Spicy Chickpea and Bulgar Soup

A friend and I recently hit the local Greek Warehouse and then the Central Market in Adelaide, and I found myself stocking up on Wintery food – lots of dried beans, lentils and grains, different flours, Greek herbs, and some new baking trays. It is a fairly subconscious thing that we do, change our diet as the seasons change. At this time our body starts to crave soups, salads with beans and lentils, and rice puddings. Baked dishes. Gratineed vegetables. Bulghar (Burgul) dishes. Slow cooked food a la Grecque. Ah the joys of Winter in the kitchen.

So overnight some chickpeas are cooked in the slow cooker. I find that the best ways to cook them is to slow cook them, unsoaked, for 9 hours, and they are perfect for any dish.

This recipe is one from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More. It is one that has done the rounds in various publications and Ottolenghi modifies it slightly each time. In the book, he pairs it with a feta-creme fraiche paste, and elsewhere he replaces it with coriander oil, or salbitxada – a sharp and lightly sweet Catalan sauce. I’ve included all options here, so choose one that suits your mood or the weather. One option is to make a huge pot of soup, and serve with feta-creme fraiche paste one day and with salbitxada the next. The soup does need a little something stirred into it at the end, to liven it. Use lemon juice if you don’t have the time to make the paste or the sauce.

This recipe is a mid-week Soup, substantial enough to be eaten with heaps of flatbread and a green salad. It is hearty and comforting. The flavour improves even more if you allow it to stand for a few hours. Ottolenghi says it feeds four, but I say it will feed 6 or 8, depending on the hunger levels.

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have made in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Similar recipes include Chickpea, Lima Bean and Noodle SoupRoasted Cauliflower Soup, Dried Fava Bean Soup, and Barley and Vegetable Soup.

Browse all of our Soups, all of our Chickpea recipes, and all of our Burghul dishes. We have other Chickpea Soups. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Kohlrabi, Beetroot and Celery Leaf Salad

There is celery growing in the garden, but we’re not great celery eaters. Of course, in Winter, it is an essential in all sorts of vegetable and other braises – Barley, for example – and Soups of course. It is an essential thing to have. But we are not big on celery salads, or raw sticks. Unless there is a killer dip to go with the sticks.

But our young celery brings to the kitchen the delicious celery flavour of its micro-thin stems and young, crunchy leaves. Both do go beautifully in salads and when we make a herb salad, our celery leaves and stems form a vital part. We also use it in place of flat leafed parsley. It is divine.

When I came across a recipe from Ottolenghi using Celery Leaves as an ingredient I was delighted. Moreso, as we had kohlrabi and beetroot innocently sitting in the vegetable crisper. It was meant to be. Frankly, I can’t get enough of this salad, with the beautiful crispness of the apple, beetroot and kohlrabi.

Use a mandolin to cut the beetroot, kohlrabi and apple into thin slices. This also works well if you julienne them into thin sticks (which I love). Ottolenghi suggests using Candy Beetroot for extra visual oomph – if you have them, great. If not, use your normal, run-of-the-mill beets.

I am using my purple chillies from the garden, which may be Naga Jolokia Purple Chillies (the plant does look so similar), but is more likely Purple Jalapeño. Whatever, you don’t need exotic chillies to make this work. Ottolenghi suggests urfa chilli flakes, but I say use fresh or dried chillies, whatever you have. I have also made this with Korean Chilli Flakes. Perfect.

Today it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Are you after other Ottolenghi Inspiration? Try Parsley and Barley Salad, Mung Bean and Baked Carrot Salad, and Tomato and Pomegranate Salad.

We don’t have many Kohlrabi dishes, but try Kohlrabi Subzi. Or try these Beetroot Salads: Beets with a Herb Dressing, Beets with a Honey Ginger Dressing and Beetroot and Carrot Salad with Indian Spices.

