Tamatar Shorba | Indian Tomato Soup

Around the world tomato soup has a special place in the heart of people. My mother rarely made her own – we ate tinned tomato soup, and it was  wonderful! With piles of well buttered toast, butter made from fresh cow’s milk, we ate the soup in front of the wood fire on cold winter nights, slurping bowl after bowl.

While tomato based gravies and sauces are common in India, the idea of soup has not been common until more recent times. And my guess is that the British invasion had a lot to do with the growth of the popularity of Indian Tomato Soup. Derived from other dishes, Indian Tomato Soups (there are lots of different recipes) has gained a place in the heart of many inside and outside of that country.

We have another Indian Tomato Soup, one filled with cream (or use coconut milk) and gentle aromatic spices including lemongrass. It is a great recipe, but this one is different. This one is punchy and spicy, and totally gorgeous. On top of that, it is very easy to make.

Similar recipes include Creamy Indian Tomato Soup, South Indian Tomato and Potato Soup, Cream of Potato and Tomato Soup with Leeks, and Tomato Rasam.

Browse all of our Indian Soups, and all of our Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Summer recipes.

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Keerai Masiyal | Amaranth Leaf Masiyal

There are a number of Amaranth greens available in South India – Mulaikkeerai, Muli Thandu or Thandukkeerai, and Arikkeerai. The most common variety of amaranth that is grown here, Foxtail Amaranth, is Thandukkeerai, but it is grown for ornamental reasons in gardens, not culinary ones. It is very difficult to find the  different varieties in shops unless you search the Asian markets.

The different varieties do have different tastes and properties – for example, some are heating to the body and some are cooling to the body. In India, the crops of Amaranth are also dependent on the season – the cooling ones in the hottest parts of the year, the heating ones in the coldest times of the year. Here, there is no such availability, information or attention to detail. Do use whichever amaranth is available to you.

We generally think of Masiyal as being made with toor dal or a mixture of toor dal and mung dal. However Meenakshi Ammal in her books Cook and See has several recipes for Amaranth Masiyal (in Vol. 1) that do not contain any dal. This one mashes the leaves, and I have to say it is very delicious. One of the defining characteristics of Masiyal is that there are no ground or powdered spices, only seasoning with a few selected whole spices. It allows the ingredients to shine rather than being overwhelmed with spices, onions or garlic. That is the beauty of all traditional Tamil food.

Similar dishes include Poritha Kootu, Mung Bean Soup with Amaranth, and Poritha Kuzhambu with Amaranth.

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

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Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad

Who does not want a cooling cucumber salad in a heatwave? This one is slightly pickled in a sweet vinegar mixture before serving. It is perfect in hot weather and is even more perfect accompanying a chilli-hot dish! It is also great with deep fried items.

I like it along side a salad that is heavy with a mayonnaise dressing – it is the perfect foil for this. And with something sweet – slices of mango or rockmelon, for example. Try the cucumber in sandwiches, layered with feta, roast eggplant, roasted tomatoes, and lettuce.

Also, consider that we often think of dishes as being an individual dish, but we should also think about how we can use them in other dishes to layer flavours. These cucumbers are PURRfect for including in other salads for the sour element. Master salad makers like Bittman and Ottolenghi will always pay attention to the mix of flavours in a dish and sour is one of them. Include these in a salad dish and cut back on the vinegar or other souring agent that is included.

Similar recipes include Mung Dal and Cucumber SaladCucumber Salad with Capers and Ricotta, and Spicy Cucumber Salad with Herbs and Poppy Seeds.

Browse all of our Cucumber Salads, and all of our Cucumber dishes. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Sprouts and Pomegranate Kosumalli

Kosumalli is such an easy salad to make, and it is also the type of salad where you can use up what ever is on your kitchen bench – not only sprouts, pomegranates and onions as in this recipe, but also ginger shreds, green tomato, red tomato, capsicums of any colour, some shredded beetroot (but watch the colour will taint every other ingredient), daikon radish, spring onions and spring onion greens, chives, green mango, and so on. You can also micro-plane the zest of the lime or lemon and add that to the salad. This is a great way to bump up flavours and minimise waste.

Kosumali salads are dressed with lemon or lime juice, and the oil component of a dressing is provided by the ghee in the tadka. They are utterly delicious, tangy, sweet, sour, hot, refreshing.

If you want to make your own Kosumalli, use the basic recipe below for a Sprouts Kosumalli, then add what you have available. Kosumalli dishes demand strong flavours – the bite of onion, the sour of lemon and pomegranate, the sweetness of coconut, the crunch of sprouts. This is the only brief for you as you create your own salad.

Similar recipes include Mango and Pineapple Salad, Cucumber Kosumalli, and Daikon Kosumalli.

Browse all of our Kosumalli dishes and Mung Sprout dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Green Tomato Fry Chutney

What I love about South Indian chutneys (as well as the taste) is that you can create a chutney out of any left over veggie in the fridge. Today it is green tomatoes – half a dozen that haven’t been used during the week. They are quickly sauteed until soft and then pureed with onion and chilli. Simple – in fact much simpler than many other similar chutneys. But – Delicious.

Eat with rice or with other Indian dishes, or use it as a great sandwich spread – layer sourdough bread with slices of red tomatoes, roasted eggplant, basil and feta. Divine. Try it with tortilla or corn chips too.

