Japanese Simmered Sautéed Eggplant in Beautiful Broth

This dish has to be eaten to be believed! How can eggplant taste so not-like-eggplant?

Eggplant always surprises.

This is one of those dishes things that is an absolute surprise! The sort of recipe that makes you want to rush out to plant your own huge eggplant patch! This is more of a summer dish in Japan as eggplants are one of the best antidotes to Japan’s hot and sultry summers. But it can be cooked at any time that eggplants are in season. The broth is heavenly, and the eggplant acts like tofu, soaking up all of the flavours.

Browse our Eggplant recipes here and here. Or you might like to browse Japanese recipes here and here. You might also like our Kombu recipes. Check out our easy Summer recipes here and here.

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Falafel | Ta’amia | Spicy Middle Eastern Chickpea Patties or Balls

Using cooked or tinned chickpeas, falafels are very easy to make.

Who can resist a good falafel? Wonderful for snacks, meals, in wraps or topping salads, they are wonderfully tasty, textural and healthy. Whip them up using chickpeas you have previously cooked and  frozen, for an easy supper.

Home made falafel are a huge cut above store-bought ones, or even those from some restaurants that must purchase them in bulk and keep them frozen for a long time. One has to wonder why, they are so easy to make, whereas many pre-prepared ones taste like cardboard. Who hasn’t had a wrap or roll with cardboard-tasting falafel stuffed into them for a “vegetarian option” when it would have been more flavoursome to leave them out?

Worry no more, we have your back. These are fantastic. Crispy crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. You can grind the chickpeas coarsely or more finely, which ever is your preference. But they must be ground enough to hold together as fritters.

You might like to also try hummus, which goes well with falafel. Chickpeas make a whole range of dishes. Try Chickpea Fingers, for example (it uses chickpea flour). Or Chickpea “Tabblouleh”Chickpeas can be baked, or made into a spread, or smashed and made into a salad.  They are really healthy – have a look at this article.

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A Revitalising Cardamon, Cinnamon and Clove Tea

Make a herbal tea to revitalize you. I love this one.

Spiced tea is always intensely interesting. Do try it. This is a take on a similar tea served in India. It is very special both with and without the optional black tea.

You might also like to try Phanta (Basil) Tea, Ayurvedic Teas, or Herbal Teas. Or browse our complete set of tea recipes here and here.  Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series of recipes from our first blog which ran from 1995 – 2005.

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Cumin, Coriander and Ginger Infusion (Tea)

Aahh, relax!

You find the most magical spice infusions in India. Although I still call them “teas”, technically, they are infusions or tisanes. In India, tea (chai) is only made from the leaves of the tea plant, often supplemented with spices.

Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series of recipes from our first blog which ran from 1995 – 2005. You might also like our Tea recipes here and here. Our Chai recipes are here. Or browse our Indian recipes here.

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Sago Payasam | South Indian Dessert

A classic dessert of Tamil Nadu

Sago Payasam is a classic dessert in Tamil Nadu in South India, along with Vermicelli and Rice Payasams. Payasams are sweet desserts, the milk condensing and thickening as it cooks and the sugar sweetens this thick mixture to a level almost beyond the experience of cooks outside of India. Hold back on the sugar to begin with if you do not have a sweet tooth.

You might also like our Payasam recipes here and here. Or our Sago recipes here and here. Explore our Indian Desserts here, or the more general Dessert recipes here and here.

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Oven Baked Tomatoes

A simple dish with a lot of punch.

Tomatoes are very special fruits, very versatile ingredients that match well both with so many cooking methods and with a variety of other ingredients. Can you imagine a world without the humble tomato?

This recipe is very simple, paring it back to the basics. Yet the result, as so often is the case, is outstanding. Bake a double batch and use the left over tomatoes in salads, sauces and soups, using them whole, chopped or pureeing them for their intended use.

The tomatoes can be cooked in the oven or in or on a BBQ. It is a perfect vehicle for home grown organic tomatoes. In autumn, serve with grilled polenta and a salad.

Feel free to browse our Tomato recipes here and here. Our favourite is Tomato Kurma. Or you might like to browse BBQ recipes here and here. Check out our easy Autumn recipes here and here.

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Mung Dal with Coconut Milk | Sri Lankan Style

Another beautiful Mung Bean recipe, a soup from Jaffna in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan in its origins, this Mung Dal recipe from Jaffna is quick and lovely. This is from that lovely cookbook of Sth Indian and Jaffna cooking – A Monk’s Cookbook by the monks from the Hindu Aadheenam on Kauai in Hawaii (you can download it here).

You might also like to try Mung Sprouts Sundal, Sweet Mung Dal Kitchadi, Mung Dal Sundal, or  Stir Fried Mung Bean Sprouts. Or simply browse all of our Mung recipes here and here, and Dal recipes here and here. Continue reading “Mung Dal with Coconut Milk | Sri Lankan Style”

How to Cook Vegetables for Sambar

Removing the confusion around cooking vegetables for Sambar

Once you are experienced at cooking sambar, it is quite easy. However, while mastering the skill it can be confusing. Here is some advice on making sambar, and particularly on cooking the vegetables for sambar.

The advice is based on my experience and the writings of S. Meenakshi Ammal who wrote the Cook and See series of books on traditional South Indian cooking.

Browse all of our sambar recipes here. and Meenakshi Ammal’s recipes here.

