Eggplants come in all shapes and sizes, colours, tastes and textures. Sadly, we only get to cook with a few varieties through our Green Grocer and 1 or 2 more through our Asian Grocers. Thai Eggplants are a particular favourite, a little crunchier in texture than the European variety, and a real affinity with Asian flavours such as toasted sesame and soy.
It was the beautiful, welcoming assistants at my local Asian Grocery who put me on to Green/Raw Guava. Totally unaware as I was about Guava, except for the occasional ripe on at a friend’s place, she chose one that would be perfect to try raw. If they are lighter green in colour they have a little more sweetness than one totally green. Smaller ones have smaller seeds. And so it goes.
The assistant recommended Green Guava with Lime Juice, Chilli and Salt, a la Green Mangoes that are eaten the same way. And she is definitely correct – they are quite wonderful eaten this way.
You can also try them in the similar Indian way of eating fruits with Chaat Masala, an Indian Crudite if you wish. So good.
I have no doubt that there are quite a few uses for green guava, including cutting into julienne for salads, and making syrups and molasses. But today, we made a great Green Guava Salsa, which I am sharing with you. By the way, Guava can be eaten raw, semi ripe or ripe. Such a versatile fruit! Some prefer it ripe, others have a definite preference for raw guava.
We don’t have other Guava recipes yet, but check back here at any time, just in case…
An Asian flavoured Quick Pickle
Quick pickles are the go when time is rushed and there are no pickles ready at hand. They can be made in a matter of minutes but do take an hour or three to pickle and develop their flavours. They are wonderful mixed in the morning and eaten for lunch or in the evening.
This pickle is unusual as it combines kombu, that salty seaweed from Japan, with crispy carrots. It is pickled in a mixture of sake and rice vinegar, sweetened with mirin and salted with soy sauce. It is allowed to pickle for a few hours before being ready to serve.
A salad that comprises all of the tastes.
Sometimes you come across something so good, it becomes your chief meal for a week. I quite love herby salads – see this Lebanese one, and of course, Buddha’s Bowl to which I add heaps of Asian soft herbs – but in the past it was a lot of work to get Asian herbs.
However, things have changed. With a huge Asian supermarket “just down the road”, life is so much easier in the Asian department. Pomelos, green mangoes, pea eggplants, herbs of every nationality, and so much more, at my fingertips.
So on one of the first Sunny, warm days of this Spring, this salad came together. Not quite Thai, but it definitely has some overtones of Thai food. I do hope that you enjoy.
This salad is fresh and herby, crispy from the vegetables, with crunch from peanuts and shallots, sour from the pomelo, tamarind and green mango, bitter from the witlof, hot from the chilli, sweet from the dressing, salty from the soy. It has all of the flavours built into one dish.
Are you looking for more Pomelo recipes? Try Three Citrus Salad with Green Chilli, Ginger and Almond Salsa, Pomelo with Avocado, Pomelo and Carrot Salad, and Pomelo with Asian Flavours.
For Pea Eggplants, try Sundakkai Sambar, an Indian dish with fresh Pea Eggplants. We have other Pea Eggplant recipes planned, so check back here in the future. You might like Steamed Thai Eggplants with Sesame Soy Dressing.
Celery sort of misses out in the salad stakes. There are not so many salads that feature celery as its core ingredient. This salad changes that, it at least puts a stake in the Celery Salad map. Asian style in flavours with a little heat, it will be a classic at your place once you have tried it.
Longan Berries are warming, according to Chinese philosophy. So this tea is great for warming the toes on cold nights, or perfect for when a cold is coming on or you just feel cold. Enjoy this by the bowlful.
Longan are sold fresh and dried. For tea, it is much more convenient to use dried. They are loved by the Chinese and used commonly across China. They are used to flavour many dishes – winter sweets, sweet Chinese soups and congee. Great for snacks on their own if freshly dried, or mix with raisins and other dried fruits, and walnuts and other nuts.
It is easy to find them. Wander the aisles of your local Asian/Chinese shop until you find the dried fruit section. Sometimes you will find them sold in bulk. Choose ones that are soft, like raisins, and avoid the harder dried ones. Store them in a jar in your pantry, keep them in the fridge, or even freeze them to preserve them well.
In China this tea would be called a sweet soup. Serve it with the berries in the tea. You can strain them out if you prefer, but they are lovely left in and munched on as you sip. Longan are very relaxing and good for the memory as well.
This dish has to be eaten to be believed! How can eggplant taste so not-like-eggplant?
Eggplant always surprises.
This is one of those dishes things that is an absolute surprise! The sort of recipe that makes you want to rush out to plant your own huge eggplant patch! This is more of a summer dish in Japan as eggplants are one of the best antidotes to Japan’s hot and sultry summers. But it can be cooked at any time that eggplants are in season. The broth is heavenly, and the eggplant acts like tofu, soaking up all of the flavours.
