Aviyal | Avial | Vegetables in a Coconut and Yoghurt Sauce

It is interesting to compare the Madhur Jaffrey version of Kerala’s Aviyal (delicious) with this traditional Tamil version from Meenakshi Ammal (also delicious). Madhur Jaffrey wrote for Western audiences, and used commonly available ingredients and vegetables, while Meenakshi Ammal wrote for Indian wives using locally available produce. There will also be regional differences. The first thing I noticed is that Ammal specifically excludes okra from the recipe list, while Jaffrey includes it. (I did put a few in this time, I quite enjoy them.)

The recipe is one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from her cook books Cook and See. One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through these books, as they are very traditional Tamil recipes.You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Avial can be made with a liquid sauce of coconut and yoghurt, or the sauce can remain thick and just coats the vegetables. It is generally eaten with rice.

The word aviyal (aka avial) is also used to denote ‘boiled’ or ‘cooked in water’ —this sense being derived from the way the dish is made. They say that the origins of this recipe is from the Nambudiri cuisine but it is now common throughout South India.

Similar recipes include Kerala Aviyal, Pulissery, and Pineapple Pulissery.

Browse all of our Aviyal dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Monk’s Ayurvedic Dal with Green Peppers

One can’t overemphasise the delicious and nourishing qualities of mung beans. Use the whole green beans for delicious, grounded, darker flavours, and the hulled yellow split mung dal for lighter, summery yet nourishing flavours.

This dal comes again from The Monk’s Cookbook by the beloved Monks on Kauai. A very simple dish but one packed with flavours. Their recipe feeds 20, and I have modified it down to a family meal size. It takes no more than about 45 mins to cook – 35 – 40 for the dal and the rest for the tadka.

Similar dishes include Monk’s Bhindi Subzi, Simple Monk’s Dal, and Fenugreek Kuzhambu.

Browse all of our recipes from the Monk’s Cookbook, and all of our Dals. All of our Indian recipes are here, and the Indian Essential Series is here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Rajasthani Spiced Green Tomatoes | Green Tomato Chutney

Green tomatoes are very special, and how wonderful it is to have a green grocer who knows this and stocks them. To be able to find them easily is exciting, and several always make it into our shopping bag.

This time we made this delightful Spicy Green Tomato dish, and it is a cracker! It can be used either as a Indian style Chutney, or a spicy side dish. It is a Rajasthani recipe that is very easy to make – simply cook the tomatoes with the spices. No complicated procedures involved.

Similar recipes include Green Tomato and Mozzarella Salad, and Green Tomato Salsa.

Browse all of our Green Tomato recipes, and all of our Tomato dishes. Our Indian Chutneys are here, all of our Indian recipes here, and the Indian Essential Series here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Cluster Beans Kootu

This kootu recipe is one that can be made with cluster beans alone or with added cooked bean seeds or whole cooked chickpeas. It is easy and quite versatile. I love the taste of cluster beans with their gentle bitterness, and make it most often with them alone.

Sambar vadams can be used in this dish, but they are difficult to find here. Add them if you wish.

The recipe is one of Meenakshi Ammal‘s from her cook books Cook and See. One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through these books, as they are very traditional Tamil recipes.You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Similar recipes include Cluster Bean Dal Kootu, Sambar, and Mango Kootu.

Browse all of our Kootu recipes and all of our Cluster Bean dishes.  All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Vegetable Cutlets

I simply cannot keep away from Indian snacks.

I’ve been feeding my love of these snacks by slowly reading Rukmini Srinivas’ book Tiffin, and cooking my way through the recipes. Both activities, reading and cooking, are mouth-watering. The cutlets are packed with goodness (even though they are deep fried – ssshhhhhh). They are addictively crisp on the outside and soft and textured within.

Vegetable Cutlets are very popular snacks. They are often crumb-coated and always fried or deep fried for that great crisp texture. Cutlets are best served hot with chutney or sauce.

This recipe is the one that her Appa used to make, grinding the vegetables in an old meat grinder. When my father passed away, my brother inherited his old grinder – now I wish I had kept this ancient machine. The food processor does not quite match up to the quality produced by these (but I am nostalgic with memories. Of course the food processor will work, and does a surprisingly good job.)

You MUST have these with strong coffee and the Orange-Green Chilli Relish that I published a couple of days ago. It has a refreshing burst of citrus and is a sweet-spicy sauce. You could also serve the cutlets with a green chutney, hummus, any salsa, any tomato sauce, any yoghurt dip or sauce, or any of these other dips or sauces. Also this tart cumquat jam is particularly good with them as does this Green Tomato Fry Chutney.

It’s interesting how the Indian cuisine has adopted the words cutlet and chop for vegetable based dishes – not doubt (I assume), replicating the non-veg versions of their English invaders.

Similar recipes include Falafel, the Huge Vine Leaf Pakora, and Broad Bean Vada.

