Cucumber Pachadi (or use Snake Gourd, Ridge Gourd or Chow Chow)

We have a few ways of making Cucumber Pachadi, varying just a little in ingredients. This is one of the simplest and one of the favourites.

It is of course, from Meenakshi Ammal and Vol 1 of her Cook and See books.

Similar recipes include Okra Pachadi, Nethu Kottu Flour Pachadi, Methi Sprouts Tambuli, Zucchini, Lime Leaf and Yoghurt Salad, Chow Chow Kari, Vellarikkai Thayir Pachadi, Tomato Pachadi, and Bitter Melon Pachadi.

Or browse all of our Pachadi recipes.

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Tomato Carpaccio with Spring Onion and Ginger Salsa

This beautiful salad is one of Ottolenghi’s simplest dishes. Appropriately, it is from his book Simple. You can make it in just over 5 minutes – perfect for a weekday evening, and spectacular at a weekend BBQ, picnic or lunch.

The quality of the ingredients make this dish, so you’ll need the best tomatoes – preferably home grown ones if possible – as well as the best sherry vinegar you can afford.

The salsa is glorious spooned on all sorts of dishes, from toast topped with mozzarella and/or avocado to lentil salads and pasta dishes. So double or triple the quantities when you make it. It keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days.

As I mentioned, this is an Ottolenghi dish from Simple – note that we feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area. If you want to check his original recipe, see his books and Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Tomato Salad with Ginger and Lime, Tomato Salad with Parsley Oil, and Tomato and Roasted Lemon Salad.

Browse all of our Tomato Salads, and all of our Ottolenghi dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Simple are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Okra Pachadi | Okra with Coconut-Chilli-Ginger Yoghurt

We are so blessed that we get good quality okra locally at a cheap price. Move closer to the city and it is rare and expensive. Our local shops stock it by the barrel load, a testament to the local Indian, Nepalese and Middle Eastern communities. I had never used Okra as much before I shifted into this area. It shows just how much that the stock in our shops influences our behaviour.

This is another Pachadi, a South Indian dish of yoghurt, okra and spices, a cooling and healthy dish. I have a few other Okra raita dishes – each one is a little different.

Similar recipes include Nethu Kottu Flour Pachadi, Methi Sprouts Tambuli, Okra Tamarind Pachadi, Zucchini, Lime Leaf and Yoghurt Salad, Sauteed Okra with Ginger and Garlic, Roasted Okra with Tomato, Aloo Bhindi, and Bhindi Raita.

Browse all of our Okra dishes and al of our Pachadi recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Narangi Pulao with Pistachios

It is orange season and so all of our orange recipes come out to add delight to our kitchen menus again. This beautiful pilaf is so good – full of orangey flavours and a visual delight.

We made this recently in one of our late night COVID-19 lockdown cooking sessions, around 10pm after endless zoom meetings. Luckily the rice had been soaked and dried, so the cooking was not a chore. There are no photos for this recipe yet – almost a travesty in this visual era. But we wanted to share it with you and keep it on our blog as a record of our best loved dishes.

Similar dishes include Matar Pulao, Orange and Date Salad, Orange and Green Chilli Relish, and Quinoa Salad with Orange.

You can also browse all of our Pilafs and our Orange Recipes.

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Two Bean and Two Lime Salad

We have a strange green bean growing – its pod is green with flecks of red. It is delicious, as all green beans are, and perfect for this salad from Ottolenghi. You can of course use any green bean – the beans are paired with either edamame, younger broad beans or even peas. The key to the salad is a beautiful dressing made with lime zest, lime juice, coriander, mint, garlic and chillies! Oh, yes, you just might get excited.

Once the beans are trimmed, it is quite simple to make. Of course it is, it is from Ottolenghi’s book Simple. 10 ingredients, quick and it can be made ahead (see the notes below the salad). Note that I often massage Ottolenghi’s 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 Summery Grain or Lentil Salad, Sea Spaghetti, Cucumber and Edamame Salad, Italian Green Bean Salad, Green Bean Salad with Asparagus, Spring Salad, and Glorious Green Bean Salad.

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Purslane Salads | How to Use Purslane in Salads

Purslane, Portulaca Oleracea, is an edible succulent plant that spreads vigorously. The leaves are crunchy with a tangy lemon-peppery flavour. It pops up in gardens here from December (early Summer) through to Autumn. It is prolific in my garden, so much so that I can pull the whole plants out when young, nip off the root and use the stem and leaves. For larger plants, stems are picked and leaves removed. You should always wash it really well as it is such a ground-hugging plant.

Pick them early in the day for best flavours. If I need to pick them later in the day, I will cover them in water for an hour or so until they perk up and lift their heads. Don’t soak any longer, they turn to mush (being a succulent).

