Poritha Koottu with Sambar Powder

Kootu (Koottu) is a type of Kuzhambu, and contains a combination of vegetable combined with Mung Dal and freshly ground mild spices. Varieties of Kootu include Poritha Kootu and Kothsu (Gothsu).

Sometimes Kootu is called a Lentil Vegetable Stew. It certainly is thicker than Poritha Kuzhambu, with more vegetables. It is generally eaten with rice, without any need for an accompanying vegetable dish. You could say that Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Kootu are very similar, except that Poritha Kootu is made with Mung Dal rather than Toor Dal, has more vegetables and is much thicker than Kuzhambu.

This Kootu is slightly unusual. It uses a little Sambar Powder which is rarely used in Kootu. And although some Kootu recipes contain tamarind, this one does not.

Cumin is considered the defining spice for Kootu. Sometimes pepper is used. Many kootus are spiced with a coconut, cumin and green chillies paste but this recipe, from Meenakshi Ammal, varies that by using red chillies.

The dish is not spicy – very little spice is used. It celebrates the taste and textures of the dal and the vegetables. You will enjoy it. You can purchase your Sambar Powder at an Indian grocery, or better still, make your own.

As usual, Meenakshi Ammal’s recipe takes some unpicking as it does contradict itself. It always takes a bit of a detective work to unravel the recipes in Vol 1 of her 4 volume set of Cook and See.

Are you after similar recipes? Try Poritha Kootu without Tamarind, Brinjal Chidambaram Kothsu, and Pitlai.

Are you after Kuzhamu recipes? Try Moar Kuzhambu (with yoghurt), Fenugreek Kuzhambu, and Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu (Lentil Balls in Spicy Gravy).

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

Or browse all of our Kootu, our Sambar and Kuzhambu recipes, and all of our Mung recipes. Our Indian Dishes are all here and our Indian Essentials here. Or simply explore our Early Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Poritha Koottu with Sambar Powder”

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A Special Pumpkin Soup

A soup for when winter goes on and on and on ….

You can never have too many pumpkin soup recipes. They abound, to be sure. But, comforting and nourishing, they are frequently on the menu at our place. Also, they are perfect dinner items from Autumn through Winter and into Spring, which means they are very versatile. We always make a large pot, and then vary the soup each meal by adding chilli or pesto, tomato paste or milk/cream and adding different herbs – basil, parsley, coriander (cilantro).

This pumpkin soup has a tang to it with the addition of sweet sherry! An old ingredient indeed, but that does not mean that it doesn’t have the occasional place in the modern kitchen.

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

Similar recipes include Cream of Roasted Swede SoupFrench Cream of Pumpkin Soup, Pumpkin Soup with Red Peppers, and Pumpkin Cooked with Lashings of Butter.

You might like to browse other Pumpkin Soup recipes, and all of our Pumpkin recipes. Try other Soup recipes too. Or simply explore our easy Mid Winter recipes.

Continue reading “A Special Pumpkin Soup”

Butternut Pumpkin Cooked with Lashings of Butter and Black Pepper

Such soft buttery butternut, perfect for late Autumn

Vegetables like potatoes and pumpkin can be slow cooked very successfully. It works best with lots of butter, and of course that adds to the flavour A LOT. In this recipe, the butter helps to produce meltingly soft Butternut Pumpkin.

We began making this dish a long time ago, and it is a recipe from our Retro Recipe series – vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006. It began as a quick, no fuss way to cook pumpkin while we were doing other things in and out of the kitchen, an a great vegetable to serve for Sunday lunches and winter BBQs. It has now come into its own, and we love it at any time.

Are you after spectacular mashes? You might also want to try Garlicky Potato Mash, Broad Bean and Butter Bean Mash, and Carrot and Parsnip Mash. And try these Potato Mashes – English, French, and Indian.

Are you looking for Pumpkin recipes? Try French Cream of Pumpkin SoupRoast Pumpkin Couscous Salad, Lasagne with Spinach, Ricotta and Pumpkin, and Roasted Pumpkin Risotto.

You might also like to check out all of our Pumpkin recipes. Or browse Slow Cooked recipes. Take some time to explore our collection of easy Mid Winter recipes.

Continue reading “Butternut Pumpkin Cooked with Lashings of Butter and Black Pepper”

Soupe au Potiron | Our Family’s Favourite Cream of Pumpkin Soup

A French Soup so good that your friends will request the recipe

In the days when my kids were growing up, I really was famous for this soup. People would request it if they were coming over for a meal. I would keep copies of the recipe handy for people. We make it still today, and it is still just as good.

