Sprouts Usal

Sprouts must be one of the healthiest foods on the planet, and so easy to make at home. You can sprout any whole lentil from your Indian shop and most from your supermarket – also some spices like fenugreek which makes lovely sprouts.

The sprouts are added to oil and spices, and are quickly tossed. Then water is added and the sprouts are left to steam until soft. This is quite different to the Chinese/Asian treatment of sprouts, which is to stirfry them. It is a reflection of the different style of sprouts used in the two areas. In India, sprouts are short, barely 1 cm long. Lentils and beans are sprouted until the tiny sprout has shown its face, and then they are cooked. In Chinese cuisines, the sprouts are left to grow until 5 or 6 cm long to add crunchy, fresh, textural elements to a dish.

In India, there is a difference between Usal and Misal dishes – sometimes the two dishes are confused. Usal is a spiced sprouts dish made with one or more sprouted lentils and beans. Traditionally Usal is made with sprouts of moth beans (matki). Usal can be eaten as is, or Misal is made. For Misal, the cooked sprouts are immersed in a spicy thin gravy and topped with farsan, sev, onion, coriander and lemon wedges. Both Misal and Usal can be eaten with Pav – Indian bread buns.

Usually people mix elements of both dishes, according to their taste and preferences – here the Usal is topped with coriander, coconut, onion and lemon.

The book Tiffin by Srinivas is not only a terrific read, it has many recipes are full flavoured and perfectly balanced. This recipe is one for a mix of sprouts, cooked over low heat with spices.  Delicious.

Similar recipes include Masoor Sprouts Rice, Pudla with Mung Sprouts, and Sprouts Sundal.

Browse all of our Sprouts recipes and all of our Usal dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Summer recipes.

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A Collection of 30 Salads for Early Spring

Early Spring sees the arrival of Spring rains and windy weather. While the beginning of Spring can still be cold, there are also glorious sunny days with mild temperatures. Gardens begin to bring a bounty of colour. And Spring vegetables arrive – greens, peas, broad beans, asparagus – all delicious.

Salads still have some substance for the cooler days, but begin to get lighter. Grains are there but fresh Spring produce creeps in. Light salads might appear on the table. Certainly salads are more common than during the depths of Winter.

Check out some of our other collections:

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A Collection of 30 Salads for Early Autumn

Autumn is here! So gradually the warm weather departs until next Summer. But salads are definitely still on the table. Don’t get stuck with boring salads. Be inventive!

Our Salads can be light at this time of the year, hanging on to the memory of Summer. And gradually they become more substantial with lentils and beans forming a backdrop for the leaves and vegetables.

Enjoy 30 of our best salads for Early Autumn.

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Carrot and Cashew Salad | Carrot Kachumber

We try to keep up our Salad consumption all year. It is easy to forget about salads in cold weather, moving instead to soups and broths, roasted and baked dishes and hot snacks. But salads bring a freshness into the diet, lifting the day with its flavours, and complimenting the hotter dishes. We will eat them as a snack or a course before the main meal. In Summer, naturally they are cooling and refreshing.

This one is special – an Indian salad of carrot, capsicum and cashews and can be made any time of the year. It is  dressed with yoghurt and tempered black mustard seeds.

You might like to read What is a Kachumber?

Similar dishes include Apple and Yoghurt Kachumber, Kachumber, and Mooli Kachumber.

Browse all of our Kachumber recipes and all of our Carrot Salads. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Carrot Koshambari

Here is another gorgeous salad in our series of Koshambari and Kosumalli salads. This one is a combination of carrots, chana dal and spices. I always say it, but it must be repeated – it is utterly delicious! A refreshing and cooling salad for hot Summer days.

Similar recipes include Cucumber and Mung Kosumalli, and Carrot and Mung Bean Sprouts Kosumalli.

You might like to read What is Kosumalli aka Koshambari.

Browse all of our Koshambari recipes and all of our Indian Salads. All of our Indian recipes are here, and all of our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Fried Green Tomatoes

Did you ever see the movie Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe? If nothing else, it’s title introduced fried green tomatoes into our life. I love green tomatoes (they make an amazing salsa, for example), and frying them with a crispy crust of polenta and parmesan is a great snack.

