Peace in The Kitchen

Attention and awareness in The Kitchen

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I read an article on a blog recently in which the writer describes how she likes to cook without making noise. To be a quiet as she can in the kitchen. This is not because the rest of the household is asleep, but as an act of mindfulness and honesty as you cook.

It made a deep impact on me. I clatter and bang around the small kitchen in which I cook. Drawers open and are pushed shut. Pantry doors opened and closed, the fridge door too, without thinking, as I move on with the task. Dishes rattle in the sink. And we better not mention the saucepan cupboard.

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Seasoned Sambar, Method One

A classic, traditional Sambar, from Meenakshi Ammal.

A treat that you can give yourself is a wonderful South Indian Sambar, a South Indian soupy spicy dish, generally served over rice or with dosa.

This recipe is interpreted from the doyenne of South Indian cooking, S. Meenakshi Ammal. Her books, Cook and See (in four parts) are a goldmine of traditional South Indian cooking. Sometimes hard to interpret for the novice non-Indian cook, her recipes take a bit of detective work, planning, thinking, rewriting, and discussing. But if you are serious about real and traditional Indian food, these books are a treasure.

You can read more about Sambars and their characteristics here.

Are you looking for other Sambar recipes? Try Sundakkai Sambar, and Moru Sambar.

For Meenakshi Ammal’s other Sambars, try her different ways of making this dish – Method Two, Method Three and Method Four. Each is delicious!

Browse all of our Sambar and Kuzhambu dishes, and all of our Indian recipes. Or eat seasonally and explore our collection of Early Spring dishes.

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Potato and Sweet Potato Spicy Curry | A British “Vindaloo”

Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes pair for a curry

This dish is perfect for the peace of Autumn and it’s fantastic light. It originates from Yotam Ottolenghi‘s book Plenty. A present, it is my one of most loved cookbooks. This man is a wizard with food, both the visual and the flavour combinations. It’s not difficult or pretentious food, simply a delight to cook and to eat.

Just for the celebration of Autumn is Two-Potato “Vindaloo”, a spicy dish of potatoes and sweet potatoes. There are some adjustments from the original recipe because by habit I use some of the spices slightly differently. Best made during a slow afternoon, it takes 2 — 2.5 hours to make. But they are not difficult hours — you could delve into your favourite book in the Autumn sun while this bubbles away on the stove-top. Oh and by the way, your house will be headily scented with the most magnificent spicy aroma.

Are you looking for Sweet Potato recipes? Why not try Creamy Baked Sweet Potato, Madras Curry of Sweet Potato, Eggplant and Spinach, Caramelised Sweet Potato, and Sweet Potato Wedges.

We have some other recipes from Goa for you. Try Crispy Fried Okra, Sweet Surnoli Dosa, and Coconut Rice Roti.

You might like to browse other Ottolenghi recipes. Or explore other recipes from Goa. Other Potato recipes are here and other Sweet Potato recipes here. Or be inspired by our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Dal Makhani | Restaurant Style | Recipe from the Oberoi Hotel

Makhani is the Punjabi word for “buttery”, and this sure lives up to its name of Buttery Lentils!

One thing always guaranteed to melt the heart of everyone at your table is Dal Makhani. Boy is it good! This is one of several versions of Dal Makhani in our recipe collection. Another favourite is Nilgiri Dal Makhani – I hope that you try it too.

Makhani is the Punjabi word for “buttery”, and this sure lives up to its name of Buttery Lentils! I had this in India at the Oberoi hotel in Bangalore and it was so very very good. Along with their dosa, it was one of my first great discoveries when I began travelling to India.

Asking the Chef for the recipe, he kindly typed it out for me. It caused much hilarity in the kitchens – I am not sure whether that was because I asked for the recipe or their difficulty in translating it into English and/or into servings for 6 people when they are used to cooking for 600.

Are you looking for Dal Makhani recipes? Why not try some others too. We recommend Nilgiri Dal Makhani, Indian Bazaar Dal Makhani and Ma di Dal (Kali Dal). You might be interested in reading Why Mah di Dal is not Dal Makhani.

Or perhaps you are looking for Punjabi recipes. Try Quince Pickle, Potato and Eggplant Curry, and Baingan Bharta.

You might also browse all of our collection of Dal Makhani and similar recipes.  Our Punjabi recipes are here and our Indian recipes are here. Or find some inspiration in our Mid Winter recipes.

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Mint Paneer

Paneer in a lovely mint sauce

Mint Paneer is a variation on Palak Paneer, where the gravy is made from mint leaves rather than spinach. The paneer adapts remarkably well, being an adopter of flavours rather than a determiner of flavours.

