Mysore Rasam | Second Method

This is our second version of Mysore Rasam from Meenakshi Ammal. It varies slightly from the first version, but as we know with Indian cooking small changes can make significant taste differences.

Mysore Rasam is similar to Kottu (Plain) Rasam, in that it includes toor dal to give the rasam a beautiful silky texture. It also uses the water from cooking the dal to round out the flavours. It is also rather like Plain Dal Rasam with different spices. And in this recipe, rasam powder is not used, rather the spices are sauteed and ground while the toor dal cooks.

You might also be interested in reading about the difference between Rasam and Sambar.

Similar recipes include Cumquat Rasam, Spicy Tomato and Dal Soup, and Pepper Rasam.

Browse all of our Rasam recipes, and all of our Indian dishes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring recipes.

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Cream of Asparagus Soup

Asparagus has that gentle flavour that makes it an ideal Spring vegetable, especially for soups. Asparagus soups do not have the heaviness of Winter soups, and as we emerge from jumpers, scarves, hats and overcoats, it is a delight to have its gentleness.

I don’t mean to imply that this soup should be kept only for Spring – indeed it will be a staple in your kitchen from Spring right through to the end of Autumn, at the times you can source decent asparagus. This recipe is a take on the recipe that appeared in Moosewood all those years ago – you Woodstock fans will know what I mean (and I am not referring to the bird!). It is a little different to the French Cream of Asparagus that we have also been making for quite a number of years.

This soup can be made in a high speed blender, one that heats the soup as it blends. While it misses the sweetness that can only be found in slowly cooked onions, sauteed asapragus and toasted roux, it is still a great option for evenings after a long day at work.

Similar recipes include the French Cream of Asparagus Soup, Chilled Asparagus Soup and Gentle Asparagus and Turmeric Soup.

Browse all of our Asparagus dishes and all of our Soups. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Lauki Melon with Tomato and Feta

Lauki, the humble vegetable of India, is lifted to new heights in this recipe. Melon slices are marinated in garlic and oil for half an hour, then pan fried until tender and golden brown. They are then drizzled with a tomato sauce and chilli oil, and topped with creamy feta. Delicious!

The genesis of this recipe is from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More. He has a similar dish that uses marrow. When a recipe specifies marrow as an ingredient, confusion ensues. Unlike the UK, Australia does not have a generic marrow, or indeed a variety of marrows. The closest we get to marrow is large zucchinis, yet these are difficult to purchase as it is baby zucchinis that are all the rage now and shops stock only these.

India, however, has many melons, close enough, and they are available in Indian and Asian shops. For this recipe I used Long Melon (Lauki). It worked really well. A friend says that this is too, too much – lifting the humble Lauki to new heights! It does work very well. And with only a few soft seeds in the centre, there was no need to remove them before cooking.

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. 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 his Guardian column.

Similar dishes include Eggplant and Zucchini Baked with Chickpeas, Gratin of Zucchini and Potatoes, and Zucchini Fry.

Browse our Lauki recipes and our Zucchini dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Crunchy Root Vegetable Slaw

This is a great Winter salad, a great accompaniment to hot Wintery dishes, and healthy as well. Winter root vegetables are julienned and dressed with a chilli vinaigrette before toasted almonds and poppy seeds are added. There is not much that is more delicious than this. You can make it at other times of the year – I do – but it is harder to find kohlrabi or jicama in Summer.

The recipe is an Ottolenghi one, from his book Plenty More. I received my first Ottolenghi book, Ottolenghi, as a gift after a visit to London, and before Yotham had made an impact in Australia. It was an eye opening book at the time, and it is a measure of the impact of Ottolenghi and his crew that we now take as normal many of the ingredients that Yotham introduced and were harder to find at the time.

In fact, today it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Similar dishes include Waldorf Salad, Ensalada, and Roast Beetroot Salad with Sweetcorn.

