Where would we be without Chilli Paste? Our kitchen boasts 2 or 3 different ones at any one time, plus of course red and green chillies in the freezer, chilli flakes and 3 different chilli powders. We love a touch of heat in the kitchen, but not everyone has to go this far! A good chilli paste will be your godsend when you are looking to spice up a soup, sauce, pasta dish, dip, avocado mash, even a potato crush!
Early Spring sees the arrival of Spring rains and windy weather. While the beginning of Spring can still be cold, there are also glorious sunny days with mild temperatures. Gardens begin to bring a bounty of colour. And Spring vegetables arrive – greens, peas, broad beans, asparagus – all delicious.
Salads still have some substance for the cooler days, but begin to get lighter. Grains are there but fresh Spring produce creeps in. Light salads might appear on the table. Certainly salads are more common than during the depths of Winter.
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Green Tomatoes are around all season if you look for them, and particularly in Spring and Autumn. They are delicious – don’t stick them on the window sill to ripen. Slice them into your salads, or cook with them. Their slightly tart tomatoey flavour will surprise you. We adore them and you will too. Enjoy our collection of recipes from the US, India, Australia and beyond.
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Kachumber, or cachumber, is the Indian version of a chopped tomato and cucumber salad. It usually consists of freshly chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and onions with a pepper and lemon or lime dressing. It often includes fresh chilli peppers, or chilli powder can be added to the dressing. The dressing is unique to this salad, as it does not contain any oil and gives a peppery tang to the salad.
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A Kosumalli is a simple spiced yet cooling salad. There are many varieties, but the most common is made by mixing soaked mung dal or channa dal with cucumber, carrot, and coconut, and tempering the salad with spices. It is a South Indian specialty, eaten as a snack or made to accompany a meal. The crunch of the cucumber, the sweet flavour of coconut, and the tang of lemon balances the earthiness of the lentils for a deliciously flavoured and textured salad.
It is said that the dish originated in Karnataka where it is called Kosambari in Kannada. However the dish is now common across South India with many community cuisines (eg Upadi and Chettinand) have adopted it and adapted it to local tastes.
It is rather rare to have raw ingredients in South Indian cuisine. At the least, most ingredients are sautéed. There are a couple of exceptions including Kosumalli which is closer to a Western version of a salad than Sundals and Pachadi and Raita dishes which are often referred to as salads but differ from their Western counterparts. Although the modern preference is to use raw ingredients, in older recipes you will find that the dal is semi cooked, and the vegetables quickly sauteed.
Although made day to day in many households, Kosumalli is also made for festivals such as Navarathri and Ramanavami, and can feature at weddings.
There are many variations of Kosumalli that that differ with the vegetables being used. It can be as simple as cucumber with spices or with lentils and cucumbers. Cucumber can be replaced another vegetable, commonly carrots or sprouts. Or, as mentioned, it can be made with a combination of vegetables (finely chopped cucumbers, plantain stem, sweetcorn, zucchini, green mango, onions, peppers, carrots, sprouts and/or tomatoes), coconut, spices and lentils.
Kosumalli makes an excellent light lunch with a bowl of yoghurt or steamed rice, or can be stirred into yoghurt to be eaten as a dip or in a similar way to raita. It can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or with dinner. It’s also a great tiffin dish and kid’s lunch dish.
In heatwave conditions there is nothing like something cool and refreshing to drink and to help to keep our liquid intake at good levels. My routine each morning is to make our juice, tea or infusion (to be iced), coolers, iced coffee or lassi drinks ready for the day. Our afternoon tea, in the hottest part of the day, is usually in the shade of trees (if the temperature allows) or in the air conditioned kitchen by the large windows. Sipping something cool or icy on these days is heaven.
Many of our hot teas and infusions are perfect in Summer when iced. Just adjust the recipe to infuse, cool, then refrigerate. Use spices or herbs for iced infusions.
Enjoy these recipes, they just might inspire you and change the way that you think about cooling drinks on hot days.
Similar recipes include Unusual Home Made Juices.
Summer is here and it is HOT! We need refreshing and cooling salads. Don’t get stuck with boring ones – Be inventive!
Here are 30 of our best salads for Mid Summer.
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.
Did you know that grape vine leaves are delicious? They have a green earthy flavour that is imparted to the ingredients that they are cooked with. The most commonly known dish is Dolmades (Dolmas) – vine leaves stuffed with a rice or burghul mixture which are slowly steamed.
However, vine leaves can be used to wrap food, line pies and, shredded, added to batters. It can be used as a flavouring by drying the leaves and grinding them to a powder.
Enjoy these recipes, they will expand the way that you use vine leaves.
Mid Spring is still capricious – as I sit here writing a thunderstorm passes, leaving us as quickly and as unexpectedly as it came. At last we don’t need the heating on at all, and doors and windows can be opened during the warmer parts of the day. The bird life is wonderful, and the garden looks a treat.
Salads still have some substance for the cooler days of this season, but they are definitely getting lighter. Grains are there but fresh Spring produce creeps in – Asparagus, Broad Beans, Pomelo, for example. Light salads appear on the table.