Aloo Do Pyaja | Potatoes with Onions | An Indian Home Cooked Recipe

While the current fashion of food photography and food videos has been helpful to many home cooks, especially when cooking unfamiliar dishes, it has done a great disservice to home cooking. The requirement for everything to be instagram-worthy has meant that the rustic dishes without visual appeal are sidelined and instagrammed out of existence. It’s a pity. More than that, it is a shame.

Moreover, the word Peasant as attached to food is beginning to be seen as derogatory. I have never thought of “Peasant food” as been anything “less than”. I think of it as extraordinary food being produced without the influence of fashion and with local and common ingredients. My real favourite sort of food. Isn’t it what we strive for at home – cost effective and flavoursome food with local ingredients?

I am often amazed by the simplicity of Indian home cooked dishes, and how much flavour can be put into a couple of ingredients with a couple of spices. These sorts of dishes, so simple, so easy, are rarely seen on social media. I hope you enjoy this one. This is a simple recipe – not the best looking, made with minimal ingredients, but very very tasty. Serve with some Indian bread as an afternoon snack or as part of a meal.

By the way, Do Pyaja (also spelt Pyaza) means double the onions or lots of onions. There are many recipes for this dish, from the Punjab through to Rajasthan. Some have peas or a dose of cream, for example, a more complex spice mix, and it can be a wet or dry curry. But I adore this recipe for its simplicity. It is real home cooking.

Similar recipes include Sesame Potatoes, Saag Aloo, and Potato Subzi.

You might also like to browse all of our Potato recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Check out our easy Late Winter recipes too.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. It is cross posted on our sister site, Heat in the Kitchen. It appears there as part of the Retro Recipes series of recipes which documents our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

Continue reading “Aloo Do Pyaja | Potatoes with Onions | An Indian Home Cooked Recipe”

Eggplant and Kale Pakora

Pakora are a favourite street food in India, and one that can easily be made at home. Recipes use a chickpea flour batter into which vegetables are dipped and then deep fried. I like to serve these Pakora with sea salt and lemon juice only, but they are commonly eaten with Indian sauces and chutneys.  One word describes them. Delicious. Incredibly delicious. Have a glass of chai with them – I also love them with a small cup of spicy rasam.

In frying the pakora (also called pakoda, bhajji and bhajiya) the aim is to cook the vegetable in the same amount of time that the batter takes to become crispy. It is about temperature, so it is a good idea to test-fry a few pieces before cooking the whole batch.

The types of vegetables that can be used include potatoes, onion rings, eggplant, sweet potatoes, softer pumpkins, lotus root, cauliflower and greens such as spinach, kale and amaranth leaves. Make sure that any greens are really dry before using.

Similar recipes include Malabar Spinach Pakora, Red Onion and Green Chilli Pakora, Okra and Cauliflower Pakora, and Vegetable Fritters.

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

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Urad Dal with Onions Four Ways

Urad lentils, in all their forms, and one of our favourite lentils, partly because of a dal that we made a long, long time ago. We love it. My daughter and I, at our respective places, still often make that recipe in bulk and freeze it for those busy winter evenings when you just need to grab something from the freezer to avoid ordering pizza or buying bags of chips.

Urad dal needs special handling. It needs long cooking, and is best keep soupy (in my opinion). It is a common dal in North Indian cooking, especially in the Punjab, and goes well with tomatoes, onions, butter, cream and yoghurt.

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Brinjal Kothsu with Tamarind | Sutta Kathirikkai Gothsu | Roasted Eggplants in a Spicy Tamarind Gravy

This Kothsu (also spelled Gothsu or Kosthu) is a tamarind based South Indian curry that is made by roasting and mashing eggplant and popping it into a spicy tamarind gravy. It is the second Kosthu of this kind that we have posted. The first one, Brinjal Tamarind Kothsu, uses a different spice mix with the eggplant. These Kothsu recipes are different to many others as they are made with roasted eggplants which gives them a smoky flavour.