Browse all of our Salads and all of our Ottolenghi dishes. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Winter dishes.

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Creamy Horseradish Dressing or Dip

The garden has recently acquired a horseradish plant, so we are beginning to think about uses. It is commonly included in cocktail sauce, cheese sauces, specialty mustards, dips, spreads, hummus, relishes and dressings. It gives coleslaw, potato salad and baked beans an exciting new taste. Horseradish butter, horseradish mayonnaise, horseradish sour cream dip and horseradish barbecue sauce are common. It can be added to stock, even to pizza sauces! But most of all I am looking forward to liberally as a herb. It can be fermented as well.

If you are growing horseradish, it can be used fresh, but mostly it is grated and mixed with vinegar to maintain its fresh, spicy taste.

However, in these recipes, you can use store-bought horseradish, sold in jars at the supermarket.

Are you after other dressings? Try Yoghurt Tahini Dressing, Herb Dressing, and Almond Butter Dressing.

You can browse all of our Dressing recipes here. Or browse all of our Mid Autumn dishes.

This post contains 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.

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Every Meal some Simple Greens

Even Vegetarians need their greens, and sometimes, if we are truthful, we don’t place enough emphasis on bringing these various and beautiful vegetables into our diet. How are you going? Vegetarian or not, we can use some help to bring green beauty into our lives at the kitchen table.

If we look around the world, various cuisines use tricks (I prefer to call them habits) t0 increase our intake of elements that are healthy and perfectly compliment the cuisine of the area. The ubiquity of yoghurt in Indian cuisine, for example, the Salads of Thailand, the Salad course of France, and the Greens before Dinner custom of parts of Italy.

In a time where dimension and complexity are the buzz words of the food world, simple is a welcome point of difference. Simple, where the taste of the ingredients shine through strongly and identifiably.

The Greens before Dinner custom is one that resonates in this household. It is very simple:

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Green Tomato Sambar with Crushed Curry Leaves

It has been a great year for green tomatoes – both our Asian grocery and our local Middle Eastern green grocer have stocked them at various times. So we have indulged our love of them with a range of recipes.

Some of our most loved green tomato recipes are from India, and today’s dish is a gorgeous sambar from Tamil Nadu. As green tomatoes have a sourness to them, the amount of tamarind is reduced for this sambar.

Similar dishes include Green Tomato and Onion Subzi, Green Tomato Pachadi, and Green Tomato Bhaji.

Browse all of our Green Tomato dishes and all of our Sambar recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Braised Broad Beans, Peas and Lettuce with Parmesan Rice

A couple of years ago we made a lovely French dish with our home grown broad beans – they are briefly simmered in stock and wine with peas and lettuce. It is such a gorgeously gentle, green and fresh dish.

Ottolenghi, in his book Plenty More, has a similar recipe, sans the wine, and where the ingredients are cooked for substantially longer than our dish. He serves it with gorgeous, buttery, parmesan rice, a delicious accompaniment.

I feel that the cooking times in Ottolenghi’s recipe are far too long, and have reduced them accordingly. I have also added a little verjuice to the dish, as I miss the tang of the wine in the French recipe. But the play of the vegetables against the buttery parmesan rice is quite amazing. Usually I recommend reducing the quantities of Ottolenghi’s recipes, they are always ample, but this one makes enough for 4 people – however, if you think you might want seconds (and you will), make a larger quantity.

It is Ottolenghi Cook the Books day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. 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 his Guardian column.

Similar dishes include French Braised Lettuce, Broad Beans and Peas, Leeks and Carrots a la Grecque, and Green Beans Braised in Tomatoes and Olive Oil.

