Beetroot, Avocado and Pea Salad

There is so much good stuff in this “almost superfood” salad that it makes you feel very healthy and conscientious indeed. Served as it is, it can be a very substantial meal – just scatter a few roasted hazelnuts and/or chunks of creamy goat’s cheese over the top, and you need nothing else.

Did you know that I grew up calling beetroot, red beet? That name seems to have disappeared in Australia, although a quick search on google confirms that at least some people, in some parts of the world, retain that name. I wonder if it came from my mother, whose family contained many German immigrants. Perhaps it is a European thing.

The star of this dish is indeed the blanched then quick-pickled beetroot, and its contrast with the slightly bitter pea shoots. Rather than the hour-long boil or bake, eating beetroot raw or quickly sauteed or blanched is a healthy  and very delicious alternative. The beetroot retains a bite or crunch that adds textural layers to a dish. Everything can be prepared in advance for this salad, kept in the fridge, and combined at the last moment.

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.

Similar recipes include Slightly Pickled Beetroot Salad with Mustard, Beetroot and Goat Cheese Salad with Rocket, and Beetroot Salad with Honey Ginger Dressing.

Browse all of our Beetroot Salads, and all of our other Beetroot dishes. Our Avocado dishes are here. Browse all of Ottolenghi’s dishes from Plenty More. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Conchiglie or Orecchiette with Yoghurt, Peas and Chilli

A spicy pasta dish hit the table this week, one that certainly packs a chilli hit, but one that also includes yoghurt and feta, and the cooling peas to temper that punch. It is quite a glorious dish, silky and creamy with the texture of toasted pine nuts. I am making it in Winter, but I highly recommend it for Spring. It can be made any time of year, of course, but peas fresh from the vine lift the dish to a different level. Bookmark it now for your spring time.

The recipe is one of Ottolenghi’s from his Guardian column and from his book, Jerusalem. We are cooking our way through Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

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.

Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here, and from Jerusalem here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Winter recipes.

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

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Coconut Rice and Peas Salad with Spinach

Rice makes great salads – cooked, cooled, tossed with other ingredients, a dressing added if necessary, and served at room temperature. It is a variation on the Indian and Middle Eastern Pilaf, and is just as good.

Rice Salads have moved away from the rice salads that my Mother used to make. They were bland, and depended on the play of colours of capsicums, tomatoes and cucumber for their appeal. Sorry Mum, it was the fashion of the time, I know, but I am glad we have moved on from these salads.

Today, we make rice salads in such a variety of ways. You will enjoy this one where the rice is cooked in coconut milk and tossed with peas, nuts and spinach.

Are you after similar recipes? Try Spicy Rice and Fermented Black Bean Salad, South Indian Coconut Rice, and Balinese Coconut Rice.

You can browse our Rice Salads, or all of our many many Salads. Our Pea recipes are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes for inspiration.

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Pea and Mint Croquettes in Chickpea Flour Batter

You will adore these green croquettes – how spectacularly coloured they are, especially for Winter when foods can be darker hued. They make great snacks, dipped into the creamy sauce. They will become a favourite, I am sure, and the croquette mixture can be made and shaped the day before you want to cook them. Keep them in the freezer to help with the shaping of the croquettes, and bring them out 30 – 60 mins before cooking.

This is sort of an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. But his recipes use eggs and we do not cook with eggs. So the recipe has been altered significantly. Yet we still credit Ottolenghi with the inspiration. We replaced the eggs with chickpea flour and used a chickpea flour batter. It is a change that worked extremely well, and the result is amazing. We have not crumbed our croquettes, but you can do that. We did use a little polenta on some to give extra crispness.

Untypically, these taste healthy and fresh, yet still have that addictive, moreish streak of all fried things.

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 recipes include Vadai with Yoghurt, Aama Vadai, Masala Vadai, Broad Bean, Bulgar and Cabbage Kofta, Broad Bean and Mint Vadai, Maddur Vadai, and Kothimbir Wada.

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

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.
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Braised Broad Beans, Peas and Lettuce with Parmesan Rice

A couple of years ago we made a lovely French dish with our home grown broad beans – they are briefly simmered in stock and wine with peas and lettuce. It is such a gorgeously gentle, green and fresh dish.

