Buttery Dal, with Urad and Tomatoes

While lentils are a beloved pantry essential around the world, they are cooked with unmatched culinary skill in India. Dal is a staple dish in most Indian homes, one that cuts across all social and economic groupings. In Northern India, there is a deep love for urad lentils, those hard back bullets that are white when skinned. Recipes vary from deeply spiced and complex, like Dal Makhani, to gentle, subtle and glorious, like Urad Tamatar, and Amristari Dal.

What all (or most) of them have in common is an enrichment with butter and/or cream. Urad lentils are particularly comfortable with surprising amounts of this dairy fat, so there is a need to get over any qualms – just dive in and add. After all, you are not eating it every day, right? This is a restaurant style dish (ie lots of butter and cream), but if you do want to minimise the quantities, you can get by with adding about 1/2 or 1/3 of the amount. In homes similar dishes are made for breakfast, particularly in the countryside and probably with smaller amounts of butter and cream.

The recipe is one of the gentle, subtle, earthy urad dishes. You will adore it. I have added a chilli-cumin finishing oil which is gorgeous, but optional.

Similar recipes include Amristari Dal, Dal Makhani Nilgiri, and Urad Dal with Onions.

Browse all of our Urad recipes and all of our Dals. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Broccoli and Chickpeas with Orange Butter Sauce

How gorgeous is broccoli, and how incredibly versatile it is. Those little trees can be boiled, steamed, roasted and char grilled. They pair well with lemon and black pepper (delicious), but in this recipe we use oranges as they are plentiful right now. The oranges from our trees are the juiciest we have ever had – it must have been all of the rain last year. Oranges pair well with white pepper, did you know? So this recipe uses that for seasoning.

Just to make it even more delicious, we’ve added chickpeas to the mix. There is a bit of butter in this dish, but that’s Ok once in a while, right?

Similar recipes include Pan Roasted Broccoli, Broccoli with Orange-Verjuice-Butter Sauce, Broccolini and Edamame Salad, Smashed Chickpeas with Broccoli and Dukkah, and Lemak Style Vegetables.

Browse all of our Broccoli recipes, and all of our Orange dishes. Or be inspired by our collection of Late Winter recipes.

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Cooking Tip: How To Make (and Freeze) Beurre Manie, a French Uncooked Butter and Flour Thickening Agent

Years ago I spent some time working in France, in the North East. It was a special time, connecting with great foodies. It really was my introduction to French food and cooking, and extraordinarily it was through the homes of those around me that I learned about the regional dishes. My best friend there was the son of a cheese maker, his daughter was studying in another part of France and would bring home delicacies of that region. Work colleagues originated from all parts of the country, and so I experienced cheeses, wine, fruits, sweets and dished from all over.

So much of that time stays with me, the tricks and treats of the French kitchen, and the delicacy and finesse of French food. Here is one of the tricks, and it s a timely one as we move into Winter with its Soups, Braises, Vegetable Stews and hearty sauces. Make a flour and butter thickening agent and store in the fridge or freezer. This mix gives a thick creamy result with a shiny texture. With the butter coating the flour you are able to add it to your soup or sauce without the flour getting thick and clumpy. As the butter melts it distributes the flour evenly as you stir it into your mixture.

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Butternut Pumpkin Cooked with Lashings of Butter and Black Pepper

Such soft buttery butternut, perfect for late Autumn

Vegetables like potatoes and pumpkin can be slow cooked very successfully. It works best with lots of butter, and of course that adds to the flavour A LOT. In this recipe, the butter helps to produce meltingly soft Butternut Pumpkin.

We began making this dish a long time ago, and it is a recipe from our Retro Recipe series – vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006. It began as a quick, no fuss way to cook pumpkin while we were doing other things in and out of the kitchen, an a great vegetable to serve for Sunday lunches and winter BBQs. It has now come into its own, and we love it at any time.

Are you after spectacular mashes? You might also want to try Garlicky Potato Mash, Broad Bean and Butter Bean Mash, and Carrot and Parsnip Mash. And try these Potato Mashes – English, French, and Indian.

