Yet another divine use for eggplant – such a versatile vegetable. This time it is a cheesy torte – eggplants layered, Italian style, with cheeses, baked, allowed to rest and firm up, then cut into wedges to serve. What could be better? It makes a great lunch or supper, or works very well in a tapas spread, mezze or antipasto. It even makes a great any-time snack.
Using cooked or tinned chickpeas, falafels are very easy to make.
Who can resist a good falafel? Wonderful for snacks, meals, in wraps or topping salads, they are wonderfully tasty, textural and healthy. Whip them up using chickpeas you have previously cooked and frozen, for an easy supper.
Home made falafel are a huge cut above store-bought ones, or even those from some restaurants that must purchase them in bulk and keep them frozen for a long time. One has to wonder why, they are so easy to make, whereas many pre-prepared ones taste like cardboard. Who hasn’t had a wrap or roll with cardboard-tasting falafel stuffed into them for a “vegetarian option” when it would have been more flavoursome to leave them out?
Worry no more, we have your back. These are fantastic. Crispy crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. You can grind the chickpeas coarsely or more finely, which ever is your preference. But they must be ground enough to hold together as fritters.
You might like to also try hummus, which goes well with falafel. Chickpeas make a whole range of dishes. Try Chickpea Fingers, for example (it uses chickpea flour). Or Chickpea “Tabblouleh”. Chickpeas can be baked, or made into a spread, or smashed and made into a salad. They are really healthy – have a look at this article.
Sakkarai Pongal is short grained, raw rice cooked in jaggery and milk with mung dal, simmered until thick and then garnished with ghee, cashew nuts and raisins. It is not the traditional Milk Pongal cooked completely in milk, but is a definite favourite. It is a distinctive dish from Tamil Nadu, and also cooked in Sri Lanka and some other states in South India.
Pongal is a festival in January where we thank the Sun for the bounty that it brings us. Sakkarai Pongal is cooked in the morning as the sun rises and is presented as part of the devotions. Read more about the Pongal Festival here. And all of our dishes for the Pongal Festival are here.
The Middle East has a variety of flavours and dishes that are amazing and under-explored in other countries. And yoghurt, one of my favourite food stuffs, features strongly there as it does in India. The recipes using yoghurt are often simple – take a vegetable, some yoghurt, garlic, dried mint and some spices, mix and serve.
Traditionally it is used as a pre-dinner snack or appetiser, generally served with pita bread., but you can use any flat bread. We get a great Afghan flatbread cooked fresh on the tandoor from our local shop, and it is amazing.
You can use the Green Peppers in Yoghurt as you might use a salad. If you use thick, drained yoghurt they can be used as a dip or spread, or it can be used as a sauce or dressing.
Capsicum recipes you might like to explore include Grilled Peppers and Eggplant Salad, Roasted Red Pepper Salad, and Baked Peppers with Cherry Tomatoes. All of our Capsicum dishes are here. All of our Salads are here.
Shallow fried chickpea flour bite sized snacks
A really nice snack to have when you are hot or tired or jet lagged, made with chickpea flour. It takes about 30 mins including cooling time.
Chickpea flour, also called besan or gram flour, is an essential ingredient in the kitchen, especially for Indian cooking. It makes a great batter, thickener, thin fritter or pan cake style pudla/cheela, and other goodies. Why not also try Pudla with Green Coriander and Mung Sprouts, Crispy Battered Onion Rings, and Gram Flour Vada. Going Italian, try the wonderful Farinata with Tomatoes and Onion. If it is desserts that you are after, try this Besan Custard.
The joy of yoghurt is beautifully expressed in this flavoursome recipe for Cucumber Raita. Cucumber Raita is a dish known all over the world, and if you must equate it, it is the Indian version of Tzatziki. The combination of cucumber and yoghurt, in what ever form or from what ever cuisine, is well known all over the world. Both ingredients are cooling, so it makes it a special dish for hot weather, but this does not mean that you need to forgo it on cooler days. An essential part of an informal gathering, Cucumber Raita always wins over your guests.
You might like to read more about Pachadi. Browse our Pachadi recipes here and here. Or explore our Yoghurt recipes here and here. Our Indian dishes are here and here. Be inspired by our Summer dishes here and here.