I love the way that the colour of this soup mirrors that of the falling autumn leaves at my house.

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

Are you looking for Pumpkin Soups? Try these: Adzuki Bean, Barley and Pumpkin Soup, Italian Pumpkin Soup, Special Pumpkin Soup, and Pumpkin Soup with Red Peppers.

Or try some other Pumpkin recipes, like Pumpkin Couscous Salad, Caramelised Roast Pumpkin, and Pumpkin Cooked in a Covered BBQ.

Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series – vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006. You might also like our Pumpkin recipes here and here. Or you might like to browse Soup recipes here and here. Check out our easy Winter recipes here and here.

Continue reading “Soupe au Potiron | Our Family’s Favourite Cream of Pumpkin Soup”

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.

Continue reading “How to Cook Vegetables for Sambar”

Roast Pumpkin Couscous Salad with Chilli Jam

When Autumn takes hold and Winter is just around the corner, salads become heartier.

As the weather gets colder in the transitional months after Summer, Autumnal and Wintery colours are introduced into the kitchen. Pumpkins, polenta, couscous. Pomegranate. Quince, Pears. Apples.

This morning – it is so much cooler in the pre-dawn mornings – pumpkin is roasted until utterly caramelised. Couscous is cooked. And a salad comes together.

You might like to browse our Pumpkin Salad recipes, and all of the Pumpkin recipes here and here. And the Couscous recipes here and here. Be inspired by a range of Winter dishes here and here.

Continue reading “Roast Pumpkin Couscous Salad with Chilli Jam”

Indian Style Slightly Sweet and Sour Pumpkin and Sweet Potato | Kaddu ki Sabzi | Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Subzi

A great use for left over pumpkin. Or cook from scratch.

The challenge of every xmas – and Thanksgiving, for that matter – is how to use the left over roasted pumpkin. I have found the solution.

Inspired by The Back Yard Lemon Tree, I took the Delhi Style Sweet and Sour Pumpkin and mixed it up a little to use up several different xmas leftovers. It was delicious. Do read the original recipe – it is from Madhur Jaffrey.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Pumpkin Curry, Pumpkin Soup and Pumpkin Risotto. And try these Sweet Potato dishes: Sweet Potato Subzi with Yoghurt, and Potato and Sweet Potato Spicy Curry.

Try other Subzis – Kohlrabi Subzi, Carrots and Green Peas Subzi, and Potato and Spinach Subzi.

You might also like to explore all of our Subzi recipes, all of our Pumpkin recipes and all of our Sweet Potato dishes.  Have a look at all of our Indian Vegetable Curries, and all of our Indian recipes. Or simply explore our Early Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Indian Style Slightly Sweet and Sour Pumpkin and Sweet Potato | Kaddu ki Sabzi | Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Subzi”

Plain Kuzhambu | Kottu Kuzhambu | South Indian Vegetables with Spicy Gravy

This plain kuzhambu is milder than some others, but is anything but plain.

Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See books, has a Plain Kuzhambu (Kottu Kuzhambu) in Book 1 of her 4 book series. The Plain Kuzhambu is milder indeed, but is anything but plain. It is a gravy like dish without the toor dal, and with the addition of vegetables. I used pumpkin. Kottu, meaning plain, indicates the presence of vegetables but without cooked lentils.

This recipe is very similar to Vatral Kuzhambu, but uses fresh vegetables instead of dried ones (vathal).

You can find recipes for the other Kuzhambus here, including Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu, and Masala Kuzhambu with Gram Flour Vadai. If you are looking for traditional Sambar Recipes, they are here – the list includes the Kuzhambu Recipes. Or explore our Indian dishes here and here. Other Winter recipes can be found here and here.

Continue reading “Plain Kuzhambu | Kottu Kuzhambu | South Indian Vegetables with Spicy Gravy”

BBQ’d Pumpkins, Potatoes, Broccoli and Fennel

A new BBQ brings lots of cooking.

These recipes use a BBQ with a cover, so you can grill or bake or roast. I use a Weber Q, along with its vegetable basket, a hotplate for things like onions and haloumi, and a pizza stone.

**I am not compensated for mentioning this brand of BBQ in any way.

You might like to browse our complete collection of BBQ recipes. Our favourite is Pizza on the BBQ. Or browse our Winter recipes here and here.

Continue reading “BBQ’d Pumpkins, Potatoes, Broccoli and Fennel”

Classic Seasoned Sambar, Method Four

This is the fourth of four methods that Ms Ammal presents for her basic sambars.

Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See Part 1 has four methods for cooking basic, classic seasoned sambar. This is the fourth method that she describes for that dish.