There are many different recipes for the crust – some use a batter – but  I like this one. It is crisp and crunchy, and doesn’t have to be deep fried. Sometimes I use a batter of self raising flour, cornmeal and buttermilk.

We have a Collection of our Green Tomato Recipes, so you can browse at leisure. Similar recipes include Green Tomato Salsa,  and Green Tomato and Mozzarella Salad.

Browse all of our Green Tomato recipes, and all of our Tomato dishes. All of our Snacks are here. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Brussels Sprout and Ginger Slaw

Like many families, Brussels Sprouts never appeared in our kitchen very often. Blame childhood memories of bitter, over-cooked little packages of fear on our plate. Thankfully, we are all wiser now, and our favourite ways of using Brussels Sprouts are raw and roasted.

Today’s salad is a lovely slaw of sprouts and carrots with ginger and chilli, dressed with yoghurt and mayo. How special! But who could create such a recipe, combining all of those flavours? It is of course from Ottolenghi. As much as I rant and  carry on about his recipes, I am truly in love with his flavour combinations and his sheer inventiveness. Good on you, Yotham – continue to challenge our thinking about food and stretch us outside our comfort zone. This recipe is from The Guardian.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – a day per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books and articles – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. 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 Brussels Sprouts Salad, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomelo, and Brussels Sprouts Risotto.

Browse all of our Brussels Sprouts recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Rocket Salad with Penne Pasta

Rocket, or arugala as it is called in some parts of the world, goes so well with pasta. This salad, quite simple to make, mixes the two with a lemony dressing.  It is a more filling salad than those that we have made lately, so very suitable for cooler weather during Late Summer and Autumn, and also as Winter approaches.

Are you looking for other Pasta dishes? Try Pasta with Zucchini, Pasta with Cauliflower, Light Pasta Salads for Lunch, and Orzo Pasta with Wilted Spinach and Feta.

Browse all of our Pasta recipes. This is a Bittman Salad, and others can be browsed here. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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Beetroot with Black Pepper

This is one of the simplest ways of enjoying beetroot, so simple indeed that everyone must surely already know its joys. If memory serves me correctly, it was the deciding factor in my falling in love with this vegetable. My Mother was not a good vegetable cook – they would be boiled to nothingness and then served without any accompaniment. No dressing, no seasonings, no beautiful black pepper to go with the ruby globes. And, truth be told, most of our beetroot experience was with pickled beetroot – always a bit tart for my tastes back then.

There is indeed a great affinity between beetroot, butter and black pepper. Who can deny it? And this is exactly what this recipe is. For completeness, and because I love simple cooking, I am including it.

Similar recipes include Roast Beetroot Salad with Sweetcorn, Beetroot Salad with Honey Ginger Dressing, and Crimson Beetroot Fry.

Browse all of our Beetroot dishes, especially the Beetroot Salads, and explore all of our Mid Spring recipes.

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Cucumber, Carrot and Green Mango Koshambari

Koshambari Salads are perfect Summer “round out the meal” salads as they contain both cooling vegetables and lentils for protein. So often the advice given to vegetarians is written by non-vegetarians and therefore includes only vegetable-based dishes without lentils, grains, soy products, nuts, seeds and so forth, in sufficient proportions for a balanced vegetarian diet.

The great thing about traditional Indian vegetarian cuisines is that they are naturally balanced in all sorts of ways – nutritionally, texturally, flavour-wise, ayurvedically, …. Forget the current Western style fashions in India, like the addiction to Oreo biscuits and too much street food (how can I criticise either of these!), the combinations of grains, lentils, paneer and vegetables is naturally balanced.

Koshambari is the perfect Summer salad, with cooling ingredients and the surprising inclusion of soaked but raw lentils, either chana dal or mung dal. Today we use chana dal with carrots, cucumber and green mango. Delicious. While raw foods are not common in India, the occasional Kosumalli makes an appearance. Raw food is not sanctioned by Ayurveda – so there are versions of this salad that lightly saute the ingredients. You can do this too, should you desire.

We have compiled 30 Great Mid Summer Salads for you, so it is very easy to vary your salads each day.

Similar recipes include Carrot Koshambari, Cucumber and Mung Kosumalli, and Daikon Salad with Coconut and Nigella Seed.

Browse all of our Koshambari recipes and Indian Salads. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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