Plantain Chips

One of my enduring memories of Kerala is the proliferation of freshly cooked plantain chips – delicious deep fried slices of raw banana, crispy and salty. Even when I was staying in Mylapore in Chennai, the wallah was making huge woks-full of fresh plantain chips right there on the street, so you’d get them straight from the pan.

They can be made at home of course – quite easily in fact. Just like the street wallahs, you can slice the plantain right into the hot oil if it is safe to do so. Otherwise slice them onto a plate and add to the oil. As they cook the flavourings are added to the layer of chips, or they can be salted as they come out of the pan. Madhur Jaffrey also adds curry leaves and green chilli to the oil before removing the chips – the oil does erupt a bit when you do this so I often leave it out. You can add chilli powder to the chips as they come out of the oil if you wish.

Similar recipes include Plantain Mash, Plantain Kari, Paprika Oven Chips, Polenta Crisps and Potato Wedges.

Browse all of our Indian Snacks and all of our Plantain recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Chilli Salt Tofu with Salad of Greens

Do you need a chilli hit? This is the dish for you then. The recipe is from my old flatmate, Chris Manfield, in her book Stir but over the years it has had a little altering in our kitchen. It is a dish that will wake you up. Mind you, it is a bit Ottolenghi-esque, with four or five different processes in the recipe. It will take you about 30 mins to make.

The dish sounds like a firey chilli heaven or hell, depending on your viewpoint. However it is not as hot as it seems. The chilli salt is moderated with the rice flour. You can add as much chilli as you prefer to the dressing, but I like it spicy. Use your loved chilli sauce or jam to garnish the salad. Don’t skimp on the sugar or vinegar/lemon juice elements as both of these help to moderate the impact of the chilli heat.

I adore deep frying tofu – it is so much better than the deep fried tofu squares you will find in Asian shops. Crispy on the outside and soft and pillowy in the middle. You might like to read How to Use Deep Fried Tofu. In this dish, the tofu is coated in a chilli-pepper crust before frying. You will think of a thousand ways to use this even without the salad.

Similar dishes include Deep Fried Tofu in Coconut Broth, Sticky Makrut and Tamarind Tofu, and Black Pepper Tofu.

Browse all of our Tofu dishes. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Oh My Goodness! Polenta Chips. With a Charred Tomato Sauce

Polenta has been a love of mine since the time (decades ago) that my Italian hairdresser turned me on to wet polenta in a dish layered with tomatoes. We don’t use polenta enough in our kitchen though, obsessed as we are with Indian food and other dishes of Italian food.

Ottolenghi has a gorgeous polenta chips recipe and that was enough impetus for us to search for the polenta in the back of the pantry and make this delicious snack. We are still cooking our way through Plenty More but we are in the Fried chapter, and so have slowed down. You just cannot eat deep fried food each and every day.

Similar recipes include Onion and Chilli Polenta, Chickpea Fingers, Paprika Oven Chips, and Cumin and Pepper Wedges.

Browse all of our Polenta dishes and all of our Chips. Or browse our Late Autumn recipes.

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Horse Gram Vadai | Kollu Vadai

Horse gram and matki (moth beans) are often confused. Similar in colour, both are grown in dry almost inhospitable land on vines. Both have an earthy taste and require good soaking before cooking. They are even used to make similar dishes. However, they are different, with different shapes, textures and tastes. Many authors and bloggers confuse them.

Horse gram has a shape that is like small flattened discs, and matki is tiny with a bullet shape. Horse Gram has more colour variation. Those are the best ways to tell them apart. (Read more about these two lentils here.)

Moth Beans (Matki) and Horse Gram

Today we are making vadai with horse gram. A coarse mix is made with the gram, spices and herbs, and then the vadai are deep fried for a glorious snack. It is a crispy and delicious vadai, you will love them. Today I had them with some mango that I roasted with chilli flakes, a roasted tomato chutney, some slices of radish and onion, and a mango pickle.

Read more about Horse Gram (aks Kulthi Bean). It is easily purchased in Indian shops.

Similar recipes include Amavadai in Yoghurt, Sprouted Horse Gram Sundal, Beetroot Vadai, Maddur Vadai, and Broad Bean and Mint Vada.

Browse all of our Horse Gram recipes and all of our Matki dishes. Check out our Vada and Indian Snacks. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

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Mixed Vegetables and Yoghurt with Green Chilli Oil

A glorious mix of fried vegetables in yoghurt – indeed exquisite, and direct from Istanbul (via Ottolenghi). Most of the veg are deep fried, but don’t let that put you off as it is indeed glorious. It works well with baked, roasted  and grilled veg as well.

The original recipe is one of Ottolenghi’s from Plenty More, but I have changed the cooking times and included some Thai round green eggplants. We always feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area, or to massage Ottolenghi’s recipes to suit our preferences and what is available in our garden and pantry. You can see the original recipe in The Guardian here.

Similar recipes include Eggplant Pahi, Avial, Winter Roast Veggies with Chickpeas, and Roast Butternut with Chilli Yoghurt Sauce.

