We can never have enough pachadi and raita. Cooling and refreshing, they are prefect on a hot Summer’s day. Tasty and delicious, they are an excellent way to include yoghurt in your diet and to include another vegetable in your daily mix of food. Indian food is an excellent vehicle for including more veg in your meals than you ever thought possible.
Oh my, this has become my favourite drizzling sauce for this Winter – over soups, vegetables, into dals, on tofu and paneer, on rice, in sandwiches and sauces, with lentils and bean dishes — anything! I mix it into amazing dressings. It is a condiment or hot sauce that is very popular with Hawaiians and has a range of variations on the common base of chillies, garlic, vinegar, salt and water. As well as a condiment, it is also used as a drink to sip, and as a sauce. Many Hawaiian homes keep Chilli Water on their table, and guest will bring a bottle of their own home made Chilli Water to leave with the host.
Why does it work? We know that an acid or sour flavour – vinegar, lemon juice, bitters, tamarind etc – enlivens any dish. Chilli adds interest and heat. Salt brings out flavour. Garlic adds bite and deeper flavours. If you add bay leaf or soy sauce they provide grounded earthy flavours (umami). All of this in one bottle of sauce that is composed mostly of water!
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!
Picture a Tunisian grandmother, a master at cooking kofta, making them with Ottolenghi. This scene from his Mediterranean series is a classic. She gets fully ticked off with his faffing around, the time he takes, the number of ingredients he uses. She sits on a stool in the corner, rolling her eyes and muttering under her breath. Ah, Grandma, we know, we KNOW.
It must have been a trial for Ottolenghi to bring out Simple, his latest book. Recipes pared down to their bare essentials. No more layerings of flavour upon flavour upon flavour. No more dishes that can be a meal in themselves. HE must have been the one rolling his eyes and huffing and puffing as testers and editors stripped yet another ingredient from a dish.
I am in 2 minds about Simple. Yes, there is a level of difficulty in his other books, and not all of those recipes are for typical week night cooking. But there is something in the Simple recipes that I miss. An undefinable something. It is as though every recipe in his other books stretches us in the kitchen somehow. A new ingredient, a new technique, a new way of cooking, a new combination of ingredients. Not so Simple. Some dishes are quite ordinary by comparison, albeit delicious.
Still, they are as visually pleasing as the dishes from his other books, and a delight in their own way (just a different way to the Ottolenghi we have been used to). This raita, a riff on an Indian dish, is quite good. I’ve said before that Ottolenghi does not yet understand Indian food very well – perhaps he doesn’t care about that. He has been known to use Indian ingredients in ways that don’t showcase them to their best. But in this dish, although not typically Indian, it is a pretty jolly good plate of food. Love the inclusion of preserved lemon in the chilli paste which is layered on top of the raita. Brilliant.
Raita is traditionally served with an Indian meal as a salad and as a cooling agent, contrasting well with the spiciness of the rest of the meal. Leave off the chilli paste if you want to serve it this way. But raita is very versatile. It is lovely as a dip, gorgeous with some warm pitta, and excellent spooned on top of spiced rice.
You can find the original recipe for this dish here.
Browse all of our Raita recipes. Our dishes from Simple are here, and all of our Ottolenghi recipes are here. You might like to check out our Indian dishes and our Indian Essentials. Or explore our Late Spring dishes.
This is a great Balinese Sambal based on tomatoes and shallots. It has been vegetarianised, using miso and seaweed flakes to add the salty sea taste to the sambal. This is not so unusual as miso, tofu and tempeh are made in Bali backyards.
You can add other items to this sambal, such as diced eggplant, ginger, curry leaves, even watercress and nuts. This is the basic version, and it can be served with any meal e.g. white rice, nasi lemak (Balinese Coconut Rice), nasi minyak (Balinese ghee rice), thosai, roti chanai.
This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can browse more of the Retro Recipes series, our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.
These sweet chillies are a variation on Sweet Chilli Sauce, – red chillies are simmered in a sugar solution until tender, and then stored in a glass jar. I will usually make small portions as it is an easy recipe, using a dozen or so ripe chillies from the garden. The preserve is then used over the next few days as an accompaniment to dishes. It is pretty delicious, especially with anything involving rice.
