Rustic Potato and Chickpea Soup with Greens and Tahini

In times of stress, it is important to boost your immune system with healthy nourishing food. As winter approaches with its usual bevy of illnesses, it is good practice to do the same. I love to use turmeric at these times – other great spices that keep you healthy include powdered ginger and fresh garlic.

This soup came together one morning when I felt a strong need to nourish myself. It is tasty and the greatest ever welcome to the cold weather.

A couple of notes on the recipe. I used a soup base made by cooking green mung beans with some earthy, grounding spices until the beans were quite mushy. It is a trick I use a lot – most often I use mung beans, mung dal or toor dal. So healthy too.

I have included some Indian ingredients in the recipe – for example asafoetida. They are easily available at Indian shops.

Angostura Bitters and some acid – lemon juice or vinegar, or even a little tamarind or amchur – are great additions to liven and freshen the flavours of any soup. It counteracts any muddiness that comes from longer cooking. Add lemon or vinegar at the end of cooking. The others can be added during the cooking process. Angostura Bitters can be found in supermarkets and bottle shops.

Similar recipes include Chana Madra, Celeriac Soup with Mustard, Minestrone, Spinach Soup and Chickpea and Pasta Soup.

Browse all of our Soup recipes and all of our Chickpea Soups. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Capsicum, Roasted Garlic, Olives and Caper Salad

Our journey into the 101 Bittman Salads changed our salad eating habits, and it is rare that we go a day or two without one now. Not only are they delicious but they are a good vehicle for eating a range of vegetables (and sometimes fruits) that we might not otherwise get in our day.

This recipe was inspired by a recipe in Spice, a book by my old friend and celebrated chef Chris Manfield. It is not a recipe from that book (her’s is not vegetarian) – but it sparked an idea.

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

Similar recipes include Glass Noodles with Spinach, Spinach Salad with Raisins and Pine Nuts, Sweet Pepper and Rice Salad, and Roasted Red Pepper Salad.

Browse all of our Capsicum recipes and our Spinach dishes. All of our Salads are here. Or explore our Mid Spring dishes.

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Channa Dal with Garden Greens

I love toor dal and mung dal so much that I often overlook channa dal. But it is a mistake, really, as channa dal has its own wonderful flavour and texture. It makes a great dal. Here we have used tomatoes and spices to make a base for some garden greens. It is an easy, nutritious and delicious lunch dish or part of an evening meal.

Similar dishes include Channa Dal with Eggplant, Channa Dal with Green Mango, and Channa Masala.

Or browse all of our Dals, and Channa Dal recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here.

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Super Healthy Urad and Red Rice Kitchari with Spinach

As you know, I am a sucker for a good kitchari. The best known kitchari dishes are made with rice and mung dal, but in fact it can be made with any grains and lentils cooked together. You can see a range of different ones here. Today’s version uses the delicious Urad Dal with some Red Rice.

As an aside, kitchari is often called risotto by some recipe writers/sharers. This is not accurate – kitchari might be closer to a congee even tho that also is not a great analogy. Read here to see the differences between kitchari and risotto – including that risotto is perfectly cooked rice, just a little al dente, and kitchari often over-cooks the rice to form a gorgeous porridge-like texture. This is especially true in the South of India. In the North, it can be closer to a pilau or pilaf – still a long way from a risotto.

Any red rice can be used in this recipe. I am using a Wild Red Rice (labelled Forbidden Rice in the supermarket), but red Basmati can be used or a Keralite or Sri Lankan red rice. I have also made it with an equal ratio of Urad Dal, Pongal Rice and Wild Red Rice. In a pinch, make it with any white rice in place of the red rice.

Keep in mind that urad dal has a great affinity for ghee/butter and cumin seeds. Tomatoes also. Best not to skimp on these ingredients.

Similar recipes include Moth Bean Kitchari, Ghee Pongal, and Sabudana Kitchari.

Browse all of our Kitchari recipes and all of our Urad Dal dishes. Or browse our Late Winter recipes.

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Whole Mung Dal with Greens

I find mung dal one of the most comforting of all the dals. I love toor dal too, and many others. But the days when you need comfort, nutrition and something to raise your spirits, either mung dal or whole mung beans hit the spot.

Today I used mustard greens from the fridge and some chard from the garden, but this dal can be made with any combination of greens – even moringa – drumstick leaves.

Similar dishes include Amaranth Greens with Tamarind, Khar, and Sarson ka Saag.

Browse our Mung recipes and all of our Dals. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to explore our Mid Spring dishes.

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Eat Your Greens! An easy way to include greens each day.

It is fascinating how traditional ways of composing meals have included what we now recognise as health-promoting elements. For example, the salad courses of France and the USA. And yoghurt included in every meal in parts of India. And in parts of Italy it is common to serve a green vegetable on its own as a pre-dinner course or snack.

