Plantain Chips

One of my enduring memories of Kerala is the proliferation of freshly cooked plantain chips – delicious deep fried slices of raw banana, crispy and salty. Even when I was staying in Mylapore in Chennai, the wallah was making huge woks-full of fresh plantain chips right there on the street, so you’d get them straight from the pan.

They can be made at home of course – quite easily in fact. Just like the street wallahs, you can slice the plantain right into the hot oil if it is safe to do so. Otherwise slice them onto a plate and add to the oil. As they cook the flavourings are added to the layer of chips, or they can be salted as they come out of the pan. Madhur Jaffrey also adds curry leaves and green chilli to the oil before removing the chips – the oil does erupt a bit when you do this so I often leave it out. You can add chilli powder to the chips as they come out of the oil if you wish.

Similar recipes include Paprika Oven Chips, Polenta Crisps and Potato Wedges.

Browse all of our Indian Snacks and all of our Plantain recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

Continue reading “Plantain Chips”

White Pea and Potato Bhatura | Vatana Bhatura

Have you heard of White Pea Bhatura? Chole Masala is a very popular north Indian dish. White Pea Bhatura is very similar except that it uses vatana or dried white peas in place of the chickpeas. As you can imagine, it is very delicious! Bhatura – oh my, a delicious puffed bread.

White peas are very popular in North India. They are smaller than chickpeas, white in colour and smooth and round. Bhatura is a deep fried puffed bread made from a fermented dough.

Chole Bhatura is often eaten as a breakfast dish, sometimes with lassi. It is also a street food snack and even a complete meal. It is often accompanied by onions, tomatoes, carrot pickle, green chutney and pickles.

This is truly delicious! Even without the Bhatura, but especially with them.

Similar recipes include White Peas Curry, White Peas Sundal, and White Peas, Coconut and Green Mango Sundal.

Browse all of our White Pea recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Winter recipes.

Continue reading “White Pea and Potato Bhatura | Vatana Bhatura”

Pea, Za’atar and Feta Fritters

The Pea is there through all the seasons – in its pod in Spring and Summer, frozen year round. It grows up with us, from pea mashes to buttery steamed peas, from to risotto to fritters, and salads to soups. They can seem predictable and are often overlooked. But peas are incredibly versatile. Freshly podded peas are fantastic if they are eaten as soon as possible after picking; the rest of the time frozen will more than do. Peas are the ultimate vegetable, reliable, versatile and almost as good frozen as fresh.

These beautiful fritters are from Simple by Ottolenghi, and they are actually quite simple to make. A pea puree is mixed with za’atar, mint and feta, formed into fritters and fried. They can be served simply with a salad and lemon wedges, or with a yoghurt or cream based sauce for dipping. You can use any yoghurt or cream based sauce – I’ve included a sour cream and mint one below.

When we cook Ottolenghi recipes we feel free to substitute according to what is in our kitchen and pantry. In this recipe we have replaced the eggs with our usual chickpea flour based replacement for fritters – 1 Tblspn chickpea flour + 1 Tblspn cream or yoghurt + 0.25 tspn eno for each egg. We are egg-free in our kitchen. If you want to check the original recipes, you can do so in his books or in his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Pea and Mint Croquettes, Stuffed Toasties with Peas and Potatoes, and Green Pea Pilaf.

Browse all of our Pea recipes and all of our Fritters. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Simple are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

Continue reading “Pea, Za’atar and Feta Fritters”

Upma and Fried Upma with Ricotta

Upma is a delicious breakfast dish and snack from South India. Rava (also called Rawa, Sooji, Suji or Upma grain) is a semolina product that is cooked with spices and sometimes finely chopped vegetables for a stunningly delicious dish.

Ottolenghi, in his book Plenty More takes his version of Upma and allows it to set before pan frying wedges. It is a delicious way to use Upma and a great use of left-overs. Rather than use his recipe, I cook Upma in a more traditional South Indian way, using his method to pan fry it, then serve it with either seasoned yoghurt or ricotta.