The syrup thickens like a jam or jelly, creating an interesting texture as well as flavour. The trick is to avoid over cooking otherwise you will have chilli toffee. The clearish jelly is strongly chilli flavoured, and the chilli pieces add texture and more heat. You will really enjoy this one. Today I used ripened chillies from the purple jalapeno chilli plant in the garden.
I love to serve this preserve on a cheese board (you have to be a chilli lover) and also mix it into creamy salad dressings.
This recipe is for a chilli, garlic and coriander paste that can be used as an accompaniment to dishes and full meals (like an Indian style chutney), and as a flavouring for food. Stir it into steamed rice, for example, or into any curry. It works particularly well with coconut milk based spicy dishes. Have it on the side of rice or curries, drizzle it into soups, spread a tiny amount on a sandwich, smear a little onto a snack.
Keep it handy too for spreading on your sandwiches and toast (try it with cheese!), and as a dip for snacks and finger food. It also goes well with idli, vada and other Indian snacks. We are claiming this as an Indian style chutney, although it does vary a little. Nevertheless, it is every bit as delicious as any Indian green chutney.
The paste keeps well in the fridge if tightly covered and avoid using a wet spoon when using the paste.
Some years ago my friend Franz shared the recipe for a chilli jam he was making, and as I had chillies everywhere (in the freezer, on the bush, dried, drying), I made a couple of jars too. One I gave to my Thai friends, and they ate the whole (large) jar within a week. Oh my goodness! They loved the heat and the sweetness.
The other jar has been in the fridge all of those years. The reason is, we are always making chilli jams, pastes, purees…. There are always multiple jars open in the fridge and more containers in the freezer. This particular one came to the fore the other day when a sambal was needed for some okra with coconut rice. After the intervening time, the jam was still absolutely excellent (perhaps better for the maturing), and tasted incredible. I mixed it with some Chinese Chilli-Blackbean paste for an instant sambal.
Chatting with Franz, I told him the story and asked him to send me the recipe again. Catastrophe! Neither of us could find a copy! That made me search deeper and longer until I found it. Not wanting to lose the recipe again, we are posting it here so we know where it is! Please make and enjoy, it is amazing. I have tweaked the recipe a little to suit my preference and available ingredients.
This is a simple and easy recipe for Sweet Chilli Sauce, a sauce that can be used in so many ways – with noodles or over vegetables, in a stir fry, as a dip, or as a condiment. Use it in sandwiches, add some to pasta sauces, and spread over grilled tofu or haloumi. You will find a million ways to use it.
The recipe’s heat content depends on the chillies that are used. For mild chillies, add more. For firey chillies, stay with 3 or reduce to 2. My latest batch of sauce, made with 3 ripe chillies of the purple cayenne variety, is quite sweet with a delightful mild-medium heat perfect for a dipping sauce. If you like real HEAT, add more chillies. You can also boost up the amount of garlic should you prefer a garlic twist to your chilli sauce.
Similar recipes include Balinese Sambal Tomat, Preserved Sweet Chillies, Chilli Soy Sauce, Sweet Chilli Jam, Green Chilli and Coriander Paste, Chilli Jam, Chilli Paste, Soy and Sesame Dipping Sauce, and Tomato and Chilli Jam.
This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can find other recipes from that blog in the Retro Recipes series.
You think that you love Sriracha? I am sure that you have not tried Harissa yet.
Harissa is a well-known hot sauce from the North African and Middle Eastern parts of this world. It is tangy hot, but tempered by the sweet red peppers, roasted for intensity of flavour. This aromatic and spicy chilli paste can be used like a condiment, or added to dishes as they cook, or used to spice up soups, dips, eve your pizza. It is great with vegetables, roast potatoes and couscous. Slip just a little into your salad dressing. But a little goes a long way – it is a hot paste even if you are used to spicy food. In North Africa it’s also served in a pool of olive oil, for dipping bread into.
Harissa recipes vary between countries and regions, but it commonly includes chillies, garlic, olive oil, cumin, coriander, caraway and mint.
You might like to brows our other chilli pastes. Try Red or Green Chilli Pastes, Chilli Jam with Deep and Complex Flavours, or Zhug, a Corainder and Chilli Paste. Or read How to Dry Chillies and How to Make Chilli Powder.
Similar recipes include How to Make Bechamel (White) Sauce.