Versatile Greek style mushrooms
A quick lunch that does not miss out on flavour. A gorgeous brunch for a Spring day. Or part of a tapas style meal. Or a snack under the grape vines. This recipe even works well with mushrooms that are, well, a little tired and still sitting in the bottom fridge drawer.
Read more about a la Grecque cooking. Feel free to browse our “a la Greque” recipes here and here. Or you might like to browse Mushroom recipes here and here. Check out our easy Spring recipes here and here.
This is incredibly delicious. Even if you are not a tofu eater, this dish will convert you. Who could not love deep fried tofu with peanuts? The sauce is divine.
We have been making this since around 2002, so quite a while. It is a Thai style dish, simple in its construction and flavours, but that very simplicity gives it a punchy flavour. It is a perfect light lunch with a salad, or a mid afternoon snack when dinner is still a long way off.
The act of deep frying the tofu changes the nature of it, from something bland and lacking much texture, to a beautiful textural addition to other dishes or on it own.
You might also like our Tofu recipes here and here. Our Deep Fried Tofu recipes are here. Or you might like to browse SE Asian recipes here and here. Check out our easy Spring recipes here and here. Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series – beautiful vegetarian recipes from our first blog 1995 – 2005.
More’ish, this dish will not last long in your kitchen
Who doesn’t like tandoor-style dishes? Although we can’t normally have a tandoor oven at home, cooking tandoor dishes in the oven or on the stove top, even on the BBQ, is very possible. These Tandoor Potatoes are amazing – don’t expect them to last very long in your kitchen. A perfect snack, or a side dish for your meal.
Mung dal is a perfect dish – an eat anytime dish but also very good for those sensitive times. Here it is roasted then cooked with coconut for a flavoursome breakfast or side dish.
A dry spicy dish of mung dal is very popular with the people of the mid West Coast of India, for example, Goa and further south into Kerala. It is easy to make and brings the beautiful and gentle taste of mung dal to the fore.
Mung dal is very easily digested and so is a favourite ingredient in Ayurveda and also for invalids. But there is no need to wait until you are on an Ayurvedic regime or are unwell, this is a dish that can be eaten any time. Often served for breakfast, it is also used as a side dish at a Konkani meal. It is also very good as a snack with chapathi too.
Those little chickpea flour fritters, pudla, with their tangy deliciousness, are on my menu for breakfasts, brunches and snacks quite often. For example, see the Pudla recipe collection.
A spicy toastie filled with paneer and tomato.
Bread doesn’t actually see the light of day very much in this household. It makes an occasional appearance, for guests, or for some recipe we are making. This week, as we had bread left over from that occasional appearance, we turned to Indian Toasties. This time, it is Paneer Toast.
Sandwiches are serious business in India as snacks and street foods.
You have to love a country that is serious about its sandwiches. Italy with its open sandwich type bruschettas, laden with seasonal ingredients. France with their bountiful baguettes, and India with its spicy mixtures stuffed between layers of bread and often coated with chickpea batter before pan toasting or frying. India has a commitment to sandwiches as serious snacks and street food.
A light Thai dish for summer nights.
This is a a raw, Thai inspired lettuce wrapped dish, which is amazingly delicious, easy to make, and just as good as leftovers. The filling, made mainly of walnuts and mushrooms, is rather brown. Don’t let this put you off. It is wonderfully tasty.
These Thai Wraps are so simple to make, and well worth experimenting with. We love the balance of flavours, adding lime juice as we ate.
Have a look at other Thai recipes. You might like to try Thai Steamed Eggplant with Sesame and Soy Dressing or Thai Betel Leaf Salad. Or be inspired by our Summer dishes here and here.
An excellent snack – Kothimbir is the Marathi word for Green Coriander, which is the main ingredient in this recipe. Kothimbir Wada are basically coriander fritters. In this recipe, the chickpea flour batter with coriander leaves is first steamed and then cut into rings to be fried till crisp.
Use really fresh coriander for best results, and serve with chai or coffee. They can also be served as a side dish with a meal.
Vada are traditional Indian dishes. They are commonly prepared at home and as typical street food, being popular tiffin snacks. Wada are generally crisp on the outside and soft inside.
You might like to browse all of our Snacks here and here, and all of our Indian Recipes here. Try our Chai recipes here, or our general Tea recipes here. You might also enjoy Wada recipes, and our Summer recipes here and here.