Rava, like semolina, is a granulated wheat flour that have a grainy and coarse texture to it. There are two types available, a fine-grained version and a coarser-grained one that is better for making Upma. In general, sooji will have a finer grain than rava. If you use the fine grained one for Upma, you might have to reduce the water so that you don’t get a pasty texture.

I cook Upma until it is thick and holds shape.  One variation is to add more water to get a looser consistency. If making the fried upma, cook until it is quite thick.

As an aside and just for your information if you are interested: There are many different types of rava, perhaps thousands of regional variations. Some of the variations are because different wheats are used. One of them called Bansi Rava and also known as samba wheat in many parts of India, is a very fine powdered flour unlike the more coarsely granulated Rava. It is made from a variety of wheat called samba godumai that has a long body and slightly sharp edges on both sides.

Another famous Rava is the Bombay Rava which has a very coarse texture that is a little bigger than regular Rava. It is made from whole wheat grains of a wheat called mottai godumai. There is another type, chamba rava, which is a by-product of wheat flour. Semolina, on the other hand, is always made from Duram wheat.

Similar recipes include Polenta Crisps and Lemony Poha.

Browse all of our Semolina recipes and all of our Breakfast dishes. Indian Snacks are here. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

Continue reading “Upma and Fried Upma with Ricotta”

Galletti | Maltese Water Crackers | Egg Free

Also known as hard crackers or water crackers, savoury Galletti biscuits are thin, hard, brittle Maltese biscuits made from flour, salt, semolina, yeast and warm water. A little sugar and either olive oil or butter can be added. They are quite different to the biscuits we might think of as water crackers, and are often flavoured with caraway, oregano, black pepper or sesame seeds.

Galletti are baked until golden-brown and served before or after a meal, paired with dips or cheese, spreads, avocado and other equally fashionable toppings. Or they can be consumed just on their own. These biscuits are found in almost every home kitchen on the island, even in bars and restaurants. Few homes in Malta make their own these days, but they are easy to make if you can’t get them locally.

The history of Galletti goes back at least 150 years to the naval bakeries in the rich maritime legacy of Malta’s seafaring past. Crisp and crunchy,  you can imagine they made the ideal ship’s biscuit.

Similar recipes include Oatmeal Crackers.

Browse our Maltese recipes and our Crackers. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

Continue reading “Galletti | Maltese Water Crackers | Egg Free”

Crispy Salt and Pepper King Oyster Mushrooms

These baked, sliced oyster mushrooms, liberally seasoned, were an eye opener the first time I made them. They are salty, peppery and crispy, and are highly highly addictive. They make a great afternoon snack, but also have quite a few other uses.

Top salads with them, or hot bowls of soup. Crumble them and sprinkle over salads or fritters, or roasted vegetables. Put them into sandwiches and burgers and wraps. Place on top of a thick lentil dish. Break into pieces and mix through a salad.

And best of all, make yourself a cuppa and snack on the mushrooms in the afternoon sun.

Similar recipes include Baked King Oyster Mushrooms, Caramelised, Marinated King Oyster Mushrooms.

Browse all of our King Oyster Mushroom recipes and all of our Snacks. Or browse our Mid Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Crispy Salt and Pepper King Oyster Mushrooms”

Avocado with Sour Cream and a Tomato-Chilli Salsa

In avocado season they pile our fruit bowl high – we are such lovers of them. Honestly we can eat them straight out of their shell. In Summer we make cold avocado soups, all year round we mash and spread them, and they pile into our seasonal salads.

Our snack today is a guacamole type mix with a spicy tomato salsa on the side, and some thick sour cream. We have some great bread from the local baker, and we crisped it in an oven that was still hot from roasting brussels sprouts! It is better than fresh bread for this mix, but you can also toast or grill the bread, or use crackers or corn chips. Whatever floats your boat.

Similar recipes include Avocado and Broad Bean Mash, Avocado Salsa with Deep Fried Tortilla Crisps, and Grilled Green Tomatoes Tostadas with Black Beans, Avocado and Coriander Leaves.