Similar dishes include Green Tomato Sambar, Green Tomato Subzi, and Green Tomato Pachadi.

Browse all of our Indian Chutneys and our Green Tomato recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

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Hara Mung Dal Fry with Fenugreek Leaves

Whole Mung beans feature a lot in our kitchen as we love the earthy taste. They are comforting and nourishing and we will cook up a large pot of Mung Soup or Dal in times of stress or tiredness.

This recipe is a North Indian style Green Mung Dal (Hara Mung Dal Tadka with Methi) that is great with chapatti or roti, and rice. Boondhi Raita, Kachumber, or vegetable dish can be added. The dal is cooked and then mixed with a paste of tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic and spices. It is particularly good.

Similar recipes include Khar (Garlicky Mung Beans), Mung Bean Soup with Amaranth Greens, and Sprouted Mung Sundal.

Browse all of our Mung recipes, and all of our Dals. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

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A Collection of 30 Soups for Mid Autumn | Seasonal Cooking

The weather suddenly turns cold around the middle of Mid Autumn, whether that is April in the Southern Hemisphere or October in the Northern Hemisphere. Rain sets in heating is turned on, jackets and raincoats come out of the closet. Scarves, gloves and hats are at the ready.

In the kitchen, citrus fruit is beginning to ripen, root vegetables take pride of place, and lentils and beans begin to appear on the table again. We bake, because the oven warms the kitchen. And hot soups and broths again appear, to bubble away on the stove top.

Enjoy our 20 Soup Suggestions for this month that heralds the colder weather to come.

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Tray Baked Spicy Turmeric Chickpeas | Turmeric Chickpeas Roasted with Spices

Baked chickpeas are a delicious, easy and healthy snack. You can snack on them straight from the pan, or throw them into salads, on top of pasta  or scattered over a thick wintery soup. Eat them sitting in the garden in the sunshine. Take them in your backpack on long walks. Bring them to a picnic. Take a small container to the gym. Bring in your bento box to the office for lunch. Nibble when you have the pre-dinner munchies. Or snack on them late at night while watching TV.

I first baked spicy chickpeas way back in 2008, and they have been a firm favourite in our household. But recently we made a variation of the recipe. Rather than using canned or ordinary cooked chickpeas, we have soaked and cooked the chickpeas in turmeric water. It adds a lovely colour to the chickpeas and a turmeric tang to the flavour. Turmeric chickpeas are all across the internet, and we have done a small experiment with them to test the flavours, visual appeal and health impact. If you are interested, you can read more about the wonders of Turmeric.

The recipe for Spicy Baked Chickpeas is one that works well with the Turmeric Chickpeas.

Similar recipes include Deep Fried Potato and Carrot Strings, Baked Okra in Dukkah, and Paprika Oven Chips.

Browse all of our Snacks and all of our Chickpea recipes. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Carrot Poriyal | Stir-fried Carrot with Coconut

Once you have your pantry set up for cooking Indian food regularly, recipes with long lists of ingredients are no longer terrifying. The reason that some recipes seem to have a kitchen-bench full of ingredients is that many of them are small amounts, less than a teaspoon. These spices produce the characteristic tastes of Indian food. For example, not counting the spices, this dish has only 3 main ingredients – carrots, coconut and onions. There, that seems much simpler than a list of 15!

The best way to approach long lists of spices is to prepare them before you begin to cook, using tiny bowls or containers to hold them. Alternatively, grab a couple of dabbas, Indian spice boxes, from your Indian shop, so that your commonly used spices are all in one container.  Either method will eliminate your need to search the cupboard for a spice while cooking – and the panic that ensues when you can’t find it and the onions are over cooking as you search.  We have all been there! So be organised, both in your spice cupboard and in preparing your ingredients.

This is a simple recipe today, despite the list of ingredients – a quick stir-fry of carrots with spices and coconut from the South of India. Poriyals embody the South, and can be made with many different vegetables and vegetable combinations.

Similar recipes include Green Bean and Carrot Poriyal, Sweet Potato Poriyal, and Carrot Thoran.

Browse all of our Poriyals, and all of our Carrot recipes.  All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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A Collection of 30 Salads for Mid Autumn

Mid Autumn is that last hurrah to Summer, at least here in Adelaide. We have the last of the warm weather, nights are cooler and mornings bordering on cold. Days can be warm and sunny, but April rains are also expected. Farmers turn hopeful eyes skyward, keen to ensure the seeding efforts won’t go to waste.

Early on in this month, we find ourselves eating lots of tomato salads, almost as though we are desperate to hang onto the warm weather, and onto the tomatoes which are always best after the intense heat of Summer has gone and the gentler days of Autumn arrive. French style, Italian style, Greek style, Persian style, we don’t really mind, as long as the salads are simple and the tomatoes delicious. We recommend you do the same. Simple lunches can be a bowl of salad, some flatbread, perhaps some cheese, followed by slices of fresh fruit.

The fig season is over, and okra is off the menu until the new crop comes in – not long now. Meanwhile, beautiful vegetables and fruits are appearing in the shops – daikon, cauliflower, pears, oranges, new carrots, such beautiful beetroot, juicy radishes. All ready for delicious salads. Lentils and Dried Beans begin to make an appearance later in the month as we look for more substance in our salads to counteract the cold weather.

Here are 30 of our best salads for Mid Autumn.

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