Kosheri | Lentils, Rice and Vermicelli with Onions and Spices

Kosheri (also spelled Koshari) is a dish with its genesis in Egypt, although it now traverses many time zones. We have some similar recipes, but this one from Ottolenghi (in his book Ottolenghi) is another of his dishes that perfectly layers spices with other ingredients. It is a bit intense, this dish, with several cooking processes on the go at one time, but the effort is worth it. Cook the sauce, cook the lentils, cook the rice and vermicelli, cook the onions – then bring them all together.

Frankly, I love how North Africa, the Middle East and India are much more adventurous with their rice dishes than our English-based cultures. Who would have thought of cooking lentils, various pasta, burghul and/or vermicelli with rice? It seems to break all of our Western rules of food composition. Yet here they are, these mixed rice dishes, such a delicious alternative to plain white rice.

Cheap, easy and filling, kosheri is ubiquitous on Egypt’s streets and thought to be an adaptation of Indian kitchari, brought to Egypt in the late 19th century during the British occupation of both countries. Egypt’s Italian community is held responsible for kosheri’s pasta factor. Lebanon and Palestine have a simple version, a rice with pasta dish that works on the principle that less is more.

The dish can be made with or without the tomato sauce. Although it is a good accompaniment, the kosheri is also good with a Cucumber Raita, or any other Raita, Pachadi, or Yoghurt based salad, for that matter. Or just plain yoghurt.

In Egypt, this dish is sold by street vendors, but it is also very welcome at the dinner table. It can be a side dish, but I prefer it as a main, with the accompaniments tailored to eat on and with the rice. I particularly love it with the tomato sauce, some roasted cauliflower and toasted hazelnuts.

Similar recipes include Orzo and Rice, Cauliflower, Mung and Cracked Wheat Kitchari, and Cracked Wheat and Mung Kitchari.

Browse all of our Egyptian recipes and all of our Ottolenghi dishes. Our Rice recipes are here. Or explore our Late Winter collection of recipes.

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Cypriot Grain Salad

George Calombaris, well known Australian celebrity chef (how I dislike those words), is in the news for all the wrong reasons right now. But his food is very very good. This Grain Salad is delish, and I have my twitter sister, Jude, to thank for pointing me to it.

It is divine, and perfect for this changeable Spring weather. It is perfect one day, then the weather gods drag us back into mid Winter weather the next. A transitional season.

This recipe uses freekeh, but other grains can be used – couscous, quinoa, barley, burghul, for example). It is one of the best uses of freekeh and du Puy lentils that I know. The flavours in this dish are just right and balance well. It is sweet, sour, tangy, crunchy, soft, earthy, herby, and healthy.

Similar recipes include Green Beans with Freekeh, Walnuts and Tahini, Crushed du Puy Lentils with Cumin and Tahini, and Du Puy Lentils with Feta and Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Freekah dishes, du Puy recipes, and all of our many Salads. Our recipes from Cyprus are here. Or browse our Early Spring collection of dishes.

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Beautiful Buttered Orzo Pasta

Orzo is a tiny rice-shaped Greek pasta, not to be confused with barley which in Italy is also called orzo. When you see Orzo called for in a recipe, you always have to think twice! Is it pasta or is it barley? Sometimes it is not very clear.

In this recipe orzo Pasta is simply cooked and then bathed in butter. It is a delicious way to serve it, either as an accompaniment to other dishes (perhaps a replacement for rice), or tossed with herbs and cheese as a snack. We also love it with some cream and breadcrumbs added as well.

Orzo is available from Greek groceries, and can be found in Italian groceries under the name of riso, risoni, orzo, and rosmarino. The difference is in size. Riso is very small and rosmarino is larger than orzo.

Similar recipes include Pasta with Tomato and Salted Ricotta, Elegant Orzo Salad with Spinach, and Rice with Orzo.

Browse all of our Orzo recipes and all of our Pasta dishes. Our Greek recipes are here and Italian ones here. Or explore our Early Spring dishes.

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Easy Eggplant Kuzhambu | Eggplant in Coconut Gravy

Kuzhambu, a cousin to the Sambar, is easy to make as (unlike Sambar) it usually does not use the time-consuming toor dal. Toor dal can take a long time to cook unless you use a pressure cooker (I do not). Without a lentil to add bulk, Kuzhambu is often like a gravy, and excellent to eat with rice.

This is an easy eggplant Kuzhambu from the Monks who wrote the Monk’s cookbook – a collection of easily prepared South Indian and Sri Lankan vegetarian dishes, perfect for the home kitchen and not dependent on dozens of ingredients. Every recipe is delicious.

You might like to read about the difference between Sambar and Kuzhambu.

Similar recipes include Simple Poritha Kuzhambu, Green Chilli Kuzhambu, and Race Kuzhambu.

