Aviyal | Avial | Vegetables in a Coconut and Yoghurt Sauce

It is interesting to compare the Madhur Jaffrey version of Kerala’s Aviyal (delicious) with this traditional Tamil version from Meenakshi Ammal (also delicious). Madhur Jaffrey wrote for Western audiences, and used commonly available ingredients and vegetables, while Meenakshi Ammal wrote for Indian wives using locally available produce. There will also be regional differences. The first thing I noticed is that Ammal specifically excludes okra from the recipe list, while Jaffrey includes it. (I did put a few in this time, I quite enjoy them.)

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.

Avial can be made with a liquid sauce of coconut and yoghurt, or the sauce can remain thick and just coats the vegetables. It is generally eaten with rice.

The word aviyal (aka avial) is also used to denote ‘boiled’ or ‘cooked in water’ —this sense being derived from the way the dish is made. They say that the origins of this recipe is from the Nambudiri cuisine but it is now common throughout South India.

Similar recipes include Kerala Aviyal, Pulissery, and Pineapple Pulissery.

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

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Algerian Eggplant Salad and Spread | Betanjal M’charmel

We love our pastes, purees, spreads, dips and powders, and the kitchen is always full of them. On a cold and rainy early Summer day, we wanted tea and snacks, so two spreads were created for the crusty bread from our Italian fruiterer, and life was good again. We no longer cared about the rain.

This spread (or side salad, mezze style), is made from sliced eggplant which has been baked until soft and mashed with spices. It is then gently fried until all moisture is lost, and served with harissa. Delicious! Sometimes it is referred to as a jam, rather than a salad or spread.

Similar dishes include Broad Bean Puree with Chilli Oil, White Bean, Sage and Roasted Garlic Spread, and Green Olive Tapenade.

Browse all of our Spreads, Dips, Pastes and Purees. Our Salads are here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango

How extraordinary noodles are, and oh! What a variety! Think Japanese noodles, Chinese Noodles, Italian Noodles (pasta), Indian noodles (lots of them using interesting flours), noodles from Eastern Europe, and I guess there are many more around the world. Soba noodles are Japanese, and they make delightful cold dishes as well as hot. In Summer, cold Soba noodle dishes are almost like salads.

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one day per month where we publish  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.

Ottolenghi has the occasional noodle dish, and our current focus on his books brought us to this recipe in his book Plenty. It brings together mango and charred eggplant in a way that makes it seem way out there, but is perfectly balanced. It is such a surprising combination of flavours and that makes this a memorable dish from the first bite – sweet from the mango and savoury from the eggplant. It is a beautiful noodle for hot summer nights or for a simple weeknight dinner any night of the year. The leftovers only get better in the refrigerator, so Yotham highly recommends making enough for lunch leftovers.

This recipe calls for a lot of oil in which to fry the eggplant (from 220 – 300 ml in different versions Yotham has printed). But the frying turns the eggplant soft and silky, and almost meaty, if a vegetarian can say that. Follow your heart, but I do recommend frying in the amount of oil that he suggests.

Similar recipes include Glass Noodles with Spinach, and Glass Noodles and Green Mango Salad.

Browse all of our Noodle dishes and all of our Eggplant dishes. Our Ottoleghi recipes from Plenty are here. Or explore our dishes for Late Summer.

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Milky Brinjal Chutney | Roasted Eggplant Chutney

Despite milk being abundant in India, I find it is rare to see it used in dishes that are not sweet. However I have probably seen more such recipes in the past month than I have noticed in the past decade. I wonder is that just my awareness, or is there a resurgence of popularity of these dishes.

Yoghurt is of course used extensively in savoury dishes, so why not use milk instead of yoghurt? You will find that milk gives a lighter touch and is without the sourness of yoghurt. While yoghurt is always evident in dishes, milk adds flavour without being assertive.

However, the ancient Ayurveda texts advise not to combine milk and salt. This combination, they say, creeps up on you, damaging the body in various ways over a long period of time. It is Ok to mix salt with milk products, such as yoghurt, paneer etc, just not milk. You will see various ayurvedic practitioners warn against the combination, but interestingly Vasant Lad does not. If you do wish to avoid it, leave out the salt, or substitute watered down yoghurt and touch of sugar for the milk. The sugar is to counteract the sourness of the yoghurt.

This is an Indian chutney from Andhra Pradesh. Eggplant is roasted and the flesh is mashed with milk that has been boiled and cooled, and then a tempering added that includes ginger and coriander leaves. It is delicious, and I recommend it with rice or part of an Indian meal.

South Indian chutneys are quite different to Western chutneys, and they also make great dips, spreads for sandwiches and wraps, and purees to accompany a meal or form a base for other ingredients.

Similar dishes include Algerian Eggplant Salad/Spread, Green Tomato Fry Chutney, Fresh Radish Chutney, Mint and Coriander Chutney, and Green Tomato Pachadi.

Browse all of our Indian Chutneys and our Eggplant dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Brinjal Kootu | Eggplant Kootu

Kootu is a thick, coconut-heavy dal dish, tangy with tamarind and spiced with sambar spices. Today our Kootu is made with eggplant. It is easily and quickly made by simmering the eggplant in tamarind and spices before adding the dal and coconut.

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 recipes include Green Bean Kootu, Ezhukari Kuzhambu (Pongal Kootu), Elephant Yam Masiyal with Lime JuiceBrinjal Asadu, Cluster Bean Dal Kootu, and Ridged Gourd Dal.

