Where would we be without Chilli Paste? Our kitchen boasts 2 or 3 different ones at any one time, plus of course red and green chillies in the freezer, chilli flakes and 3 different chilli powders. We love a touch of heat in the kitchen, but not everyone has to go this far! A good chilli paste will be your godsend when you are looking to spice up a soup, sauce, pasta dish, dip, avocado mash, even a potato crush!
It is another 43C day, as I write, and the whole of Australia is in the grip of a heatwave. So we look for refreshing and cooling salads each day. Kosumalli salads from South India fit the bill perfectly. With fresh raw ingredients mixed with coconut and dressed just with lime or lemon juice, they are what we crave in the heat.
I wonder about the origin of these salads – raw ingredients are uncommon in India, so perhaps they were a consequence of the British occupation. If you know, can you enlighten us?
Today we have another Rasam recipe to add to our series exploring the different types of Rasam. This one has a slight toor dal base, uses fewer spices (mainly cumin and black pepper) and uses lime juice for a tangy, digestion promoting, delicious dish. There are four different ways of making Lime Rasam, according to the Queen of Tamil Food, Meenakshi Ammal. This is the third of her methods.
The Rasams Chapter in Meenakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See contains traditional Tamil rasam recipes. Although we are not afraid to step away from the tree, going back to very traditional recipes (that can still be made in the modern kitchen) is an important way to get the hang of traditional as well as modern methods and flavour combinations. I hope you feel the same.
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Okra is so very good in the shops right now, as I write, so I grabbed some from the Asian market in my last shopping trip. Lovely thin, tender, long spears of goodness – how we love them.
You will love this recipe. It is as simple as Indian cooking can get. The okra is sliced and cooked with tamarind, green chillies and a little toor dal. Other recipes will add tomatoes, onions, garlic, sambar powder or other spices, coconut, etc, but I prefer this simple, honest preparation from the Palghat (Palakkad) area of Kerala. I have made it quite thick, as you can see, as I prefer it that way, but you can have more sauce if you prefer. I found this approach in the book Classic Tamil Brahman Cuisine by Viji Varadarajan.
The weather is still so mild in Early Autumn, with heat wave conditions and the odd cold day that has us searching for jumpers.
In the kitchen we hang onto Summer as long as we can. Delicious greens begin to appear in the markets and Amaranth and Purslane are easy pickings in our garden. The tomatoes hold on and eggplants are beautiful.
The weather has us looking for soups, whether it is hot or mild. A few cold soups for early Autumn and bowls and bowls of vegetable soup for the milder days.
Enjoy our 30 Soup Suggestions for this month.
Autumn is here! So gradually the warm weather departs until next Summer. But salads are definitely still on the table. Don’t get stuck with boring salads. Be inventive!
Our Salads can be light at this time of the year, hanging on to the memory of Summer. And gradually they become more substantial with lentils and beans forming a backdrop for the leaves and vegetables.
Enjoy 30 of our best salads for Early Autumn.
Green Tomatoes are around all season if you look for them, and particularly in Spring and Autumn. They are delicious – don’t stick them on the window sill to ripen. Slice them into your salads, or cook with them. Their slightly tart tomatoey flavour will surprise you. We adore them and you will too. Enjoy our collection of recipes from the US, India, Australia and beyond.
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We try to keep up our Salad consumption all year. It is easy to forget about salads in cold weather, moving instead to soups and broths, roasted and baked dishes and hot snacks. But salads bring a freshness into the diet, lifting the day with its flavours, and complimenting the hotter dishes. We will eat them as a snack or a course before the main meal. In Summer, naturally they are cooling and refreshing.
This one is special – an Indian salad of carrot, capsicum and cashews and can be made any time of the year. It is dressed with yoghurt and tempered black mustard seeds.
You might like to read What is a Kachumber?
Malabar Spinach is freely available in Asian and other shops from Mid Summer, and is a lovely alternative to real spinach and other greens. Today we cook it fairly simply with urad dal for a very earthy dish that has a slight bitterness. It does not use many spices, and is gorgeous with some potatoes with chilli and onion.
We’ve had a little focus on Swedes and Turnips last Winter, as we realised that we were not appreciating these underrated vegetables enough. It is Spring as I write, but swedes, turnips and parsnips are still in the green grocers, and the weather is cold. So we decided to add a gratin to our list of recipes for these Wintery roots.