Some people get these two Brinjal Kothsu dishes confused with Chidambaram Brinjal Kothsu, but they are different. Chidambaram Brinjal Kothsu is made with toor dal and without tamarind. Today’s Brinjal Kothsu is made without any dal, and includes tamarind. There is only a little gravy which is thickened with some rice flour, so it just coats the eggplant. You can see that the two dishes are quite different.

This recipe can also be made with plantain (green banana) or onions instead of eggplant. See the notes below the recipe for more details.

Are you after other Kothsu recipes? Try Brinjal Tamarind Kothsu, Cabbage Kosthu, and Chidambaram Brinjal Kothsu.

Or would you like other Eggplant dishes? Try Pitlai, Aubergines in Coconut  Milk, and Baingan ka Bharta.

Or browse all of the Kothsu dishes, and all of the Eggplant dishes. Meenakshi Ammal’s recipes are available here, and all of our Indian recipes are here. Or simply explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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Roasted Red Onions with Walnut Salsa

Onions – the unsaluted ingredient we use daily in our kitchens, adding depth, flavour and an undeniable undernote to dishes – earthy and grounding. Use them raw for a sharp bite, or slightly pickled for a sweet bite. Blanched in hot water they become mellow. Sauteed quickly they give texture and flavour. Caramelised slowly to a soft brown jam they add sweetness and umami. Deep fried, they are crisp and delicious. The humble onion.

Red onions particularly have a sweetness, and today we amplify that by roasting them quite simply, just brushed with oil, then serving the sweet, many leaved onions with a salsa of walnuts on a bed of rocket. A delicious and quite more-ish combination that salutes the onion, allowing it centre stage in this dish.

“The natural sweetness of red onions is accentuated when they’re grilled or baked, which gives them enough individual character to take centre stage for a change – I like them in a bread roll with some mayonnaise and a slice of mature cheddar or feta. You can also barbecue them, which adds a certain smoky charm.”

This is an Ottolenghi dish 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.

Today’s recipe is so very simple – unusual for Ottolenghi. It is done in under 30 mins, most of which is the cooking time for the onions. The salsa is an easy one, made in the food processor. Altogether it is an unusually no-fuss recipe from the Master of Flavours, perfect for weeknights.

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 dishes include Red Onion and Green Chilli Bhajji, Onion Jam, and Cucumber and Red Onion Salad.

Browse all of our Onion recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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

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Mushrooms, Garlic and Shallots with Lemon Ricotta

Tray-Baked seems to be the catch phrase of the moment, and has me wondering whether I need to update all of my baked dishes to reflect current fashions. I have a lot of them, they warm the kitchen in Winter and provide needed comfort as well as nourishment in the cold weather. And right now, I think I will stick to the term baked.

Ottolenghi is in on it too, with recipes that are tray baked, but not this one. I have noticed that Yotham will often cook dishes on the stove top when I might throw them in the oven. It gives him more control, I suspect, whereas I am happy to have dishes bubble away in the oven, intensifying flavours, and then pull them out when they smell right. There is something about smell in the kitchen that we don’t often talk about, but it is there, just like sound is a cue to what needs to happen for stove-cooked dishes. It needs stirring, or it is running out of liquid or it needs a drop more oil, or it sounds cooked. All of these things can be identified without looking. We are such smart creatures.

So this recipe is not tray-baked, but it could be. Cook it on the stove top the first time, then make your adjustments and tray bake it next time.

If you are not put off by peeling lots of shallots and garlic cloves, you’re in for a winter treat with this hearty, oniony mushroom stew topped with ricotta. You don’t need much more, though a chunk of sourdough would not go amiss. To help with the peeling, soak the shallots and garlic in water for half an hour.

This is an Ottolenghi dish 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.

The recipe takes an awful lot of small shallots and garlic, but the end result is definitely worth the effort. They are cooked with mushrooms, herbs, spices and PERNOD. There are a number of recipes in Plenty More that use Pernod, so we have overcome our reluctance to purchase it  and now have a bottle sitting proudly in our kitchen cupboard.

Sadly, we don’t get the really small shallots in Australia – our shallots are large and hefty. Halve the quantity, or take even 1/3 of the amount, depending on your shallots.