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Pitta Tea | For Rainy Weather | A Household Essential

Rainy weather tea

I like to drink a cuppa tea each day. It can be anything, white, green, brown, black. Fermented. Not. Herbal, spices or flowers. Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Ayurvedic. Gingery. Minty. Rosebuds. Dried apples. Dried mandarin skins. You name it, I drink it. I even grow it! (Lemongrass, lemon verbena, cardamon leaves, kaffir lime leaves, parsley, thyme, sage, rosemary…)

Just a note. In India, where so much of our tea comes from, Tea is Tea – real, proper, genuine tea. Anything else is something else. Here, “tea” means something, anything, that is infused in hot water.

Pitta tea, an ayurvedic tea very good for Rainy weather (here, late Autumn and late winter/pre spring weather), is quite drying, so I also make it when I need something to stop runny noses and other unpleasant symptoms of colds and flu.

You might like to also try The Making of Herbal Teas, The 5 C’s Golden Spiced Tea, and Yogi Tea. You can browse all our tea recipes.

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Italian Farmhouse Barley and Vegetable Soup | Zuppa di Orzo

A creamy and hearty soup for mid to late Winter, even into the cold of Spring

In October, 2001, I shifted back to cold Adelaide from temperate Sydney, and the cold weather was a shock! It had me craving soups. In Sydney I was not so keen on the more traditional English and heavy European food any longer – I had turned towards more Indian, Asian and Spicy food. However, coming back into the cold in Adelaide from warm Sydney made me hunger for hearty food – pasties, puddings and soups. How much heartier can you get than Barley Soup?

This really  is a hearty soup, made with caramelised vegetables that come together with the barley (some whole and some pureed) to make a great, Italian soup. Beautifully creamy, it is a delight for cold nights and wet weekends.

If you have been preserving and freezing foods in Autumn for Winter, this is a time to use chillies, garlic and tomatoes from your freezer. It makes it sooo easy.

It can be a tad confusing, as orzo in Italian is barley while in Greek it is rice shaped pasta. For this recipe, we are definitely using barley.

You might also like our Soup recipes here and here. We have a few Barley Recipes which will be published in the coming months. Our Italian recipes are here and here. Check out our easy Winter recipes here and here. And feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series.

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My Mother’s German Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Creamy Dressing

My Mother’s favourite salad

My mother, with her Germanic background, used to make a tomato and cucumber salad each summer which always delighted. With its wonderful creamy dressing it featured on all of our special occasions.

Browse all of our Tomato Salads here and here, and all of our Cucumber Salads here and here. Find inspiration in our Summer Recipes here and here.

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13 Treasure Happiness Soup | Provencale Vegetable Soup

An Extraordinary Soup

This soup is SO delicious – and makes everyone so happy when they eat it. The name comes from the 13 vegetables in the soup, and that wonderful warm, happiness feeling, but really it is from Provence in France. There it is a summer soup, but the addition here of potatoes, pumpkin and sweet potato gives it that wonderful warmth for winter and early spring, and introduces truly wonderful textural combinations in every mouthful.

My parents believe firmly that vegetables are the path to health, and so a normal meal at their place may consist of many vegetables. The record number of veggies at this time is 12, yes TWELVE, at once on a plate. But with this recipe, I think that I claim the prize. Thirteen in one sitting. Not bad.

Browse all of our Soup recipes here and here. Or explore the French recipes here and here. Be inspired by our Winter recipes here and here.

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Indian Bazaar Dal Makhani

A simple but exceptional Dal Makhani

The story of this Dal Makhani goes like this:

Some time ago in Bangalore, India, I had a Dal Makhani to die for. It was just a hotel room service meal ordered at a very busy at the time, yet it made me sink back into my couch with a wonderful smile on my face – as if I had transitioned and gone to Dal Heaven.

I rang through to the kitchen and asked for the recipe. Oh what hilarity that caused in the kitchen – much laughter and giggles, and simply hours later, I received a typed up recipe from the chef at the Oberoi in Bangalore. It is the most wondrous dish, full of butter and cream and takes some time, so a dish for special occasions. Continue reading “Indian Bazaar Dal Makhani”

Fig and Fresh Pecorino Salad

A fresh and inviting salad.

This salad has survived the years. It came about because I had some figs and some left over fresh pecorino. In a hurry, I threw them together in a salad with glorious results. The salad was first posted here as part of the retro recipes series – vegetarian recipes from my 1995 – 2006 blog.

Figs, surprisingly, take acid very well, rocket too, so be generous with the lemon or lime juice.

The salad is fresh and inviting, and I have been known to have it for a Late Summer breakfast with a cup of coffee. Enjoy!

You might also enjoy this Fig and Almond Salad, and some Late Summer Salad and Vegetable dishes.

Browse all of our Salads here and here, or all of our Fig recipes here and here. Find inspiration in our Summer recipes here and here.

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Sweet Onion Salad with Coriander Spice

Use up left over onion with this simple, healthy salad.

This is a great, quick onion salad that I often make to use up those half onions remaining from another dish. It retains the onion’s bite yet softens its intensity.  It is such a perfect accompaniment to Indian curries too.

Would you believe that I first made this in 1998? It is also cross posted as part of the retro recipes on our sister site, Heat in The Kitchen.

Are you after salads? Please browse here and here. There are also onion recipes here and here. Explore our Summer recipes here and here.

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