Garam Chai | Chai Masala

Warming spices combined with tea – a classic Indian Chai

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What a wonderful, warming drink this is! Pure relaxation – a cup of Masala Chai and allowing your mind to empty and drift across the universe.

Chai is an Indian spiced milk tea that is generally made up of a rich black tea, full cream milk, various spices and jaggery or other sweetener. The spices used vary from region to region in India, and even amongst households. The most common are cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper. Because of the spices, Chai produces a warming, soothing effect and gives one a wonderful sense of well being. Chai must have a sweetner added or the spices can’t share their full robust flavours. The sweetness brings out an intensity of flavour.

Are you looking for similar Chai recipes?  Try Tim’s Chai, Yogi Chai, Chai Masala for the Relief of Colds, Cutting Chai, and Peppery Chai. There are Chai Variations here.

All of our Chai recipes are here, and our general Tea recipes here. Browse our other Teas and Coffees, and explore our Indian Recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Check out our Mid Winter recipes.

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Quince Paste

Quince paste is as old as the hills, being made in the Middle East and slowly spreading across Europe and indeed into Australia, primarily through our foodie icon, Maggie Beer. It must be one of the best uses of quinces.

You will find quinces in the green grocers in Autumn and again in Spring. They are long-keeping, so the appearance in the shops in Spring is a bit of an artifice, I am afraid, as their fruiting time is Autumn. I have such a love of this fruit – perhaps they remind me of my Grandmother. Years ago, I knew of a wonderful, neglected quince tree in the Clare Valley in South Australia, and each Autumn I would spend a weekend in this delightful region and come home with a bucket of quinces. One year, the tree had been removed, and I was devastated.

Since then, I have found that one of my friends has a quince tree, and every Autumn I still get my bucket of quinces. I feel blessed at this time of year, there is such an abundance of produce. It is as though nature is also preparing for Winter.

There are many recipes for quince paste. I use this one. I like the way that the long cooking intensifies the flavour. Serve with the creamiest of cheeses, or eat on its own as a sweet – sneak some for your midnight snack.

We have other Quince recipes too. Try Quince Jam/Jelly, Indian Quince Pickles, and Slow Cooked Sweet Spiced Quinces.

Other recipes that use the dehydrator include Sweet Potato Crisps, Beautiful Dried Capsicum, and Dried Mango.

Or browse all of our Quince recipes, and you might like to read about Autumn Preserving. Also, explore our Mid Autumn collection of dishes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2005, and is part of our Retro Recipes series.

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Falafel | Ta’amia | Spicy Middle Eastern Chickpea Patties or Balls

Using cooked or tinned chickpeas, falafels are very easy to make.

Who can resist a good falafel? Wonderful for snacks, meals, in wraps or topping salads, they are wonderfully tasty, textural and healthy. Whip them up using chickpeas you have previously cooked and  frozen, for an easy supper.

Home made falafel are a huge cut above store-bought ones, or even those from some restaurants that must purchase them in bulk and keep them frozen for a long time. One has to wonder why, they are so easy to make, whereas many pre-prepared ones taste like cardboard. Who hasn’t had a wrap or roll with cardboard-tasting falafel stuffed into them for a “vegetarian option” when it would have been more flavoursome to leave them out?

Worry no more, we have your back. These are fantastic. Crispy crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. You can grind the chickpeas coarsely or more finely, which ever is your preference. But they must be ground enough to hold together as fritters.

You might like to also try hummus, which goes well with falafel. Chickpeas make a whole range of dishes. Try Chickpea Fingers, for example (it uses chickpea flour). Or Chickpea “Tabblouleh”Chickpeas can be baked, or made into a spread, or smashed and made into a salad.  They are really healthy – have a look at this article.

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How to Cook Vegetables for Sambar

Removing the confusion around cooking vegetables for Sambar

Once you are experienced at cooking sambar, it is quite easy. However, while mastering the skill it can be confusing. Here is some advice on making sambar, and particularly on cooking the vegetables for sambar.

The advice is based on my experience and the writings of S. Meenakshi Ammal who wrote the Cook and See series of books on traditional South Indian cooking.

