How to Make Italian Tomato Paste

Every Autumn the wonderful juicy autumnal tomatoes are used to make tomato paste, which is then frozen in small bits, ready to bring out and pop into any dish that needs it. It lasts all winter.

Ii is usually stored in individual small containers, but it could be frozen in an icecube tray and then put the cubes into ziplock bags. The cubes will be ready for you to pop straight into the pan when required.

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Travel | The Folding Lotus

The lotus has deep symbolism in Eastern religions

The lotus is a special flower.

It is sacred to Buddhist and Hindus alike, used in the rites and rituals of both religions. The national flower of India, even Indians living abroad hold a place in their heart for this flower.

The lotus flower emerges from the depths of the mud and muck at the bottom of a pond or swamp. It slowly grows towards the water’s surface, continually moving towards the light. Once it comes to the surface of the water, the lotus begins to blossom and turns into a beautiful flower. Growing from the mud at the bottom of ponds and streams, the exquisite lotus flower rises above the water. Continue reading “Travel | The Folding Lotus”

Indian Custard | Besan Payasam

This Payasam is better than custard.

Often called Chickpea Porridge, this dish is not a porridge in the traditional sense, nor a custard. It is a South Indian Besan Payasam.

The recipe is simple. Take some chickpea flour. Add some saffron, sugar, cardamom, cashews and maybe some dried or fresh fruit and you have something sent directly from heaven, I am sure. And it is made in under 10 minutes. True instant food.

This is a dessert, but it is also great for breakfast. It can form a replacement for egg custard in lots of recipes. Imagine it layered trifle like with fresh fruit.

I like to call this dish a custard, despite being a payasam.

Are you after more Payasam recipes? Try Sago Payasam, Nachi’s Payasam, and Bengali Rice Kheer.

Other recipes that use Besan include: Chickpea Fingers with Tomato Salsa, Farinata with Onions and Tomato, and Eggless Pasta and Noodles.

You can browse all Payasam recipes here, and all Besan recipes too. Or explore all of our Desserts. All of our Indian dishes are here. Or simply explore all of our Early Winter dishes.

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Warm Cucumber Salad with Sesame | Cucumber Kosumalli

A Cucumber Salad from India

In the West we don’t think of sesame as a natural accompaniment for cucumber. Nor do we eat cucumber warm or cooked – cucumber is strictly a salad vegetable.

In the East various cuisines incorporate cooked cucumber, including India and Chinese cuisines. In this recipe the cucumber is warmed through before completing the salad. Sesame seeds and pinenuts add texture to the salad.

Similar recipes include Carrot and Mung Bean Sprouts Kosumalli.

We have other versions of Cucumber Kosumalli that we know you will enjoy. See here, here and here. Or browse all of our Cucumber recipes. Our Indian recipes are here. Find inspiration in our Summer collection.

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Pomodori con Riso | Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice

A wintery dish.

This recipe is really easy, and I love the textures. Served with a salad, or some roasted or baked vegetables, it is a delicious meal.

Stuffed vegetables went out with the Ark, but are coming back now. The rice is cooked in the juice and internal flesh of the tomatoes which adds a wonderful taste to the rice.

A Social Photographer once quipped “Life is too short to stuff tomatoes.” I am not sure what she was referring to, but I happen to like stuffed tomatoes.

Are you looking for Stuffed Tomato recipes? Try Tomatoes Gratinéed with Cheese, Tomatoes Stuffed with Olives and Ricotta, and Tomatoes Stuffed with Feta and Basil.

We have many Tomato recipes. Our favourites are Confit Tomatoes, Tomato Lassi and Tomato Salad with Garlicky Mayo, and Tomato Bharta.

You can browse all of our Tomato recipes here. Or see all of our Stuffed dishes here. Get some inspiration from our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Urad Tamatar Dal | Urad Dal with Tomatoes

A favourite of our family

Urad, that black skin lentil, wonderfully creamy coloured under the skin, is a hard dal that takes a Life (Time) of Cooking (haha). Seriously, it does take a while to cook.

Most people know Urad through Dal Makhani. There are three versions here. One came from Nilgiris Restaurant, that iconic Indian restaurant in Sydney. One was given by the chef at the Oberoi in Bangalore. And the last one was given by a young man working at an Indian grocery. He recited it from memory, and it is very simple but rich in flavour.

Are you looking for similar Dal recipes? Try Urad Dal with Onions Four Ways, Simple Monk’s Dal, Urad with Tomato, Coconut and Coriander, Urad Dal Sundal, and Urad Dal Garlic Rice. Or try Moolangi Tovve (Daikon Dal).

Browse all of the Urad recipes and our Indian recipes. Check out our Indian Essentials. Our Dal dishes are here. Or explore and be inspired by our easy Late Autumn 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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Rosamatta Rice, the Red Rice of Kerala | Puzhukkalari | Chambaavari

Delicious nutty rice

Rosa Matta rice is a secret from Kerala, India. A wonderfully healthy, unpolished rice with a unique pinkish colour and a wonderful nutty taste.

No matter where you go in Kerala this rice is always an option, even in Punjabi restaurants! 🙂 I believe it is a relatively cheap rice*** at least in comparison to other rices exported from India, but it is served everywhere, from corner local cafe to top hotels. It is so well suited to dishes from Kerala, flavoured beautifully with coconut.

You might like to browse our Kerala dishes, or all of our Indian recipes. Explore our Indian Essentials, a set of helpful information for cooking Indian dishes.

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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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