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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Herb and Walnut Fritters

These Iranian fritters are herbaceous and delicious. They are a perfect snack at afternoon tea time, or make a great lunch with flatbreads and fresh salads.

We make our herby fritters with a chickpea flour base rather than eggs. With a little eno or baking soda for aeration, it is the perfect replacement for eggs in this type of recipe.The inspiration was Ottolenghi’s dish in his book Simple. They are very easy to make and utterly delicious. These fritters are a bit of a fridge raid – use whatever soft herbs you have to hand.

Similar recipes include Rosti with Goat’s Cheese and Chives, Spinach Fritters, Vegetable Fritters, and Chickpea Flour Fritters and Pancakes.

Browse all of our Fritters and all of our recipes from Simple. Or explore all of our Mid Summer recipes.

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Tamarind Summer Cooler

Another great Summer Cooler is made with tamarind – that sweet-sour and ubiquitous Indian souring agent. If you can find fresh tamarind, go the whole way and make your own tamarind paste – it is worth the effort.

The tamarind paste is mixed with sugar syrup and tasted to get the perfect balance of sweet and sour. In the photo, we have also used dried barberries that have soaked in the sugar syrup. Not only do they look festive, they also have a delightful sweet-sour flavour that compliments the drink very well.

It is interesting how tamarind coolers feature around the world, from the Nam Makham of Thailand to the Agua Fresca de Tamarindo from Mexico.

Similar recipes include Tamarind Molasses, the Ultimate Pineapple Juice and Coconut Cooler, Ginger Cooler, Pandan Cooler, and Jal Jeera.

You might like to read 40 of our Best Coolers for Summer.

Browse all of our Coolers and Indian Drinks. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Red Cabbage Slaw with Barberries

Red cabbage, a colourful addition to a winter kitchen. Here we make a simple slaw with it, flavoured with juniper berries and barberries or cranberries. It is quick and easy, and a gorgeous addition to your Winter table.

The cabbage can be used raw, as in a traditional slaw, or sauteed briefly for a warm slaw.

Similar dishes include Miso Slow Braised Cabbage, Crunchy Root Vegetable Slaw, Grilled Sweetcorn Slaw, and Fancy Pants Coleslaw.

Browse all of our Slaw recipes and all of our many many Salads. Or explore our Mid Winter dishes.

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Rice, Wild Rice and Quinoa Salad With Nuts and Barberries

This is one of those recipes that gives Ottolenghi’s recipes a bad wrap – lots of ingredients, but even worse, SIX different cooking processes each with its own pots and pans and utensils to be washed, bench to be cleaned. It better be worth it, I thought. It is not a dish for weeknights. And I recommend washing up the pans as you go, even if you have a dishwasher.

First you cook the wild rice, then the basmati, then the quinoa. While they have to be cooked separately, it can be done simultaneously. Then the nuts are toasted and next the onions are sauteed. Finally, all ingredients come together and are dressed. Tarragon is far too expensive here to buy for one salad, so that is omitted.

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area. I made a couple of changes to the recipe. Ottolenghi uses Sour Cherries, but they are difficult to find locally. I use Barberries, which are easily found in Middle Eastern and Afghani groceries. I also use lime or lemon, whichever is on the kitchen bench. Also, I will swap the herbs out for what is available at the time. I like to keep parsley, but sometimes the heat of Summer gets to the basil, so I might use Thai Basil or lemon balm, or other soft, leafy herb. And rocket will get subbed for baby spinach if that is what I have  – I may add a tart element to replace the bite of rocket (e.g. a little raw onion, spring onion, capers, or sour grapes).

Ottolenghi salad recipes are always huge, enough to serve an army. Making a third or half of the recipe is usually enough for four of us. Scale for your own numbers, size of serve, and appetite.  This salad is particularly large, even a half recipe will be great for a BBQ lunch for half an army.

So is this salad worth the work? I rarely say this about Ottolenghi’s dishes, but, no. It’s a good salad, even a great salad. But I prefer to make it when I want to use up left over rice, onions and/or quinoa. I sub the wild rice for chickpeas, as wild rice is a reasonably expensive ingredient. Having said that, it does work as is as a dish for a friend’s lunch or BBQ when you only want 1 large, visually pleasing  salad to accompany the main course.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days 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 recipes include Herbed Red Rice and Radish Salad, Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Parsley and Pinenuts, Not Quite Fried Rice Salad, Sweet Pepper and Rice Salad, and Green Mango and Coconut Rice.

Browse all of our Rice Salads, and all of our Quinoa dishes. Our Ottolenghi recipes are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Persian Barberry Saffron Rice with Almonds and Pistachios

We are so in love with our long stranded saffron from Saffron Only. With our delivery we also received several recipe cards including the recipe for this rice dish which has also been mentioned by an Irani work colleague. As beautiful soft barberries are available at the local Afghan shop, the recipe was added to our must-cook list.

The recipe simmers long grained rice until al dente, then steams it on a bed of potatoes or pita bread (optional) until the bottom is crispy and the rice is perfectly cooked. It is then served with saffron water, the toasted barberries, almonds and pistachios.

Berberis, commonly known as barberry, is a large shrub that has yellow flowers and red or blue-black berries. The berries, rich in vitamin C, have a distinct sharp acid flavour. The country in which they are used the most is Iran where they are used in rice pilafs.. Due to their inherent sour flavor, they are often cooked with sugar before being added to rice. Iranian markets sell barberry dried. In Russia they are sometimes used in jams and extract from them is a common flavouring for soft drinks and candies/sweets. They are rarely used in Europe in modern times. (Thanks wikipedia.)

I notice that Ottolenghi has a similar recipe on his website. I mention it only as we have an Ottolenghi Project happening, cooking from his book Plenty More. You can check his recipe out, but I like this one better. 🙂

Barberries are also such a beautiful colour that they make a great garnish to any rice dish or salad.

Similar recipes include Couscous and Chickpea Pilaf, Saffron Mograbieh Pilaf, Saffron, Date and Almond Rice, and Golden Saffron Tea.

Browse all of our Saffron dishes and all of our Persian recipes. Our Middle Eastern dishes are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.
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