Paruthithurai Vadai | Thattai Vadai | Crunchy Crackers | A Snack from Jaffna, Sri Lanka

A great Diwali snack

Vada is a common term for many different types of savoury fritter-type snacks from South India. It seems that Vada was popular among ancient Tamils in South India during 100 BCE-300 CE, so they have a long history.

Vada can vary in shape and size, but are usually either doughnut- or disc-shaped between 5 and 8 cm across. They are made from urad gram or chickpeas.

This Vada recipe comes from the Tamil cuisine of Jaffna in Sri Lanka. It is made with steamed wheat flour. You can buy this from your Indian Grocery, but you can also make your own.

Try other Vadai – Maddur Vadai, Falafel, and Coriander Vada.

You might also like to try Dhal Puttu, Kolache Poha, Mochai Kottai.

Browse all of the Indian Snacks. Or explore our Indian recipes here and here. Be inspired by our Summer recipes can be found here and here.

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Ma Ki Dal | Slow Braised Lentils

Ma Ki Dal and Dal Makhani really suit long slow cooking

Urad dal is a lentil that suits long slow cooking and a smoky flavour. With a little work, a covered BBQ will cope with cooking a dish like Slow Braised Lentils slowly for several hours.

This recipe will work in an oven too, no worries. But the joys of cooking outside are enormous so on sunny days, take your lentils outside.

You might also like to try the other Mah ki Dal recipes and some  Dal Makhani recipes.

Other Urad Dal recipes include Urad and Red Rice Kitchari, Amritsari Dal, and Urad Dal with Tomatoes.

Try other Dals as well – Masoor Dal with Green Chillies, ISKON Mung Dal, and Simple Indian Dal Soup.

Browse all of our Dal recipes and all of our dishes using Urad Dal. Our Indian recipes are here. Or find inspiration in our Late Spring recipes.

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Mung Bean Soup with Asparagus and Tomatoes

Some people LOVE a glass of wine when they get home from work. I love a cup of whole green mung bean soup.

Some people LOVE a glass of wine when they get home from work. I love a cup of whole green mung bean soup. This version is definitely suited for Spring.

Before work, I will put the mung beans in the slow cooker with spices, to cook until I get home. When I arrive home, I tip the contents into a saucepan and let it simmer for 10 minutes – I think it improves the flavour to do this – and add any vegetables that I fancy (this is an optional step) and adjust flavours of the spices. Sometimes I want it hot and tangy, sometimes without heat and more warming and nourishing. Either way, this is a comforting, detoxing, healthy and definitely delicious soup.

You might like to also try Green Mung Bean Soup, Gentle Mung Dal, or Simple Mung Dal Soup. All of the Mung recipes are here and here. Be inspired by our Spring recipes here and here.

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Mah di Dal | Kaali Dal | Creamy Black Lentils

Urad lentils are mostly used in Nth Indian dishes, and it enjoys long and slow cooking.

Most Indian lentils come in four ways:

  • Skinned, whole
  • Skinned, halved
  • Unhulled, whole
  • Unhulled, halved

and amazingly, each one has a different taste, different properties, are best for different dishes. I was out of urad (black gram) this week, and my trip to the Indian grocer yielded four different packages.

Urad dal is quite special indeed. I love it a lot. Mostly Nth Indian in style, it takes to long and slow cooking very well. For Mah ki Dal we use whole unhulled lentils.

You might like to try different Dal Makhani recipes, and other Mah ki Dal Recipes.

There is also a Unhulled Urad and Rajma recipe, another sister to Dal Makhani. For more information on Urad, go here.

Other Urad Dal recipes include Urad Dal Rice, Amritsari Dal, and Urad with Coconut, Coriander and Tomatoes.

Try other Dals as well – Masoor Dal with Green Chillies, Mung Dal with Ghee and Spices, and Aamti.

Browse all of our Dal recipes and all of our dishes using Urad Dal. Our Indian recipes are here. Or find inspiration in our Late Winter recipes.

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Kachumber | Chuchumber | A Tangy, Spicy Salad from India

Such a simple salad, yet such a huge explosion of flavour.

Oh how the amazing spicy sweet tangy sour tastes of Indian food bring happiness as their flavours burst in the mouth. Ashoka brand mixed pickles had me almost giggling last week as I almost ate them by the spoonful at the local Indian cafe.

I have been chatting about Chat Masala this week with friends — it is a spice mix that embodies spicy sweet tangy and sour. It is sprinkled on raw (and sometimes cooked) fruit and vegetables — and chickpeas — for that burst of amazing flavour. Try it on grilled sweet corn!

