Herby Masala Vadai with Tomato Mint Chutney

We are here, munching some Masala Vadai for afternoon tea. These vadai are chock-a-block full of  herbs – coriander and dill. Dill is an uncommon (but not unusual) herb in Indian cuisine, but its use here is wonderful.

The recipe is adapted from one in the book Tiffin by Rukmini Srinivas. We’ve been enjoying reading from it and now want to cook the recipes. The original includes flax seeds which is a very healthy addition, but we have left them out this time.

The recipe is very adaptable. The paste is made from urad, channa and toor dals with the herbs, onions, chilli and ginger added. I can imagine these made with slightly mashed broad beans (the Western type of broad beans), for example, or a coarse mash of peas. Finely chopped capsicums or finely grated carrots would  be a variation if you were sick of the herbs.

The Tomato Mint Chutney is delightful and pairs well with the vadai. Sometimes  I will use sweet chilli sauce, or a herby yoghurt dip, or an Indian green chutney.

A high speed blender like Vitamix is best for grinding the lentils if you don’t have an Indian grinder. Use one that has a tamper if you can, to minimise the number of times you have to scrape the sides down. One of the modern high speed food processors might also work well. Remember that you want a coarse mix, not a fine paste. Also the mix needs to be shaped into patties, so do not add water unless absolutely necessary.

Similar recipes include Broad Bean and Mint Vadai, Falafel, and Tattai Vadai.

Browse all of our Vadai and all of our Snacks. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Vegetable Cutlets

I simply cannot keep away from Indian snacks.

I’ve been feeding my love of these snacks by slowly reading Rukmini Srinivas’ book Tiffin, and cooking my way through the recipes. Both activities, reading and cooking, are mouth-watering. The cutlets are packed with goodness (even though they are deep fried – ssshhhhhh). They are addictively crisp on the outside and soft and textured within.

Vegetable Cutlets are very popular snacks. They are often crumb-coated and always fried or deep fried for that great crisp texture. Cutlets are best served hot with chutney or sauce.

This recipe is the one that her Appa used to make, grinding the vegetables in an old meat grinder. When my father passed away, my brother inherited his old grinder – now I wish I had kept this ancient machine. The food processor does not quite match up to the quality produced by these (but I am nostalgic with memories. Of course the food processor will work, and does a surprisingly good job.)

You MUST have these with strong coffee and the Orange-Green Chilli Relish that I published a couple of days ago. It has a refreshing burst of citrus and is a sweet-spicy sauce. You could also serve the cutlets with a green chutney, hummus, any salsa, any tomato sauce, any yoghurt dip or sauce, or any of these other dips or sauces. Also this tart cumquat jam is particularly good with them as does this Green Tomato Fry Chutney.

It’s interesting how the Indian cuisine has adopted the words cutlet and chop for vegetable based dishes – not doubt (I assume), replicating the non-veg versions of their English invaders.

Similar recipes include Masala Vadai, Falafel, the Huge Vine Leaf Pakora, and Broad Bean Vada.

Browse all of our Indian Snacks, and our Patties. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Rösti with Goat’s Cheese and Chives | Potato Rosti

Thanks to the Swiss for beautiful, versatile, easy rösti. Beautiful. I don’t claim this as a traditional Rosti – my Swiss friend rolled his eyes in horror. However, I do claim that it is delicious.

I make small rösti, rather rustically – ragged and straw-like around the edges – but that is my nature. Using raw potatoes for the rösti is easy, though I hear that is typical only in the Zurich area – the rest of the country insists upon parboiling them first.

This can be used as part of a main meal, or as an any-time snack.

Similar recipes include Potato Bhaji, Deep Fried Potato Strings, and Cumin and Pepper Potato Wedges.

Browse all of our Potato recipes and all of our Snacks. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Tray Baked Spicy Turmeric Chickpeas | Turmeric Chickpeas Roasted with Spices

Baked chickpeas are a delicious, easy and healthy snack. You can snack on them straight from the pan, or throw them into salads, on top of pasta  or scattered over a thick wintery soup. Eat them sitting in the garden in the sunshine. Take them in your backpack on long walks. Bring them to a picnic. Take a small container to the gym. Bring in your bento box to the office for lunch. Nibble when you have the pre-dinner munchies. Or snack on them late at night while watching TV.

I first baked spicy chickpeas way back in 2008, and they have been a firm favourite in our household. But recently we made a variation of the recipe. Rather than using canned or ordinary cooked chickpeas, we have soaked and cooked the chickpeas in turmeric water. It adds a lovely colour to the chickpeas and a turmeric tang to the flavour. Turmeric chickpeas are all across the internet, and we have done a small experiment with them to test the flavours, visual appeal and health impact. If you are interested, you can read more about the wonders of Turmeric.

