Plantains are delicious, a variety of banana that is eaten while green. India uses them a lot, far more than Western cuisines which tend to ignore them completely. Enjoy these spicy dishes and snacks.
In Australia, we usually eat our noodles hot, but in Japan, noodles – especially soba noodles – are often consumed cold. They are flavoursome, textural and refreshing, and a great base or carrier for other flavours.
This dish pairs some quick pickled Shimeji mushrooms, carrots, radishes, snow peas and nori seaweed with the noodles. It is an Ottolenghi recipe from Plenty More and is is a great Summer dish.
Cold noodles are a Japanese art form. On a trip to Tokyo a few years ago I queued with a bunch of suited businessmen to have lunch in one of the city’s most renowned soba noodle restaurants. It was incredibly humbling to watch a bunch of very busy people putting aside time to sit quietly for half an hour and completely immerse themselves in the appreciation of the profound subtlety of the noodles. Enlightenment still escapes me but I’ve had my own little life moments in various London noodles bars in recent months.
I ordered a “Cold Soba Noodle Bowl” in Sydney recently, looking forward to the noodles. Sadly it was 99% shredded raw veggies, and 1% noodles. This dish fixes that ratio with a more balanced serve of noodles with the herbs and vegetables. Delicious!
Okra is so very good in the shops right now, as I write, so I grabbed some from the Asian market in my last shopping trip. Lovely thin, tender, long spears of goodness – how we love them.
You will love this recipe. It is as simple as Indian cooking can get. The okra is sliced and cooked with tamarind, green chillies and a little toor dal. Other recipes will add tomatoes, onions, garlic, sambar powder or other spices, coconut, etc, but I prefer this simple, honest preparation from the Palghat (Palakkad) area of Kerala. I have made it quite thick, as you can see, as I prefer it that way, but you can have more sauce if you prefer. I found this approach in the book Classic Tamil Brahman Cuisine by Viji Varadarajan.
This Poritha Kuzhambu is made using the third of 3 methods outlined by Meenakshi Ammal in her 4 volumes of Cook and See. It sautees the spices before grinding them to a paste and adding to the dish. This deepens the flavours and adds a toasted overtone.
Poritha Kuzhambus are very delicious. These recipes are without tamarind and with coconut added for a beautiful sense of the tropical South of India. Beautiful indeed.
You might like to find out more about Kuzhambu. We suggest that you read The Difference Between Sambar, Kuzhambu and Kootu. Also have a look at the other methods of making Poritha Kuzhambu. The differences are minor, but they do change the flavours significantly. The first uses Sambar Powder, and the second replaces that with a few individual spices.
Similar recipes include Amaranth Leaves Coconut Kootu, Puli Keerai, Plain Masiyal of Amaranth Leaves, Beetroot Vathakuzhambu, Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu, Green Amaranth Soup with Tamarind, and Race Kuzhambu.
Are you looking for the recipes of Meenakshi Ammal? They are here. She certainly is my guru of Tamil Brahmin cuisine.
I remember David Thompson when he had a tiny little take-away Thai shop in Darley St, appropriately called Daley St. Thai. He was famous even then, the queue snaking down the street on a Friday and Saturday night. He then went on to open a high-end restaurant London (where his food was never understood – you lost out London). Then he moved to Thailand to open a Thai restaurant – a brave move for a non-Thai person. It remains a very popular establishment.
Somewhere along the line, David wrote a bible of Thai food. It is a compendium of the cuisine. Of course, there are very few vegetarian recipes in the book, but occasionally I take it down from the shelf and find one of the few suitable recipes to make, as Thai food is wonderful.
Today, with inspiration from David’s Thai Food, is a wonderful dish of soft tofu with garlic and bean sprouts. It is utterly delicious.
A healthy tea for the Autumn months. It is gentle but wonderfully flavoured.
Autumn is a marvellous time to trial a range of healthy herbal teas. Often you will have the ingredients growing in your garden. Be careful, of course, choose only edible plants and herbs. This is a healthy tea for the Autumn months. It is gentle but wonderfully flavoured.
Some of Ottolenghi’s dishes are no-brainers. Just tossing some herbs and easy ingredients with some roasted vegetable or carefully steamed grain. In these it is the combination of the ingredients that make exceptional dishes. But others take time, effort and care. While I prefer the first, the arrival of flavours in the various processes of the second can be a matter of awe.
This dish is definitely of the second variety. It is a great dish. The glaze of a reduced, sticky balsamic with orange juice and bitters caramelises as it roasts. The sweet potatoes are left sticky and delicious. Add to the equation the roasted garlic and the sage and thyme leaves and this is a dish to impress.
This is a great dish for Thanksgiving, if you celebrate that US festival. Other Thanksgiving recipes are here.
Similar recipes include Fruit Flavoured Vinegars, Roasted Sweet Potato and Fresh Figs, Madras Curry of Sweet Potato, Eggplant and Spinach, and Creamy Baked Sweet Potato.
Eggplant/Brinjal in a makhani style sauce – the only thing better is cooking it in a slow cooker. Delicious!
Sometimes you want an easy lunch or dinner. I have the answer. A slow cooker recipe with Eggplant, lentils and a buttery tomato sauce. Cook rice, and your meal is complete.
This is a sauce reminiscent of Dal Makhani. It is delicious with the addition of eggplant which cooks to the softest most luxurious eggplant that you’ve ever experienced. I have used urad dal and channa dal in this dish, but they are optional really, and you can make it without lentils. Simply reduce the amount of liquid that you are adding.
A delightful salad with an Indian flavour profile
I have been loving raw beetroot salad recently. Take a young beetroot and a carrot. Grate both. Drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. You can add some ginger if you want. It is wonderful, healthy and very “eliminating” too, if you know what I mean.
And then I came across an Indian version of this salad. Mustard seed, curry leaf, urad dal, cumin seed.