Peas have been part our diet for hundreds of years and are used all over the world. Strictly speaking, green peas are not vegetables. They are part of the legume family, which consists of plants that produce pods with seeds inside. Lentils, chickpeas, beans and peanuts are also legumes. There are many varieties of peas, but here we are focusing on the humble, oft overlooked Green Pea.
Orange and hazelnut go wonderfully well together. The pairing offers a good balance of freshness and earthiness and the flavours are subtle enough to complement green beans without overpowering them.
In this recipe we use the orange slices that we dehydrated some time ago. Several slices are whizzed in a spice grinder until almost powdered. If you don’t have dried orange slices, use pieces of orange zest that have been sliced thinly.
This is based on a recipe from Ottolenghi’s first book, Ottolenghi. We like to play wild and free with his recipes, so you can check the original one here.
We have a strange green bean growing – its pod is green with flecks of red. It is delicious, as all green beans are, and perfect for this salad from Ottolenghi. You can of course use any green bean – the beans are paired with either edamame, younger broad beans or even peas. The key to the salad is a beautiful dressing made with lime zest, lime juice, coriander, mint, garlic and chillies! Oh, yes, you just might get excited.
Once the beans are trimmed, it is quite simple to make. Of course it is, it is from Ottolenghi’s book Simple. 10 ingredients, quick and it can be made ahead (see the notes below the salad). Note that I often massage Ottolenghi’s 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 Summery Grain or Lentil Salad, Sea Spaghetti, Cucumber and Edamame Salad, Italian Green Bean Salad, Green Bean Salad with Asparagus, Spring Salad, and Glorious Green Bean Salad.
Nothing says Spring like green vegetables – such as asparagus, peas, broad beans, fresh herbs. Ottolenghi makes salads from only green items, and they are divine. They truly belong to Spring – green is Spring’s colour.
Despite the heat this Spring I was craving risotto, so it had to be one to celebrate the season. As luck would have it, I had some home grown broad beans and some peas in the freezer. The risotto is made in the usual way – no variations or neat tricks here. Just stirring for 18 mins for a perfect dish.
Pasta is not just a main dish – it makes beautiful salads, and also great side dishes. This one uses tiny pasta – use any of the tiny pastas, the sort that are commonly used in minestrone. The pasta is cooked then mixed with peas that have been cooked with parsley, garlic and onion. This is a fairly simple dish – there are much more fancy ways of making this, but we love this very simple version.
You can make this dish with other veggies too – tiny cubes of carrot barely cooked, sweetcorn, the youngest tiny broad beans etc.
This is a delicious South Indian Style Curry where Chow Chow (also known as choko or chayote) is cooked along with spices and coconut. It is a simple dish, perfect for a weekday meal.
Chow chow, called choko in Australia, is a funny little vegetable – a prolific bearer and definitely loved by Tamil South Indians who tend to love all gourds. It is slightly bland in taste, with a delicious crispness and an internal juiciness. Divine! It is generally cooked simply – kootu, kari, poriyal or sambar.
A kari is (generally) a vegetable side dish in Tamil Nadu and it is an important part of a balanced meal. Most people believe that the word curry comes from kari although the first term is generic for spicy dishes and the latter is a dish that can be served mild or made exotic with a variety of spices (and deep frying). There are lots of versions of the etymology of kari, but there is some agreement that its modern day usage means stir-fried. Still, you will find lots of different interpretations of it. Stir-fry vegetable dishes can also be called Poriyal and some Sundals are also classified as a kari. Kari can be made with a large variety of vegetables – carrots, beans, snakegourd, chow chow, plantain, Indian broad beans, cluster beans, corn, broccoli, etc.
The Pea is there through all the seasons – in its pod in Spring and Summer, frozen year round. It grows up with us, from pea mashes to buttery steamed peas, from to risotto to fritters, and salads to soups. They can seem predictable and are often overlooked. But peas are incredibly versatile. Freshly podded peas are fantastic if they are eaten as soon as possible after picking; the rest of the time frozen will more than do. Peas are the ultimate vegetable, reliable, versatile and almost as good frozen as fresh.
These beautiful fritters are from Simple by Ottolenghi, and they are actually quite simple to make. A pea puree is mixed with za’atar, mint and feta, formed into fritters and fried. They can be served simply with a salad and lemon wedges, or with a yoghurt or cream based sauce for dipping. You can use any yoghurt or cream based sauce – I’ve included a sour cream and mint one below.
When we cook Ottolenghi recipes we feel free to substitute according to what is in our kitchen and pantry. In this recipe we have replaced the eggs with our usual chickpea flour based replacement for fritters – 1 Tblspn chickpea flour + 1 Tblspn cream or yoghurt + 0.25 tspn eno for each egg. We are egg-free in our kitchen. If you want to check the original recipes, you can do so in his books or in his Guardian column.
A classic Indian dish – mushrooms and peas in a tomato gravy. This recipe is a classic one but I often make it with a range of mushrooms – brown mushrooms, baby mushrooms, sliced king oyster mushrooms and even shimeji mushrooms. It gives a mix of textures and flavours.
Today I have also topped the dish with finely sliced snow peas. It adds crunch and freshness to the dish without confusing the “pea” taste.
There is a quick and easy Batata Poha that I make – the flattened rice flakes mixed with herbs and fried potatoes, yum! This recipe is no more difficult, still quick and easy, very similar to the recipe that Tim and Saun gave me – just a few extra spices. It includes onions, steamed potatoes and peas, cashews and peanuts, coconut and warming spices. It is a light dish that is eaten for breakfast or tiffin snacks. It is perfect just with a cuppa. It can also be served for brunch, lunch or a light dinner – add some coconut chutney or a bowl of yoghurt for a quick,light and delicious meal. It can be packed into lunch boxes, taken on picnics or taken on trips as travel food. We love poha and have nearly a dozen recipes that use it.
Take note that this is made with the thick poha – poha is steamed and rolled/flattened rice – make sure that you buy poha and not puffed rice. When you visit your Indian grocery you will see that Poha comes in different thicknesses – Nylon (very thin and crisp), Paper, Thin, Medium, Thick and Dagdi (thick and chewy). There is also poha made from red rice and brown rice as well as white rice. The thicker types are soaked before use.
Freekeh is a wonderful vehicle for herbs and tart dressings, and I have to say that I love herby salads. This one brings it all together for a wonderful Spring dish. With herbs and spring onions abundant in the garden, all that was needed was to cook the freekeh and defrost the peas.