There are other types of sambar – Yoghurt and Buttermilk sambars, kuzhambu and others that stray from the classic approach. This recipe sticks to that classic, seasoned approach.

Are you wondering what defines a sambar? You might like to read this post that answers that question. If you like to explore sambars, you could browse all sambar recipes, kuzhambu recipes, and these helpful posts – Sambar, Method One, Method Three, and Method Four.

For how to cook vegetables for sambar, read On cooking Vegetables for Sambar. For making sambar powders, go to Sambar Powders and a Simple Sambar. Finally this one will also help –  Sambar – hot, sour or salty?. A lot of info for a simple dish:)

You can see the other methods here – Method 1, Method 2, Method 3. Continue reading “Classic Seasoned Sambar, Method Four”

Classic Seasoned Sambar, Method Three

This is the third of four main ways of cooking sambar.

We have four main methods of cooking Sambar, and this one is the third. The difference in this method  from previous ones is that a delicious paste of chillies, coriander and channa dal is made, instead of using dry spices.

Are you wondering what defines a sambar? You might like to read this post that answers that question. If you like to explore sambars, you can browse these helpful posts – Sambar Method One, Method Two, and Method Four, and then all sambar recipes and kuzhambu recipes.

A lot of info for a simple dish:)

This recipe is different to Methods One and Two in that it introduces a lovely paste as a part substitute for individual spices.

Are you looking for other Sambar recipes? Try Sundakkai Sambar, and Moru Sambar.

Browse all of our Sambar and Kuzhambu dishes, and all of our Indian recipes. Or eat seasonally and explore our collection of Early Spring dishes.

Onion Sambar II

Seasoned Sambar Method THREE a la S. Meenakshi Ammal

Source : adapted from Method Three, Seasoned Sambar in Cook and See Part 1, by S. Meenakshi Ammal
Cuisine: South Indian
Prep time: 15 mins or so
Cooking time: 30 mins + time of cooking the toor dal (about 1.5 hrs)
Serves: 4 people

ingredients
0.5 cup Red Gram Dal = Toor Dal
1 large Tblspn Tamarind
1 tspn salt or to taste
0.5 tspn rice flour or chickpea flour
6 dried red chillies, depending on heat and your preference. I use 3 or 4.
0.5 tspn fenugreek seeds
0.5 tspn black mustard seeds
3 tspn Gingelly Oil = Indian Sesame Oil (a very light sesame oil without a sesame taste. Use ghee or vegetable oil if you can’t get Indian Sesame Oil)
2 Green chillies
1 pinch asafoetida
6 or so curry leaves
coriander leaves
0.33 tspn Turmeric powder
1 cup chopped vegetable (see below)

for chilli paste
6 dried red chillies
1.5 tspns coriander seeds
1 tspn bengal gram (channa dal)

for vegetables
Vegetables like carrot, pumpkin, french beans, runner beans, cluster beans, eggplant, okra, chow chow and drumstick can be used.  It is best to use only one vegetable. Prepare the vegetable by washing and cutting into chunks or lengths. ADD THESE VEGETABLES WHEN THE TAMARIND IS ADDED.

If you prefer, you can briefly par-boil any harder vegetables, like eggplant, okra, pumpkin or any of the beans before using in the recipe. ADD THESE VEGETABLES BEFORE ADDING THE TAMARIND.

You can also use Amaranth stems, radish, white radish or onions, which can be par-boiled in a little water along with the tamarind water before adding to the recipe AT THE POINT THE TAMARIND IS USUALLY ADDED. (Add the cooking water as well). Don’t add extra tamarind to the recipe.

Or Amaranth stems, radish, runner beans, cluster beans or pumpkin can be cooked separately with a little salt, drained an ADDED AFTER ADDING THE TAMARIND.

 

method
Wash the dal. Boil about 4 cups water, add the dal and 1 tspn gingelly oil or ghee. Cover with a lid and cook until a soft mass. Add more water as it cooks if needed. It will take at least 30 mins and up to 90 mins to cook until very soft, depending on the age of the dal.

Towards the end of cooking, add the turmeric powder.

Make the paste. Shallow fry 6 dried red chillies or to taste, coriander seeds and bengal gram in a little ghee. Grind to a paste in a spice grinder or small processor.

Get ready the remaining 6 dried red chillies. Take a small pan and heat with the remainder of the gingelly oil or ghee. Break the dried chillies in half and add to the oil with the mustard seeds first, then the fenugreek seeds and asafoetida. Allow the mustard seeds to pop and fry the seeds till they are a dark brown but not burnt.

