Herby Masala Vadai with Tomato Mint Chutney

We are here, munching some Masala Vadai for afternoon tea. These vadai are chock-a-block full of  herbs – coriander and dill. Dill is an uncommon (but not unusual) herb in Indian cuisine, but its use here is wonderful.

The recipe is adapted from one in the book Tiffin by Rukmini Srinivas. We’ve been enjoying reading from it and now want to cook the recipes. The original includes flax seeds which is a very healthy addition, but we have left them out this time.

The recipe is very adaptable. The paste is made from urad, channa and toor dals with the herbs, onions, chilli and ginger added. I can imagine these made with slightly mashed broad beans (the Western type of broad beans), for example, or a coarse mash of peas. Finely chopped capsicums or finely grated carrots would  be a variation if you were sick of the herbs.

The Tomato Mint Chutney is delightful and pairs well with the vadai. Sometimes  I will use sweet chilli sauce, or a herby yoghurt dip, or an Indian green chutney.

A high speed blender like Vitamix is best for grinding the lentils if you don’t have an Indian grinder. Use one that has a tamper if you can, to minimise the number of times you have to scrape the sides down. One of the modern high speed food processors might also work well. Remember that you want a coarse mix, not a fine paste. Also the mix needs to be shaped into patties, so do not add water unless absolutely necessary.

Similar recipes include Broad Bean and Mint Vadai, Falafel, and Tattai Vadai.

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

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Dried Okra Pachadi | Crispy Dried Okra in Yoghurt

Some time ago I dried some okra to see us through the non-okra season, and it is time to use them.  These are teeny crispy dried okra, tiny little rounds of okra and today we pair them with yoghurt in a Dried Okra Pachadi.

The dried okra is flash fried in some ghee and added to yoghurt which has been flavoured with spices. It is totally delicious, and can be used as a snack or as a side salad to a meal. We have even used it as a sauce or dressing for other dishes.

Are you after more Okra dishes? Try Spicy Dried Okra SnackOkra with Apricots and Lemon, Dried Turmeric Okra, and Fried Okra.

Browse all of our Okra dishes, and all of our Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or find some wonderful recipes to make in our Early Summer collection.

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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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Rajasthani Spiced Green Tomatoes | Green Tomato Chutney

Green tomatoes are very special, and how wonderful it is to have a green grocer who knows this and stocks them. To be able to find them easily is exciting, and several always make it into our shopping bag.

This time we made this delightful Spicy Green Tomato dish, and it is a cracker! It can be used either as a Indian style Chutney, or a spicy side dish. It is a Rajasthani recipe that is very easy to make – simply cook the tomatoes with the spices. No complicated procedures involved.

Similar recipes include Green Tomato and Mozzarella Salad, and Green Tomato Salsa.

Browse all of our Green Tomato recipes, and all of our Tomato dishes. Our Indian Chutneys are here, all of our Indian recipes here, and the Indian Essential Series here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Fruit and Herb Flavoured Vinegars

Spring is a great time for making some flavoured vinegars for Summer Salads and vegetables. It also makes great presents for Xmas! The flavoured vinegars are easy to make and can be left to infuse the flavours for as little as 2 weeks.

We show you a general method, and then several specific flavoured vinegars. If you are growing your own fruits and herbs, this is an excellent way to use your crops. Don’t forget to sterilise all of your equipment and utensils.

Similar recipes include How to Make Quince Paste, How to Pickle Ginger, and How to Make Chilli Paste.

Browse all of our How To suggestions, and all of our Early Spring recipes.

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Collection: What to do with Daikon Radish – From Salads to Curries

Daikon Radish (aka White Radish) is another underused  vegetable. There are two varieties, the Japanese and the Korean White radishes. They vary in size, but the tastes are the same.

Daikon is most popular in Salads where its radish-like heat shines through. I use it a lot in home made juices – just a small chunk so that the heat does not overpower the juice – and it adds a spark to the juice that is not otherwise there.

But when cooked – steamed, simmered, sauteed, baked, roasted, fried – it loses its heat and becomes mild and delicious.

Enjoy our collection of Daikon recipes. You can also browse them all here.

Other Collections include:

Browse all of our Gratin, or explore our Mid Winter dishes.

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Sautéed Butternut and Spinach with Roasted Mushrooms and Roasted Garlic

Spinach is often paired with butternut pumpkin and it is a perfect match. We’ve been cooking this recipe for ages. Over time it has changed, simplified, adapted to the food fashions of the time. But the main ingredients have stayed the same – spinach or similar greens, butternut or jap pumpkin, mushrooms and a couple of spices. In this recipe, any greens that cook up like spinach or chard and can handle spices can be used – try some of the Asian greens and Indian greens also.

At our place we often need a quick way to use up greens from the garden – spinach, bok choy, chard, silver beet and others. Our garden can get over-run with these! This is a great dish to use them up.

The butternut pumpkin is sauteed until almost cooked before the greens are added, and the finished dish is topped with roasted or sautéed mushrooms and some roasted garlic. Delicious.

Similar dishes include Eggplant, Spinach and Sweet Potato Curry, Daikon and Golden Pumpkin Curry, Sweetcorn and Spinach Bhauri, and Chinese Style Greens.

Or browse all of our Spinach recipes and our Pumpkin dishes. Explore our Mid Spring collection of recipes.

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Tomato Rasam with Lime Juice

Tomato Rasam has to be one of the most loved Rasams of South India – it certainly is mine. We have a number of different recipes for Tomato Rasam, as well as variations on Lime Rasam, and today I am bringing you Meenakshi Ammal’s recipe. It is an interesting one, using lime juice as the souring agent instead of tamarind. There is no chilli in this recipe, rather black pepper is used to provide some heat. The top water of cooked lentils is also used for added flavour (and nutrition), akin to using stock in Western soups. It is a good practice, one I adopted years ago – when there is flavoursome water in which lentils have been cooked, make rasam. Or at least use in soups. I surprised a friend once – we were on holidays in Hawaii and had cooked some lentils for a lunch dish. I saved the water and whipped up a tasty rasam with some snacks for our afternoon tea. She adored it.

Back to our recipe today. This particular Tomato Rasam 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 dishes include Cumin Seed and Pepper Rasam, Kottu Rasam, and Tomato Rasam.

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

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A Collection of 30 Soups for Late Autumn | Seasonal Cooking

Sometimes late Autumn can bring sunny days and warm weather still, and secretly we hope for it. But the farmers pray for rain, and most years it comes. Cold weather comes too. We settle in for 4 – 5 months of cold weather before the sunshine emerges again with its warmth and new life.

By now we have stocked up on the lentils and beans for winter. There is citrus fruit and root vegetables. The oven provides warmth in the kitchen. Soups, soups and soups are made – they become a daily ritual.

Similar posts include What to Do with Daikon Radish.

Enjoy our 30 Soup Suggestions for the month that heralds the colder weather to come.

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A Collection of 30 Salads for Late Autumn | Seasonal Cooking

By Late Autumn the available fruits and vegetables have changed considerably from our Summer abundant produce. Sweet potatoes and new potatoes are excellent quality. There are a large range of grape varieties available. Citrus has hit the shops, from ruby grapefruits to mandarins. Fresh horseradish is in season. Pumpkins pile up in bins in the green groceries. Okra is more generally available, and radishes are generous and bright red. Fennel bulbs are luscious, and Jicama are coming back into the shops. Pears are juicy, and Apples range from small snack size to large pie size. Surprisingly, small garlic bulbs are around and they are lovely to roast. It is truly exciting to browse the shops and markets at this time of the year.

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