I have been in love with pears in more savoury applications since last century’s fascination with putting them in salads, soups and baked dishes. Today we bring pears and apples together in a salad with a creamy yoghurt and cucumber dressing. A crunchy salad that will brighten anybody’s day.
We have a few ways of making Cucumber Pachadi, varying just a little in ingredients. This is one of the simplest and one of the favourites.
It is of course, from Meenakshi Ammal and Vol 1 of her Cook and See books.
Similar recipes include Okra Pachadi, Nethu Kottu Flour Pachadi, Methi Sprouts Tambuli, Zucchini, Lime Leaf and Yoghurt Salad, Chow Chow Kari, Vellarikkai Thayir Pachadi, Tomato Pachadi, and Bitter Melon Pachadi.
Or browse all of our Pachadi recipes.
Gearing up for the heat wave that is Summer in South Australia, we are already thinking about the soups and drinks and other cooling things we will need over those 3 months. Even in Spring we can have had temperatures of 37C. An indication that it will be a long hot Summer.
This soup is cool and refreshing, and is adapted from one from Madhur Jaffrey. In truth it is a down-spiced version of a Cucumber Raita or Cucumber Pachadi, thinned for a soup. It has some delicious cream added as well. Enjoy with lunch, mid afternoon, or in the evening relaxing on the verandah. Serve in small portions in chilled bowls.
Greek salads are fabulous, are they not? Of course, even though there is a lot of controversy about whether tomatoes are included or whether cucumbers should be peeled. Should lettuce be included? The jury is out.
Like any country, the exact methods of salad making vary across the country, so it is good to relax and go with the flow. It is Summer after all, and there is nothing like a great Greek Salad (whatever version) to nibble on or to accompany a meal. I do include lettuce sometimes – it makes a nice bed for the salad.
Tamarind is a natural match with tropical fruits, and this salad is hot, sour and tangy. It is a take on an Indonesian salad, and is perfect in Summer when we have the sweetest of pineapples available. The cucumber is seeded before being diced.
What a delicious dish this is, the tamarind and vinegar adding the sour notes and the chilli the hot notes – these play beautifully with the sweetness of the pineapple and the coolness of the cucumber.
Yoghurt salads are made the world over, except, perhaps, in English speaking and some European countries. It is a puzzle why we don’t make more use of them here in Australia with our temperatures up to 45C in Summer. Yoghurt is one of the most cooling ingredients. Here I use makrut lime leaves (the new name for kaffir limes) with zucchini and garlic to make a great hot day dip or salad. We often have them around afternoon tea time, with some crisp crackers (like our Galletti), with other salads and some flatbread for lunch, or as a precursor to dinner.
When I say noodles I suspect you don’t immediately think of sea spaghetti. Yet this member of the seaweed group of ingredients is noodle-like in shape and texture. I have them in the pantry to soak and drape over salads or mix with rice and (real) noodle dishes to add a deep umami flavour. It spreads a deep, saline, addictive flavour throughout a dish.
Sea spaghetti has a similar texture to rice noodles, and with that gloriously salty kick it makes a brilliant accompaniment to other dishes. I bought it online but you might be able to find it at large Asian supermarkets.
I’ve also sprinkled toasted and crumbled dried sea spaghetti over rice and salad dishes, cooked it with real noodles and pasta, cooked it in soups and sauces, stir fried it with vegetables and thrown it into curries. I hear you can deep fry it coated in a light batter or semolina flour. It needs to be cooked right to the point of al dente – even a bit beyond, and I love it with light and fresh ingredients.
The basics of this recipe comes from Ottolenghi’s Simple, a book of simpler flavours and even simpler cooking procedures when compared to his other books. I love this book, along with his others, but after years of cooking from his other books, the recipes in Simple seem not-quite-Ottolenghi’ish in a nice, humorous sort of way. I took his recipe and added some Japanese seaweed, edamame and noodles to the dish.
Similar recipes include Sea Spaghetti, Ginger and Carrot Salad.
Cucumbers are another vegetable that is always in the kitchen in Summer. Such a cooling vegetable, especially during our 40C Summer days. It’s primary use is in salads. Although it can be cooked it is not usual in Western cuisines.
It also makes a cooling juice, especially when mixed with other juices such as zucchini or watermelon. And a cucumber lassi is the best drink on a hot Summer afternoon.
We have so many recipes with cucumber. Here are some that we hope you will enjoy.
Kachumber is a Hindi word for chopped into small pieces. It can mean any Indian salad made with a few salad vegetables that have been finely sliced or chopped and served with a wedge of lemon. Here we have the most commonly made kachumber – tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and herbs. The dressing is always lemon or lime juice and black pepper, although vinegar can be added in the Parsi version.
I have other Kachumber recipes here, but this one is simple. Quick and simple. I thought that I would include it because often that is what we want and need. It is as delicious as ever. I hope you enjoy it.
I’ve made Kachumbers using the chopping blade of a food processor, by grating some of the ingredients and by chopping by hand. Use which ever method suits you on the day.
Kachumber, the chopped salad of India, comes in many varieties. Usually the salad is chopped finely but today I made a colourful kachumber with wedges of cucumber and red radish. It is fresh and lively, a perfect salad for Summer and into Autumn while the weather is still warm. Kachumber is the perfect, no fuss accompaniment to any Indian meal.
Or have a look at our collection of Kachumber recipes.