In some parts of the world you can buy Purslane in green groceries but in Australia that is not the case. So you can forage alongside footpaths and in parks and green areas, but always be careful that it has not been sprayed. The best way is to purchase some seed, or gather it from flowering foraged plants, and grow in your own garden. Once you have planted it in your garden you will always have it. It grows best in warm to hot, dry climates.

It is used around the world, from Greece to Mexico, South Africa, India and Turkey. It is a nutritional medicine cabinet in a plant with remarkable amounts of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. It is mainly used raw but is also cooked in some places, such as India.

We’ve put together some of our favourite salads using Purslane to inspire you. Be sure to let us know how you use it and which salads are your favourite. Don’t forget that you can use Purslane to replace other sour or lemony ingredients such as sorrel in salads and other dishes.

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Chana Madra | Chickpeas in a Spicy Yoghurt Sauce

Himachal Pradesh, a state in the North of India have some delicious vegetarian dishes despite being non-vegetarian over all. This is a dish that is very common, especially at festival time. Chickpeas are simmered in a beautiful sauce of yoghurt and warming spices.

Similar recipes include Roast Eggplant with Crushed Chickpeas and Herbed Yoghurt, Vadai with Yoghurt, and Kadhi.

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

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Eggplant Kuku with Cauliflower Puree | Egg-free Eggplant Kuku

Kuku , sort of like a Persian omelette or frittata, comes in many forms. I love this one that I make at home without eggs. Because it doesn’t have eggs I tend to make it looser than a frittata but it can be cooked more omelette-like and I include instructions below.  It is packed with herbs, and I love the tart barberries with the crunch of the walnuts.

Kuku is traditionally served with flatbread, crunchy items like radishes, acidic pickles and feta. Today I have served it on a Cauliflower Puree as well. It is a great mezze dish.

The inspiration for this dish originally came from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More. But as his is an egg-based dish, we have made significant alterations. It is delicious, though, retaining the original flavours of barberries and herbs. I like that Ottolenghi’s version is a “wet version” – it sort of justifies my take on this dish. His recipe is here.

Similar recipes include Three Cheese Eggplant Bake, Eggplant Pahi, Smoky Eggplant with Coriander, and Eggplant in Spicy Tomato Sauce.

Browse all our Eggplant dishes, Iranian recipes and Ottolenghi dishes.

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Garden Salad with Peaches and Orange Blossom Dressing

Ottolenghi recently wrote an article for the New Yorker called Ottolenghi’s Simplest Recipes. It’s a funny, tongue in cheek article about his recipes and the way that people complain about the complexity and number of ingredients. And about the way that they change all the ingredients and then make commentary on them.

I am certainly guilty of the first, and have gotten over the second – mostly. I still sigh if I have to go shopping for a dish when I want to make it right now and there is some ingredient my pantry is not stocking atm. Having cooked a significant number of Ottolenghi’s dishes, I have moved on from strict adherence to his dishes to shaking them up to suit what is cheaper in our part of the world, what is in the pantry or fridge or on the kitchen bench, and what I can pick from the garden.

This recipe had its genesis in Ottolenghi’s first book Ottolenghi. But it is not recognisable as his any more. I’ve removed the non-vegetarian item, and used greens from our garden rather than the expensive (in my area) greens that he uses. I am ticking the recipe off in the book, but really only the dressing (fabulous) and the peaches are recognisable in the original. If you are looking for the original, check his books or his Guardian column.

The key here is to use sweet peaches (yellow-fleshed or a mix of yellow and white) that are at their peak, with none of that floury texture that they can have when unripe. It’s a dish that’s dazzling in its blend of colours and textures, and works well as a starter.

Similar recipes include Watermelon and Peach Salad with Basil, Tomato and Peach Salad, and Peach Salsa with Tofu.

Browse all of our Peach Salads and all of our Salads (there are hundreds!). Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

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Spring Risotto | Pea, Edamame and Baby Broad Bean Risotto

Nothing says Spring like green vegetables – such as asparagus, peas, broad beans, fresh herbs. Ottolenghi makes salads from only green items, and they are divine. They truly belong to Spring – green is Spring’s colour.

Despite the heat this Spring I was craving risotto, so  it had to be one to celebrate the season. As luck would have it, I had some home grown broad beans and some peas in the freezer. The risotto is made in the usual way – no variations or neat tricks here. Just stirring for 18 mins for a perfect dish.

Similar recipes include Broccolini Risotto, Sea Spaghetti, Cucumber and Edamame Salad, Brussels Sprouts Risotto, Beetroot Risotto, and Tomato Risotto.

Browse all of our Risotto recipes and all Italian dishes. Or explore our Late Spring collection of recipes.

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