South Indian Baby Sweetcorn and Green Bean Soup

This is our second Baby Corn Soup; this one includes green beans for added crunch and fresh taste. It is another soup from Vol 4 of Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See, written by her daughter Priya Ramakumar. They are reminiscent of, say, 1970’s style soups – simple, no fuss, delicious. many of them (but not this one) are Anglo-Indian. I adore them – they are such a contrast to other elements of Indian cuisine.

As explained in previous posts, Soups as we know them are uncommon in India. But in South Indian, the TamBram community does make some very simple and un-spiced soups, probably influenced by the British, and perfect for using up left over odds and sods of vegetables.

Rather than being served in large bowls like we might serve a soup, it is served in small bowls, unaccompanied by crusty bread, grated cheese, olive oil for drizzling, or croutons. Actually, it is a really nice beginning to a hot and spicy meal.

Several of the soups in this volume of Cook and See show the growing love for Chinese food in India at the time that the volume of recipes was written. The nod to Chinese fare is created by a drizzle of soy sauce on top of the soup. Baby corn, after all, is associated (probably incorrectly) in many countries as being quintessential Chinese. This Indo-Chinese cuisine is very popular.

Baby corn is available at most Asian Grocery shops.

Similar recipes include South Indian Baby Corn Soup, South Indian Spring Onion Soup, and South Indian Cauliflower Soup.

Or browse all of our Indian Soups here, and all of Meenakshi Ammal’s dishes. Our Indian Recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Late Winter dishes.

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Green Beans with Freekeh, Walnuts and Tahini

Feekeh! No longer an ingredient that we need to travel across town to buy.  With several Afghan shops closeby in my new neighbourhood, those sorts of ingredients now go on the weekly shopping list. Oh, the joy!

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More, one of my fav of his books. Beans are cooked and mixed with walnuts, then drizzled with a minty-tahini dressing. The dressing is what ranch dressing would taste like if it spent a few months traipsing through the Middle East, so they say.

Yotham advises beans of the best quality for this dish. He also says that the walnuts can be omitted, but we are loving them so much this season, so they are definitely in. They provide a texture in this salad that is otherwise missing.

Similar recipes include Freekeh Pilaf with Herbs and Yoghurt Dressing, and Cyprian Grain Salad with Freekeh.

For Green Beans, try Five Bean Glorious Salad, and Green Bean and Carrot Poriyal.

Browse all of our Green Bean recipes and all of our Freekeh dishes. Our Ottolenghi recipes are here. Or explore our Mid Winter collection of recipes.

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Glorious Five Bean Salad

In this up-and-down weather at the moment, one day 38C, the next down to 20C, Summer trying to heat up but seemingly running out of fuel. We need to vary our food according to weather – when H O T , we do very very cooling dishes, when it cools we look for a little more substance.

Just right for the cooler Summer days is a Five Bean Salad – the beans add substance but it is still a salad, full of the tang of lemon and olive oil, Summery full of parsley.

Are you after similar dishes? Try Pan Fried Broad Beans with Tomatoes and Thyme, Green Beans with Freekeh, Walnuts and Tahini, and Tawa Broad Beans.

Some more Salads for you – we have so many! Try a Simple but Delicious Chickpea Salad, Easy White Bean Salad, Sprouted White Pea Sundal and Fava Bean Puree with Dill.

You might like to explore our recipes for Chickpeas, Cannellini Beans, Kidney Beans, Green Beans and Broad Beans. All of our Salads are here and here. Or browse our easy Early Summer dishes.

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Avial | Aviyal | Vegetables in a Coconut and Yoghurt Sauce | From Kerala, India

Avial is a gentle dish from Kerala, made with vegetables and coconut.

Avial is a gentle dish from Kerala. It is a thick mixture of vegetables and coconut, seasoned with coconut oil and curry leaves. In essence, the vegetables are boiled or steamed and then dressed with the coconut-cumin-yoghurt sauce. Each family’s sauce is different from the next family’s. In our recipe today we are using cumin in the sauce.

Avial is considered an essential part of the Sadya, the Keralite vegetarian feast. It is commonly made with elephant yam, plantain, pumpkin, carrots, beans, Eggplant, cucumber, drumsticks and snake gourd. Carrots and beans are recent but delicious introduction. Bitter gourd can be included in some regions also.

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Bean Paruppu Usili | Green Bean Paruppu Puttu | Green Beans with Lentil Crumble

This is a wonderful, textural dish, a perfect compliment to an Indian meal, or a snack on its own.

This Usili is from Meenakshi Ammal’s second volume of Cook and See. In Meenakshi Ammal’s book it is called Paruppu Puttu, or scrambled lentils. Usili (or usli)  also means scrambled – confusing for us at times, but different states, regions, towns, even families in India will hold different traditions, not the least in the naming of dishes. Just part of the wonderful rich tapestry which is India. There is more information on lentil crumble types here.

This lentil crumble recipe is made with beans, but you can also use other vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, grated carrot, banana flower, other types of beans such as cluster beans or broad beans, or indeed, without any vegetable at all.

You might also like Dhal Puttu, or Carrot Curry with Coconut Lentil Crumble. Or explore our Indian dishes here and here. All lentil crumbles are here. Other Winter recipes can be found here and here.

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