Saar | A Goan Rasam

By the late 1990’s I was beginning to cook Indian food or at least attempting to make a fair representation of some dishes. Many of my early attempts came from Goa as that was my first port of call on my first trip to India. Later I expanded my love of Indian food to Tamil cuisine and South Indian in general.

Saar is similar to the Tamil dish Rasam, but with Goan twists. The recipe is from Tasty Morsels; Goan Food Ingredients and Preparation by Maria de Lourdes Bravo Da Costa Rodrigues. I picked it up on one of my early trips to Goa. It is like the Green and Gold of Goan Cuisine. I love to look through the book and remember my many visits to Goa over the years. I adore exploring the different areas of Goa, away from the tourist attractions, and dive into the different cultures. There were many times I travelled with a friend on his motorbike, exploring off-road areas and little-known beaches, as well as the local food markets, food stalls and tiny shops. Sleeping in thatched huts, eating at restaurants right on the beach, talking to women on the beach picking up inhabited shells to cook with rice. The smell of morning fires ready for cooking the day’s meals, the pink sands on the beaches, the sunsets, spice farms, hills, temples, music. Oh, Goa – I miss you!

Tickle My Senses has a wonderful description of Saar.

Well, saar needs to be eaten in the right way for maximum pleasure. Pour the piping hot tomato saar over your rice (for me the rice has to be swimming in the saar) then using your finger tips coat the rice with the piping hot saar, making sure you do not burn yourself ! then scoop mouthfuls of this delicious mixture into your mouth, accompanied with fried foods and vegetable. When all is done, lift up the plate to your lips and drink off any remaining saar, the orphaned bits can be polished off by licking your fingers….slurpp!!!

Note the Portuguese name of the author – there are at least 3 distinct cuisines in Goa – that heavily influenced by the Catholic Portuguese cuisine which is also non-vegetarian, that of the Hindu Goans which is more vegetarian and more traditionally South Indian. Finally there is the Muslim cuisine from the Muslim invaders and immigrants over the years.

Often Saar is described as a soup, which is a misnomer. While it is a thin but strongly flavoured broth, traditionally it is not eaten with a spoon from a bowl. See the description of Saar on the sidebar here. It really does capture the essence of Saar and Rasam.

We have a lovely collection of rasam recipes that we have put together as a collection. You can see the collection here.

Similar recipes include Mysore Rasam with Tomatoes, Tomato Pepper Rasam, and Cumin Seed Rasam.

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

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

Continue reading “Saar | A Goan Rasam”

Creme Fraiche Icecream

I once did an icecream making course with a renown chef in Adelaide, Mary Ziukelis, who specialised in icecreams and sorbets in her restaurant Neddy’s. This was a ground-breaking restaurant in Adelaide in the 1970’s and ’80’s, opened by Cheong Liew and Mary. It changed hands several times over the years, but was always ahead of its time. Some people will remember the restaurant and the female chef with an icecream obsession. Mary had some great tips, like always use glucose syrup, not (just) sugar. Truly, it makes a difference. Let me know if you remember the chef with a passion for icecream at Neddy’s Restaurant. She was brilliant.

This is an icecream recipe I have had for years, and it might be one of hers. It is quite divine. My note on the recipe reads Just make, eat and die. I think that sums it up. It is not as overwhelmingly hard when it freezes, as many egg-free icecreams can be.

You won’t find yourself eating large serves of this icecream – a couple of large spoonfuls is usually enough at a time. This is probably a good thing once you consider the amount of sugar that is used in icecreams! But in a heatwave you will find yourself having some with each meal. The tang of the lemon against the smoothness of the cheese is divinely wonderful.

If you are extra keen you can even make your own Creme Fraiche to use in the icecream.

Similar recipes include Strawberry and Black Pepper Icecream, Roasted Plum Icecream, and Strawberry Frappe.

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

Browse all of our icecreams, or browse our Late Summer dishes.

Continue reading “Creme Fraiche Icecream”

Most Heavenly Coconut Sweet Corn Soup with Chilli and Cumin

Tim was a great friend of mine when I lived in Sydney and we spent a lot of time together. Since I moved away, he has lived in Europe with only the rare visit back to Australia. Always a wanderer, Tim is also a great cook, a yogi and an ayurvedic master in the kitchen.

A wonderful light, healthy soup made from sweetcorn emerged from one of Tim’s  Ayurvedic cooking class. It is exceptional. It is so simple and cheap, but beautiful. Wonderful. Amazing.

Tim always warned that the coconut milk might split, and to be honest, I had it split on me once, many years ago. But, if you consider Thai cuisine, coconut milk can be boiled easily without splitting, and I have never had a problem with other recipes using coconut milk. So I believe it is more to do with the quality of the coconut milk – as this soup depends on the coconut milk for its intrinsic qualities, get the best that you can. I have also included a step in the recipe that will totally minimise any chance of splitting, if it is at all prone to it.

Similar dishes include Indo-Chinese Sweetcorn Soup, Baby Corn Soup, and Baby Corn and Green Bean Soup.

