Dried Okra Pachadi | Crispy Dried Okra in Yoghurt

Some time ago I dried some okra to see us through the non-okra season, and it is time to use them.  These are teeny crispy dried okra, tiny little rounds of okra and today we pair them with yoghurt in a Dried Okra Pachadi.

The dried okra is flash fried in some ghee and added to yoghurt which has been flavoured with spices. It is totally delicious, and can be used as a snack or as a side salad to a meal. We have even used it as a sauce or dressing for other dishes.

Are you after more Okra dishes? Try Spicy Dried Okra SnackOkra with Apricots and Lemon, Dried Turmeric Okra, and Fried Okra.

Browse all of our Okra dishes, and all of our Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or find some wonderful recipes to make in our Early Summer collection.

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Baked Fennel Stuffed with Feta, Rosemary and Honey | Gratinéed Fennel with Feta

A long time ago I fell in love with Gratin dishes when I was working in Nancy in France. There was an art theatre there that often showed films in English, so I was a regular visitor. Close by, maybe even next door, was a little cafe that served only gratin style dishes. It was very convenient to have a meal and then pop next door to the theatre, so it became routine for me to visit. It was so good, I still remember it fondly, especially its Poire Belle Helene Dessert.

We have a number of gratin dishes here as a result of that little cafe, and today it is a Fennel Gratin made utterly delicious with feta and honey. The recipe comes from Ilva Berreta, food photographer and former food blogger. I miss her blog, it was full of the most delightful stories and recipes.

Similar dishes include Goat’s Milk Feta with Pine Nuts and Preserved Lemon, Potatoes and Cheddar Gratin, Gratinéed Sweet Potato, and Pasta Bake with Cheddar and Cheese.

Similar Fennel dishes include Slow Baked Fennel with Garlic and Orange, Grilled Fennel with Fresh Mozzarella, and Fennel a la Grecque.

Browse all of our Fennel dishes, and all of our Gratin recipes.  Our Italian dishes are here. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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Burghul, Walnut and Yoghurt Salad with Pomegranate

There is a Lebanese dish, sometimes called Mafrouket Laban (not to be confused with the dessert of the same name), made from burghul (aka Bulgur) and yoghurt with plenty of herbs. It is a delight in Summer. Because the burghul is soaked, it is the sort of dish you begin in the morning, and leave for 4 or 5 hours, then mix in the remaining ingredients and serve for lunch or dinner.

The burghul soaks in the yoghurt for a few hours to form the base of the salad. It is often served with tender young vine leaves, so it is a perfect dish for Spring and Early Summer. With all that yoghurt, it is a cooling dish, perfect for the first heat waves that we encounter in Spring as it warms up towards Summer.

Use the coarse burghul for this dish if you can (otherwise, medium will be fine).

Similar recipes include Burghul Salad with Olives, Pomegranate and Hazelnuts, Cracked Wheat Kitchari, and Cauliflower, Mung and Broken Wheat Kitchari.

Browse all of our Burghul dishes and all of our Salad recipes.  Our Lebanese dishes are here. Or browse all of our Early Summer recipes.

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Pan Fried Broad Bean Salad with Spring Onions and Yoghurt

Broad Beans with yoghurt is a common dish in the countries of the Middle East, and this simple recipe makes a nice salad – or eat with flatbread for a snack, light lunch or part of a mezze spread.

The taste of the beans – lightly green – against the yoghurt is beautiful. Fennel herb is a classic pairing with broad beans, although in the Middle East dill is probably more common. Use either herb.

Similar dishes include Broad Bean Salad with Asparagus, Olives and Black Garlic, Salad of Broad Beans, Spring Pasta with Broad Beans and Mint, and Pan Fried Broad Beans with Chilli and Lime.

Browse all of our Broad Bean Salads and all of our Broad Bean recipes. All of our Salads are here and our Middle Eastern dishes here. Or explore our Mid Spring dishes.

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Apple and Celery Creamy Yoghurt Salad

Yoghurt is used in salads all over the world, except, it seems, in cuisines such as English based countries. Let’s remedy that by mixing yoghurt and cream (yum!) and using it to dress apples and celery. It is delicious.

Add some fresh walnuts if you wish. They go really well with celery and apples.

Similar dishes include Bondhi Yoghurt Salad, Celery Yoghurt Salad, and Cucumber Yoghurt Salad.

Browse all of our Salads and all of our Yoghurt dishes. Our Apple recipes are here and Celery dishes here. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Cucumber and Tomato Raita with Lemon-Chilli Paste

Picture a Tunisian grandmother, a master at cooking kofta, making them with Ottolenghi. This scene from his Mediterranean series is a classic. She gets fully ticked off with his faffing around, the time he takes, the number of ingredients he uses. She sits on a stool in the corner, rolling her eyes and muttering under her breath. Ah, Grandma, we know, we KNOW.

It must have been a trial for Ottolenghi to bring out Simple, his latest book. Recipes pared down to their bare essentials. No more layerings of flavour upon flavour upon flavour. No more dishes that can be a meal in themselves. HE must have been the one rolling his eyes and huffing and puffing as testers and editors stripped yet another ingredient from a dish.