This salad captures all of that. Such a simple salad, yet such a huge explosion of flavour.

You might like to try other Indian Salads and Indian Snacks. Or explore our Indian recipes here and here. Other Summer recipes can be found here and here. Try other recipes with Chaat Masala: Chickpea (Channa) Chaat and Channa Chaat on Kovalam Beach. Also Watermelon Salad, Borlotti Bean Chaat, Spicy Vegetable Sticks and Chickpeas and Young Ginger Salad.

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Warm Tomato Salad

A perfect Spring day here, hot and clear, and smells delicious, as all Spring days should. We cranked up the BBQ and cooked up a feast.

A perfect Spring day here, hot and clear, and smells delicious, as all Spring days should. We cranked up the BBQ and cooked up a feast. You can make this Hot Tomato Salad in the oven or in the BBQ, your choice.

You might also like to try other BBQ dishes, including Fennel on the BBQ, Baked Pears on the BBQ,  Garlicky Eggplant with FetaAsparagus in Pastry and Bananas on the BBQ.  You can browse them  all here. Find inspiration in our Spring recipes here and here.

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Pizza on the BBQ

Sometimes, only a pizza will do.

Sometimes, only a pizza will do. Sometimes the comfort of carbs and the take-away feel are the things that are required. When such attacks come, make a pizza. For ease, make it in a covered BBQ, such as a Weber Q.

You might also like to try other Vegetarian BBQ Recipes. You can browse them here. They include Hot Tomato Salad, Garlicky Eggplant with Feta, and Asparagus in Pastry. Do browse the complete BBQ Series of recipes, there are so many more recipes including Baked Garlicky Eggplant, Baked Apricots, and Hot Tomato Salad. Find inspiration in our Spring recipes here and here.

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Lemony Sago in Coconut Milk | Sabudana Coconut Payasam

Sago is back in fashion!

Sago is back in fashion! It is wonderful when it is paired with enough lemon juice that it is tangy, and enough jaggery that it is sweet, and swimming in coconut milk. A truly delicious and cooling dessert, just made for hot weather. It can be served hot, cold and at room temperature.

Are you after other Sago dishes? Try Sago Payasam, and Sago Pilaf.

There is a similar recipe from the Retro Recipe Series on this site’s sister site, Heat in The Kitchen, but it has  been updated here with changes in technique. It is a bit simpler, too. The recipe appears there as part of the Retro Recipes series.

You might like to browse all Sago recipe and explore all of our Dessert recipes. See the complete set of Indian recipes too.  Or be inspired by our Late Spring dishes.

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Adai | Thick Chunky Multi Lentil Dosa

Wonderful thick chunky Indian pancakes or Dosa.

Adai is a wonderful thick chunky Indian fritter style dish or Dosa. It is difficult to use English terms to describe Indian dishes. Dosa varieties can vary from something close to a thin fritter to being like a flatbread. Dosai are made from flours (lentil flour and rice flour) and are cooked in a pan, so technically they can be called Indian pan cakes. But really, they have little resemblance to them that it is best to stick to the Indian names. You might like to read Indian Flatbreads – Pancakes? Or not? 

This recipe is for Adai, a type of Dosa.Adai batter does not require fermentation, like some dosa batters. Apart from the soaking time, they are quite quick to make.

Similar recipes include Potato Dosa, Cheela, and Coconut Dosa.

Browse our Dosa recipes here, and our complete set of Indian recipes.  Or be inspired by our Mid Spring recipes.

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Carrot Curry with Coconut-Lentil Crumble | Carrot Thengai Poriyal

Lentil crumble with vegetables, delicious.

This dish showcases a delightful crumble made from coconut and lentils. There are actually three different types of crumble mentioned in Meekakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See. The Green Bean Paruppu Puttu, is one example. Paruppu Puttu is another. And this is the third.

In this dish the longer coconut shreds were used, but traditionally grated or powdered coconut would be used.

You might also want to try Bean Paruppu Usili, and Dhal Puttu. All Lentil Crumble dishes are here. You might like to browse all of our Kerala recipes are here and here. Perhaps you are looking for other Thoran/Poriyal recipes here and here, or other Vegetable Fry recipes. Or explore our Indian recipes here and here. Other Winter recipes can be found here and here.

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Currant Mint Pastries

In celebration of the birthday of this blog, I am publishing some of my old recipes. We began blogging in 1996, and this blog was created in 2007.

