Packets of miso often come with small recipes on or under the lid, and they are fun to try. Many of them are for Miso Soup, but I have that sorted already. Occasionally there is a recipe for a sauce or dip. This tiny but excellent recipe came on a pack of Shiro Miso. It mixes Shiro with Tahini – the taste is earthy, yeasty and awesome.
Mid Autumn is that last hurrah to Summer, at least here in Adelaide. We have the last of the warm weather, nights are cooler and mornings bordering on cold. Days can be warm and sunny, but April rains are also expected. Farmers turn hopeful eyes skyward, keen to ensure the seeding efforts won’t go to waste.
Early on in this month, we find ourselves eating lots of tomato salads, almost as though we are desperate to hang onto the warm weather, and onto the tomatoes which are always best after the intense heat of Summer has gone and the gentler days of Autumn arrive. French style, Italian style, Greek style, Persian style, we don’t really mind, as long as the salads are simple and the tomatoes delicious. We recommend you do the same. Simple lunches can be a bowl of salad, some flatbread, perhaps some cheese, followed by slices of fresh fruit.
The fig season is over, and okra is off the menu until the new crop comes in. Meanwhile, beautiful vegetables and fruits are appearing in the shops – daikon, cauliflower, pears, oranges, new carrots, such beautiful beetroot, juicy radishes. All ready for delicious salads. Lentils and Dried Beans begin to make an appearance later in the month as we look for more substance in our salads to counteract the cold weather.
Here are 30 of our best salads for Mid Autumn.
Poritha Kuzhambu is a delicious dish defined by the addition of coconut and cumin seeds. Many of our recipes for this dish have been made without tamarind, but today’s recipe includes that wonderful, sour tang.
What makes Poritha Kuzhambu different from Sambar and Pitlay is its ground masala with coconut, cumin and urad dal (black gram dal). Some households use black pepper instead of cumin. Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind can be made with a medley of vegetables or a single one, often with the addition of a legume. Meenakshi Ammal always suggests using only one vegetable for Poritha Kuzhambu and a mixture of vegetables for Kootu. Although in this one, when listing the vegetables, she seems to relax that rule just for a moment for this recipe, suggesting that vegetables can be used in combination, but later instructions imply again that for Kuzhambu, one vegetable is best.
Another feature of Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind is that it often includes lentils and/or beans together with the traditional toor dal (red gram dal). We have made this with toor dal and chickpeas. Delicious!
This recipe is indeed one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from the first volume of Cook and See. This recipe is a tangle! Like the first ones in the book, for Sambar, this recipe definitely takes some detective work to untangle. Thoughts have been put down without logic and structure, so I have done my best to add sequence and process to the instructions. I do hope that you enjoy.
Why not browse through the recipes of Meenakshi Ammal? They are here. She certainly is my guru of Tamil cuisine.
Then browse all of the Poritha Kuzhambu recipes. All of our Sambar and Kuzhambu dishes can be browsed here. Have a look at all of our Indian recipes. Or you may like to explore our Early Autumn recipes.
I would also suggest trying the Kootu recipes – these are very similar but have a thicker consistency.
Early Winter sees the arrival of rains and cold weather. While the beginning of Winter can be mild, by mid month the chilly weather has usually arrived. In a good year it can rain daily in the latter part of the month. Gardens are not yet devoid of colour. Bougainvillea, cumquats, rosemary flowers, diosma, amaranth and bulbs of all sorts add welcome relief amongst the green weeds. Speaking of greens, all sorts of green leaves and salad leaves lose the limpness of Summer and are lush and abundant in the vegetable garden.
Salads generally have more substance now. Grains and beans creep in. Light salads no longer appear on the table. Although salads are served at room temperature they are still common but add substance and nourishment to the meal.
Okra is back in the shops, and an abundant array of other winter vegetables and fruits – daikon, cauliflower, broccoli, pears, oranges, grapefruit, cumquats, pomelo, carrots, beetroot, mustard greens and other beautiful greens, cabbage, such beautiful beetroot, pumpkins, marrows, juicy radishes.
Here are 30 of our best salads for Early Winter.
It’s Friday night, Pasta night, and we are all home late and tired from a long week. There is no time for a cooked sauce, we are starving. So we turn to one of our simple but delicious pasta dishes, a salad and some crusty bread.