Browse all of our Kootu recipes and all of our Eggplant Bean dishes.  All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Eggplant and Tomatoes | Baingan Tamatar

Today’s recipe is an Indian eggplant dish where eggplants are simmered in a tomato base until tender. It is quite simple to make yet yields a delicious result. Serve it with rice for lunch or with other dishes for an Indian feast.

It is an easy recipe – with few spices. A great recipe for people beginning to cook Indian dishes. Because it is easy, it is an perfect dish to cook for lunch, or even to cook early in the day to use with the evening meal.

Similar dishes include Brinjal Kootu, Eggplant Asadu, Smoky Eggplant and Tomatoes, and  Begun Pora.

Browse all of our Eggplant dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Cheesy Baked Aubergines with Saucy Tomatoes

Winter brings that longing for hot, oven baked dishes that are filling and so comforting on a chilly night as the wind whistles around the house. The oven warms the kitchen and living room, and the aromas make everyone hungry (even the neighbours). How I love baked dishes in the cold cold days. I am warm and so is the kitchen, and I potter around doing this and that in my favourite room. The results are always delicious.

This is another baked eggplant dish, and it is layered with cheese and a tomato sauce. It’s great! Wintery and lovely – another quick and simple cold weather dish.

This recipe first makes a tomato sauce, and then layers golden eggplant slices with the sauce and cheese, before baking it until bubbling and browned. What more do you need in cold Winter weather? Serve with a salad for lunch, or as part of a larger meal for dinner.

Because it is Winter, tinned tomatoes might be your best option for making the sauce, but this year we’ve had really good quality tomatoes available all through Winter. Another option is to use those tomatoes that you threw into the freezer last Autumn. Also, if you made your own Tomato Pastes or Purees to keep in the freezer for Winter, now is the time to use them in place of the Tomato Puree. You can even make it with one that includes a little chilli! As little as 0.25 cup and up to 1 cup of puree is needed.

Similar dishes include Cheesy Bake of Carrots and Parsnips, Potatoes and Cheddar Gratin, Baked Eggplant Steaks, Pasta Bake with Cabbage and Cheese, and Gratin of Potatoes and Zucchini.

Are you looking for Eggplant recipes? Try Creamy Bake of Carrots and Parsnips, Eggplant and Zucchini Baked with Chickpeas and Harissa Sauce, Baked Eggplant Stuffed with Cheese and Tomatoes, and Cheesey Eggplant Torte.

You might also like to browse all of our Eggplant recipes. And browse Baked recipes. Or take some time to check out our easy Mid-Winter recipes.

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Marinated Eggplant with Tahini and Oregano

Fresh oregano must be one of the most underused herbs. It is rather potent, so must be used with care, similar to rosemary or sage. It’s a herb that can dominate if used too liberally. However, oregano is very versatile and works well in marinades or dressings for roasted vegetables or substantial salads. It also flavours gratins and makes a great addition to pasta sauces, pizzas, or over steamed potatoes.

Some combinations are just a match made in Middle eastern heaven. Eggplant and Tahini, for example. With roasted wedges of eggplant and a creamy tahini sauce, it’s hard to go wrong. The fresh oregano needs to be added with a little caution as mentioned, but adds a fresh herby note to the dish.

Wedges of eggplant are baked and then marinated in garlic, chilli, herbs and oil, before being dressed with the tahini sauce. Truly, the baked eggplant wedges are good enough to eat on their own, so make sure that you cook enough of them to have a quick snack while making the dish. For the finished dish, the play of the green flavours of the herbs against the eggplant and tahini is magnificent. And don’t you love the way that lemon juice works with tahini? I have always loved that.

It is a magical side dish, entree, mezze plate addition or salad, and can be made up to 2 days in advance. The recipe is from Ottolenghi’s book Ottolenghi.

Small eggplants such as Japanese or Chinese varieties are good to use for this recipe, as well as the globe varieties. If using white eggplants, perhaps peel them before roasting as the skin is thicker than most other small eggplants.

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Ottolenghi. It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one day per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar dishes include Algerian Eggplant Salad/Spread, Lentil Salad with Pomegranate Molasses, Eggplant and Zucchini Baked with Chickpeas and Harissa, Eggplant Steaks, and Saffron and Rose Scented Eggplants.

Browse all of our Eggplant dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Ottolenghi and from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Brinjal Asadu | Simple Eggplant Kootu

I am repeatedly saying that I love potatoes, and India has some of the best potato dishes in the world. I should have also mentioned that the same is true about eggplants. This particular eggplant dish is wonderful! Simply flavoured, it is also very quick and easy to make.

Kootu loosely means a thick vegetable dal in Tamil, and Asadu loosely translates to silly or someone indulging in bad-behaviour, or simple. This is a simple kootu, one that is only made with eggplants. It does not have many spices, just tamarind, turmeric, chillies and a tadka. You can say that it is behaving badly in the spice department due to its simplicity.

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 recipes include Brinjal Kootu, Baingan TamatarCluster Bean Kootu, Brinjal Kothsu with Tamarind, Brinjal Rasam, and Baingan ka Salam.

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

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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.

Similar recipes include Puli Keerai, Plain Masiyal of Amaranth Leaves, Beetroot Vathakuzhambu, Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu, Green Amaranth Soup with Tamarind, 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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