Cluster Beans Jaggery Kootu

Another in our Kootu series is made with cluster beans, and jaggery is added which counterbalances the slight bitterness of the beans and compliments the tamarind very well. It is slightly sweet-sour.

Most Kootus are made from vegetables, coconut and a mix of spices. Sometimes lentils or a dal is added to thicken the kootu. Generally kootus are made with vegetables that are locally available.

The recipe is another of Meenakshi Ammal‘s from her cook books Cook and See. She says that this same Kootu can be made with green beans, sabre beans, eggplant, plantain, plantain flower and chow chow.

Similar dishes include Cluster Bean Kootu, Brinjal Kootu and Mango Kootu.

Browse all of our Kootu recipes and all of our Cluster Bean dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

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Sprouted Horse Gram Sundal | Horse Gram Sprout Salad

A lot of deliciousness in a small bowl. Perfect for Navarathri.

I re-read something I wrote years ago, and it hit a chord, so I thought I would repeat it.

The weather is gorgeous and I am so grateful for so many things in my life. From my teachers and mentors throughout my life, to the birds that sing me awake in the morning, the kookaburras which made an unscheduled stop in our neighbourhood, to the gardeners and garbage men who keep things spick and span around this area.

I am grateful for the simplicity and nourishment of food, and of course for the great tastes.

Today I am making a Sundal from horse gram sprouts. Horse gram sprouts are a little trickier to grow – I found the cheese cloth method the best. And they are tough little sprouts so need simmering or steaming before use. They are highly nutritious and worth cultivating.

Read more about Horse Gram (aka Kulthi Bean). It is easily purchased in Indian shops.

Similar recipes include Black Gram Sprouts Sundal, Sprouts Usal, and  Sprouted White Pea Sundal.

Browse all of our Sundals and all of our Horse Gram recipes. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Macerated Strawberries and Passionfruit

Maceration is a process of breaking down and softening various substances. In food preparation, the process most often occurs when soaking fruit in sugar, perhaps with a liquid such as fruit juice, alcohol or other flavoured liquid, so that the fruit softens and takes on the flavour.

Maceration changes a fruit’s taste and texture. It is used to improve the texture of hard, under-ripe fresh fruit and also to enhance the flavour of ripe fruit. When fruit is macerated, it softens and releases some of its flavours and also aroma and becomes something quite different – a complex mix of the various flavours and textures.

Today’s recipe does not require any added liquid –  strawberries and passionfruit release their own juice into a wonderfully delicious mix that provides its own liquid for maceration. But when macerating fruit you can, if you wish, add liquors, liqueurs, wine, fruit juice, vinegars, and infused water. And any of these can be infused with flavourings such as spices, herbs, tea, and coffee. Alcohol can include gin, vodka, whisky, brandy, rum. Flavourings also include vanilla bean, chilli, basil, lemon thyme, fresh ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, whole cloves etc.

The soft fruit and liquid combo has many uses: a tasty dessert on its own topped with a dollop of whipped cream or sweetened yoghurt; a sauce for ice cream, pudding or cake; or a filling for pie or cake where it adds flavour, colour and moisture.

Delicate fruit like strawberries and raspberries can over-soften, so maceration time is best from 30 mins to a couple of hours – tougher fruits can be macerated overnight and up to 2 or 3 days.

Similar recipes include Warm Rice Pudding with Orange-Star Anise Sauce, Cold Pandan Pudding with Lime Syrup and Fruits, and Cumquats Poached in Syrup.

Browse all of our Desserts and all of our Strawberry recipes. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Lemongrass Chai

Lemongrass grows freely in my garden, as it does in India, and it is used to add fragrance and that beautiful lemon flavour to salads, rice and S.E. Asian dishes. But in India its use in cooking is limited despite its availability. It features mainly in drinks and soups, such as this fragrant tomato soup.

Here it is used in a simple but elegant chai – a lemon grass bulb and an Indian tea bag or loose leaf tea. Jaggery or rock sugar is used to sweeten the tea, and it can be taken with or without milk. It is a wonderfully refreshing tea on a warm Summer afternoon or evening. I encourage you to try it.

Similar recipes include Fiona’s Beautiful ChaiTim’s Chai, and Tulsi and Mint Chai.

Browse all of our Chai recipes and all of our Indian drinks. All of our Indian recipes are here, and the Indian Essentials Series is here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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My Favourite Grilled Asparagus | Simple Food is BACK!

Simple recipes are now the fashion, thank goodness. I grabbed Nigel Slater’s Greenfeast from the library just after it was released – I never buy a book these days without a good look at it first. I was surprised by the book, perhaps initially a little disappointed.

First of all, its dimensions are small for a cookbook, especially one that is to be used regularly in the kitchen. But it is also quite thick and bound in such a way that the book will not open flat. To cook from it I would need to put my heavy mortar on the edge of one page and the pestle on the edge of the other.

