Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind

Poritha Kuzhambu is a delicious dish defined by the addition of coconut and cumin seeds. Many of our recipes for this dish have been made without tamarind, but today’s recipe includes that wonderful, sour tang.

What makes Poritha Kuzhambu different from Sambar and Pitlay is its ground masala with coconut, cumin and urad dal (black gram dal). Some households use black pepper instead of cumin. Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind can be made with a medley of vegetables or a single one, often with the addition of a legume. Meenakshi Ammal always suggests using only one vegetable for Poritha Kuzhambu and a mixture of vegetables for Kootu. Although in this one, when listing the vegetables, she seems to relax that rule just for a moment for this recipe, suggesting that vegetables can be used in combination, but later instructions imply again that for Kuzhambu, one vegetable is best.

Another feature of Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind is that it often includes lentils and/or beans together with the traditional toor dal (red gram dal). We have made this with toor dal and chickpeas. Delicious!

This recipe is indeed one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from the first volume of Cook and See. This recipe is a tangle! Like the first ones in the book, for Sambar, this recipe definitely takes some detective work to untangle. Thoughts have been put down without logic and structure, so I have done my best to add sequence and process to the instructions. I do hope that you enjoy.

Would you like to try other Poritha Kuzhambu recipes? Try Simple Poritha Kuszhambu, and Ammal’s “Method Three” Poritha Kuzhambu.

Are you looking for general Kuzhambu Recipes? Try Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu and Race Kuzhambu.

Why not browse through the recipes of Meenakshi Ammal? They are here. She certainly is my guru of Tamil cuisine.

Then browse all of the Poritha Kuzhambu recipes. All of our Sambar and Kuzhambu dishes can be browsed here. Have a look at all of our Indian recipes. Or you may like to explore our Early Autumn recipes.

I would also suggest trying the Kootu recipes – these are very similar but have a thicker consistency.

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Vegetables with Indian Flavours

How quirky the British can be at times, especially when it comes to all things Indian. British Indian cuisine is a food genre all to itself, with little relationship to the food of India. The famous Chicken Tikka Masala, for example, is British, not Indian. Vindaloo is a term used for any hot curry in England, not the specific and terrifyingly hot pork curry of Goa on the coast of West India, with its roots in the Portuguese occupation.

And there is another dish – Indian Ratatouille. Yes, my friends, it is a thing. Throw a few spices at a ratatouille and you have Indian Ratatouille. The French food masters must be turning in their graves.

And then Ottolenghi takes this (perhaps somewhat arrogant) British invention and makes it even more Indian – throwing out some of the the traditional vegetables, adding potatoes and okra, beans and tomatoes, and incorporating Bengali spices, tamarind and curry leaves. Has he insulted the French, the Indians and the British? Probably not, because the result is divine – let the food speak for itself, despite its name.

“A great ratatouille is one in which the vegetables interact with each other, but are still discernible from each other. The trick is to cook them just right: not over, not under.”

I cannot bring myself to call this dish Indian Ratatouille, so for me it is Vegetables with Indian Flavours. Panch Phoran is an Indian whole seed mix – it is available at Indian groceries, or you can make it yourself by mixing equal amounts of fenugreek, fennel, black mustard, nigella and cumin.

This Ottolenghi dish is from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

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 Caponata and Chargrilled Pumpkin Salad with Labneh and Walnut Salsa.

All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes. Browse all of our Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Smoky Aubergine with Tahini and Pomegranate

There is a marriage made in heaven, and that is eggplant and tahini. Oh, goodness, how magic happens with that combination. There are a quadzillion recipes that feature that specific combination, and it is no wonder. We have quite a few on this site too. They tend to be Middle Eastern in origin, or in style.

This recipe is no exception – it is Middle Eastern, it is magic, and it is delicious. The combination features pomegranate molasses, and the usual garlic and lemon juice. You will adore it.

It is an Ottolenghi treasure, from his book Plenty. We have a small project at the moment, to cook from his books, and currently we are cooking from Plenty More but not ignoring his other books altogether. I have to say, this is one of his simpler recipes, easy to make without too many processes. It can be made in just a few minutes after the eggplant is charred. This contrasts with the Persian Noodle dish we made yesterday, which contains 7 different processes and 5 different elements. Its a pleasure to cook such a simple dish after that one!

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi 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 Burnt Spring Onion Dip with Chilli-Garlic Kale, Babaganoush, Persian Style Eggplant, and Begun Pora.

Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Persian Noodles with Eggplant, Saffron and Kashk

It is interesting how Italy dominates the pasta world when noodles of all sorts are found all over the world, from Israel through Italy, around the Middle East, through India and Asia and up to Japan. Similarly with pizza, where many countries top their flat leavened and unleavened breads with a whole range of ingredients.

So let’s continue to celebrate noodles world wide with this dish from Iran. It is topped with roasted eggplants that are then cooked with garlic and spices, and a tangy yoghurt and creme fraiche mixture, and a mint oil. Perfectly delicious.

It is an Ottolenghi recipe, from his book  Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area or in our kitchen. For this dish we stuck pretty close to the recipe.

In fact it is Ottolenghi Cook the Booksday 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 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 again 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 Chickpea and Butter Bean Soup with Reshteh Noodles, Glass Noodles with Spinach, and Japanese Noodles in Broth with Tofu.

Browse all of our Noodle recipes, our Pasta dishes, and our Eggplant dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Begun Pora with Bori | Bengali Eggplant Puree with Fried Urad Dumpling Crumbles

Begun Pora is the Bengali rustic cousin of the Punjabi Baingan Bharta, less well known than Baingan Bharta but no less well loved. This has the tastes of Bengal and is totally different in flavour to its cousin. We have already posted one recipe for Begun Pora – but today’s recipe is a different version of that dish.

The idea for this particular dish came from Bengali Cooking: Seasons and Festivals, a wonderful and highly readable book on the amazing food of that state. The author describes how he uses bori in his Begun Pora. What a great idea! It may not be traditional, but it is full of flavour.

Similar recipes include Smoky Aubergine with Tahini and Pomegranate, Begun PoraBaingan Bharta and our Wadi recipes.

Are you after Eggplant recipes? Try BabaganoushSaffron and Rose Scented Eggplant, and Japanese Baked Eggplant.

Or perhaps you would like other Bengali dishes. Try Bengali Vegetable Kitchari and Bengali Rice Kheer.

Have a look at all of our Eggplant recipes, and all of our Bengali recipes. Perhaps you want more Indian dishes. Or simply explore our Early Autumn feasts.

Continue reading “Begun Pora with Bori | Bengali Eggplant Puree with Fried Urad Dumpling Crumbles”

Baingan Ka Salan | Eggplant in Spicy Coconut Sauce

Baigan Ka Salan is a dish in which eggplants are cooked in a creamy spicy sauce – the dish originated in Hyderabad. The beautiful sauce is often thickened with peanuts, as in this version, but this recipe uses white poppy seeds. Serve it with biriyani, roti, paratha or parotta. It is so good.

For this dish it is common to use whole eggplants – I often use the smaller, fat, slightly circular ones. Our other version of Baingan ka Salan does that. However, when you only have the very large eggplants, cut them into wedges. That is what we do in this recipe, but feel free to use smaller, whole ones if you have them. See the recipe for how to slice them without cutting right through them.

Are you looking for other Indian Eggplant Recipes? Try Chidambaram Kothsu, Spicy Eggplant Rice, and Aubergines in Coconut Milk.

Or general Eggplant recipes? Try Japanese Baked Eggplant with Miso and Sesame, Baked Garlicky Eggplant, and Roasted Eggplant Salad.

You might like to browse all of our Eggplant recipes, and all of our Indian dishes. Or take some time to explore our Late Autumn collection of recipes.

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Caponata Siciliana | Eggplant, Olive, and Celery Appetizer

This is a beautiful dish with Roman origins, from Sicily. There is something  beautifully different about some of the taste combinations you’ll find in Sicily, especially the tendency to combine sweet and sour – a legacy, they say, of ancient Roman days when sweet dates were used instead of tomatoes and sugar.

La caponata, one of the most famous Sicilian dishes, is a good example. It’s a cousin to the ratatouille of Provence. Caponata features eggplant, with celery, tomato and onions along with capers and olives. These are typical Southern Italian flavours. And it has that sweet-and-sour touch that perfectly balances out the flavours. It layers different flavours one upon the other, and, if you care to cook it for 30 mins or more, the flavours are deep and glorious and the consistency almost jam-like.

Serve Caponata on its own, hot or room temperature, on a Sunday afternoon (with a glass of wine, of course), or in the traditional manner as an antipasto. Caponata can be served on bruschetta, with flatbread or with salad leaves, and it’s also perfect as a side dish or even as a relish.

Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray note warily in the River Cafe Classic Italian Cookbook that “there are as many ways to make caponata as there are cooks in Sicily”, a fact confirmed by Giorgio Locatelli, who claims that “in every house and in every restaurant you will find a different version and opinion.”