Browse all of our Indian Snacks, and our Patties. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Nimbu Sherbet | Indian Lemonade or Limeade

Traditionally India has not had a strong culture of alcoholic drinks, except for a few pockets where naturally fermenting products meant some developed a taste for it (and a reputation, no doubt).

Consequently India has such a rich variety of non-alcoholic drinks, a seemingly infinite variety of all types of drinks – hot, cold, juices, milk based, fruit based, yoghurt based, infusions, coffees, chais, with seeds, without seeds, … It is fascinating to those of us who grew up in countries where choices are limited to water, coffee, tea, wine and beer. Perhaps some soft drink and orange juice. Maybe apple juice. But not much beyond that.

Additionally, the weather is hot in India, rivalling our own temperatures of 40C – 45C in Summer, with the additional humidity in India. Right before the monsoon is when the heat is the most unbearable–daily extreme temperatures and 100% humidity. There is no choice but to adapt, and until more recently, electricity was not available everywhere for aircon. So shady houses and verandahs can be common, people stay out of the heat in the mid day, roof tops are used at night for cooler breezes, and refreshing drinks are made in the afternoons.

Also, many drinks contain salt. It makes the drinks very tasty, but there is also a health reason for this – in heat we lose salt from our bodies through our perspiration. So rehydrating drinks in the afternoon provide water, salt and also sugar for energy in the heat. How sensible!

Already we have posted (and made) a range of Indian drinks, especially Lassi (great for Summer mornings!) and Chai (excellent afternoon and evening cold weather cuppas), and a few cold drinks (Summer sipping). Today is definitely a hot weather drink – Nimbu Sherbet, Indian Lemonade (or Limeade).

Similar recipes include Panakam, Jal Jeera, Watermelon Juice with Ginger and Mint, and Cumin, Coriander and Ginger Iced Tea.

Browse all of our Indian Drinks, and all of our Coolers. All of our Indian recipes are here, and the Indian Essentials Series is here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Fruit and Herb Flavoured Vinegars

Spring is a great time for making some flavoured vinegars for Summer Salads and vegetables. It also makes great presents for Xmas! The flavoured vinegars are easy to make and can be left to infuse the flavours for as little as 2 weeks.

We show you a general method, and then several specific flavoured vinegars. If you are growing your own fruits and herbs, this is an excellent way to use your crops. Don’t forget to sterilise all of your equipment and utensils.

Similar recipes include How to Make Quince Paste, How to Pickle Ginger, and How to Make Chilli Paste.

Browse all of our How To suggestions, and all of our Early Spring recipes.

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Goat’s Milk Feta with Pine Nuts and Preserved Lemon

Are you looking for a gorgeous, unusual spread for crusty bread or crackers? Look no further. This mix of soft goat’s milk feta with herbs, pine nuts and preserved lemon is just for you.

The spread can be dolloped lavishly onto crackers and bread, and eaten as-is, or topped with slices of cucumber or perfect, halved cherry tomatoes.

It is also wonderful tossed through salads – think green salads, grain salads, lentil salads. Or crumbled over sliced tomatoes and drizzled with olive oil. Top cucumber slices with a tiny dollop and serve as an amuse-bouche.

We love this mix so much that we even stuff grape vine leaves with it and grill them on the BBQ as a pre-meal snack.

Other Spreads include White Bean, Sage and Roasted Garlic Spread, Green Tahini Spread, and Broad Bean Puree.

Browse all of our other Spreads, and our Dips too. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Ginger Scallion Noodles

Oh those nights in the various China Towns of the world, eating noodles and congee and salt and pepper tofu, and wonderful silky eggplants. Simple dishes are tasty and elegant, in a way that sometimes we forget. Paring back to basics gives such good dishes.

For this dish you will need a basic Ginger Scallion Sauce (we call them Spring Onions, but it doesn’t sound as good). The sauce is useful in the kitchen and is one of my pastes, purees, powders, stocks and sauces that commonly grace my quiet kitchen bench. It is useful in so many ways – into soups and broths it goes, over rice with some deep fried tofu and shredded vegetables, drizzled onto bok choy with or without noodles, smeared on sandwiches.

Once you have the sauce, all you need for this recipe is some noodles and some veg. That’s it. And variations are endless. Make it as simple or as fussy as you like.

Similar recipes include Glass Noodles and Green Mango Salad.

Browse all of our Noodle dishes, our Dipping Sauces and all of our Asian recipes. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Collection: What to do with Daikon Radish – From Salads to Curries

Daikon Radish (aka White Radish) is another underused  vegetable. There are two varieties, the Japanese and the Korean White radishes. They vary in size, but the tastes are the same.

Daikon is most popular in Salads where its radish-like heat shines through. I use it a lot in home made juices – just a small chunk so that the heat does not overpower the juice – and it adds a spark to the juice that is not otherwise there.

But when cooked – steamed, simmered, sauteed, baked, roasted, fried – it loses its heat and becomes mild and delicious.

Enjoy our collection of Daikon recipes. You can also browse them all here.

Other Collections include:

Browse all of our Gratin, or explore our Mid Winter dishes.

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