Ottolenghi, in his book Plenty More, has a similar recipe, sans the wine, and where the ingredients are cooked for substantially longer than our dish. He serves it with gorgeous, buttery, parmesan rice, a delicious accompaniment.

I feel that the cooking times in Ottolenghi’s recipe are far too long, and have reduced them accordingly. I have also added a little verjuice to the dish, as I miss the tang of the wine in the French recipe. But the play of the vegetables against the buttery parmesan rice is quite amazing. Usually I recommend reducing the quantities of Ottolenghi’s recipes, they are always ample, but this one makes enough for 4 people – however, if you think you might want seconds (and you will), make a larger quantity.

It is Ottolenghi Cook the Books day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi 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 Pea Croquettes with Mint Sauce, French Braised Lettuce, Broad Beans and Peas, Leeks and Carrots a la Grecque, and Green Beans Braised in Tomatoes and Olive Oil.

Browse all of our Broad Bean recipes and all of our Pea dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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

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Poritha Kootu with Simple Spices

Here is another Poritha Kootu – Mung Dal with vegetables – for a quick and delicious meal. This version is not spicy, very little spice is added, just chillies and cumin with coconut. It celebrates the taste and textures of the dal and the vegetables.

Sometimes Poritha Kootu is called a Lentil Vegetable Stew. It is a reasonable description, as it is thicker than Poritha Kuzhambu, and contains multiple vegetables rather than just one.

Are you after other Kootu recipes? Try Poritha Kootu with Snake Gourd, Spinach with a Peppery Coconut Gravy (Keerai Molag00tal), Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind, Poritha Kootu without Tamarind, and Poritha Kootu with Sambar Spices.

Or perhaps you prefer Mung Dal recipes. We recommend Amaranth Leaves Masiyal, Mung Dal with Cumin and Spinach, Gentle Mung Soup, and Mung Soup with Amaranth Greens.

You can find all of our Kootu recipes here, all of the Sambar and Kuzhambu recipes here, and all of our Mung recipes here. Our Indian Dishes are all here. Or simply explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Poritha Kootu

We have been posting some Poritha Kootu recipes recently and (at least for a while) this is our last recipe for a Poritha Kootu that does not include tamarind. In the future we will post a few recipes that do contain tamarind, but for now our focus has been with those that don’t, as it is the most common way to make this dish.

This version uses toor dal for a change. Our previous recipes have used mung dal, but Meenakshi Ammal recommends toor dal for this one as it is a better fit for the flavours used.

Are you after other Kootu recipes? Try Brinjal Asadu, Poritha Kootu with Tamarind, Poritha Kootu with Simple Spices, Poritha Kootu without Tamarind, Poritha Kootu with Simple Spices and Poritha Kootu with Sambar Spices.

Are you after Sambar and Kuzhamu recipes? Try Moar Kuzhambu (with yoghurt), Fenugreek Kuzhambu, and Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu (Lentil Balls in Spicy Gravy). Try these Sambar recipes: Classic Seasoned Sambar Version 1, Version 2, Version 3 and Version 4. You can also try a Buttermilk/Yoghurt Sambar.

Browse all of our Kootu recipes, all of the Sambar and Kuzhambu recipes, and all of our Toor Dal recipes. Our Indian Dishes are all here and our Indian Essentials are here. Or simply explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Poritha Kootu | Recipe Without Tamarind

Mung dal has that immediate effect of making you feel good – supported, nourished, loved. Because of this quality – Miso Soup has it as well – dishes with Mung dal have become our go-to recipes after late nights and missed sleep, when work is far too busy and when there is disruption in our lives. Often it is a simple Mung Soup or Mung Dal, or Kitchari, all made in under 30 minutes, but today we make Poritha Kootu.

Kootu (Koottu, Kothsu) is a type of Kuzhambu, and is any vegetable combination with Mung Dal and freshly ground mild spices (but usually without sambar powder). Occasionally Toor Dal is used. Cumin is considered the defining spice for Kootu. Sometimes black pepper is used, but it seems fenugreek is never used. Kootu is a thicker dish than Sambar or Kuzhambu. You could say that Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Kootu are very similar, except that Poritha Kootu is made with Mung Dal, has more vegetables and is much thicker.

