Teeny Dried Okra | Okra Vathal | Crispy Okra

There are lots of ways of drying Okra in South India, from the plain – salted and dried, to the curd-soaked okra similar to yoghurt chillies, to okra that is pre-cooked in chilli and tamarind and then dried.

This version partially dries the okra and then blanches them in salt and turmeric (how healthy!) before finishing the drying process. Like all Vathal, the dried okra are fried before use, and can be eaten as snacks, with yoghurt as a pachadi or raita, or included in dishes such as Vatral Kuzhambu.

Traditionally, in India, drying would be done on a roof top terrace in the hottest of suns. I once saw my neighbours put a whole sack of onions out in the sunshine for months to fully dry. Sadly, in other parts of the world, this is not possible. So here, I use a dehydrator with excellent results. You can also dry them in the oven.

Are you after some other Okra recipes? Try Crispy Okra, Okra with Chilli Spice Paste, and Goan Fried Okra. Read more about Okra here.

Or try some of our other Vathal and VadagamDried Mango, Another Method for Dried Okra, and Dried Mung Dal Nuggets.

You can check out all of our Okra dishes, and all of our Vathal and Vadagam. We have a guide to preserving Summer and Autumn fruits and vegetables for Winter. Or simply explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Fig Jam with Black Pepper, Cinnamon and Ginger

Glen Ewin Estate is a function centre in the Adelaide Hills that is a venue for weddings, conferences and other events. It also has cellar door tastings for small boutique wineries, it features a nice restaurant, and has a small fig orchard or two. In fig season, you can arrange to visit and pick your own figs. It is a lovely activity on a warm Late Summer or Autumn day, for those of us who love to eat and cook with figs. I had a leisurely drive through the hills, always a pleasure, to arrive about 20 minutes prior to their closing time, but that was all that I needed. Armed with enough figs for jam and a weeks worth of eating/cooking, I ambled home again. There is nothing like fresh figs straight from the tree.

The jam I made with the figs is similar to other jams I love to make. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so they are generally on the tart side, and are flavoured with spices. So today’s Fig Jam has black pepper, cinnamon, ginger and a hint of chilli, as well as a couple of slurps of some red wine that was sitting, ignored, in the fridge.

Two parts figs. One part sugar. Cook and cook. Be gentle. Bottle.

(I read this recipe a while ago, with a nice story about a Grandmother and her jam making.)

This jam is so easy to make. I make small quantities of jam and keep the jars in the fridge, so am not overly concerned about the fruit-sugar ratio. If you are making large quantities to store for longer periods, please adhere to appropriate fruit-sugar ratios.

Similar recipes include Quick Strawberry JamQuince Jam, and Crab Apple and Pomegranate Jelly.

Also try Boozy Baked Figs.

Browse all of our Jam recipes and all of our Fig dishes. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Preserved Sweet Chillies | A Sweet Chilli Jam

These sweet chillies are a variation on Sweet Chilli Sauce, – red chillies are simmered in a sugar solution until tender, and then stored in a glass jar. I will usually make small portions as it is an easy recipe, using a dozen or so ripe chillies from the garden. The preserve is then used over the next few days as an accompaniment to dishes. It is pretty delicious, especially with anything involving rice.

The syrup thickens like a jam or jelly, creating an interesting texture as well as flavour. The trick is to avoid over cooking otherwise you will have chilli toffee. The clearish jelly is strongly chilli flavoured, and the chilli pieces add texture and more heat. You will really enjoy this one. Today I used ripened chillies from the purple jalapeno chilli plant in the garden.

I love to serve this preserve on a cheese board (you have to be a chilli lover) and also mix it into creamy salad dressings.

Similar recipes include Green Chilli and Coriander Paste, Hot Sweet Chilli Jam, and Sweet Chilli Sauce.

Browse all of our Chilli dishes and all of our Preserves. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Hot Sweet Chilli Jam | A Chilli Paste to Die For

Some years ago my friend Franz shared the recipe for a chilli jam he was making, and as I had chillies everywhere (in the freezer, on the bush, dried, drying), I made a couple of jars too. One I gave to my Thai friends, and they ate the whole (large) jar within a week. Oh my goodness! They loved the heat and the sweetness.