Browse all of our Sweetcorn recipes  and all of our Soups. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

Continue reading “Most Heavenly Coconut Sweet Corn Soup with Chilli and Cumin”

Thai Style Green Beans and Baby Sweetcorn in Coconut Sauce

Fancy something spicy, green and delicious? This is just the thing if you are feeling a bit jaded and under nourished. Ladle your bowl full of steaming rice and top with this coconut sauced Thai style Green Bean Curry, and enjoy your day.

Green beans are such a gorgeous vegetable, and one that we don’t use enough. We are working to remedy that! A quick and gorgeous curry in the Thai Style.

Our original recipe used only Green Beans, and feel free to do that. I love the crunchy addition of the baby sweetcorn; it adds a colour and flavour contrast. We have also made it with bok choy and green beans – that also works very well. In today’s version coconut milk is added.

Similar recipes include Green Bean Kootu, Green Beans with Freekeh, Walnuts and Tahini, Avial, Lemak Style Vegetables, and Thai Eggplants with Sesame and Soy.

You might also like our Bean recipes, and SE Asian recipes. Our specifically Thai recipes are here. Check out our easy Early Spring recipes too.

This recipe is a variation on one from our first blog that existed from 1995 – 2006. Feel free to browse other vegetarian recipes from our Retro Recipes series.

Continue reading “Thai Style Green Beans and Baby Sweetcorn in Coconut Sauce”

Zuppa di Zucca | Italian Pumpkin Soup

Today’s recipe is another Pumpkin Soup. This one is Italian in origin, with  potatoes and cannellini beans. It is a beautiful and velvety soup.

Actually, I am famous amongst my friends and family  for Soupe au Potiron and it remains my favourite Pumpkin Soup! However, I also love a little variety. Make today’s recipe in very cold weather, and enjoy it with crisp crunchy bread! This recipe has been around in our Winter kitchen for many, many years, and the original inspiration came from the River Cafe Cookbook.

Similar recipes include Minestra di Pasta e Fagioli Borlotti, Celeriac Soup with Cheese Croûtes, Soupe au Potiron, Pumpkin Soup with Red Peppers, and Adzuki Bean, Pumpkin and Barley Soup.

Browse all of our Pumpkin recipes, and our Soup recipes Our Italian recipes are here. Or check out our easy Mid Winter 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.

Continue reading “Zuppa di Zucca | Italian Pumpkin Soup”

Another Very Simple Chickpea Salad with Olives

Simple and easy, nutritious and delicious. What more could we ask? Tinned or cooked chickpeas can be used to make it quick and simple, but I always prefer the taste of soaked and cooked chickpeas.

Chickpeas are so versatile. Used almost all over the world, many cuisines feature chickpeas in some form or other. This means that they can be used with many different flavour combinations to great effect. In this recipe, we use olives, herbs and zucchini. A little bit Italian, perhaps.

Similar recipes include a French Simple Chickpea Salad, a Simple Delicious Bittman Chickpea Salad, Turmeric Chickpeas, and Chickpea “Tabbouleh“.

Browse all of the Chickpea Salad recipes and all of the dishes featuring Chickpeas, explore the Bittman Salads and check out all of the many many Salad recipes. Be inspired by our easy Mid Summer recipes too.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series.

Continue reading “Another Very Simple Chickpea Salad with Olives”

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 Aloo Hing Jeera (Potatoes with Cumin), 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”

Congee Bowls | How to Make Congee

I love congee made in a Chinese clay cooking pot in the middle of Winter, cooked on a lazy Sunday afternoon. A large batch is sometimes cooked and stored in the fridge. In this way it is available night and day, for late night suppers or early morning breakfast. Congee was once a very popular dish but it has fallen out of fashion. We have been making it since 2003, and thankfully it has not fallen out of fashion in our household. In China, congee is eaten for breakfast or as an all day snack. Plain congee is served with lots of different condiments to sprinkle over it, and often with a fried dough stick.

There are lots of congee recipes around – almost every Asian cookbook you pick up has one in it. I first cooked it at home  as I loved the late night congee in Sydney’s China Town. So good. Short grain rice is best. One cup of rice made a huge amount – enough for 4 – 6 bowls of it. So be careful the first time that you make it to ensure that you are not making enough for your whole suburb!!! Congee can be eaten at any time of the day – it has become a popular breakfast food for Southern Chinese and midnight snacks for Singaporeans & Malaysians. So eat it first thing, last thing, or anywhere in between.

Congee Bowls, in our household, are bowls of congee topped with a range of delicious accompaniments – herbs, tofu, bean sprouts, peanuts, crispy onions and garlic, steamed beans, mushrooms, Asian greens – the list is endless and any combination can be used, depending on the season, the weather, your mood, the time of day and the available ingredients. Congee flavour is always up to you!