This recipe is simple, just tomatoes, cheese and basil, so very Italian in its composition. It takes no longer than it takes to cook the pasta. Enjoy!
Why not make your own Pasta? How to Make Eggless Pasta.
Our local green groceries, run by a cohort of Vietnamese and Middle Eastern families, has recently begun stocking Mustard Greens. So we are making the most of them. Today’s recipe pairs them with daikon, the Japanese white radish that is also used extensively in India. When it is cooked, it loses the intensity of its bite and becomes soft and textural with a slight bitterness that is delightful. Matched with some chilli and the mustardy overtones of these greens, the result is a very morish side dish from India.
We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.
This cauliflower dish is a simple, every day but glorious dish. Allowing the cauliflower florets to brown slightly brings that beautiful depth of flavour to the dish.
Cauliflower is such an under-rated vegetable. Cooked well, it really is a vegetable to yearn for. Recipes from the sub continent and the Middle East are especially respectful of cauliflower, bringing out its flavours and adding interest with spices and herbs.
This dish is simple, yes, but it lets the cauliflower shine. Serve with Lemon Rice.
Okra and Potatoes go well together – what doesn’t go well with potatoes? Today’s recipe is a vegetable fry style dish, or dry Subzi, where potatoes and okra are sautéed together with a range of spices until tender.
Dhana jiru is a spice mix used in this dish. Coriander and cumin seeds for the basis of this masala, and other spices can be added. Recipes for dhana jiru vary considerably – the ratios of coriander seed to cumin seed varies, some recipes add cinnamon, or pepper, for example, and others add up to 5 more spices for a complex spice mix. If you don’t have dhana jiru in your spice collection, simply dry roast 2 tspns coriander seed with 1 tspn cumin seed until a nice aroma arises, and then grind to a fine powder. Otherwise, use the mix that you have at hand.
Are you looking for more Okra dishes? Read more about Okra here. And try Stir Fried Okra with Sesame Seed, Warm Salad of Charred Okra, Tomato and Preserved Lemon, and Pickled Okra.
Or perhaps you are looking for Vegetable Fry dishes? Try Cauliflower Fry with Ginger, Garlic and Green Chillies, Potato Sabzi, Beetroot Fry and Brinjal (Eggplant) Fry.
Pomelo, that thick rinded Asian fruit as big as a soccer ball (well, almost) goes by a number of names – Chinese grapefruit, shaddock, pumelo, pommelo, pompelmous, Jabong, Lusho, Batabi-Nimbu and chakotra are just a few. Big it is, and its seeds could feed an army of ants for a life time. But once you are through that thick rind, and you have flicked the seeds out of the segments, and the membranes around the segments are removed, oh oh, the flavours! So very South East Asian in its flavours, it is like a mild grapefruit. They say that it is an ancient ancestor of today’s common grapefruit.
Peeling a pomelo is a business, as the skin can be as much as an inch thick. The best approach is to cut a slice off the top of the fruit, then score the skin deeply to divide it into four segments. Pull the skin back like the petals of a flower and tear out the ball of pomelo. Finally, peel off the tough membrane surrounding each segment.
Even Yotam Ottolenghi is a fan of pomelo: “What I love about them is that, unlike other citrus, they don’t go flabby in salads but retain all their juiciness. This firmness is brilliant in salsas and salads. I love making sugar syrup and marinating pomelo pieces in it with sweet spices such as star anise, cardamom or cinnamon.”
So today, we have a simple Pomelo Salad to celebrate this fruit and the health giving properties that it contains. You can make it with Ruby Grapefruit, too, or with Pomelo, Ruby Grapefruit and Oranges. Enjoy!
The person who served me at the Asian Grocery where I bought the Pomelo told me how Asian people treasure Pomelo for its health giving properties. Like bitter gourd, she says, it is good for a range of ailments and for normal health maintenance. She loves to eat it with chilli and salt, just like green mango.
Puy lentils are one of my favourite lentils. Yours too? This recipe is a fairly complicated one -lots of processes – cooking the lentils, roasting the vegetables, cooking the leeks, cooking the mushrooms, and making the creamy preserved lemon sauce, all before plating. But it is so very delicious, and a perfect Wintery dish.
This 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 Cook the Books 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.