And then to the content – I was surprised at how everyday and simple the recipes are. My initial comment on social media was that it is a book to give Simple, by Ottolenghi, a run for its money. Few exotic ingredients, recipes that suit time-hungry but foodie professionals. Recipes without 6 or 7 or 8 different processes. But, well, also without excitement.

24 hours later I realised that the lack of excitement, the everydayness of the recipes is the genius of this book. It is a cookbook that thumbs its nose at all of the chefy cookbooks we have been drooling over for the past decade. It thumbs its nose at the hours we spent searching down new ingredients that in cities like Adelaide have not and never will make it into the mainstream. It thumbs its nose to those of us who like to think we know 1 or 2 things about food – but have forgotten how to cook simply.

Nigel’s recipes are always unapologetically British, but the first of the Greenfeast 2-Volume set focuses on stunning fresh-from-the-garden ingredients arranged with love on a plate to produce Summery yet nourishing dishes. It is a book that you want to cook through from start to finish for easy, satisfying, home cooked meals. Thanks Nigel.

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Dried Fava Beans with Garlic | Ful Bit-Tewm

This is a dish that is made in Spring in Malta and the Middle East with fresh broad beans. For  the rest of the year it is made with dried broad beans. There are two types of dried broad beans (generally called dried Fava beans). The first, commonly available here, are large, darker coloured beans. Huge, really. They are not peeled, so require soaking and peeling before cooking. Despite the work, I do love the intense earthy flavour of these large beans.

The second type is a more delicate dried fava bean, small in size and golden in colour. These are generally already peeled, and so less work in the kitchen before cooking. They are more difficult to find, and I had to search them out in a large Greek grocery.

Today, I am using the smaller variety, as I think that they are better suited to this dish, but note that the larger beans or fresh broad beans can also be used. It is just the cooking time that will vary.

Similar dishes include Dried Fava Bean Soup, Fava Bean Puree with Herbs, and Fava Bean Puree with Dill and Olive Oil.

Browse all of our Broad Bean recipes, and our Middle Eastern recipes. Or explore all of our Mid Spring dishes.

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Poritha Rasam

Poritha Rasam is a rasam without any souring agent – no tamarind, lime juice or kokum, for example. Many recipes do contain tomatoes (considered a souring agent in India) and of course coconut (a defining feature of Poritha Sambar and Rasam).

The Queen of Tamil Food, Meenakshi Ammal, has a Poritha Rasam that contains no tamarind, lime, coconut, tomatoes, mustard seeds or chillies. It is indeed a simple rasam, but is still very very tasty. It has a toor dal base which helps. It is similar to her Lime Rasams, but without the lime juice.

We are working through the Rasams Chapter in Meenakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See as they are traditional Tamil recipes. Although we are not afraid to step away from the tree, going back to very traditional recipes (that can still be made in the modern kitchen) is an important way to get the hang of traditional as well as modern methods and flavour combinations. I hope you feel the same. There was a really lovely article on her and her books published recently.

See all of the Lime Rasam dishes here. Similar recipes include Mysore Rasam, Tulsi Rasam, and Pepper Rasam.

You might also be interested in the following article:

Our simply explore all of our Rasam recipes. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to browse our Late Summer recipes.

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A Collection of 30 Salads for LATE SPRING

Late Spring can still be capricious – but warmer weather is beginning to settle in. The last but large flush of Spring flowers covers the garden. We need to begin regular watering.

Salads are definitely lighter. Fewer grains are used and fresh Spring produce dominates – Asparagus, Broad Beans, Pomelo, for example. Nuts and seeds garnish the wonderful dishes.

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Herby Freekeh Salad with Peas

Freekeh is a wonderful vehicle for herbs and tart dressings, and I have to say that I love herby salads. This one brings it all together for a wonderful Spring dish. With herbs and spring onions abundant in the garden, all that was needed was to cook the freekeh and defrost the peas.

Similar recipes include: Quinoa Salad with Orange and Pistachios, Cypriot Grain Salad, Green Beans with Freekeh, Walnuts and Tahini, and Delicious Chickpea Salad.

Browse all of our Freekeh recipes and our Pea dishes. All of our many Salads are here. Or take some time to browse our our Mid Spring dishes.

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A Huge Collection of the Best Ever Chickpea Recipes

Chickpeas, and the flour made from ground chickpeas feature strongly in our kitchen.  Today we want to share with you our most favourite chickpea and chickpea flour recipes. Many of these recipes have been on our kitchen’s menu for over 20 years! They have been shared via our previous blog Food Matters from 1995 – 2006, in person with friends, and through this blog that has been running from 2006.  The older recipes of course don’t show the fashionable food styling that is current today, but here we believe in food for sustenance, food for flavour, and healthy food to keep the body healthy. We are not so much about food for entertainment. I do hope you enjoy.

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