The Italian greens course is so easy to bring together – simmer or toss some greens, dress, season, serve. It is a great practice – why not try it this month, for the whole month?

Similar recipes include Every Meal some Simple Greens, Steamed Mustard Greens with Mushrooms, and Puree of Greens.

Browse all of our Salad recipes and all of our Spinach dishes. Or simply explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Spinach, Potato and Feta Pie

Over the years of my blogging (since 1995), there have been a number of recipes that have been stolen dozens if not hundreds of times. My Dal Makhani was the most used by others, and surprisingly, this recipe for Potato, Spinach and Feta Pie too. You can still find exact reproductions if you look, and in some places small alterations have been made. Even high profile publications seem not to mind using both photos and content and claiming it as their own. You only have to watch the twitter feed of bloggers and authors to see the angst that it causes.

This is the original version of the recipe – well, almost. Over the years I have added turmeric to the mixture. The original recipe appeared on my first blog, called Food Matters, no longer in existence, in 1998, so it truly is a retro recipe. The pie is still as terrific today as it was then.

Similar recipes include Grape Leaf Rice Pie, Tomato Tarte Tatin, and Cheese and Eggplant Torte. Meanwhile have a look at the collection of Feta recipes we put together for you.

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 Pies and all of our Spinach and Potato recipes. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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South Indian Palak Soup

Another Indian soup for you – this time a Spinach (or other greens) soup.  It is a gentle one, similar to many of the other Indian Soups we have here. In this recipe a spinach stock is made, and it is served thickened and with cream. Delicious. A very good Spring soup. It is gentle, without spicing – a common feature of South Indian soups.

The recipe is one of Meenakshi Ammal‘s from her cook books Cook and See. One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through these books, as they are very traditional Tamil recipes.You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. This one is from Vol. 4.

Similar recipes include Collapsed Beetroot Greens, Indian Soup with Drumstick Leaves, 30 Beautiful Soups, Spinach Bhaji, and Aloo Palak Subzi.

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

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Sautéed Butternut and Spinach with Roasted Mushrooms and Roasted Garlic

Spinach is often paired with butternut pumpkin and it is a perfect match. We’ve been cooking this recipe for ages. Over time it has changed, simplified, adapted to the food fashions of the time. But the main ingredients have stayed the same – spinach or similar greens, butternut or jap pumpkin, mushrooms and a couple of spices. In this recipe, any greens that cook up like spinach or chard and can handle spices can be used – try some of the Asian greens and Indian greens also.

At our place we often need a quick way to use up greens from the garden – spinach, bok choy, chard, silver beet and others. Our garden can get over-run with these! This is a great dish to use them up.

The butternut pumpkin is sauteed until almost cooked before the greens are added, and the finished dish is topped with roasted or sautéed mushrooms and some roasted garlic. Delicious.

Similar dishes include Roasted Mushrooms with Burrata, 50 of our Best Garlic Recipes, Eggplant, Spinach and Sweet Potato Curry, Daikon and Golden Pumpkin Curry, Sweetcorn and Spinach Bhauri, and Chinese Style Greens.

Or browse all of our Spinach recipes and our Pumpkin dishes. Explore our Mid Spring collection of recipes.

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Khar | Assamese Garlicky Flavoured Mung Beans with Greens

Khar is a unique Assamese dish, traditionally served as a starter. Traditionally, pure khar uses kola khar as its main ingredient. Kola Khar is prepared by sun-drying the peels of the bheem khol banana tree trunk, burning them to ashes, and then filtering water through them. It is an alkaline preparation that is believed to have medicinal properties. The dish is served before the main meal to help prepare the digestion for the flavours to come in the main meal.

These days kola khar is often substituted with other items, usually baking soda. Khar can be made with a variety of ingredients – pulpy vegetables such as gourds, papaya, pumpkin, zucchini, eggplant and cucumber, as well as lentils and a variety of greens. Today we are using Mung Beans although toor dal and urad dal are also common. We have seen it made with rice flour and no lentils.

Mustard greens and some chilli leaves are used in our dish today, although Spinach would be equally as fine. I have added a couple of betel leaves, because they are in the fridge and they give a lovely flavour. However, there is no need to be so exotic. Use spinach and/or mustard greens, or whatever greens you have. The recipe has a lot of garlic in it which softens its raw bite due to the cooking and adds a lovely umami flavour. Don’t confuse this dish with Lebon Khar, which is a Middle Eastern dish of cucumber and sour cream or yoghurt with a vinegar and mustard dressing.

Similar dishes include Chilli Leaf Sambar, Whole Mung Dal with Greens, Mung Dal with Green Mango, Bengali Mung Dal, and Mung Dal with Ghee.

Browse more of our Assamese recipes, all of our Mung Bean dishes, and our Dals. Browse our Indian recipes here and our Indian Essentials are here. Or take some time to explore our Late Spring dishes.

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