Many kootus are spiced with a coconut, cumin and green chillies paste but this recipe, from Meenakshi Ammal, uses red chillies in the paste. As usual, her recipe takes some unpicking as it a little maze-like. It always takes a bit of a detective work to unravel some of her recipes in Vol 1 of Cook and See. I feel like a sleuth as I work my way through her complex instructions.

Recipes for Kootu vary from region to region, town to town, household to household. Some places define Poritha Kootu by the inclusion of pepper and urad dal in its seasoning, which makes it a variation of Kootu. This is at odds with the way Meenakshi Ammal makes Poritha Kootu – her recipe does not include pepper.

I have used zucchini with other vegetables in this dish – zucchini is still a slightly exotic vegetable in India where it was only recently introduced. I have paired it with potatoes and drumstick. It’s kinda special, as the zucchini and drumsticks are home grown.

Similar recipes include Amaranth Leaves with Mung Dal, Puli Keerai, Ezhukari Kuzhambu (Pongal Kootu), Poritha Kuzhambu (3), Poritha Kootu with Tamarind, Poritha Kootu with Coconut Chilli Paste and Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind.

Or perhaps you prefer Mung Dal recipes. We recommend Mung Dal with Cumin and Spinach, Gentle Mung Soup, and Mung Soup with Amaranth Greens.

You can find all of our Sambar and Kuzhambu recipes here, and all of our Mung recipes here. Our Indian Dishes are all here. Or simply explore our Late Summer dishes.

Continue reading “Poritha Kootu | Recipe Without Tamarind”

Peas with Purslane (or Sorrel) and Mustard

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. It is a Pea dish today.

There is an ode to peas (especially frozen peas) in the Guardian as it introduces this dish from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More. It goes something like this (with minor alterations):

“Is there a safer bet in the kitchen than that there will be a bag of peas in the freezer? Peas are unlikely to surprise or shock in any way, but they are delightfully reassuring. They will somehow always be there, and always taste as they have and should.

Sure, freshly podded peas have about them a certain romance  – they have, for example, that beautiful texture when thrown raw into a crunchy spring salad. But who has access to fresh peas that haven’t been sitting for far too long on the green grocer’s shelves? No wonder, frozen peas sit comfortably in almost all home freezers.

Peas are incredibly relaxed about whom they sit next to at dinner. Salty and tangy feta or parmesan, creamy yoghurt, nutty potatoes, sweet fresh mint, peppery watercress or bitter leaves: sweet peas will always bring out the best in their companion. Needing little more than a minute’s blanching to cook, followed by a brief drenching in cold water, peas are low-maintenance and offer instant gratification. They are hugely versatile in use, as good at being mashed, pureed, lightly stewed or blitzed as they are left whole and mixed through a salad or pasta, stirred through a risotto, or gently stuffed inside artichoke hearts ready for braising.”

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French Braised Lettuce, Broad Beans and Peas | Peas and Broad Beans a la Grecque

Well, the news is out. I love broad beans and have had quite a broad bean fest this year, eating them in various ways and forms on most days. This recipe is a gentle braise that is very much French in style, gentle in style and flavours, but glorious as a dish.

It uses those lettuce leaves that can withstand heat – cos and iceberg are two that are ideal for this recipe. You can use other leaves, but make sure that they are not too strongly flavoured or else they will overwhelm the dish.

Similar recipes include Braised Broad Beans, Peas and Lettuce with Parmesan Rice, Mustardy Peas with Purslane, Saffron Mograbieh Pilaf with Broad Beans, Broad Beans with Feta and Preserved Lemon, and Spring Pasta with Broad Beans and Mint.

A la Grecque dishes you might lie to try include Green Beans in Tomato and Olive Oil, Leeks and Carrots a la Grecque, Gentle Vegetables a la Grecque, and Courgettes a la Grecque.

You might like to browse our other a la Grecque recipes (in the Greek style), or our French recipes. Our Broad Bean recipes are here and are worth a look. Or simply explore our Late Spring recipes.

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