Poritha Kuzhambu

This Poritha Kuzhambu is made using the third of 3 methods outlined by Meenakshi Ammal in her 4 volumes of Cook and See. It sautees the spices before grinding them to a paste and adding to the dish. This deepens the flavours and adds a toasted overtone.

Poritha Kuzhambus are very delicious. These recipes are without tamarind and with coconut added for a beautiful sense of the tropical South of India. Beautiful indeed.

You might like to find out more about Kuzhambu. We suggest that you read The Difference Between Sambar, Kuzhambu and Kootu. Also have a look at the other methods of making Poritha Kuzhambu. The differences are minor, but they do change the flavours significantly. The first uses Sambar Powder, and the second replaces that with a few individual spices.

Are you looking for Kuzhambu Recipes? Try Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu and Race Kuzhambu.

Are you looking for the recipes of Meenakshi Ammal? They are here. She certainly is my guru of Tamil Brahmin cuisine.

All of our Sambar and Kuzhambu dishes can be browsed here. Or have a look at all of our Indian recipes. Or you may like to explore our Late Summer recipes.

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Baked Dakos with Spiced Chickpeas, Tomato and Feta

Having just made Dakos (the wonderful Greek salad), using Dakos (the bread that has been dried until very hard), we turned to a recipe for baking Dakos (bread) with chickpeas and tomatoes, spices and feta. It is delicious, and it is just the day for turning the oven on.

The recipe is another one of Ottolenghi’s, but not from his books. It is published on the Ottolenghi website.  It is a great way to use up a packet of Dakos crisp bread, and I know you will enjoy it. Cook the chickpeas the day before if you like (or use canned ones).

The dakos becomes quite soft as it is soaked in tomato juices and a marinade of red wine vinegar and oil. The contrast of the vinegar in the dacos with the tomatoes and chickpeas is absolutely divine. Cook the recipe using a table-friendly oven proof dish, so you can take it direct from oven to table. It is harder to plate, but not impossible.

Similar recipes include Dakos, Dakos with Tomatoes, Herbs and Feta, Pasta Baked with Cabbage and Cheese, and Baked Eggplant Steaks.

Browse all of our Dakos recipes and our Greek dishes. Our Baked dishes are here. and all of our Ottolenghi dishes are here.. We have written about our experiences cooking through his book Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Yoghurt and Barley Soup

In India, yoghurt curries are very common – yoghurt heated gently and flavoured with spices. In the Middle East, yoghurt is used for soups, and they are also incredibly delicious.

This soup has bite and substance thanks to the handful of pearl barley. The creamy yoghurt and a wealth of spices makes this is a such a nourishing bowl.

Try similar recipes – Turkish Cacik, Pineapple Curry with Yoghurt Sauce, and Yoghurt Curry with Lentil Dumplings.

Barley Soups include Farmhouse Barley Soup and Parsnip and Barley Soup with Garlic and Sage.

Browse all of our Yoghurt recipes and all of our Barley dishes. All of our Soups are here. Middle Eastern delicious recipes can be found here. Or browse all of our Mid Winter dishes.

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Beautiful Fennel Puree

In this recipe, fennel bulbs are cooked a la Grecque in olive oil and lemon juice until very tender and falling apart. They are then whizzed into the most beautiful puree, perfect for spreading, eating as it is, using as a dressing on salads or hot vegetables, or serving as part of a larger meal.

The puree has a wonderful mayonnaise type texture so it acts amazingly well as a dressing over salads, or over baked or steamed vegetables.

This dish comes from Italy, and it is the Italians who seem to use fennel the most. At one time, it was popular at the end of a meal, a delicious way to cleanse the palate. Parts of Tuscany still do this, I hear. The best salad is still fennel, sliced thinly and dressed with olive oil, salt and lemon juice. Just perfect. This dish retains those flavours but cooks the fennel to a soft and gentle puree.

Are you after similar dishes? Try Slow Baked Fennel with Chilli, Orange and Garlic, and Fennel a la Grecque.

Try some other purees too – Roasted Cauliflower and White Bean, Broad Bean and Butter Bean, and Spiced Tomato.

You can also browse all of our Fennel dishes, and all of our Puree recipes. You might like to check out our Dressings, Spreads and Dips too, and all of our Italian dishes. Or take some time and explore our Mid Winter menus.

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Aloo Hing Jeera | Potatoes with Cumin

Of course, practice, perseverance and knowledge builds skill. This week I have been looking back as some recipes that I made all those decades ago when I began learning about Indian food. I’ve been cooking many of them again, and the results are almost terrifyingly different. A dish I thought was very basic, this recipe for Aloo Hing Jeera, I had marked as “subtly spiced, needs onions, better the next day, add green chilli and ginger.” That observation was not especially incorrect, according to my Western-trained palate at the time.

The same dish, made today, is beautiful, spiced well, the gravy is amazing and the texture of the potatoes with the spices is what I have come to expect of Indian food. My tastes have changed, I have experienced more widely, I have read widely and spoken to people both here and throughout India about food. AND, I have cooked and cooked and cooked Indian dishes. All shows in the difference between this dish and the one I made nearly 20 years ago. I hope you enjoy it.