Still want more? Check all Ottolenghi dishes, all Kohlrabi recipes and all Beetroot Recipes. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. We have so many delicious Salads worth exploring. Or make a cuppa and work through our Early Autumn dishes. Enjoy!

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Cold Pandan Rice Pudding with Lime Syrup and Fruits

There is nothing like a rice pudding when the weather cools after the long Summer days of intense heat and nights spent under the air conditioning to keep cool enough to sleep.

I judge my acceptance of Autumn (it takes a while) by the first rice pudding that is cooked. And today it is a cold rice pudding that is based loosely on a recipe by Ottolenghi. His desserts almost always include eggs, and we don’t cook with eggs. Therefore I made my favourite Greek Rice Pudding and added his lime syrup. It is a really delightful addition – the syrup contrasts beautifully with the sweet rice pudding . For fruit today, I used persimmon and passion fruit. If you have no such restrictions, you can always check out his original recipe in his book or Guardian column, but I love the simplicity of this version.

Similar recipes include Greek Rice Pudding, Old Fashioned Baked Rice Pudding, and Rice Kheer.

Browse all of our Desserts (not many, we don’t have a sweet tooth), and our Rice dishes, sweet and savoury. This recipe was inspired by one of Ottolenghi’s dishes from Plenty More but is quite different. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Smoky Aubergine and Asparagus

This is a recipe for the days when you light your BBQ. No joke. The deal is this: after finishing your cooking on the BBQ, turn up the heat and cook as many eggplants as you can muster, until they are blackened. Allow to cool, and remove the skin. The flesh will keep well in the refrigerator for several days. During that time make any of the dozens of eggplant dips, spreads, purees, and salads – they are all delicious.

This particular recipe roasts eggplants and pairs their beautiful flesh with steamed or grilled asparagus, and dresses them with a Chinese 5-Spice Powder dressing. It is glorious for Summer weather and warmer Autumn days. Japanese eggplants are preferred, but if you do not have those, never fear – the more common globe eggplant will work just as well.

Similar recipes include Steamed Thai Eggplants, Babaganoush, Grilled Eggplant Salad, and Marinated Eggplants for the BBQ.

Browse all of our Eggplant dishes and all of our Purees and Spreads. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Moringa Leaf Dal | Dal with Drumstick Leaves

There are a lot of Drumstick Leaves (Moringa Leaves) available now, so we have been buying them and painstakingly stripping the leaves from the stalks. When Moringa Leaves become the next superfood, remember that India has been using them for centuries. (Turmeric too.) And the leaves are very tasty – a slight bitterness adds a delightful flavour note to dishes.

Tonight we made a dal with Mung and added Moringa Leaves. Usually Moringa Leaves are used with Toor Dal, but as we have already make Sambar with them, tonight we chose split yellow mung. The sweetness of the mung with the bitterness of the leaves is a delightful combination.

Similar recipes include Drumstick Leaves Sambar and Poritha Kootu.

Browse all of our Drumstick Leaf recipes and all of our Dals. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.
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Green Tomato Bhaji

Green tomatoes have a sturdiness that red tomatoes don’t have. This means that they will not collapse in dishes the way a red tomato will do, and so they can be used in Indian dishes as a vegetable rather than a sauce. We are so lucky that our Green Grocer stocks them, and they are plentiful in Summer and into Autumn.

In this dish, the tartness of the green tomatoes pairs well with the sweetness of the jaggery, and dal is added to the tadka for a crunchy textural element. The spices are freshly roasted to bring out their flavour. Pair the dish with rice or roti, or serve as an accompaniment to your dal-rice.

Similar dishes include Sweetcorn and Spinach Bhaji, Spinach Thoran, and Sweet Potato Subzi.

Also try Green Tomato Salsa with Coriander and Chilli.

Browse all of our Bhaji recipes, and all of our Green Tomato dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Apples with Lemon and Cinnamon

Elizabeth David’s books should be compulsory reading for every person who enjoys cooking. They are reminders that food can be simple, and yet stunningly delicious. It is so important in today’s world of Ottolenghi-like complex recipes. Of course I love Ottolenghi dishes, but how good it is to be able to put a dish together quickly and simply, rather than spending an hour or so on just one dish.