Browse all of our Avocado dishes and all of our Snacks and Spreads.  Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

Continue reading “Avocado with Sour Cream and a Tomato-Chilli Salsa”

Sweet Potato Fritters

Sweet potatoes are at their peak in Winter – shiny skin, large sizes, unblemished exterior, very instagramable. Baked, fried, simmered or steamed they make the most wonderful dishes. They make quick soups with potato, for example, and bake really well, especially if slathered in cream. It appears humble, this vegetable, but at its heart there lurks a star.

Ottolenghi talks about a cafe in Telaviv that won its reputation with this sweet potato fritter – also called sweet potato cake. It is a wonderful recipe, without eggs too, so it did not require the usual adaptations in this kitchen.

The ultimate comfort food- soft, a bit messy and delicious.

The recipe is from Ottolenghi’s Plenty cookbook, an early one but still treasured in our house. Along with Plenty More and Ottolenghi, it holds many memories of great feasts. 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 you can find the Guardian version of the recipe here.

Similar dishes include Pea, Za’atar and Feta Fritters, Sweet Potatoes and Deep Fried Tofu in Coconut Miso Broth with Noodles, Roasted Parsnips and Sweet Potato with Caper Vinaigrette, and Sweet and Sour Pumpkin and Sweet Potato.

Browse all of our Sweet Potato recipes and all of our Fritters. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty are here.  Or explore our Mid Winter recipes.

Continue reading “Sweet Potato Fritters”

Kanda Batata Poha

There is a quick and easy Batata Poha that I make – the flattened rice flakes mixed with herbs and fried potatoes, yum! This recipe is no more difficult, still quick and easy, very similar to the recipe that Tim and Saun gave me – just a few extra spices. It includes onions, steamed potatoes and peas, cashews and peanuts, coconut and warming spices. It is a light dish that is eaten for breakfast or tiffin snacks. It is perfect just with a cuppa. It can also be served for brunch, lunch or a light dinner – add some coconut chutney or a bowl of yoghurt for a quick,light and delicious meal. It can be packed into lunch boxes, taken on picnics or taken on trips as travel food. We love poha and have nearly a dozen recipes that use it.

Take note that this is made with the thick poha – poha is steamed and rolled/flattened rice – make sure that you buy poha and not puffed rice. When you visit your Indian grocery you will see that Poha comes in different thicknesses  – Nylon (very thin and crisp), Paper, Thin, Medium, Thick and Dagdi (thick and chewy). There is also poha made from red rice and brown rice as well as white rice. The thicker types are soaked before use.

Similar dishes include Upma and Fried Upma, Lemony Poha, Poha Chaat, and Coconut-Tamarind Poha.

Browse all of our Poha recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn recipes.

Continue reading “Kanda Batata Poha”

Indian Vegetable Toasties

One of the easy ways of including more veg in your diet is to make delicious toasties. In this recipe we make a bechamel sauce, mix in some spices and finely chopped vegetables, and make toasties with the mix either on the tawa or in a toasted sandwich maker. We like to make toasties for Sunday night dinner when we have had a hectic weekend and just want to relax without too much effort. This is a habit born from childhood when we would use the leftovers from our large Sunday lunches to make toasties on Sunday nights. They go well on a Saturday night in front of the football on TV too.

By the way, when I was writing this post I had a vigorous conversation about the difference between a jaffle, toastie, grilled sandwich and toasted sandwich. Some differentiate between a toastie and a toasted sandwich. A toastie has sealed edges and is cut in half (see my pic) and a toasted sandwich is neither sealed nor cut. Toasties are called jaffles in some parts of Australia, but not many. To me, a true jaffle is made in a round, closed sandwich-maker that is held over a flame, either a gas flame or an open fire. A grilled sandwich is a term from the US. Glad we got that all sorted.

But I want to be clear that I use the term toastie generically to mean a toasted sandwich that may or may not have sealed edges and may or may not be cut in half. Either way.

Similar recipes include Upma and Fried Upma, Paneer Toast, Potato and Pea Toasties, and Tomato and Fontina Toastie.

Browse all of our Toasties and all of our Snacks. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn recipes.

Continue reading “Indian Vegetable Toasties”