You might like to browse our other Paneer recipes here. Or you might like our Indian recipes here and here. Be inspired by our easy Autumn recipes here and here.

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Blueberry Shrikand

A beautiful yoghurt based dish.

Shrikand, that glorious thick yoghurt dessert with fruit and honey pureed into the yoghurt, transforming it into a silken, more-ish dish loved by many in India..

You might like to browse our Yoghurt dishes here and here, and our Desserts here and here. Or be inspired by our Summer collection here and here.

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How to Make Creme Fraiche | Katte Malai

Use in place of cream and sour cream for a delightful difference.

If there is a secret to French Cooking, it is to be found in crème fraîche. Never be without it.  I make my own regularly at home for those times when we eat more desserts – winter for baked dishes, summer for fresh fruit. It is a wonderful alternative to either cream (adding a little amount of soureness) and more flavoursome than sour cream.

Crème Fraîche is a heavy cream slightly soured with bacterial culture, but not as sour or as thick as sour cream. Originally a French product, today it is produced by a process similar to that of sour cream, with the exception that no ingredients are added.  Crème Fraîche can be made at home by adding a small amount of cultured buttermilk or sour cream to normal heavy cream, and allowing it to stand for several hours at room temperature as the bacterial cultures act on the cream. It has several advantages in the kitchen. Unlike sour cream, crème fraîche can be mixed with air to form whipped cream, and it can be cooked without curdling.

In the North of India a similar product is made, called Khatte Malai. Often made with buffalo milk, the cow’s milk version is milder in taste. And the best ghee is made from cultured cream such as crème fraîche.

Try these recipes using  Crème Fraîche:  Sweet Potatoes with Crème Fraîche and Crème Fraîche  Icecream.

You might also like to browse all our Creme Fraiche recipes here and here, and our How To recipes too. Our French recipes are here. Or check out our easy Late Summer recipes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can find more of these recipes in our Retro Recipes series.

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Yogi Chai

Aaah, chai. Perfect for wintery days.

Yogi Chai is a tea best made with mindfulness and care. Although it takes some time, a pot or thermos full can be made to sip during the day. And the base ingredients can be refrigerated and used again for tomorrow’s brew.

Chai tea is not only delicious, but also detoxifying, good for those who have been under stress.

Are you looking for more Chai recipes? Try Chai Masala for Relief of Colds, Garam ChaiPeppery Chai, Heavenly Gentle Chai and Illaichi Chai.

What about trying Cardamom Spiced Coffee? Or for a herbal tea, try Ginger and Tulsi Tea.

All of our Chai recipes are here for you to browse. Or you might like to browse our Herbal Tea recipes. Or find inspiration in our easy Late Autumn dishes.

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Pomodori Gratinati | Tomatoes Gratineed with Cheese

In Autumn, tomatoes are at their best, especially for cooking.

In Autumn tomatoes come into their own. Not only are the tomatoes a little juicer, a little sweeter away from that hot sun, but the weather is a little cooler and so cooking tomatoes becomes an option again – baked, grilled, fried, sauteed, sauced, pureed – you name the cooking method and tomatoes will have it covered.

Gratineed tomatoes are filled with cheese, herbs and breadcrumbs and oven baked for slightly retro but awesome lunches or as a side dish to a main meal. They can be cooked in covered BBQs as well.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Oven Baked Tomatoes, and Baked Stuffed Tomatoes with Rice.

Or if you are after other Gratin dishes, try Pasta Bake with Cabbage and Cheese, Potato and Cheddar Gratin, and Caramelised Witlof with a Cheesey Topping.

You might like to browse other Baked Tomatoes here. All of our Tomato recipes are here and here, or Italian recipes here. and here. Or find inspiration in our easy Autumn recipes here and here.

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Red Lentil Soup with Spices, Ginger and Garlic

Garlicky soup for you, and your partner.

This recipe is a bit famous in our household, a recipe that we have used over the years (since 1997), and laugh about the supposed garlickiness of it. But don’t skimp on the garlic. It is worth every clove. (Actually, because the garlic cooks out, you don’t taste it in the way you might expect.) This is a hearty soup, great for cold cold weather. Roughly chop the ingredients for a rustic farmhouse soup, or chop them finely for a more refined bowl.

Are you looking for similar soups? Try Red Lentil Soup with Feta, Du Puy Lentil Soup, and Turtle Bean Soup.

Browse our collection of Soup Recipes and our Red Lentil recipes. Find some inspiration in our Late Autumn collection of recipes.

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