There are many versions of Caponata on Sicily – apparently 37 official versions, depending on local customs. The differences lie in the addition of different vegetables, for example potatoes, bell peppers, zucchini.

Are you looking for other Eggplant dishes? Try Babaganoush, Grilled Eggplant Salad, Baingan ka Bharta and Eggplant Fry.

We have other Celery recipes too. Try Celery Yoghurt Salad, Spicy Celery Salad, and Chickpea, Celery and Carrot Salad with a Curry Dressing.

Or perhaps some other Italian dishes. Try Farinata, Marinated Zucchini Salad, Wet Polenta and Tomato Layers, and Grilled Sweet Peppers and Eggplants.

Or you can browse all of our Eggplant recipes, all of our Celery recipes, or all of our Italian recipes. Alternatively, take some time to explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

This is a recipe from our first blog which ran from 1995 – 2006. You can browse all of the vegetarian recipes from that blog in our Retro Recipes series.

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Burnt Aubergine with Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers and Red Onion

Eggplants are wondrous vegetables, and it is great to watch them grow in the garden. They have a special purple flower, then the globe forms, and it swells and grows until it is ready to be picked. You can never really fail with eggplant dishes, they are very special no matter whether you grill, roast, saute, simmer, steam or roast them.

Today we are taking burnt (charred) eggplants and combining them with yellow or green capsicums and red onion, to form a dish perfect for eating with flatbread as part of a mezze spread. It is an Ottolenghi dish from his first book, Ottolenghi.

In fact, it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – 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 dishes include Caponata Siciliana, Grilled Eggplant Salad with White Beans, Grilled Sweet Peppers and Eggplant Salad, and Smoky Eggplants and Tomatoes.

Browse all Eggplant Salads and all Mezze dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Ottolenghi are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Sutta Kathirikkai Thayir Pachadi | Smoky Roasted Eggplant in Yoghurt

As I mention often, my preferred way to char or roast eggplants is on our covered BBQ. It cooks them so much better than over a flame on a stovetop or in the oven. And recently I have started smoking vegetables while they cook in the BBQ, using some rice, tea and herbs – it gives the eggplants a smoky flavour, just as though they have been roasted over a wood fire. To do this, layer some rice, a Tblspn or so of tea leaves and some herbs in a foil pan, and allow to heat with the BBQ. When it begins smoking, add the eggplants. If it smokes too much, add a sprinkling or two of water. Remove the smoking pan from the BBQ after 10 – 15 minutes. It can be left for longer if only smoking a little.

This recipe is Smoky Roasted Eggplant in Yoghurt, a typical South Indian dish, one of many Tamil Pachadi recipes which are generally a cooked and mashed vegetable mixed with yoghurt and spices. It is a South Indian version of the North Indian Raita. Eggplant pairs particularly well with yoghurt. Use it as a side dish or like you might use a salad, for any meal, particularly South Indian meals.

Similar recipes include Baingan Ka Salan (with Poppy Seeds), Smoky Aubergine with Tomatoes and Sweet Peppers, Crispy Okra Pachadi, Boondhi Pachadi, and Cucumber Pachadi.

Browse all of our Pachadi recipes and all of our Eggplant dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Poritha Kootu with Simple Spices

Here is another Poritha Kootu – Mung Dal with vegetables – for a quick and delicious meal. This version is not spicy, very little spice is added, just chillies and cumin with coconut. It celebrates the taste and textures of the dal and the vegetables.

Sometimes Poritha Kootu is called a Lentil Vegetable Stew. It is a reasonable description, as it is thicker than Poritha Kuzhambu, and contains multiple vegetables rather than just one.

Are you after other Kootu recipes? Try Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind, Poritha Kootu without Tamarind, and Poritha Kootu with Sambar Spices.

Or perhaps you prefer Mung Dal recipes. We recommend Amaranth Leaves Masiyal, Mung Dal with Cumin and Spinach, Gentle Mung Soup, and Mung Soup with Amaranth Greens.

You can find all of our Kootu recipes here, all of the Sambar and Kuzhambu recipes here, and all of our Mung recipes here. Our Indian Dishes are all here. Or simply explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Smoky Aubergine and Asparagus

This is a recipe for the days when you light your BBQ. No joke. The deal is this: after finishing your cooking on the BBQ, turn up the heat and cook as many eggplants as you can muster, until they are blackened. Allow to cool, and remove the skin. The flesh will keep well in the refrigerator for several days. During that time make any of the dozens of eggplant dips, spreads, purees, and salads – they are all delicious.