Browse all of our Eggplant recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes are here and here are the recipes from Plenty More. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes

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Deep Fried Potato and Carrot Strings with Chilli Powder and Lemon | An Indian Snack

Once upon a time, it is hardly believable now, we didn’t eat much fried food. Falling in love with Indian food changed that, as their snacks and street foods are over the top delicious. Not all are deep fried, of course, but there are a fair number that are.

This is a simple dish – it just takes time to fry the strings of potato and carrot in batches. It is moreish and you may have to make more than you anticipated. It makes a great afternoon snack with a cuppa, or a late night supper. But note that the vegetable strings need to soak for 30 mins before cooking.

Similar dishes include Malabar Spinach PakoraMadhur Vadai, and Crispy Onion Rings.

Browse all of our Indian Snacks and all of our Potato and Carrot dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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Crispy Battered Okra with Tomato Sauce and Herb Oil

Okra lends itself to crispy frying, and here is another recipe that batters and fries it until crispy, before nestling it on a tomato sauce. It reminds me of fish and chip shop battered potatoes and other vegetables. This is a recipe from Ottolenghi, so it is definitely a modern take on the crispy okra and okra with tomato sauce themes. The okra in the fish-and-chip-shop style batter is topped with sour cream, a tomato and bread sauce, and a gorgeously green herb oil. The batter is made with a touch of polenta, and mixed with buttermilk which gives it a lovely tang.

There will be more herb oil than you need, but it is infinitely versatile. Use the remainder to drizzle onto soups or over roasted vegetables.

Are you looking for other Okra dishes? Read more about Okra here. And try Stir Fried Okra with Sesame Seed, Warm Salad of Charred Okra, Tomato and Preserved Lemon, and Pickled Okra. And check out Turmeric Oil.

Browse all of our Okra recipes, and all of the Ottolenghi dishes that we have made. All of our Ottolenghi dishes are here. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn collection of recipes.

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Malabar Spinach Pakoda

Malabar Spinach is a thick spinach like leaf that grows on a vine – it is often confused with other greens, but look for leaves that are thick, a little mucilaginous, and are on twining stalks.  It may also have white or purple flowers and seeds on the vine. These leaves are common in India and throughout S. E. Asia. It has various names and may be called Basella Spinach, Poi leaf, Bacchalikura, Vasalakkirai, Basale Soppu, Ceylon spinach, Buffalo spinach, Indian spinach, Red vine spinach, Vine spinach, Upodika and Poi. There are more – Bachali in Andhra, Basale in Kannada, Vaali Bhaji in Konkani, Mayalu in Marathi and Pui Shak in Bengali.

Malabar Spinach is not really a spinach at all, but the taste is similar and it is better suited to summer growing than real spinach.

Similar dishes include Malabar Spinach with Urad Dal, Huge Vine Leaf Pakora, Crispy Fried Potato and Onion Strings, Red Onion and Chilli Pakora, Bhajji, and Okra and Cauliflower Pakora.

Browse all of our Malabar Spinach recipes and Pakora dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Broad Bean, Bulgur and Red Cabbage Kofta

Red cabbage rarely features in our kitchen, but today it is very present on the kitchen bench. We have been trialling a dish of broad bean mash with bulgur which coats red cabbage cooked with sultanas. They are not perfect yet, but we share with you the process because, boy, they are delicious.

Red cabbage with apple, sultanas and pine nuts is a standard European dish, delicious in its own right. And we often incorporate broad beans into kofta/vada/kibbeh type dishes. Today they come together into these lovely mid morning snacks. The recipe is very loose – my apologies – we are still playing with quantities. If you make them, let us know how they turn out.

Similar recipes include Beetroot Vadai, Red Cabbage with Apple, Pinenuts and Sultanas, Maddur Vadai, Fava Bean Falafel, and Chickpea Falafel.

Browse all of our Broad Bean dishes and all of our Vada. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Pea and Mint Croquettes

You will adore these green croquettes – how spectacularly coloured they are, especially for Winter when foods can be darker hued. They make great snacks, dipped into the creamy sauce. They will become a favourite, I am sure, and the croquette/fritter mixture can be made and shaped the day before you want to cook them. Keep them in the freezer to help with the shaping of the croquettes, and bring them out 30 – 60 mins before cooking.

This is sort of an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. But his recipes use eggs and we do not cook with eggs. So the recipe has been altered significantly. Yet we still credit Ottolenghi with the inspiration. We replaced the eggs with chickpea flour and used a chickpea flour batter. It is a change that worked extremely well, and the result is amazing. We have not crumbed our croquettes, but you can do that. We did use a little polenta on some to give extra crispness.

Untypically, these taste healthy and fresh, yet still have that addictive, moreish streak of all fried things.

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 Spring Onion and Quinoa Cakes, Pea, Za’atar and Feta Fritters, Vadai with Yoghurt, Aama Vadai, Masala Vadai, Broad Bean, Bulgar and Cabbage Kofta, Broad Bean and Mint Vadai, Maddur Vadai, and Kothimbir Wada.

Browse all of our Snacks here and our Pea recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Winter recipes. Continue reading “Pea and Mint Croquettes”