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. We are running behind our schedule, so you are on the receiving end of a score of wonderful dishes.

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 Red Onion and Green Chilli Bhaji, Onion Jam, and Grilled Mushroom and Red Onion Salad.

Browse all of our Onion dishes and all of our Mushroom recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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

Continue reading “Mushrooms, Garlic and Shallots with Lemon Ricotta”

Red Onion and Green Chilli Bhajiya

Looking for quick and easy snacks? These Onion Bhajiya are feather light and so more-ish – you had better make quite a few. Heat from the chilli, the beautiful citrusy warmth of the coriander seed and the chickpea flour coating make these a great go-to accompaniment to a strong cuppa Indian tea either morning or afternoon on a cool day.

This is a treasure of Bengal, north of India. The original recipe comes from Christine Mannfield in her collection of Indian recipes Tasting India. I adapted it a little. The beauty of this recipe is that the onions are not coated in a batter, but the chickpea flour is worked into the onions, using its own moisture, to form a delicious crispy light coating.

Have a look at this other style of Onion BhajiEggplant and Kale Pakora, and these Vegetable Bhaji. Or try this Greek-Indian Tomato Pakoras. Other Onion dishes you could try include Confit d’Oignon (Onion Jam), Onion Salad with Sesame Oil, and South Indian Onion Strings Slightly Pickled Salad.

Browse all of our Bhajiya/Pakoras here, or have a look at our Indian Snacks. All of our Onion recipes are here, and Indian dishes are here. Or you might like to explore all of our easy Mid Autumn dishes.

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Onion Sambar

Onion Sambar is a very popular South Indian and Sri Lankan sambar. It goes well with rice, idli, dosa, vada, pongal, upma and most other South Indian breakfast dishes.

This dish can be made with small onions (pearl onions or pickling onions) or with chopped, big onions. It will taste wonderful whatever onion you use. I like to use golden shallots as well – they add a slight sweetness to the dish.

Are you interested in other Sambar recipes? Why not try a Classic Seasoned Sambar? Or Moru Sambar. And read about whether Sambar should be Sour, Salty or Hot.

You can see all of our Sambar recipes here, and our collection of Indian recipes here. Specifically, out South Indian dishes are here and Sri Lankan are here. Perhaps you want Onion Recipes. Or try our collection of easy Mid Summer recipes.

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Grilled Mushroom and Red Onion Salad

Summer is on its way!

Yay for warm weather! And as soon as the weather turns the slightest bit warm, I begin making Summery salads again. I find them the most healthy type of dish for Spring, Summer and into Autumn. As each year passes, we eat salads further into winter, roasting our ingredients, or incorporating barley, freekeh, quinoa and other filling and satisfying ingredients.

Today’s salad is definitely a Spring dish, a Mushroom Salad. Spring Mushrooms are grilled with some red onion and then dressed. It is gorgeous.

Similar dishes include Roasted Red Onions with Walnut Salsa, Pearl Mushrooms with Thyme, Mushroom Salad with Parmesan, Mushroom, Spinach and Blue Cheese Salad, Mushroom and Carrot Salad with Mung Bean Sprouts, Mushrooms Baked in Vine Leaves, and Stuffed Mushrooms.

You might like to also browse our other Salads – over a hundred! Or just the Mushroom Salads. Have a look at all of our Mushroom recipes here. And explore our easy Early Spring recipes too.

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Whole Okra Stuffed with Onions and Spices

In this okra dish, the okra are slit and stuffed with an onion-based spice mixture before being quickly sautéed and then steamed until tender. It is a delicious dish that does not pack a chilli heat punch. The spices used are gentle and warming, and it is a good dish for convincing your friends that okra is a special and wonderful vegetable.

This is a Madhur Jaffrey okra dish. She seems to have a special affinity to okra, and loves them with onions.

Are you after other Okra dishes? Try Okra with Chilli Spice Paste, Sri Lankan Okra Curry, Warm Salad of Charred Okra, and Sambar with Okra.

You can browse all of our Okra dishes, all Apricot recipes, and all of our Indian dishes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or simply explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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