This is from Liz’s book An Omelette and a Glass of Wine and it is a simple apple dessert. Cooked in a syrup, it is a rare use of sugar on this blog. Our desserts are rare. But at least once per year, we have to cook some apples.

Similar recipes include An Autumn Fruit Salad, Butter Glazed Apples, and Baked Apples with Star Anise.

Browse all of our Apple recipes and all of our Elizabeth David dishes. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Teeny Dried Okra | Okra Vathal | Crispy Okra

There are lots of ways of drying Okra in South India, from the plain – salted and dried, to the curd-soaked okra similar to yoghurt chillies, to okra that is pre-cooked in chilli and tamarind and then dried.

This version partially dries the okra and then blanches them in salt and turmeric (how healthy!) before finishing the drying process. Like all Vathal, the dried okra are fried before use, and can be eaten as snacks, with yoghurt as a pachadi or raita, or included in dishes such as Vatral Kuzhambu.

Traditionally, in India, drying would be done on a roof top terrace in the hottest of suns. I once saw my neighbours put a whole sack of onions out in the sunshine for months to fully dry. Sadly, in other parts of the world, this is not possible. So here, I use a dehydrator with excellent results. You can also dry them in the oven.

Are you after some other Okra recipes? Try Crispy Okra, Okra with Chilli Spice Paste, and Goan Fried Okra. Read more about Okra here.

Or try some of our other Vathal and VadagamDried Mango, Another Method for Dried Okra, and Dried Mung Dal Nuggets.

You can check out all of our Okra dishes, and all of our Vathal and Vadagam. We have a guide to preserving Summer and Autumn fruits and vegetables for Winter. Or simply explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Smoky Eggplants and Tomatoes

Adding a smoky flavour to vegetables and other foods – garlic, eggplant, tomatoes, beetroot, tofu etc – adds an additional flavour dimension to dishes. It is worth doing for a special occasion. Today’s recipe is a Greek-inspired dish. I have added the instructions for smoking the foods in the recipe, but if you are not inclined to go to this effort, chargrill your veg in your normal, favourite way.

Similar recipes include Smoky Aubergine and Asparagus Salad, Lebanese Roast Potatoes and Eggplants, Baked Eggplant and Zucchini with Chickpeas, and Roasted Aubergine with Garlic Sauce.

Browse all of our Eggplant recipes and Tomato dishes. Our Greek dishes are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Gentle Tomato and Dal Rasam | Indian Tomato Pepper Broth

Rasams, the ubiquitous Tamil dish, have traditionally played the role of stimulating the appetite, aiding digestion and balancing the body’s health with the spices used Not a pre-cursor to meals as in the Western sense, Rasams are drank with the rest of the meal, tipped over rice and/or used to moisten drier curries.

As the Indian cuisine globalises, some less spicy rasams are becoming more popular. These dishes can be eaten Western style (as soup), or in the traditional Indian style (with rice). They are not the Indian Soups in the true sense, they still sit squarely under the Rasam category, but perhaps are a little less spicy.

This Rasam is peppery, rather than chilli-hot. It is strongly tomato-flavoured, and is definitely a wonderful dish. Enjoy it by the small bowlful as a soup, or as a gentle rasam in the traditional way.

Are you after other Rasams? Try Kottu Rasam, Garlic Rasam, and Pepper Rasam. A different Tomato Lentil Rasam can be found here. Or browse our collection of dozens of Rasam recipes.

Have a look at our Indian Soups as well. Try South Indian Beetroot Soup, Creamy Indian Tomato Soup, and South Indian Cauliflower Soup.