Are you looking for Pumpkin recipes? Try Butternut with Buckwheat Polenta and Tempura Lemons, French Cream of Pumpkin SoupRoast Pumpkin Couscous Salad, Lasagne with Spinach, Ricotta and Pumpkin, and Roasted Pumpkin Risotto.

You might also like to check out all of our Pumpkin recipes. Or browse Slow Cooked recipes. Take some time to explore our collection of easy Mid Winter recipes.

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How to Make Clarified Butter

Clarified Butter is a classic and ubiquitous French ingredient that has become an oft-used ingredient across the European-influenced cooking world. It is an oil that originates from butter which has had some of the moisture, milk solids and impurities removed (but not all). It has a slight nutty flavour.

Often ghee is confused with clarified butter, but it is a different product of the same technique. Ghee has all the moisture and impurities in butter removed through a longer cooking process, and the resulting oil has a deep caramel aroma and golden colour. Also, the genesis of ghee is different – originally the process began with the creamy milk fresh from the cow, from which the frothy cream was collected, churned, then heated to make a pure and wonderful ghee.

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Oven Baked Potatoes with Balsamic and Thyme

An interesting dish, beautiful and warming.

An interesting dish, beautiful and warming. The vinegar evaporates down and loses some of its acidity. I cooked it recently to eat with a green undressed salad and tomatoes. Heavenly.

I can eat this on its own, perhaps with a light green salad, for brunch on weekends. I have made it with the addition of carrots and Jerusalem Artichokes and it is delicious. I like to use rosemary rather than thyme, especially on Sundays, as it scents the whole house!

It is an Italian dish – it is common to grill, fry or saute vegetables like pumpkin and potato and then hit them with a balsamic dressing. The dish is slightly acidic in flavour, from the balsamic vinegar. Choose the best quality balsamic, it will make all the difference.

Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series. You might also like our Potato recipes here. Or you might like to browse Baked recipes here. Check out our easy Spring recipes here.

Potatoes, Oven Baked with Balsamic Vinegar and Thyme | Heat in The Kitchen |

Potatoes, Oven Baked with Balsamic Vinegar and Thyme

1.3 kg waxy potatoes, peeled 700g red onions 225 g butter
large bunch fresh thyme or rosemary 120 – 150 ml balsamic vinegar salt, freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

Slice the potatoes lengthwise to about 1cm thick. Trim the root end of the onions, but don’t remove them completely as they will keep the onion intact. Cut the onions in half vertically, then into eighths. They should be the same thickness as the potatoes.

Melt the butter in a large ovenproof dish or frying pan, and add the onions and potatoes. Fry, shaking and turning to that the vegetables become coated with the butter and have taken on a little colour – about 10 – 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the thyme or rosemary and stir in half of the balsamic vinegar.

Cover the pan with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, and stir in the remaining balsamic. Either bake without the foil lid for another 20 – 30 minutes for a crisp topped potato dish, or replace the foil lid and bake for another 20 minutes for a softer, baked texture. In either case, the potatoes have taken on the colour of the balsamic vinegar.

Season and enjoy!


Potatoes, Oven Baked with Balsamic Vinegar and Thyme | Heat in The Kitchen |




Indian Essentials: How to Make Ghee | Nature’s Fabulous Food

Ghee is said to be the essence of a cow – first the cow produces milk, then cream is made from the milk. The best of the milk is extracted to make butter and then the best of the butter extracted to make ghee. How close to “essence of cow” is that!

I have been making ghee for myself and others since around 2000. It does take a few practice attempts to perfect, but once you have done it you will never buy ghee again. It is quite different.

All it requires is butter and mindfulness – it does need to be watched continually. The end point tricky to judge the first couple of times that you make it. But after that, you are a pro. It takes about 30 minutes all up. The amount of time that it takes depends on the amount of water in the butter, and different brands of butter will take different times.

Feel free to browse our Indian recipes here. Or try recipes using ghee here. Our Spring recipes are here.

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