Try our Sri Lankan Long Bean Curry too.

Browse our other Kuzhambu recipes, and our Eggplant recipes . All of our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here.  Try Sri Lankan dishes too. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Seasonal Cooking | MID SPRING – Don’t Miss these Recipes for Relaxed Spring Living

Celebrating Spring

Mid Spring can still be capricious in its mid point between winter and summer. No matter where you are, it is a month of change. Gorgeous and sunny, wild and windy, or drenching spring rains – all weather reigns in this season. We look forward longingly to Summer, and are pleased to leave the chills of Winter behind.

Enjoy these highlights from our Mid Spring recipe collection.

You can also browse other Mid Spring recipes:
Other gorgeous Springtime posts include:

If you have difficulty with any links, please let us know. We would love to fix them for you.

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Seasonal Cooking | MID AUTUMN – Don’t Miss These Recipes for Relaxed Autumn Living

Celebrating Autumn

The weather begins its transition this month, and like all change, is a little chaotic and changeable. Autumn is the time for crisp leaves, knitted sweaters, and comfort food. Windy, stormy at times, the Autumn rains come. Cooler days intersperse the fewer warmer ones, and while it is hard to let go of cooling foods, dishes get somewhat heavier and more warming. We grieve the passing of Summer but look forward to what Winter brings.

Enjoy these highlights from our Mid Autumn recipe collection.

You can also browse other Mid Autumn recipes:

If you have difficulty with any links, please let us know. We would love to fix them for you.

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Black Gram Sprouts Sundal | Quick Urad Lentil Stirfry with Coconut

Urad Sprouts make a delicious Sundal

Sundals, from Tamil Nadu in South India, are quick, stir-fried lentils or beans with spices and coconut. Not only are they quick, they are delicious and healthy.

Sprouting the lentils adds another layer of nutrition and flavour. In this recipe, whole urad lentils are sprouted and then stirfried.

Similar recipes include Bean Sprout Sundal, Brown Lentil Sprouts Sundal, Sprouted White Pea Sundal, and Urad Dal Sundal.

Check out our other Sundal recipes for quick and easy snacks or side dishes. Sundals can also be used as prasadam and neivedyam for Navaratri or Ganesha Chaturthi and other Hindu Festivals. Click the links for other recipes for these festivals. Or explore our collection of Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here.

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Fresh Mozzarella Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumber and Pomegranate Molasses

This dish of beautiful fresh buffalo mozzarella balls has saved me many a time, late at night, tired from a long day, collapsed in front of the television. Mozzarella balls are torn apart, tomatoes, cukes and herbs added, and pomegranate molasses drizzled over.

Tearing the fresh Mozzarella adds great texture, great mouth-feel, and a much more interesting look than slicing. Never slice the large balls unless absolutely necessary.

Try these other fresh Buffalo Mozzarella recipes. Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Fresh Mozzarella, Mozzarella and Cucumber Salad with Caperberries, and Marinated Zucchini Salad with Bocconcini.

Browse all of our Mozzarella recipes here, and all of our many many Salads. Or explore our beautiful Late Summer dishes.

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Parmesan Potatoes (with Broad Beans Sautéed with Crispy Garlic)

Perfect Saturday afternoon snack

How good these Parmesan Potatoes are! The saltiness of the cheese, the crispness from baking, and the freshness of the broad beans. It is a great snack indeed, or a first course, or an excellent side at a BBQ.

The potatoes are sliced thin and baked in a hot oven with parmesan cheese. It is very simple to make. The broad beans are quickly sautéed with garlic, and their texture goes so well with the potatoes.

Similar dishes include Potatoes and Cheddar Gratin, Potatoes Baked with Cumin and Tomatoes, and Perfect Roast Potatoes.

Have a look at the other Broad Bean recipes, and our other Potato dishes. Our snacks are here. Or simply explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Charred Okra with Spiced Tomato Barley

This is an African influenced dish of barley and okra. We have made it with pearl barley, which is cooked with tomatoes, and then charred okra is added. A warming, Wintery dish.

This is often made with black barley, and there are a number of recipes available for it. As black barley is not yet available here, normal barley is a good substitute. Note that the barely is so very good, it can be cooked on its own, or topped with other vegetables, for example, charred or roasted cauliflower.

Are you looking for other Barley dishes? Try Parsley and Barley Salad with Feta, Barley with Red Kidney Beans, and Adzuki, Barley and Pumpkin Soup.

Or other Okra recipes? Try Slightly Charred Okra with Chilli, Garlic and ThymeWarm Salad of Charred Okra, Whole Okra Stuffed with Onions, and Sri Lankan Okra Curry.

Browse all of our Okra dishes and all of our Barley dishes. Our African dishes are here. Or simply explore our Mid Winter recipes.