The other jar has been in the fridge all of those years. The reason is, we are always making chilli jams, pastes, purees…. There are always multiple jars open in the fridge and more containers in the freezer. This particular one came to the fore the other day when a sambal was needed for some okra with coconut rice. After the intervening time, the jam was still absolutely excellent (perhaps better for the maturing), and tasted incredible. I mixed it with some Chinese Chilli-Blackbean paste for an instant sambal.

Chatting with Franz, I told him the story and asked him to send me the recipe again. Catastrophe! Neither of us could find a copy! That made me search deeper and longer until I found it. Not wanting to lose the recipe again, we are posting it here so we know where it is! Please make and enjoy, it is amazing. I have tweaked the recipe a little to suit my preference and available ingredients.

Similar recipes include Preserved Sweet Chillies, Green Chilli and Coriander Paste, Chilli Jam with Deep and Complex Flavours, Red and Green Chilli Pastes, and Tomato and Chilli Jam.

Browse all of our Chilli recipes and all of our Pastes, Purees and Jams. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Gajar ka Achaar | Mustardy Carrot Pickle

A beautiful Punjabi pickle

Pickles are ubiquitous in India. Spicy green chilli pickles, Mango Pickles with Cardamom and Fenugreek, tiny Plum Pickles, yellow Cauliflower pickle, Apple Pickles, even Quince Pickle and Cumquat Pickles. You name it, every Indian household will have big jars filled with freshly made pickles sitting in the sunshine. This is a method commonly used to develop the flavours of the pickle and let them mature.

Making Indian pickles is so simple. Some are pickled in oil, some in an acid, like vinegar, or lemon or lime juice. It may take some time to allow the flavours to develop, but all good things take time.

Oil style pickles are common in North India, and salt and oil play important parts in the pickling process. Salt adds to the flavour, draws moisture out of the vegetable and inhibits bacterial growth. Oil acts as a barrier and keeps the vegetables moist. Different oils produce different tasting pickles.

Today’s pickle is a beautiful crunchy carrot pickle, made mustardy with the use of mustard oil and mustard seeds. It is a perfect accompaniment to parathas, vegetable pulao or any meal, really.

Are you after other Carrot Recipes? Try Carrot Rice, Cumin and Ginger Glazed Carrots, Carrot Thoran and an interesting Carrot Curry with Crumble.

Are you looking for Pickles? Try Fresh Green Apple Pickles, Pickled Okra, Pickled Jicama, and Pickled Cumquats.

Have a look at other Carrot Pickles, and all of our other Picklesour Chutneys too. All of our Carrot dishes are here. Or browse our Indian recipes, the Indian Essentials Series, and explore our Mid Spring recipes too.

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Ousback’s Grilled Pepper and Apple Relish / Chutney

I am not sure where I first came across Ousback’s recipe — he was very popular with Vogue Entertainment Magazine around the mid 1990, so perhaps it was there. Anders Ousback was well known as a lover of food and wine, and this relish of his was also well known and loved. He was influential in the Sydney food scene, and influenced many chefs and restaurant owners. This recipe of his has stood the test of time, and is as wonderful today as it was back then.

There were several variations of the Grilled Pepper Relish. The one below is the one that I love because of its freshness and the wonderful taste of the spices it includes.

I am sure the recipe that Anders used has provenance. You can see the origins in Elizabeth David’s Red Pepper Relish. And there are infinite purees and pastes of roasted red peppers, such as  Serbian Ajvar, an Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Relish.

Similar recipes include Harissa, Roasted Red Pepper Sauces, and Red Pepper, Eggplant and Tomato Pasta Sauce. Or try Fennel and Lemon Chutney, and Char Grilled Banana Chillies Stuffed with Tomatoes and Spices.

You might also liked to browse our Preserves recipes and our Capsicum recipes. Our Apple dishes are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006.  You can find other recipes from that blog in our Retro Recipes series.