Browse all of our sambar recipes here. and Meenakshi Ammal’s recipes here.

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Pickled Ginger | King Dong

Who does not know the delights of pickled ginger these days? Ubiquitous with sushi, it is as common today as pickled beetroot. Come to think of it, much more common. In 1999, when I first made this, it was a different matter, and if you wanted pink pickled ginger, you made your own. Enjoy!

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Carrot and Kombu Quick Pickle, Pickled Cumquats, and Pickled Jicama.

You might also like to browse our Ginger recipes and our Pickle recipes. Check out our easy Early Spring recipes as well.

There is also a information post on Ginger here. and one on Pickled Ginger here.

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Coriander Paste | Cilantro Paste

Coriander (Cilantro) paste is useful in so many cuisines – Greek, other Mediterranean, Indian, Vietnamese, Malaysian and other SE Asian dishes, to name a few. Sadly, it is difficult to keep fresh coriander in the kitchen for very long. One way to have that delicious flavour on hand at all times is to make coriander paste. For other ways, check out how to preserve fresh herbs. I recommend tall, tightly sealed, plastic containers – I have found this the best way.

This is a great paste for stirring into soups and broths, adding to Indian and S. E. Asian dishes – add a generous spoonful when frying off other ingredients – or adding to sauces.

Are you looking for other coriander recipes? Similar recipes include Zhoug, the Middle Eastern Coriander Paste and Dip, Coriander Pesto, and Coriander and Coconut Chutney. Also similar is an Apricot Chutney that can be made with dried apricots.

Or try these: Carrots and Green Peas with Green Coriander, Coriander and Lemongrass Vichyssoise, Pudla with Green Coriander, or Urad Dal with Tomato, Coconut and Green Coriander. Coriander Fritters are pretty good too.

Read some more about Green Coriander, and also How to Use Leftover Green Coriander.

You might also like other Coriander dishes and other Coriander Pastes. Middle Eastern dishes are here and here. Perhaps also browse all of our Pastes – we have some good Chilli pastes indeed. Or simply take some time to browse our Mid Summer recipes.

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Golden Rice | Simple Yellow Rice | Simple Turmeric Rice

A simple yet flavoursome, healthy rice dish from North India.

Turmeric lends a sense of glamour to a rice dish, tinting it deliciously yellow. In this dish, the herbs and spices are subtle and compliment basmati rice’s lovely nutty flavour. It can be eaten with a soup or salad style dish and also goes well with a simple dal and some chutney and pickle.

You can read more about Turmeric here. It really is a wonder spice. If you would like to see some other rice dishes, we have Pepper Cumin RiceLemon Rice, and Mango Rice. For all of our Rice dishes click here.

Browse our different methods for cooking rice. Our especial favourite is Buttery Steamed Rice.

You might also like to try Savoury Rice and Green Pea Pilaf, Potato Subzi and Urad Dal with Tomatoes. More of Yamuna Devi’s recipes can be found here.

Or simply browse all of our easy Mid Autumn dishes.

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Obla Chaval | Simple Oven Finished Rice

A take on a traditional method of cooking rice.

This rice is a take on the traditional Indian wood-fire cooked rice and the rounded bottom, thin neck traditional pots of India. Sadly this is difficult to do in the modern home, so par cooking the rice and finishing it in the oven approximates it.

It is worth looking for Basmati Aged Rice. Your rice will be perfect and very unlike rice cooker rice.

You might also like to try our how to cook rice articles, especially Steamed Rice, and Absorption Method Rice. Browse our many rice recipes here and here. Or explore Yumana Devi’s Indian recipes.

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How to Make Red and Green Chilli Pastes

A recipe to see you through the winter, or for quick use in The Kitchen.

Chilli Pastes are great, and I love making them for friends and family. It takes about 5 minutes. It also cleans out your sinuses if you are not careful. 🙂

Occasionally I pick 30 or 40 chillies, and they get whizzed in short order into a tangy chilli paste. It’s simple.

Similar recipes include the well known Zhug, and Harissa. Also try Goan Chilli Sauce, Sweet Chilli Sauce, Chilli Jam, and Tomato and Chilli Jam.