Browse all of our Rasams, all Indian Soups, and indeed, all of our Indian recipes. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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MID SUMMER Dips, Sauces, Purees and Preserves for Summer Spreading | Seasonal Cooking

Summer establishes itself, days are long, and salads are the dishes of the day. They feature on every table as temperatures soar. Salads are cooling, and no one feels like cooking. Picnics and BBQs are prominent and living is mostly outdoors, especially at the beach.

I hope you can find some inspiration here for summer healthy deliciousness. You can also browse:

Please let us know if you find links that are not working. We would love to fix them for you.

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Roasted Red Pepper and White Bean Salad with Mozzarella

I have been cooking a lot of Indian dishes lately. Well, I always do, but it felt time to balance the South Indian flavours with a nice, fresh salad. So onto the grill (BBQ) went the red capsicums, plus eggplants for another (Indian) dish, and in the time it takes to sip my cuppa tea, they were all roasted to perfection. It is really the best way to roast peppers and eggplants.

This salad is a combination of the red peppers with home-cooked white beans (use canned if you like), mozzarella and some herbs. It is so simple really, but it is fresh and inviting, and absolutely healthy too.

Are you looking for other Red Pepper Salads? Try these: Red Pepper and Tomato Salad with Crispy Flatbread, and Italian Roasted Red Pepper Salad.

Or perhaps you would like to be inspired by Salads in general. Try Green Peppers in Yoghurt, Tomato Salad with Green Olives, and Moroccan Carrot Salad.

Want more? Browse all of the Red Pepper Salads and all of our many and varied Salads. We love Bittman Salads, so have a look at those. Or explore all of the Capsicum recipes and our dishes suited to Early Autumn. Enjoy!

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Vendakkai Thayir Pachadi | Crispy Sautéed Okra in Yoghurt

Yoghurt is as important in our kitchen as it is in general in Indian cuisine. Desi yoghurt is used all over India, in different ways, of course, in the different regions. This recipe brings together one of our much loved vegetables – okra – with yoghurt and spice to form the South Indian version of Raita, called Pachadi. There is something very special about okra with yoghurt. Divine.

This recipe takes okra slices and sautés them (which eliminates the sliminess) until crisp before mixing with the yoghurt. This is a great dish for Festival days too. It is a simpler version of this Vendakkai Thayir Pachadi.

Are you looking for other Pachadi recipes? Try Teeny Dried Okra Vathal, Ginger Coconut Pachadi, Nilgiri’s Carrot Pachadi, Eggplant Pachadi, and Spinach Pachadi.

Or try other Yoghurt dishes – Aryan, Green Peppers in Yoghurt, and Yoghurt Curry with Lentil Dumplings.

Browse all of our Yoghurt recipes and all of our Pachadi and Raita dishes. All of our Indian dishes are here. Or try our Late Autumn collection of recipes.

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MID SPRING – Don’t Miss these Recipes for Relaxed Spring Living | Seasonal Cooking

Celebrating Spring

Mid Spring can still be capricious in its mid point between Winter and Summer. No matter where you are, it is a month of change. Gorgeous and sunny, wild and windy, or drenching spring rains – all weather reigns in this season. We look forward longingly to Summer, and are pleased to leave the chills of Winter behind.

Enjoy these highlights from our Mid Spring recipe collection.

You can also browse other Mid Spring recipes:
Other gorgeous Springtime posts include:

If you have difficulty with any links, please let us know. We would love to fix them for you.

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MID AUTUMN – Don’t Miss These Recipes for Relaxed Autumn Living | Seasonal Cooking

Celebrating Autumn

The weather begins its transition this month, and like all change, is a little chaotic and changeable. Autumn is the time for crisp leaves, knitted sweaters, and comfort food. Windy, stormy at times, the Autumn rains come. Cooler days intersperse the fewer warmer ones, and while it is hard to let go of cooling foods, dishes get somewhat heavier and more warming. We grieve the passing of Summer but look forward to what Winter brings.

Enjoy these highlights from our Mid Autumn recipe collection.

You can also browse other Mid Autumn recipes:

If you have difficulty with any links, please let us know. We would love to fix them for you.

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