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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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Pomegranate Molasses

This year I have a surfeit of Pomegranates from a wonderful friend that has a prolific tree. Juice, Pomegranate Honey, Pomegranate Vinegar and other such goodies emerge from our kitchen, including this Pomegranate Molasses.

Are you looking for Pomegranate recipes? Try Pomegranate Salsa, Tomato and Pomegranate Salad, and Green Olive, Walnut, Pistachio and Pomegranate Salad.

Browse all of our other Pomegranate recipes. You might also be interested in our Autumn Preserves. Or browse our easy Early Winter recipes.

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Zucchini Sott’Olio | Zucchini Preserved in Oil with Mint, Chilli and Garlic

Turning zucchini into glorious pickles

Fussy to make, these pickles are rather gorgeous and a great way to use the gigantic zucchini that you can’t avoid in your vegetable garden patch.

Are you looking for other Zucchini Recipes? Try a Gratin of Potatoes and Zucchini with Thyme, a delicious Indian Zucchini Fry, and Zucchini Rice.

Or perhaps you would like some Pickle suggestions. Try Pickled Okra, Pickled Jicama and Pickled Ginger.

You might like to browse all Pickles, and all Zucchini recipes. Explore our Autumn preserving recipes too. Or take some time to explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Spicy Dried Okra Snack

I have fallen in love with okra and it is all my internet friend Jude’s fault – her love of okra got me checking them out at the supermarket and Asian grocers and thinking about recipes.

The season is nearly ended, I am guessing, so thoughts are turning to pickling Okra and to drying them. Some must be frozen as well. I am going to play with 2 or three ways to dry the okra, to see what we like best. I do have a dehydrator, but you can also dry okra in the sun, or in the oven.

Okra are easy to grow too, and drying okra is a great way to preserve an abundant crop. It also avoids the slimy nature of okra, definitely a plus. I have to be truthful and say that this is not a pretty item. But is it a light and crunchy snack with an amazing taste. They say it tastes of the garden and it is definitely more-ish. You have a great combination with some Dried Capsicum and Dried Okra.

In this recipe the okra is tossed with mustard or olive oil, salt and a little cayenne for a hint of spice. Select pods that are small – no larger than 6 – 8 cm. Larger okra can be stringy and tough.

Similar recipes include Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips.

Are you looking for more Okra dishes? Try Teeny Dried Okra Vathal, Crispy Okra, Okra with Chilli Spice Paste, and Goan Fried Okra. Read more about Okra here.

Or perhaps you are looking for dried items? Have a look at these: Dried Capsicum, Dried Mung Bean Nuggets, Sweet Potato Crisps, and Dried Mango.

You might like to browse all of our Okra dishes, and all of our Dried Vegetables. We have a guide to preserving Summer and Autumn fruits and vegetables for Winter. Or simply explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Bami Titvash | Armenian Pickled Okra

We like to keep some pickles on our shelves – usually in the fridge for longer storage. Given our current focus on Okra, it was wonderful to realise that these can be pickled as well as our usual ones – carrots, jicama, cumquats, quinces, onions, ginger – pickles feature big here.

This is an Armenian Pickle, from Arto Der Haroutunian’s Middle Eastern Vegetarian Dishes – my old copy that I bought at a second hand stall in about 1985. I love this book.

The recipe would be quite tweak-able, and I am quite excited about it. As the jars lined up on the shelf, I imagined it with various other spices included. This will stay on our list of often-repeated dishes for some time. It is surely a nice way to use up an over-abundant crop from the kitchen garden.

It’s a long wait though. Between the easy part – placing them in the jar with spices and vinegar – an eating them is the difficult part, that of waiting 8 weeks. Oh well, just imagine, in early Winter we will have pickled Okra with our meals. A nice thought.

Are you after other Okra Recipes? Try Okra in Tamarind with Prunes and Apricots, Crispy Okra, Okra with Chilli Spice Paste, and Goan Fried Okra. Read more about Okra here.