The recipe for Spicy Baked Chickpeas is one that works well with the Turmeric Chickpeas.

Similar recipes include Deep Fried Potato and Carrot Strings, Baked Okra in Dukkah, and Paprika Oven Chips.

Browse all of our Snacks and all of our Chickpea recipes. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Chakkotha Chaat | Herby, Spicy Pomelo Snack

Pomelo is quite underused in this country, although our S.E. Asian and Indian neighbours use it quite freely. You can find large pomelo easily in Asian supermarkets, and although they take just a little work to separate edible grapefruit-like pears from the humungously thick skin, every effort is worth it.

This recipe mixes the beautiful, pearly flesh with cooling summer ingredients and some spices. It is topped with crunchy Indian chaat toppings. Pomelo is known under many different names in India and is sometimes called grapefruit, but it is different to the more sour grapefruit variety of citrus fruit.

Pomelo really is the grandfather of citrus fruit! It pairs well with chillies, and with herbs like cilantro, mint, and basil. Tropical fruits go well too – pineapple, pawpaw, coconut raw mango and sweet mango. Try it with Spring vegetables, such as carrots, radishes, and onions. It is wonderful in pasta dishes! And is delicious in salads of all kinds as well as in sorbet. And if you can’t bear to waste any part of the fruit, try candying or making marmalade with the  rind.

Be warned, this particular dish is a spicy and tangy snack. Superb! A riot of flavours.

Similar recipes include Vegetable Cutlets, Indian Pomelo Salad, Pomelo and Carrot Salad, Pomelo and Avocado Salad, and Pomelo, Green Mango and Pea Eggplant Salad.

Browse all of our Pomelo recipes, and all of our Chaat. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or browse our Late Spring dishes.

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Salty Battered Broad Bean Pods

Towards the end of the season, broad beans will often grow pods without seeds – the flowers have failed to germinate. I still use these pods – they are great chopped into vegetable fritters or patties, simmered and served with a yoghurt or tomato sauce, or, like today’s recipe, battered and deep fried (SO DELICIOUS). I make a standard batter with plain flour with a little eno or baking soda added to lighten the batter and make it quite crispy.

You don’t have to wait to the end of the broad bean season to make these – they can be made any time you are shelling broad beans. Don’t waste the pods if they are in good condition. If you’ve grown your own beans the pods are likely to be tender during the whole season. If you are buying pods, use your own judgement as to when during the season the pods become too tough. Cut larger pods into smaller pieces.

You will thank me for this recipe, it is delicious, and uses parts of the vegetable usually discarded. Always go for no-waste where possible.

Similar recipes include Rosti with Goat’s Cheese and Chives, Crispy Battered Okra, Crispy Battered Onion Rings, and Pea and Mint Croquettes.

Browse all of our Broad Bean recipes and all of our Snacks. Or explore our Late Spring dishes.

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Salty Fried Beans with Chilli, Ginger, Garlic and Capers

Inspired by something I saw on Bon Appetit, these beans are a perfect heatwave-conditions Summertime snack. Salty and crispy, they would go well with a beer about mid afternoon, if only I drank beer. The green beans are shrivelled and browned into delicious tenderness in a chilli flavoured oil, then tossed with crispy fried capers, garlic and ginger, and some chilli flakes.

Similar recipes include Deep Fried Potato and Carrot Strings, Crispy, Spicy Fried Okra, and Pan Fried Broad Beans with Chilli, Lime and Salt.

Browse all of our Green Bean dishes and all of our Snacks. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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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 Salad of Sprouts, 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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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 and Fresh Mozzarella Salad, Green Tomato Salsa,  and Green Tomato and Mozzarella Salad. Also try Salty Fried Beans and Rosti with Goat’s Cheese and Chives.

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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Herb and Walnut Fritters

These Iranian fritters are herbaceous and delicious. They are a perfect snack at afternoon tea time, or make a great lunch with flatbreads and fresh salads.

We make our herby fritters with a chickpea flour base rather than eggs. With a little eno or baking soda for aeration, it is the perfect replacement for eggs in this type of recipe.The inspiration was Ottolenghi’s dish in his book Simple. They are very easy to make and utterly delicious. These fritters are a bit of a fridge raid – use whatever soft herbs you have to hand.

Similar recipes include Rosti with Goat’s Cheese and Chives, Spinach Fritters, Vegetable Fritters, and Chickpea Flour Fritters and Pancakes.

Browse all of our Fritters and all of our recipes from Simple. Or explore all of our Mid Summer recipes.

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