You can also see how to make Coriander Paste too. And Ginger-Garlic Paste. Or browse all of the Indian Essentials articles.  See all of our Preserves here and here. Or enjoy our easy Late Autumn dishes.

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How to Make Perfect Roast Potatoes

Roasted Potatoes, quite a delight in all weathers except the very hottest. Easy to make, and great if you get them right. Here’s how you do it.

Roasted Potatoes, quite a delight in all weathers except the very hottest. Easy to make, and great if you get them right. Here’s how you do it.

The potatoes are crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. They are so delicious that I forgot to take photos. Oh well, next time.

This is a great dish for Thanksgiving, if you celebrate that US festival. Other Thanksgiving recipes are here.

You might also like Easy Potatoes with Olive Oil, Grown Up Potato Salad, and Potatoes on the BBQ. Browse all of the Potato recipes here and here. Or explore our Roasted dishes here and here. Continue reading “How to Make Perfect Roast Potatoes”

How to Grow Mung Bean Sprouts for Sundals, Snacks, Lunches

Get ready for the week.

It is easy to sprout Mung Beans and other beans and lentils. With a weekly rhythm, you can alway have fresh sprouts in the kitchen.

Browse our Hints and How To’s here and here. Continue reading “How to Grow Mung Bean Sprouts for Sundals, Snacks, Lunches”

How to make Crispy Garlic, Crispy Sage and Crispy Curry Leaves

Crispy herbs and garlic are good to strew over all kinds of dishes.

Use crispy garlic to top vegetables, soups and mashes. It adds texture, flavour and another dimension to dishes. Sage and Curry Leaves likewise.

Browse all of our How To posts here and here, and Garlic recipes here and here. Find some inspiration in our Autumn recipes here.

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How to Char Tomatoes for Beautiful Salads

Charring tomatoes gives a flavour boost and adds a slight smokiness to the tomatoes.

Charring tomatoes gives a flavour boost and adds a slight smokiness to the tomatoes without having them collapse.

Simple to do, charred tomatoes are a great addition to salads, hot roasted vegetable salads, soups and on their own as a side dish. They can be made on the stove top or in the oven.

Why don’t you browse our tomato salad recipes here and here. Our favourite is Hot Tomato Salad. Explore our Salads here and here. You will love our Autumn recipes here and here.

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How to Char Grilled / Roast Sweetcorn

The secret to pulling a meal together really quickly is to have prepared lots of bibs and bobs beforehand, so that there is always inspiration in the fridge.

The secret to pulling a meal together really quickly is to have prepared lots of bibs and bobs beforehand, so that there is always inspiration in the fridge. Toppings for soups, ingredients for salads, pastes and sauces, for stirfries, things to be mixed into batters and doughs, chopped herbs, frozen and dehydrated bits, stocks, juices, jams, pickles and chutneys, …… Endless, endless varieties.

Here is another quicky. Char Grill some sweetcorn while you are cleaning up from the evening’s meal. It will be cooked before you finish. Use the kernels in salads and soups.

Are you looking for Sweetcorn dishes? Try Roasted Sweetcorn Salad with Avocado, Most Heavenly Corn Soup, Grilled Corn on the BBQ, and Roasted Tomato and Sweetcorn Soup.

Browse all of our Sweetcorn recipes. You will love our Late Autumn recipes. Continue reading “How to Char Grilled / Roast Sweetcorn”

How to Make Nut Butters

It is good to minimise the use of margarine type spreads because none of them are very healthy. Still use them, of course, but aim for moderation. It is easy to replace margarine at times with pureed avocado or hummus or other bean-based spreads (home made). Nut butters are another alternative.

Cashew butter, almond butter and peanut butter can all be made – all so very delicious and useful in many ways, not just for spreads. For example, hve cashew butter on my porridge with some coconut oil and fruit. Very good! Use almond butter with sherry vinegar to make a salad dressing. They can be used for dips, or spooned into soups and wet curries. They good well over steamed vegetables. You can mix them with lemon juice or vinegar and thinned with water to make a great dressing. Continue reading “How to Make Nut Butters”