Browse all of our Broad Bean recipes and all of our Pea dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Pomelo and Ruby Grapefruit Salad with Avocado

Pomelo, that thick rinded Asian fruit as big as a soccer ball (well, almost) goes by a number of names – Chinese grapefruit, shaddock, pumelo, pommelo, pompelmous, Jabong, Lusho, Batabi-Nimbu and chakotra are just a few. Big it is, and its seeds could feed an army of ants for a life time. But once you are through that thick rind, and you have flicked the seeds out of the segments, and the membranes around the segments are removed, oh oh, the flavours! So very South East Asian in its flavours, it is like a mild grapefruit. They say that it is an ancient ancestor of today’s common grapefruit.

Peeling a pomelo is a business, as the skin can be as much as an inch thick. The best approach is to cut a slice off the top of the fruit, then score the skin deeply to divide it into four segments. Pull the skin back like the petals of a flower and tear out the ball of pomelo. Finally, peel off the tough membrane surrounding each segment.

Even Yotam Ottolenghi is a fan of pomelo: “What I love about them is that, unlike other citrus, they don’t go flabby in salads but retain all their juiciness. This firmness is brilliant in salsas and salads. I love making sugar syrup and marinating pomelo pieces in it with sweet spices such as star anise, cardamom or cinnamon.”

So today, we have a simple Pomelo Salad to celebrate this fruit and the health giving properties that it contains. You can make it with Ruby Grapefruit, too, or with Pomelo, Ruby Grapefruit and Oranges. Enjoy!

The person who served me at the Asian Grocery where I bought the Pomelo told me how Asian people treasure Pomelo for its health giving properties. Like bitter gourd, she says, it is good for a range of ailments and for normal health maintenance. She loves to eat it with chilli and salt, just like green mango.

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Mushrooms in Terracotta

Mushrooms! They are at their best baked in the oven, especially when the weather is still cold in the evenings – there is something about their earthiness that is filling, warming and comforting. Our most favourite baked mushrooms are with vine leaves, but this recipe comes a close second, and is perfect for Autumn and early Winter, when fresh vine leaves are no longer available.

Use a mix of mushrooms, or field mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, button mushrooms or Swiss brown mushrooms. They are tossed with rosemary, garlic, butter and oil, and baked in a terracotta dish which is the most perfect way to cook mushrooms.

Similar recipes include Mushrooms, Garlic and Shallots with Lemon Ricotta, Mushrooms Baked in Vine Leaves, Caramelised King Oyster Mushrooms, Pearl Mushrooms with Thyme, and the perfect Shiitake Mushroom Sauce.

Browse all of our Mushroom recipes and all of our Baked dishes. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Farinata, Socca, Pudla, Cheela – Making Chickpea Flour Pancakes

Many parts of the world have pancakes, fritters, or thicker, baked “pan” cakes that are made from chickpea flour and water. In these variations, an infinite array of flavourings are added to the base – spices and herbs; thinly sliced vegetables such as onion, tomatoes, and zucchini, beans sprouts; coriander leaves to give a fresh crisp punch; basil or parsley oil is a terrific addition.

The various versions of the chickpea pancake – farinata in Italy, socca in France, pudla or cheela in India – are often found in the streets of cities and at roadside stalls in the rural areas. They are served on parchment paper or piece of banana leaf, and devoured hot on the spot.

The batter can be made several days before using, so plan ahead and use spare moments to mix the batter, ready for a quick snack or a mezze dish.  Mix up a double amount, and make pancakes one day, and baked chickpea pizza a day or two later. Divine.

See below for a range of pancake recipes made from chickpea flour batter. Or browse all of our Farinata and Pudla. Alternatively, explore our other Late Autumn dishes.

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Drumstick Rasam

Drumstick Rasam is extra tasty and can be made either with pieces of drumstick (a vegetable from South India), or if your drumstick is well grown but tender, the pulp can be scraped from the inside and added to the rasam. It is very delicious! I have to admit that I adore drumsticks.

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. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

You might also be interested in reading about the difference between Rasam and Sambar.

Similar recipes include Mysore Rasam, Kottu Rasam, Cumquat Rasam, Spicy Tomato and Dal Soup, and Pepper Rasam.