Slit the green chillies into 2 and add to the spices with the curry leaves. The curry leaves will splatter so stand back!

Check when your vegetables should be added to the sambar – either now, with the next step or after the next step.

Strain the tamarind water, removing the seeds and strings and keeping the pulp, and add to the spices with the salt.

By now the vegetables are added, so add enough cooking water to make a soupy consistency. Stir, cover and cook on medium-low heat until the vegetables are cooked.

Now add the spices, the chilli paste and vegetables to the dal and mix very well. Allow the sambar to boil well for 3 or 4 minutes.

Mix the rice flour or chickpea flour in some water, mixing well to remove lumps. Stir into the dal, mixing it well. Boil again for a few minutes. Remove from the stove.

Once off the heat, garnish with coriander leaves and curry leaves.

Sambar

 

recipe notes
Grated coconut can be roasted to a golden brown and added to the spice paste, but the keeping properties of the Sambar might be reduced.

Always consider the heat and size of your chillies (dried for red and fresh for green) when selecting how many you will use in the recipe. If the chillies are large, reduce to 4 for the spice paste and 4 for the sambar.

I like to add 2 tomatoes, chopped well, with the vegetables.

Green chillies are optional and may be replaced by red chillies.

If you use more toor dal than specified, the sambar will be thick enough without the need for rice flour or chickpea flour.

If masalas are liked, saute in ghee or gingelly oil: 1 tspn poppy seeds, 0.5 tspn anise, 2 cm cinnamon stick, 4 cloves and 4 cardamon pods, and add for extra flavour to the sambar.

A Classic Seasoned Sambar, Method Two

I adore sambar. There are no two ways around it. It is a dish of choice, and when I visit my most favourite Indian restaurants, I will always order a dish of sambar and idli. As homely as it is, it is comforting, flavoursome, awesome.

This is a second method of cooking Sambar as described by Meenakshi Ammal, that classical Indian author of cookbooks. It introduces the use of Sambar Powder as a replacement for some of the individual spices.

Are you wondering what defines a sambar? You might like to read this post that answers that question. If you like to explore sambars, you could browse these helpful posts – Sambar, Method One, Method Three, and Method Four, and then all sambar recipes and kuzhambu recipes.

A lot of info for a simple dish 🙂

Continue reading “A Classic Seasoned Sambar, Method Two”

Mooli and Golden Pumpkin Curry | Daikon Radish and Pumpkin Curry

A delicious Indian Curry using Daikon and Pumpkin.

An underused vegetable, Daikon Radish or White Radish is the feature of this curry. Mixed with Butternut or Jap Pumpkin, it is a golden delight. Potatoes can be used instead of daikon.

You might also like to try Spicy Pumpkin, a great Pumpkin Soup, or a Daikon Salad. Read more about Daikon Radish here, and there are more pumpkin recipes here and here. Or browse our Indian Recipes here and here. Be inspired by our easy Winter recipes here and here.

Continue reading “Mooli and Golden Pumpkin Curry | Daikon Radish and Pumpkin Curry”

Seasoned Sambar, Method One

A classic, traditional Sambar, from Meenakshi Ammal.

A treat that you can give yourself is a wonderful South Indian Sambar, a South Indian soupy spicy dish, generally served over rice or with dosa.

This recipe is interpreted from the doyenne of South Indian cooking, S. Meenakshi Ammal. Her books, Cook and See (in four parts) are a goldmine of traditional South Indian cooking. Sometimes hard to interpret for the novice non-Indian cook, her recipes take a bit of detective work, planning, thinking, rewriting, and discussing. But if you are serious about real and traditional Indian food, these books are a treasure.

You can read more about Sambars and their characteristics here.

Are you looking for other Sambar recipes? Try Sundakkai Sambar, and Moru Sambar.

For Meenakshi Ammal’s other Sambars, try her different ways of making this dish – Method Two, Method Three and Method Four. Each is delicious!

Browse all of our Sambar and Kuzhambu dishes, and all of our Indian recipes. Or eat seasonally and explore our collection of Early Spring dishes.

Continue reading “Seasoned Sambar, Method One”

Pumpkin Soup with Red Peppers

A chilli pumpkin soup that can be eaten hot, at room temperature, or frozen for another day. It is one of our great collection of Pumpkin Soups – you can check out the other ones here.

Are you looking for similar dishes? Try Special Pumpkin Soup, Pumpkin Risotto, and Ginger, Garlic Lentil Soup.

You can browse  all of our Soup recipes and check out our collection of pumpkin dishes. Or explore our Mid Winter dishes.

Continue reading “Pumpkin Soup with Red Peppers”