the ingredients are simply whisked together.

Similar recipes include Garlic Yoghurt Sauce, Lemony Yoghurt Sauce, and Yoghurt with Cucumber and Mint.

Browse all of our Yoghurt dressings and sauces and all of our Egyptian food. Our snacks are here. Or explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Sutta Kathirikkai Thayir Pachadi | Smoky Roasted Eggplant in Yoghurt

As I mention often, my preferred way to char or roast eggplants is on our covered BBQ. It cooks them so much better than over a flame on a stovetop or in the oven. And recently I have started smoking vegetables while they cook in the BBQ, using some rice, tea and herbs – it gives the eggplants a smoky flavour, just as though they have been roasted over a wood fire. To do this, layer some rice, a Tblspn or so of tea leaves and some herbs in a foil pan, and allow to heat with the BBQ. When it begins smoking, add the eggplants. If it smokes too much, add a sprinkling or two of water. Remove the smoking pan from the BBQ after 10 – 15 minutes. It can be left for longer if only smoking a little.

This recipe is Smoky Roasted Eggplant in Yoghurt, a typical South Indian dish, one of many Tamil Pachadi recipes which are generally a cooked and mashed vegetable mixed with yoghurt and spices. It is a South Indian version of the North Indian Raita. Eggplant pairs particularly well with yoghurt. Use it as a side dish or like you might use a salad, for any meal, particularly South Indian meals.

Similar recipes include Baingan Ka Salan (with Poppy Seeds), Smoky Aubergine with Tomatoes and Sweet Peppers, Crispy Okra Pachadi, Boondhi Pachadi, and Cucumber Pachadi.

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

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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.

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Roasted Red Pepper and White Bean Salad with Mozzarella

I have been cooking a lot of Indian dishes lately. Well, I always do, but it felt time to balance the South Indian flavours with a nice, fresh salad. So onto the grill (BBQ) went the red capsicums, plus eggplants for another (Indian) dish, and in the time it takes to sip my cuppa tea, they were all roasted to perfection. It is really the best way to roast peppers and eggplants.

This salad is a combination of the red peppers with home-cooked white beans (use canned if you like), mozzarella and some herbs. It is so simple really, but it is fresh and inviting, and absolutely healthy too.

Are you looking for other Red Pepper Salads? Try these: Radiant Autumn Salad of PeppersRustic Spicy Butter Beans, Red Pepper and Tomato Salad with Crispy Flatbread, and Italian Roasted Red Pepper Salad.

Or perhaps you would like to be inspired by Salads in general. Try Green Peppers in Yoghurt, Tomato Salad with Green Olives, and Moroccan Carrot Salad.

Want more? Browse all of the Red Pepper Salads and all of our many and varied Salads. We love Bittman Salads, so have a look at those. Or explore all of the Capsicum recipes and our dishes suited to Early Autumn. Enjoy!

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Vendakkai Thayir Pachadi | Crispy Sautéed Okra in Yoghurt

Yoghurt is as important in our kitchen as it is in general in Indian cuisine. Desi yoghurt is used all over India, in different ways, of course, in the different regions. This recipe brings together one of our much loved vegetables – okra – with yoghurt and spice to form the South Indian version of Raita, called Pachadi. There is something very special about okra with yoghurt. Divine.

This recipe takes okra slices and sautés them (which eliminates the sliminess) until crisp before mixing with the yoghurt. This is a great dish for Festival days too. It is a simpler version of this Vendakkai Thayir Pachadi.

Are you looking for other Pachadi recipes? Try Vendakka Khichadi, Teeny Dried Okra Vathal, Ginger Coconut Pachadi, Nilgiri’s Carrot Pachadi, Eggplant Pachadi, and Spinach Pachadi.

Or try other Yoghurt dishes – Aryan, Green Peppers in Yoghurt, and Yoghurt Curry with Lentil Dumplings.

Browse all of our Yoghurt recipes and all of our Pachadi and Raita dishes. All of our Indian dishes are here. Or try our Late Autumn collection of recipes.

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Yoghurt with Cucumber and Mint

Yoghurt and Cucumber is such a heavenly pairing that it is used around the world to make a cooling accompaniment to meals (and the pair is also often blended together to make cooling Summer drinks).

This recipe is reminiscent of the Middle East, where mint and garlic are added to yoghurt with cucumber. This can be used as a dip (for me, dips never went out of fashion), or a cooling yoghurt salad to have with meals. It can be a sauce or dressing, or make it thick and use it as a spread.

Similar recipes include Cucumber, Feta, Mint and Dill, Cucumber Lassi, and Raita recipes.

Browse all of our Cucumber recipes and all of our Yoghurt dishes. All of our Middle Eastern recipes are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Quick Okra with Coconut and Yoghurt | Okra Raita

A delightfully quick okra dish where okra is sauteed with turmeric and other spices and mixed with yoghurt. There are a lot of dishes originating in India that combine okra and yoghurt in some way. It is such a special pairing. This is another recipe that celebrates that combination.

It is a really quick dish. By the time you have the yoghurt ready, the okra have nearly finished cooking. This time I have used the tiny Egyptian Okra that I get from my local Afghan grocery, no bigger than a thumb nail, and I use them whole. If using the larger okra, halve them lengthwise.

Similar recipes include Sri Lankan Okra Curry with Coconut Milk, Kurkuri Bhindi, Okra and Coconut Milk, and Okra Pakora. Also try other raitas, such as Pomegranate Raita.

Browse all of our Okra dishes, and all of our Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. We have some Yoghurt dishes. Or explore our Mid Spring collection of recipes.

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Crisp Okra Pachadi | Fried Okra with Yoghurt and Spices

Okra and yoghurt are pretty good together, as we have seen with other Okra Pachadi recipes. Today’s recipe differs a little in its treatment of the okra and the spices used. It is South Indian in style, with a mustard seed tadka and curry leaves. As well, the okra are split into lengths rather than rounds, giving a different visual appeal. Pachadi is similar to the North Indian raita.

Read more about Okra here.

We have a number of Okra and Yoghurt dishes. Try Quick Okra Raita, Okra in a Spicy Yoghurt Sauce (use okra in place of the pineapple), Okra Pachadi, Okra with Cumin and a Yoghurt Sauce, and Bhindi Raita.

Other Okra recipes include Okra with Mustard Oil, Sri Lankan Okra Curry, and Crispy Okra.

Browse all of our other Okra dishes, and other Pachadi recipes. Our Indian dishes are here and Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Early Spring dishes.

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