Enjoy the flavours of Malaysia with this easy vegetable dish.
Fresh, crunchy and health-giving, a bowl of stir-fried vegetables enriched with a deeply flavoured Coconut Curry broth is a wonderful lunch or light dinner – even an evening snack. A Food Bowl, straight from the source, without following any current food fashion.
Cucumbers are a little under-rated in this household, yet they make beautiful salads (and incredible juices!). This salad comes from Amber – a simple salad indeed but with unexpected flavours.
Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series. Explore other Cucumber Salads here and here. You might also like our Cucumber recipes here and here. Or browse Salad recipes here and here. Check out our easy Summer recipes here and here.
Parts of Asia, from China to Thailand and Singapore, even Bali, have amazing salads of the freshest of vegetables with handfuls of herbs. This salad celebrates that tradition, with ingredients from Japan, China and S.E. Asia. It is a bit of work, truth be told, but it makes such a great salad to take to a large gathering, BBQ or picnic. Not quite a Buddha’s Salad, it is so dynamic it is also wonderful eaten on its own as a course, or a light lunch, perhaps accompanied by some Chinese steamed rice.
The vegetables are all slightly pickled, the tofu is marinated, and the herbs are plentiful. Look for unusual ingredients in your local Chinese or Asian grocery shop.
This recipe is a little similar to Kylie’s Asian Herb and Sesame Salad, although they come from different sources. Both are worth trying if you enjoy slightly pickled salads. You might also like Cucumber and Red Radish Slightly Pickled Salad, or Slightly Pickled Mushrooms in Tamari and Sesame Oil.
Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series – these are vegetarian recipes from our first blog, from 1995 – 2005. You might also like all of our Tofu recipes here and here. Or browse the SE Asian recipes here and here. All of our Salad recipes are here and here. Or spend some time to explore our easy Summer recipes here and here.
This is incredibly delicious. Even if you are not a tofu eater, this dish will convert you. Who could not love deep fried tofu with peanuts? The sauce is divine.
We have been making this since around 2002, so quite a while. It is a Thai style dish, simple in its construction and flavours, but that very simplicity gives it a punchy flavour. It is a perfect light lunch with a salad, or a mid afternoon snack when dinner is still a long way off.
The act of deep frying the tofu changes the nature of it, from something bland and lacking much texture, to a beautiful textural addition to other dishes or on it own.
You might also like our Tofu recipes here and here. Our Deep Fried Tofu recipes are here. Or you might like to browse SE Asian recipes here and here. Check out our easy Spring recipes here and here. Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series – beautiful vegetarian recipes from our first blog 1995 – 2005.
A quick summer salad that takes less than 5 minutes to make.
The simplest of salads, quick, easy and divine. The cucumber and avocado so soft and delicately balance with the dressing.
Try some other cucumber recipes – Cucumber Yoghurt Salad (Raita), Tomato and Cucumber Cold Soup, or Mozzarella and Cucumber Salad with Caperberries and Lemon.
Perhaps you are looking for Avocado Recipes? Have a look at Avocado and Celery Cold Soup.
It is possible to make excellent vegetarian kimchi. Here is how.
I love subtle dishes as much as full flavoured ones. Not so subtle is Kim Chi, that Korean staple!
Kimchi is not traditionally vegetarian, but you can still make a great vegetarian version. It can be made at any time of the year, from a whole range of vegetables including cabbage, daikon radish, watermelon radish, turnip, carrot, fennel, cucumbers. Mix and match.
Grab some ko choo kah roo (Korean chilli flakes) for a more authentic taste and colour. It does make a difference.
You might also like to try this alternative Kim Chi for Vegetarians. Or browse the Pickle recipe collection here and here. We love an Indian Quince Pickle and Pickled Ginger. Explore our Korean recipes too.
An unusual kitchari, oven cooked, slow cooked, or stove top.
Rediscovering a wonderful ceramic oven dish with lid, it was put to use cooking another kitchari, this time made with red rice. Most Indian and some Asian groceries will stock red rice. Red rice is a very healthy rice – I use Rosa Matta rice from Kerala, but there are several different varieties.
This kitchari originates from Korea, but I have made it more Indian than Korean. It is not a traditional Indian kitchari, but is very tasty, and can be cooked on the stove top, in the oven or in a slow cooker.
A Chilli Jam with extraordinary depth of flavours.
This Chilli Jam is more complex and refined that many others. Slow, slow cooking gives it an enduring and lingering natural sweetness which is enhanced with the addition of jaggery.
Although it is called a jam, it is not a spread. It is closer to a Chilli Paste. It is as hot as you can imagine chillies to be, and spread it on your toast at your peril.