Sesame – Chilli – Soy Dipping Sauce (with my favourite Chinese Vegetable Dumplings)

I do love a good dipping sauce. Think – steamed vegetables, fried vegetables, dumplings, tofu, noodles, spring rolls, summer rolls, sizzling rice squares. The perfect sauce will lift your dish to new heights.

There are many varieties of dipping sauce, and the Japanese or Chinese style ones have their respective core set of ingredients. For Chinese it is soy, toasted sesame oil, Chinese vinegar perhaps, and some ginger and spring onions. Today’s dipping sauce is another variation on that theme. So very very good.

The sauce is perfect with these vegetable dumplings that I get from the Asian grocery in the freezer section – I put them in a flat pan with a little water and a little oil, and cover the pan. As the water simmers, the dumplings defrost and steam, and when the water evaporates they crisp on the bottom. Flip them over if you wish for a nice crispy top. They are also delicious steamed or even very gently microwaved.

Similar recipes include Soy and Sesame Dipping Sauce, Rice Squares in Dipping Sauce, and Chilli Soy Dipping Sauce.

Browse all of our Dipping Sauces and all of our Chinese recipes. Our Late Autumn dishes are here.

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Hawaiian Chilli Water

Oh my, this has become my favourite drizzling sauce for this Winter – over soups, vegetables, into dals, on tofu and paneer, on rice, in sandwiches and sauces, with lentils and bean dishes — anything! I mix it into amazing dressings. It is a condiment or hot sauce that is very popular with Hawaiians and has a range of variations on the common base of chillies, garlic, vinegar, salt and water. As well as a condiment, it is also used as a drink to sip, and as a sauce. Many Hawaiian homes keep Chilli Water on their table, and guest will bring a bottle of their own home made Chilli Water to leave with the host.

Why does it work? We know that an acid or sour flavour – vinegar, lemon juice, bitters, tamarind etc – enlivens any dish. Chilli adds interest and heat. Salt brings out flavour. Garlic adds bite and deeper flavours. If you add bay leaf or soy sauce they provide grounded earthy flavours (umami). All of this in one bottle of sauce that is composed mostly of water!

Similar recipes include Grilled Pineapple with Chilli and Basil, A Collection of Chilli Pastes and Sauces, and Chilli Olive Orange Salad.

Browse our Chilli recipes and all of our Sauces. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Thani Kootu

Thani Kootu is a popular Thanjavur recipe traditionally prepared for Sumangali Prarthanai, Sankaranthi and other festivals. In this dish, 5 different vegetables are prepared in separate jaggery kootus – a delicious and tangy South Indian base for the vegetables which is made with tamarind, freshly ground spices and jaggery. Jaggery brings out the tanginess of the tamarind in a surprising way.

Thani means stand alone in Tamil, and this indicates how the vegetables are made into separate dishes rather than mixed together. The different Thani Kootu dishes are generally serve with plain steamed rice. The base can also be served on its own without any vegetable added. It is pretty delicious!

To make it easy to prepare these dishes we make a large pot of the base Kootu, then divide it into five. The vegetables are cooked separately, and then added to the bases. It is common today to combine the vegetables in one dish, but traditionally, five different ones were made.

By the way, Sumangali Prarthanai is a thanksgiving religious function to honour our female ancestors.

The recipe is one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from her cook books Cook and See. One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through these books, as they are very traditional Tamil recipes.You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Similar dishes include Okra Tamarind Kootu, Green Bean Kootu, and Brinjal Kootu.

Browse all of our Kootu dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Collection: Our Very Best Feta Recipes

Feta must be the most useful of cheeses, the saltiness of the cheese adding spark to pizzas and salads, turning dips into treasured spreads, and baking into a gorgeous stuffing or filling or centrepiece. We have brought our favourite feta dishes together for you.

Similar articles include What to Do with Daikon Radish, A Collection of Kitchdi Recipes, and Delicious Recipes with Green Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Feta dishes, and all of our Collections. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Bengali Pomelo Salad | Batabi Lebu Makha

Pomelo in Bengali is called Batabi Lebu, and it is often interpreted as Grapefruit in English. It is a pity because Pomelo is quite different, not as sour as grapefruit, and a terrific fruit for salads.

This is a common Bengali use for Pomelo – eating it with chilli, sugar and Indian rock salt (black salt, kala namak, which is strongly aromatic and actually pink in colour – it is different to Himalayan Salt, though). It is the sort of recipe that could also be used with green mango, for example, or other fruits and vegetables, even grapefruit. Interestingly, it is also good with the more mild Jicama (Yam Bean tuber).

Pomelo is a common fruit in Bengal, and comes into its season after the monsoons. It is a winter ritual to eat the citrusy fruit after lunch while soaking in any sun. There is a pink fleshed variety and a yellow fleshed variety. It has a range of different names across India.