Browse all of our Puy Lentil dishes and all of our Mushroom recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.
Quinoa is making its way into our kitchen more and more – it is a delicious grain (actually it is a seed that acts like a grain) and is very easy to cook. This is a recipe that you will love, both for its flavour and its versatility.
In this recipe, Quinoa is cooked much longer than usual until a porridge-like texture is achieved, then it is enriched with butter and feta. It is topped with tomatoes and a herb oil, and the result is satisfying and comforting in a way that will appeal both to lovers of quinoa as well as those still in need of some convincing.
This is an Ottolenghi recipe, a cracker of a dish, from his book 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, or ones that we already have in our kitchen. For this recipe, Ottolenghi chars some cherry tomatoes. But we have used our own dried tomatoes in oil with some lovely roasted garlic that we had sitting in a fridge. It is divine.
It is Ottolenghi Cook the Books 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 again 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.
Browse all of our Quinoa dishes, and all of our Tomato recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.
Sometimes the simplest of dishes are just as impactful as the more complex, time consuming ones. Ottolenghi has a reputation for complex dishes with many processes and even more ingredients. That’s true, indeed, and there are some very complex dishes in his book Plenty More, the one I am cooking from at the moment. But there are others (thank goodness) that are *relatively* simple. Rather than flavours layered over and over and over in a dish, the simple contrasts and textures are enough to provide just as much impact, but in a different way.
This recipe recommends pickled walnuts, but they are difficult to find here. So we make a salsa with freshly shelled walnuts, and that is paired with the labneh and butternut pumpkin. It is a delicious combination.
As mentioned, this 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.
Char-grilled squash with labneh and pickled walnut salsa: A riot of colour and flavour alike. Buy labneh, which is thick, strained yoghurt, from a providore or a Middle Eastern grocer, though it’s quite easy to make your own. Just hang natural yoghurt in muslin for a couple of days. Or use goat’s curd or a very fresh goat’s cheese instead.
In fact it is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s 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.
We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.
What defines a salad? There are salads of raw ingredients and salads of cooked ingredients, cold salads and warm salads, salads of vegetables and salads with fruit, and salads with dried fruits. There are salads without fruit and without vegetables. There are dressings with oil and vinegar, or miso, pomegranate molasses or tahini. There are salads without dressings. Salads can be tossed, mixed, layered and composed. How to define a salad!
The word salad comes from the French salade of the same meaning, from the Latin salata (salty), from sal (salt). In English, the word first appears as salad or sallet in the 14th century. Salt is associated with salad because vegetables were seasoned with brine or salty oil-and-vinegar dressings during Roman times.
But as soon as we try to create some rules that categorically define a salad, we find exceptions. Despite the confusion, we can all recognise a salad when we see one. There is no confusing it with soup, or pudding, or a pasta dish.
Salads are also evident in most cuisines, even India has quite a few salads even though they are not well represented in restaurants or cookbooks. Today we travel to Israel via Ottolenghi’s book Jerusalem. The salad is composed of marinated dates, crispy flatbread, toasted nuts, and baby spinach. It does sour via lemon juice, vinegar and sumac, hot with chilli, pungent with onion and sweet with the dates.
Sumac, a tart, deep-red spice, is a key ingredient for this recipe – buy yours from a Middle Eastern shop, it is quite different to brands available via the local supermarket. The pita and almonds in the recipe are cooked for a few minutes on the stove to crisp up, but that is the only heat required. The rest is easy.
It is Ottolenghi Cook the Books 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 mainly 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.
Browse all of our Spinach Salads and all of our Israeli dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Jerusalem are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through his book Plenty More. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.
We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.
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.
This year we are still getting watermelons quite late in the season, and the new season apples are beginning to hit the shops. So we have been drinking watermelon juice (yum) and making Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho, eating it sitting outside with the birds and butterflies in the garden.
We have a number of Watermelon Salads that we make, and love the one with halloumi. Today’s salad is new to us, and we love it. It has the flair of S. E. Asia with lemongrass, lime, mint and coriander. We found the recipe in Ottolenghi’s Guardian column, and made a few tiny changes to it.
It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s 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.
Browse all of our Watermelon Salads and all of our Apple Salads. All of our Salads are here. Our dishes from Ottolenghi are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or browse our Mid Summer recipes.