This particular recipe roasts eggplants and pairs their beautiful flesh with steamed or grilled asparagus, and dresses them with a Chinese 5-Spice Powder dressing. It is glorious for Summer weather and warmer Autumn days. Japanese eggplants are preferred, but if you do not have those, never fear – the more common globe eggplant will work just as well.

Similar recipes include Steamed Thai Eggplants, Babaganoush, Grilled Eggplant Salad, and Marinated Eggplants for the BBQ.

Browse all of our Eggplant dishes and all of our Purees and Spreads. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Smoky Eggplants and Tomatoes

Adding a smoky flavour to vegetables and other foods – garlic, eggplant, tomatoes, beetroot, tofu etc – adds an additional flavour dimension to dishes. It is worth doing for a special occasion. Today’s recipe is a Greek-inspired dish. I have added the instructions for smoking the foods in the recipe, but if you are not inclined to go to this effort, chargrill your veg in your normal, favourite way.

Similar recipes include Smoky Aubergine with Tomatoes and Sweet Peppers, Smoky Aubergine and Asparagus Salad, Lebanese Roast Potatoes and Eggplants, Baked Eggplant and Zucchini with Chickpeas, and Roasted Aubergine with Garlic Sauce.

Browse all of our Eggplant recipes and Tomato dishes. Our Greek dishes are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Begun Pora | Bengali Eggplant Puree | A Rustic Cousin of Baingan Bharta

Baingan Bharta is the well known, Punjabi, wonderful Indian eggplant puree, easy to make, full of spicy flavours and so versatile in its use. This is its rustic cousin from Bengal, less well known than Baingan Bharta but no less well loved. This has the tastes of Bengal and is totally different in flavour to its cousin.

Make both! This one is almost salsa-like in its rustic composition. Wrap it in a roti and bliss out.

Are you after Eggplant recipes? Try Smoky Aubergine with Tahini and Pomegranate, Begun Pora with Bori Crumbles, Baingan Ka Salan, BabaganoushSaffron and Rose Scented Eggplant, and Japanese Baked Eggplant.

Or perhaps you would like other Bengali dishes. Try Bengali Vegetable Kitchari and Bengali Rice Kheer.

Have a look at all of our Eggplant recipes, and all of our Bengali recipes. Perhaps you want more Indian dishes. Or simply explore our Early Autumn feasts.

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Batata Harra with Eggplant | Spicy Lebanese Roast Potatoes with Eggplant

Looking for an alternative to chips for late night snacks or to serve with vegetarian BBQs? This is the recipe for you. Rather than cooking as chips, the potatoes here are cubed and roasted with garlic and capsicums in a traditional Lebanese and Syrian dish.  Ottolenghi shares it in his book Plenty More. I like to add eggplants as well – the texture of these is a great contrast to the crispy potatoes and the sweet capsicums. I have also added some curry leaf powder, but this is entirely optional. I like it it because it pairs so well with chilli powder and chilli flakes.

Make curry leaf powder by grinding dried curry leaves. If you have access to fresh leaves, toast them in a dry pan until crispy, then grind. If you’ve purchased dried leaves, grind them as they are.

Similar recipes include Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Baked Parsnips with Parmesan, and Perfect Roast Potatoes.

Browse all of our Potato dishes and all of our Eggplant recipes. Other dishes from Plenty More are here, and our Lebanese dishes are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Poritha Kootu

We have been posting some Poritha Kootu recipes recently and (at least for a while) this is our last recipe for a Poritha Kootu that does not include tamarind. In the future we will post a few recipes that do contain tamarind, but for now our focus has been with those that don’t, as it is the most common way to make this dish.

This version uses toor dal for a change. Our previous recipes have used mung dal, but Meenakshi Ammal recommends toor dal for this one as it is a better fit for the flavours used.

Are you after other Kootu recipes? Try Poritha Kootu with Simple Spices, Poritha Kootu without Tamarind, Poritha Kootu with Simple Spices and Poritha Kootu with Sambar Spices.

Are you after Sambar and Kuzhamu recipes? Try Moar Kuzhambu (with yoghurt), Fenugreek Kuzhambu, and Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu (Lentil Balls in Spicy Gravy). Try these Sambar recipes: Classic Seasoned Sambar Version 1, Version 2, Version 3 and Version 4. You can also try a Buttermilk/Yoghurt Sambar.

Browse all of our Kootu recipes, all of the Sambar and Kuzhambu recipes, and all of our Toor Dal recipes. Our Indian Dishes are all here and our Indian Essentials are here. Or simply explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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