Similar recipes include Pomelo Raita, Pomelo, Green Mango and Turkey Berry Salad, and Pomelo and Avocado Salad.

Browse all of our Pomelo dishes and our Pomelo Salads. All of our Indian recipes are here, and the Indian Essentials Series is here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Murungakkai Vendhaya | Drumstick and Fenugreek Kuzhambu

How we love drumsticks, those funny long thin pod-like vegetables that grow on spindly trees in South India. Whenever we see them in the shops we bring them home to freeze for later dishes. Rasam, Sambar and Kuzhambu are three of our favourite ways to use them.

Today’s recipe with drumsticks is a kuzhambu that includes fenugreek. Actually the recipe can be made without any vegetables (we have a version here), but we like the addition of drumsticks or eggplant. You can also use okra, small onions or shallots, or Indian broad beans.

Similar recipes include Vendhaya Kuzhambu, Drumstick Sambar with Curry Leaves, and Pitlai.

Browse all of our Drumstick recipes and all of our Kuzhambu dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and the Indian Essentials Series is here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Minestra di Pasta e Fagioli Borlotti | Italian Borlotti Bean and Pasta Soup

What is a Minestra? Minestra predates zuppa (another type of Italian soup) by a few centuries. Derived from the Latin ministrare, meaning to administer, the word reflects how minestra was served from a large bowl or pot by the figurehead in the household. Minestra was traditionally the principal – and often the only – dish served in a meal.

Today it is a rather umbrella term referring to a first course of vegetables, legumes, pasta or rice cooked in a stock.  Minestrone is one of many minestra soups. Regional variations abound but a minestrone always includes a vegetable that will thicken the soup, such as fresh or dried beans, potatoes or pumpkin. It must also include pasta or rice. Our soup today is a type of Minestrone (Minestrone di Fagioli or Minestrone di Pasta e Fagioli), one that does not include a large variety of vegetables. You will find similar soups under many different names as your browse the internet.

Similar dishes include Greek White Bean Soup, Dried Fava Bean Soup, and Turtle Bean Soup.

Browse all of our Soups and all of our Italian dishes. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Spinach, Potato and Feta Pie

Over the years of my blogging (since 1995), there have been a number of recipes that have been stolen dozens if not hundreds of times. My Dal Makhani was the most used by others, and surprisingly, this recipe for Potato, Spinach and Feta Pie too. You can still find exact reproductions if you look, and in some places small alterations have been made.

This is the original version of the recipe – well, almost. Over the years I have added turmeric to the mixture. The original recipe appeared on my first blog, called Food Matters, no longer in existence, in 1998, so it truly is a retro recipe. The pie is still as terrific today as it was then.

Similar recipes include Grape Leaf Rice Pie, Tomato Tarte Tatin, and Cheese and Eggplant Torte. Meanwhile have a look at the collection of Feta recipes we put together for you.

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

Browse all of our Pies and all of our Spinach and Potato recipes. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Liquorice and Spice Chai | Mulethi ka Karha | Hot or Chilled

Chai made with a range of spices and liquorice root is incredibly good. It is also very detoxifying, so it is a healthy AND flavoursome tonic for an afternoon relaxing hot drink.  Or morning. Or evening.

This recipe is very much like our first chai – Yogi Chai – all those years ago. Spices are roasted  to enhance their flavours, and then simmered. Tea can be added or not – your choice. And it can be sweetened or not. Milk can be added or not. So there is a range of choices and variation.

While it is usually consumed piping hot, it is also wonderful chilled and sipped on hot days and in those heatwaves so common in the area where I reside.

Similar recipes include Sonth Panak, Yogi Chai, Fiona’s Beautiful Chai, Spring Chai, and Heavenly Gentle Chai.

Browse all of our Chai recipes and all of our Indian drinks. All of our Indian recipes are here, and the Indian Essentials Series is here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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A Collection of 30 Soups for EARLY WINTER 2019

Winter is here, and it is a cold and wet start to the season this year. Out of the wardrobe come jumpers, coats, scarves and beanies. In the kitchen, soups arrive – wholesome and hearty, steaming as they hit the table. We are grateful to Winter for providing us with the weather to have these great soups.

Our approach to stock for soups has varied over the years. In current times, we tend to make it as we need it, quickly infusing skins and peels, lentils, vegetables, herbs and spices to match the soup. In past years, when we were busier, stocks always sat in the freezer – we made them in the evenings, or as we prepared other dishes the stock would bubble on the stove. Choose a method to suit your lifestyle and family. Sometimes we just use water! We rely on the vegetables and other ingredients itself to shine in the soup.

To help you on your way with stocks, here are the ones that we use the most.

Now that you have your Winter wardrobe organised, let’s get cooking! Most of these soups will freeze well.

Here are 30 of our best Soups for Early Winter.

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