Similar dishes include Sesame Potatoes, Aloo Bhindi, and Saag Aloo.

Browse all of our Potato dishes and our Indian recipes. All of our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Burghul, Walnut, and Tomato Salad with Pomegranate

This is a salad with flavours of the Middle East, taking burghul and tomatoes and mixing them with spices, walnuts and pomegranate molasses.

It is a lovely salad, so well suited to Autumn and early Winter (if you can still get good tomatoes). Burghul is available from Middle Eastern groceries – our local shop has about 5 different varieties. This salad uses fine burghul.

Are you after other Burghul dishes? Try A Quick Burghul Salad with Olives, Pomegranate and Hazelnuts, and Cauliflower, Mung Bean and Broken Wheat Kitchari.

Browse all of our Burghul dishes, and all of our many many Salads. Or take some time to browse our Early Winter dishes.

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Channa Dal with Brinjal | Eggplant Channa Dal

Today our dal is made with split Channa, small chickpeas that have been hulled and split into two. Usually we make dal from mung dal, mung beans, urad dal or toor dal, so it is unusual for us to make it with channa.

In this dal, we have used eggplants. Cut into wedges, they float beautifully in the spicy channa gravy.

Similar recipes are Dal Makhani, and Tomato and Channa Dal Rasam. And try Eggplant dishes such as Poritha KuzhambuBrinjal Tamarind Kothsu, and Sampangi Pitlai.

Browse all of our Dal recipes and all of our Eggplant dishes. Our Indian recipes are here. Or take some time to enjoy our Mid Winter posts.

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Toasted Pearl Barley with Pistachios and Raisins

Such a wintery dish – beautiful Barley mixed with dried fruit and nuts, with a yoghurt-tahini and mint dressing, making a perfect salad, or an accompaniment for roasted winter vegetables. My house is a cold old house in the depths of winter, and there is nothing better than having vegetables roasting and barley bubbling on a cold evening. It fogs the windows and makes us and the kitchen toasty warm.

This Barley almost-pilaf-style dish is wonderful served with all sorts of roasted winter vegetables – Pumpkin, Jerusalem Artichokes, Fennel, Parsnips, Carrots etc. But don’t let that limit you. The Barley makes an excellent salad or side dish with the dressing just drizzled over the top.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Barley and Red Kidney Beans, Parsley and Barley Salad, and Mediterranean Barley with Crispy Tofu.

Or browse all of our Barley dishes, and all of our Middle Eastern recipes. And explore our Mid Winter dishes.

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Aloo Do Pyaja | Potatoes with Onions | An Indian Home Cooked Recipe

While the current fashion of food photography and food videos has been helpful to many home cooks, especially when cooking unfamiliar dishes, it has done a great disservice to home cooking. The requirement for everything to be instagram-worthy has meant that the rustic dishes without visual appeal are sidelined and instagrammed out of existence. It’s a pity. More than that, it is a shame.

Moreover, the word Peasant as attached to food is beginning to be seen as derogatory. I have never thought of “Peasant food” as been anything “less than”. I think of it as extraordinary food being produced without the influence of fashion and with local and common ingredients. My real favourite sort of food. Isn’t it what we strive for at home – cost effective and flavoursome food with local ingredients?

I am often amazed by the simplicity of Indian home cooked dishes, and how much flavour can be put into a couple of ingredients with a couple of spices. These sorts of dishes, so simple, so easy, are rarely seen on social media. I hope you enjoy this one. This is a simple recipe – not the best looking, made with minimal ingredients, but very very tasty. Serve with some Indian bread as an afternoon snack or as part of a meal.

By the way, Do Pyaja (also spelt Pyaza) means double the onions or lots of onions. There are many recipes for this dish, from the Punjab through to Rajasthan. Some have peas or a dose of cream, for example, a more complex spice mix, and it can be a wet or dry curry. But I adore this recipe for its simplicity. It is real home cooking.

Similar recipes include Aloo Hing Jeera (Potatoes with Cumin), Sesame Potatoes, Saag Aloo, and Potato Subzi.

You might also like to browse all of our Potato recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Check out our easy Late Winter recipes too.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. It is cross posted on our sister site, Heat in the Kitchen. It appears there as part of the Retro Recipes series of recipes which documents our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

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Pickled Quince

Quince is a beautiful, fragrant fruit that is definitely underutilised. This is a pickle using Rice Vinegar (although this can be replaced with other vinegars) and some spices. It showcases how beautiful quince can be.

Try these other Quince recipes: Indian Pickled Quinces, Quince Salsa, Afghani Quinces with Split Peas, and Spiced Quinces.

Are you after other interesting pickles? Try Jicama Pickle, Pickled Lemons, and Cumquat Pickles. Also try Quince Vinegar and Quince Molasses.

Browse all of our Quince recipes, and all of the Pickle recipes. Or take some time to explore our Mid Winter collection of dishes.

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