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Broad Bean and Tomato Salad

Spring brings us Broad Beans. Celebrate their freshness with this salad.

Oh the joy of Spring. Two pieces of that joy are the short season of the Broad Bean, and the arrival of ripe cumquats. Today we celebrate the Broad Bean with a quick salad.

Larger Broad Beans need to be twice peeled. That is, they are first removed from the pod, of course, and then each bean has their thick outer shell removed. This seems like a lot of work, but once you are on a roll, it happens quickly. I use a small, sharp knife to knick the outer skin, then a quick peel and the inner bean pops out. The inner bean is much gentler in taste, very delicious.

You can also make this salad at other times of the year – just use frozen broad beans, easily available from your supermarket. You can find them peeled and unpeeled. Go for the peeled ones if you can find them – much easier and definitely quicker.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Broad Beans MezzeEnsalada, Spring Pasta with Broad Beans and Mint, Broad Beans with Fresh Pecorino, and Pan Fried Broad Bean Salad.

Browse all of our Broad Bean recipes, our Tomato Salads, and all of our Salads. And explore our Mid Spring dishes.

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White Fig and Rocket Salad

Simple salads are simply the best. Figs are one of my most favourite fruits but here in Adelaide they are very expensive, about $2 for each little fig. So they are like a treat – instead of buying chocolate, we buy some figs. And their season begins in late Mid Summer – the excitement builds as figs first appear in the shops.

Mostly we eat them slowly, as they are, but Fig Salads are gorgeous. This recipe is very simple and plays to the beautiful flavours of the white fig.

Similar recipes include Fig Salad with Hazelnuts, Roast Sweet Potato and Fresh Figs, and Fig and Almond Salad.

Please browse our Fig Salads, all Fig recipes, and also our range of Salad dishes. You can also enjoy our collection of Autumn dishes here.

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South Indian Baby Sweetcorn and Green Bean Soup

This is our second Baby Corn Soup; this one includes green beans for added crunch and fresh taste. It is another soup from Vol 4 of Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See, written by her daughter Priya Ramakumar. They are reminiscent of, say, 1970’s style soups – simple, no fuss, delicious. many of them (but not this one) are Anglo-Indian. I adore them – they are such a contrast to other elements of Indian cuisine.

As explained in previous posts, Soups as we know them are uncommon in India. But in South Indian, the TamBram community does make some very simple and un-spiced soups, probably influenced by the British, and perfect for using up left over odds and sods of vegetables.

Rather than being served in large bowls like we might serve a soup, it is served in small bowls, unaccompanied by crusty bread, grated cheese, olive oil for drizzling, or croutons. Actually, it is a really nice beginning to a hot and spicy meal.

Several of the soups in this volume of Cook and See show the growing love for Chinese food in India at the time that the volume of recipes was written. The nod to Chinese fare is created by a drizzle of soy sauce on top of the soup. Baby corn, after all, is associated (probably incorrectly) in many countries as being quintessential Chinese. This Indo-Chinese cuisine is very popular.

Baby corn is available at most Asian Grocery shops.

Similar recipes include South Indian Baby Corn Soup, South Indian Spring Onion Soup, and South Indian Cauliflower Soup.

Or browse all of our Indian Soups here, and all of Meenakshi Ammal’s dishes. Our Indian Recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Late Winter dishes.

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Simple Cauliflower Curry | Phool Gobi Curry

Sometimes we want a quick dinner without too much fuss. Here it is. Put the rice cooker on, cut up the cauliflower, and dinner is ready in a trice.

The cauliflower is sautéed with seasoning until tender, and then spiced just with garam masala and chilli. You don’t need to grind spices or make spice pastes. This is a simple curry. My friend Priti shared her recipe with me after preparing it for lunch one day.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Aloo Gobi, Cauliflower Pilaf and Cauliflower and Broken Wheat Kitchari.

Browse all of our Cauliflower recipes, and all of our Indian dishes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or take some time to explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Broad Beans with Crispy Garlic

Last Spring I fell in love with Broad Beans. Always a hated vegetable, we decided to spend time exploring them. To take the time to treat them properly. And fall in love I did. So this year, I am growing my own.

This recipe is a very quick dish once the beans have been podded and the individual beans have had their thick peel removed. It is a good idea to peel them when you have time, for example while watching TV at night, then pop them in the fridge, ready to be used the next day for a quick dish or snack.

Similar recipes include Broad Beans Mezze, Tomato and Broad Bean Salad, Pan Fried Broad Bean Salad with Tomato and Thyme, Pan Fried Broad Beans with Lime, Chilli and Salt, and Tawa Broad Beans.

You might like to browse our other Broad Bean recipes and our other Snacks. All of our Salads are here. Or explore our collection of Late Spring recipes.

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