Browse all of our Rasam recipes, and all of our Indian dishes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring recipes.

Continue reading “Drumstick Rasam”

Mung Sprout and Edamame Salad

Sometimes I prepare to post a recipe and realise that it is for an ingredient that does not feature often in our collection of recipes over 12 years of posting on this blog (including some recipes from our blog that ran from 1995 to 2006). It is a surprise to find an ingredient not covered much in all of that time.

We do use Indian-style sprouts in some recipes – that is, the type of sprouts that are only just sprouted, with small little tails. But Mung Sprouts with long tails, Chinese style, feature hardly at all! So today we begin to remedy that.

The recipe is from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More and takes long Mung Sprouts and pairs them with, of all things, Umeboshi puree, edamame beans and radishes!! It really works, and is a terrific combination. This recipe is part of our project to cook more dishes from our Ottolenghi collection of books, and we are beginning with Plenty More.

The salty-sour Umeboshi puree, made from pickled plums, can be found in the Japanese section of larger supermarkets, in Japanese groceries and in health shops. If you can’t find Umeboshi puree, substitute pomegranate molasses.

Make more of the dressing, if you want: it’s so tangy and good that you’ll be tempted to douse this salad; failing that, it’ll keep in the fridge for other dishes in the days ahead.

Similar recipes include Mushroom and Carrot Salad with Sprouts, Bean Sprout Stir Fry, and How to Grow Sprouts.

Browse all of our Sprouts recipes and all of our recipes from Plenty More. Our Ottolenghi dishes are here.

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Fennel and Quinoa Salad with Broad Beans

Time to get back to Quinoa – we cook with rice, bulgar, barley, lentils, beans, …., but Quinoa doesn’t often feature at our table. This salad helps to rebalance that dynamic.

It is a wonderful Wintery dish using fennel. It is the sort of dish that can form a lovely lunch or supper on a cold day. I always miss fennel in the Summer, and when it appears in shops again in late Autumn our excitement is evident.

The fennel is paired with Fava Beans (Broad Beans). Use fresh ones in the beginning of Spring when fennel is still available, or use frozen ones in Autumn and Winter. The best frozen Broad Beans are found in Middle Eastern shops – they are already peeled! Such a time saver. The fennel and beans are mixed with quinoa, spices and herbs. Don’t hold back on the black pepper, it really enhances this dish.

The recipe is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. 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 his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Quinoa Porridge with Tomatoes and Herb Oil, Red Rice and Quinoa with Orange and Pistachios, Quinoa, Parsley and Lemon Salad, and Fennel Salad with Orange Vinaigrette.

Browse our Fennel recipes and all of our Quinoa dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

Continue reading “Fennel and Quinoa Salad with Broad Beans”

Broad Beans with Lemon and Coriander | A Mezze Dish

Broad beans are so good it is not worth going without them even when their short Spring season is over. Frozen broad beans are great substitutes for fresh – search for them in Middle Eastern and Afghan shops as they sell beans that are already peeled. Phew! It saves quite a lot of work.

This dish is a great mezza plate. The combination of coriander and the beans is divine, and imagine this dish with some falafel and hummus. Glorious!

It’s an Ottolenghi recipe, from his book Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area or in our kitchen. For this dish we stuck pretty close to the recipe.

In fact, Ottolenghi’s recipe is a take on an original old Jewish recipe from Aleppo, Syria, which is strongly flavoured with coriander powder. Ottolenghi swaps this out for paprika and allspice. I will post the original recipes soon, and update with a link here.

In fact it is Ottolenghi Cook the Booksday on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note again that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Braised Broad Beans, Peas and Lettuce with Parmesan Rice, Broad Bean and Dill Rice, Broad Bean Puree with Chilli Oil, and Broad Bean Mezze.

Browse all of our Broad Bean recipes and our Mezze dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

Continue reading “Broad Beans with Lemon and Coriander | A Mezze Dish”