Or perhaps you are wanting other pickles? Try Pickled Jicama, Pickled Lemon Slices, and Quince Pickle.

We have one other Armenian dish – Green Peppers in Yoghurt.

If you are keen for more information, browse all of our Pickles and all of our Okra recipes. Our Middle Eastern Recipes are here. Take a look at Arto’s dishes that we have made. Or take some time to explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Pickled Jicama

Jicama is not a cheap vegetable, but boy it is good, and one Jicama will often make 2 or 3 dishes. A couple of salads for example. Or just eat it on its own with salt and lime juice.

The jicama I picked up today from the local Asian Grocery is young and beautiful. It must be the beginning of the Jicama season. Never choose one that is wrinkled, damaged, with mouldy or sunken spots. Ewk!

This recipe is a quickish pickle that will sit in the fridge easily for a week or more. So just adjust the recipe to the amount that you think you will eat in that time.

Try these other Jicama recipes: Jicama and Green Mango Salad, Jicama with Coconut Milk, or Jicama Sticks with Spices.

Are you after other interesting pickles? Try Pickled Lemons, Pickled Quinces, and Cumquat Pickles.

All of our Jicama recipes are here, and all of the Pickle recipes here. Or take some time to explore our Late Summer recipes.

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Mango Vathal | Dried Mango for Indian Dishes

Dry Mango for year round summer flavours

South India, I guess all of India, has a culture of drying vegetables, mixtures of lentils and spices, and pastes made from rice, sago and similar. This is sensible of course – it preserves summer produce for use throughout the year, and thus in leaner seasons it extends freshly available ingredients.

Although terms are used interchangeably, strictly speaking:

  • Vathal are dried vegetables and fruits
  • Vadagam are dried balls of lentils and spices
  • Vadam is a paste or dough made from rice, sago etc that is dried and then fried before using. Also called Fryums.

Looking for similar recipes? Learn how to Dehydrate Sweet Mango and make Mango Leather.

Other recipes that use the dehydrator include Sweet Potato Crisps, Mung Wadi, and Crispy Spiced Dried Okra.

You might also like other Mango recipes here and here. Browse our Indian Recipes here. Or try a collection of easy Late Summer dishes.

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Italian Tomato Sauce

A very versatile Italian Sauce

This is a gorgeously herby tomato sauce with an Italian swagger. It cooks slowly down then is blended well (using a blender) or coarsely (with an immersion blender), and the sauce can be frozen. It pairs delightfully with cheeses like fontina, can serve as a fresh chutney, used as a spread in layered sandwiches and toasties, and of course serves as a sauce as well.

It was my daughter who first pointed out how good this recipe is. It has been in use in our household since 1998. That is how good it is!

Similar dishes include Umbrian Cure-all Sauce, Salsa Verde, Tomato and Chilli Jam, Tomato Paste, and Baked Tomato Pasta Sauce.

Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series. You might also like our Tomato recipes here and here. Or you might like to browse Sauce recipes here and here. Check out our easy Autumn recipes here and here.

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Quick Pickled-Preserved Lemon Slices in Oil

Such an easy pickle

With the gift of organic lemons from a neighbour, it was a chance to make this quick pickle. There is a lot of confusion about what are pickled lemons and what are preserved lemon – it ranges from dried lemons (perserved) to soaked in brine and covered with lemon juice with or without a light covering of oil (both pickled and preserved), to lemons that have been salted and then stored in oil (a rarer pickle/preserve, but not uncommon).

This pickle or preserve is of the latter type. It is not an elegant pickle, or one that you would give for a gift. It is the type of pickle you make when all your lemons ripen at once and you need to use some quickly. Or a kindly neighbour gives you a basket of lemons from their tree and you don’t have time to make marmalade or preserve them Moroccan style.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Carrot and Kombu Quick Pickle, Celery Quick Pickle with Chilli, and Slightly Pickled Salad.

You might also enjoy our Pickles here and here, and the Preserves here and here. You might also like our Lemon recipes here and here.

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