Congee is eaten throughout Asia, from Japan right down to Indonesia. Each one varies a little from the others, but all are made with boiled rice, lentils or beans. However, the name for this dish originated in India – from the Tamil kanji. Perhaps also from the Telugu and Kannada gañji, the Malayalam kanni and the Urdu ganji. All meaning, more or less, boiling. The earliest reference can be traced back to the Zhou dynasty (circa 1000BC). It is also mentioned in the Chinese Record of Rites (1st century AD) and noted in Pliny’s account of India circa AD77.

Similar recipes include Barley, Millet and Mung Congee, Rice, Millet and Lentil Congee, Sweet Congee with Poached Oranges, Red Rice with Adzuki Beans Congee, Cracked Wheat and Mung Dal Kitchari, and Quinoa Porridge.

You might like to browse our Rice recipes, and Porridge recipes. Or check out our easy Mid Winter recipes.

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

Continue reading “Congee Bowls | How to Make Congee”

Gratin Dauphinois | Potato Gratin with Cream

As Winter marches on, we want dishes that we can cook in the oven, to add another source of heat to warm the kitchen. Baked dishes are also usually hearty, so they warm and nourish the body in a way that we only seek in Winter. And therefore, gratin dishes are so perfect, ticking every box. We are bringing this one back, we have posted it before. But it is such a Mid Winter Winner that we wanted to highlight it for you again.

This dish layers potatoes with cheese, covers them with milk and cream, and bakes them until bubbling and golden. Delicious! It is more potato luxury from France, where potatoes, butter and cream have a natural affinity. From memory,  my daughter’s French teacher gave me this recipe, years ago.

Gratin Dauphinois comes from the Dauphine region in south east France. It first appeared in 1788. It is now popular in many parts of France.

You might also know Gratin Dauphinois by alternative names:

  • pommes de terre dauphinoise
  • potatoes a la dauphinoise
  • gratin de pommes a la dauphinoise

Are you looking for similar dishes? Try Garlic Herb Potatoes, Cheesy Eggplants baked with Saucy Tomatoes, Gratin of Potatoes and Zucchini, and Gratineed Sweet Potatoes.

You can browse our Potato Bakes, all of our Gratin dishes and all of our Potato recipes. Or you might like to browse French recipes. Or simply explore all of our Early Winter dishes.

This recipe is one of our vegetarian recipes from our first blog that was in existence from 1995 – 2006; you can find them in our Retro Recipes series.

Continue reading “Gratin Dauphinois | Potato Gratin with Cream”

Baked Millet with Ginger, Pumpkin and Daikon

Millet at last is getting the recognition that it deserves, its wonderful healthy properties exposed for all to see. Mind you, most natural foods are super foods in their own right – our current fascination with super foods is simply because the particular trend of the moment is to discover a new’ish ingredient from another cuisine and recognise its health properties. Turmeric. Moringa. Goji berries. Cranberries. And now, millet. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if we also discovered the health benefits of, say, turnips, parsley and pepper – those things that are right here under our noses and on our kitchen benches. I love how we widen our choice of kitchen staples through learning about the essentials of other cuisines – but I do get a bit tired of food fashions. Sigh. But back to millet…

There are lots of different millet varieties, but the common one, Pearl Millet is the one that is used in this dish. Certainly, try it with others – foxtail millet, barnyard millet, finger millet. The result will be different, as they cook up differently, but just might be wonderful too. Do try it and let me know. Pearl Millet has different names in the different areas of India: Kambu (Tamil), Bajra (Hindi, Bengali, Odia and Punjabi), Sajje (Kannada), Bajri (Gujarati and Marathi) and Sajja (Telugu). This dish has Japanese style flavourings, but imagine one that subs out those flavours for Indian flavours. Stay tuned, I may just do that.

Brown rice and other whole grains such as millet, barley, oats, quinoa, spelt, rye, and teff are considered by macrobiotics to be the foods in which yin and yang are closest to being in balance, and many macrobiotic dishes are built around these grains.

This recipe has its genesis in the macrobiotic movement. Macrobiotics is not as popular any more, and its yin/yang approach to food is avoided by the mainstream cooks – they are also packed full of less common ingredients such as Chinese toasted sesame oil, seaweeds, umeboshi and tamari. But I love them – they are rustic and homely in style with flavours that are sort of Japanese, but not quite. It is a recipe that comes via a scribbled note in my pile of collected recipes.

Do try this recipe – like tray-baked meals, this one cooks away in a low oven for an hour and a half, without you having to lift a finger. Pure heaven. You don’t have to be on a macrobiotic diet to enjoy it. The millet is cooked with the mentioned macrobiotic flavours, and with daikon (white radish) and pumpkin. I always use Butternut or Jap pumpkin – they are our favourites – but any pumpkin and most squashes will work.

Similar recipes include Daikon Miso Pickles, Salad of Butternut Tataki with Udon Noodles, Barnyard Millet Kitchari, Barnyard Millet with Yoghurt, Escarole Salad with Millet, and Daikon and Pumpkin Curry.

Browse all of our Millet dishes, our Pumpkin Dishes, and all of our Daikon recipes. Or explore our Late Winter dishes.

Continue reading “Baked Millet with Ginger, Pumpkin and Daikon”