I am in 2 minds about Simple. Yes, there is a level of difficulty in his other books, and not all of those recipes are for typical week night cooking. But there is something in the Simple recipes that I miss. An undefinable something. It is as though every recipe in his other books stretches us in the kitchen somehow. A new ingredient, a new technique, a new way of cooking, a new combination of ingredients. Not so Simple. Some dishes are quite ordinary by comparison, albeit delicious.

Still, they are as visually pleasing as the dishes from his other books, and a delight in their own way (just a different way to the Ottolenghi we have been used to). This raita, a riff on an Indian dish, is quite good. I’ve said before that Ottolenghi does not yet understand Indian food very well – perhaps he doesn’t care about that. He has been known to use Indian ingredients in ways that don’t showcase them to their best. But in this dish, although not typically Indian, it is a pretty jolly good plate of food.  Love the inclusion of preserved lemon in the chilli paste which is layered on top of the raita. Brilliant.

Raita is traditionally served with an Indian meal as a salad and as a cooling agent, contrasting well with the spiciness of the rest of the meal.  Leave off the chilli paste if you want to serve it this way. But raita is very versatile. It is lovely as a dip, gorgeous with some warm pitta, and excellent spooned on top of spiced rice.

You can find the original recipe for this dish here.

Similar dishes include Pomegranate Raita, Pomelo Raita, and Carrot Raita.

Browse all of our Raita recipes. Our dishes from Simple are here, and all of our Ottolenghi recipes are here. You might like to check out our Indian dishes and our Indian Essentials. Or explore our Late Spring dishes.

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Bean Curd (Tofu) and Mushrooms with Vegetables

I have mentioned my ancient Chinese cookbook before, the one direct from the 1970’s, bright orange cover, published by Sunset, and absolutely falling apart now. It is held together with a bulldog clip. It is still available online, I see – leftover copies and second hand ones.  It is not surprising, the recipes are great. Mostly non-veg, but with enough veg recipes for me to still want to keep it on my bookshelves – at least until I have cooked every one of the veg dishes.

Today’s dish is simple but delicious. Tofu in a mushroom sauce with either broccoli, beans or carrots. Delicious. I have replaced oyster sauce with miso – you might like to use a mushroom based vegetarian oyster sauce if you prefer.

Similar recipes include Broccoli and Chickpeas with Orange Butter Sauce, Chinese Cold Cucumber, Green Beans with Garlic and Sesame, and Sizzling Rice Squares.

Browse all of our Tofu dishes and all of our Chinese fare. Have a look at the recipes we have made from the cookbook Chinese Cooking. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Easy Summery Weekend Breakfast and Brunch Dishes

Think outside the box for Breakfast, especially in Summer.

Prepare your breakfast dishes, make a large pot of coffee, set the table on the verandah, deck, or under the grapevines, take the newspaper or a book, and enjoy a leisurely Summer breakfast.

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Cucumber Raita

Amongst non-Indians, Cucumber Raita must be the most well known accompaniment to Indian meals. It is not a surprise, really. It is a tasty and cooling dish that easily cuts through the heat of Indian food. Because of it’s popularity, the wealth of different Raita and Pachadis (Sth India’s version of the raita) sadly do not feature in restaurants.

In Summer, in this 42C heat of recent days, even we reach for this cucumber cooling goodness. I hope you enjoy it.

Similar recipes include Cucumber and Tomato Raita with Lemon-Chilli Paste, Cucumber Pachadi with Coconut, Spinach Pachadi, and Carrot Sambol.

Browse all of our Pachadi and Raita. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or browse our Mid Summer collection of recipes.

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Sweet Potatoes and Deep Fried Tofu in Coconut Miso Broth with Noodles

Oh deep fried tofu! Sssshh, don’t tell tofu-haters how good deep fried tofu is! I think we should keep it to ourselves. Deep frying changes the soft mushy texture of tofu to a crispy outer skin with a pillow soft inner. If you are drooling already, have a look at this deep fried tofu with a peanut sauce. Sensational.

This recipe takes some deep fried tofu and cooks it with sweet potatoes in a coconut green curry broth, and then serves it with noodles and coriander leaves. It is typically S. E. Asian, like the curries of Thailand and Malaysia. I also make it as one of my Miso Soup options, adding a little more broth to the ingredients. Miso Soup with Sweet Potato, Tofu and Noodles.

If you are not familiar with using miso, read about the different types.

Similar recipes include Noodles with Spring Onions and Edamame, Chinese Bean Curd with Mushrooms and Vegetables, Lemak Style Vegetables, and Black Pepper Tofu.

Recipes with Rice Vermicelli Noodles include Green Mango and Vermicelli Salad. Or read about other Asian Noodles.

Browse all of our Tofu recipes and all of our Sweet Potato dishes. Our S. E. Asian dishes are here. Or explore our Late Winter set of recipes.

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