 

To cook is to be a sorcerer. – Alma Lach

Original quote from the front page of my first Recipe and Cooking Blog

Way back in 1996 I began putting my recipes online. Things were different then. The internet was still young. There were no blogging platforms. You needed to know how to write html and debug funny little errors in the postscript that was generated for printer files. There was no food porn. No photographs. Just words to describe your dishes.

You may like to browse all of the Retro Recipes. Our Dessert recipes are here and here. Be inspired by our Winter recipes here and here.

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Bean Paruppu Usili | Green Bean Paruppu Puttu | Green Beans with Lentil Crumble

This is a wonderful, textural dish, a perfect compliment to an Indian meal, or a snack on its own.

This Usili is from Meenakshi Ammal’s second volume of Cook and See. In Meenakshi Ammal’s book it is called Paruppu Puttu, or scrambled lentils. Usili (or usli)  also means scrambled – confusing for us at times, but different states, regions, towns, even families in India will hold different traditions, not the least in the naming of dishes. Just part of the wonderful rich tapestry which is India. There is more information on lentil crumble types here.

This lentil crumble recipe is made with beans, but you can also use other vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, grated carrot, banana flower, other types of beans such as cluster beans or broad beans, or indeed, without any vegetable at all.

You might also like Dhal Puttu, or Carrot Curry with Coconut Lentil Crumble. Or explore our Indian dishes here and here. All lentil crumbles are here. Other Winter recipes can be found here and here.

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Narathankai Kuzhambu | Orange, Lemon or Lime Peel Kuzhambu

Top to Tail Vegetarian eating (perhaps it is Tip to Leaf) is all the vogue at my place.

Kuzhambu is a South Indian dish with infinite varieties. They are gravy-like dishes intended to eat over rice, and form an important part of daily meals in Tamil Nadu. Read more about Kuzhambu dishes here.

Orange Kuzhambu – made from the peel only – can also be made with lime or lemon peel (even Meyer lemons). Even mandarin peel can be used.

You can see the genesis of this dish in making food stretch, in the “top to tail” eating, vegetarian style, of people for whom sustenance and deliciousness was the requirement, whatever food was at hand. Perhaps it is “root to leaf” eating.

You can find recipes for the other Kuzhambus here. If you are looking for Sambar Recipes, they are here. (The list includes Kuzhambu Recipes.) Or explore our Indian dishes here and here. Other Winter recipes can be found here and here.

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A Simple Seasoned Kuzhambu

This is a very simple dish, you can whip it up in no time from spices and tamarind.

Kuzhambu dishes are those South Indian spicy and tangy gravies that can be eaten over rice. Distinctively South Indian, they form an important part of the Tamil cuisine. This Kuzhambu is a very simple one, you can whip it up in no time. No grinding, no vegetable chopping and cooking, just spices and tamarind. It is perfect for the end of the week when you are running out of vegetables yet want a tasty home cooked meal.

Add some vatral to any leftover kuzhambu for the next day.

Try some other Kuzhambu recipes – Lentil Balls in a Spicy Gravy, Green Chilli Kuzhambu, or Yoghurt Kuzhambu.

You can find recipes for the other Kuzhambus here, including Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu, and Masala Kuzhambu with Gram Flour Vadai. If you are looking for Sambar Recipes, they are here. (The list includes Kuzhambu Recipes.) Or explore our Indian dishes here and here. Other Winter recipes can be found here and here.

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Thakkali Paruppu Rasam | Tomato Lentil Rasam | A spicy tomato based broth

A definite favourite, and one of my first rasam experiences.

We struggle to describe Indian food in Western terms. Rasam isnt really a soup, but it would be the closest term that we have to describe it. It is a spicy “soupy” “drink” that is often eaten as part of a meal in Sth India, particularly Tamil Nadu.”Broth” is a good term. That would be close. Served in a metal cup, it can be sipped from that cup, or poured over rice or other parts of the meal to moisten drier curries. It is truly a delicious and very versatile part of an Indian meal.

Rasams may or may not involve lentils. The most simplest rasams are water, chillies and spices, perhaps some tamarind. I love to make them from the top water when I am cooking lentils for a dal – ie remove the water on top of the lentils when they have cooked, before you turn the lentils into a dal. Use that wonderfully flavoured water to make a rasam.

At the opposite end of the scale are rasams that are based on lentils. Today’s recipe is one such recipe, made with red gram dal.It is quite different to this Tomato Rasam which I first made some years ago.

You may be wondering what a Rasam is – read about Rasam here. You might like to browse other Rasam recipes here, including Kottu Rasam, Pepper Rasam, and Tomato Rasam. Or explore our Indian dishes here and here. Other Winter recipes can be found here and here.

 

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