Indian Spicy Tomato Soup

My thinking about broths or stocks for soups has changed over the years. Once I regularly made vegetable stock from off-cuts and peelings, supplemented by chopped vegetables to get the right balance. I made loads of light Asian style broths and more layered all-in stocks for soups, risottos, and the like. There were miso based stocks, SE Asian coconut-curried stocks and Indian flavoured stocks. Keeping them in the freezer meant that they were always at hand.

Don’t get me wrong, I still use these regularly, but more often I use a different technique.

A new approach

No matter what, vegetable stocks are still “light” when compared to the earthy groundedness and depth of flavour of non-vegetable stocks. So, after pondering this for some time, I began to make stocks that included such treasures as bay leaves (European, Indian and/or West Indian), juniper berries, brown cardamom pods, cumin seeds or powder, coriander seeds or powder, black peppercorns and allspice berries. What a difference these made.

Miso

Again over time – some years – miso began to make an appearance in my Continue reading “Indian Spicy Tomato Soup”

Indian Horse Gram and Pomegranate Salad

Horse Gram is highly nutritious and in fact we have fallen in love with its earthy taste. We love that the lentils hold their shape even when cooked really well – it makes them so perfect for salads.

You can make herby salads with horse gram, with loads of chopped soft herbs, lemon and garlic. Or use them as a base for Wintery roasted vegetables. Mix them with feta, onion, tomato and radish. Today we make a kosumalli style salad with the lentils.

Kosumalli is usually a light and refreshing salad. This salad is great in transitional seasons or Winter, or on cooler Summer days. It is REALLY good, and we hope you enjoy it.

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

Similar dishes include Sprouts and Pomegranate Kosumalli, Cucumber Kosumalli, and Sprouts Usal.

Browse all of our Horse Gram recipes and all of our Indian Salads. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Muthira Upperi | Horse Gram Thoran

Horse gram is much loved in South India as a particularly healthy lentil. One easy way to cook and serve these elongated brown skinned beans is to make thoran (Upperi in Malabar). Thoran is a dish from Kerala where vegetables, lentils, beans or sprouts are sauteed with spices and perhaps coconut, for a special side dish or Indian salad style dish. There are several ways to make a  thoran with horse gram:

  • with or without coconut – either way is good. Many people prefer to add coconut as horse gram is considered a hot pulse and coconut helps to moderate the heat.
  • cooked until al dente tender, so the beans remain separated, or cooked until the beans are very tender and beginning to break down – either way is good.
  • made as a dry dish, or as a dish with a little gravy from the cooking water.

Generally we make our thorans with coconut so for variety we make this one without.

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

Similar recipes include Horse Gram and Pomegranate SaladMoringa Leaf Thoran, Carrot Thoran, and Sprouts Usal.

Browse all of our Thoran recipes and all of our Kerala dishes.All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

Continue reading “Muthira Upperi | Horse Gram Thoran”

Saar | A Goan Rasam

By the late 1990’s I was beginning to cook Indian food or at least attempting to make a fair representation of some dishes. Many of my early attempts came from Goa as that was my first port of call on my first trip to India. Later I expanded my love of Indian food to Tamil cuisine and South Indian in general.

Saar is similar to the Tamil dish Rasam, but with Goan twists. The recipe is from Tasty Morsels; Goan Food Ingredients and Preparation by Maria de Lourdes Bravo Da Costa Rodrigues. I picked it up on one of my early trips to Goa. It is like the Green and Gold of Goan Cuisine. I love to look through the book and remember my many visits to Goa over the years. I adore exploring the different areas of Goa, away from the tourist attractions, and dive into the different cultures. There were many times I travelled with a friend on his motorbike, exploring off-road areas and little-known beaches, as well as the local food markets, food stalls and tiny shops. Sleeping in thatched huts, eating at restaurants right on the beach, talking to women on the beach picking up inhabited shells to cook with rice. The smell of morning fires ready for cooking the day’s meals, the pink sands on the beaches, the sunsets, spice farms, hills, temples, music. Oh, Goa – I miss you!

Tickle My Senses has a wonderful description of Saar.

Well, saar needs to be eaten in the right way for maximum pleasure. Pour the piping hot tomato saar over your rice (for me the rice has to be swimming in the saar) then using your finger tips coat the rice with the piping hot saar, making sure you do not burn yourself ! then scoop mouthfuls of this delicious mixture into your mouth, accompanied with fried foods and vegetable. When all is done, lift up the plate to your lips and drink off any remaining saar, the orphaned bits can be polished off by licking your fingers….slurpp!!!

Note the Portuguese name of the author – there are at least 3 distinct cuisines in Goa – that heavily influenced by the Catholic Portuguese cuisine which is also non-vegetarian, that of the Hindu Goans which is more vegetarian and more traditionally South Indian. Finally there is the Muslim cuisine from the Muslim invaders and immigrants over the years.

Often Saar is described as a soup, which is a misnomer. While it is a thin but strongly flavoured broth, traditionally it is not eaten with a spoon from a bowl. See the description of Saar on the sidebar here. It really does capture the essence of Saar and Rasam.

We have a lovely collection of rasam recipes that we have put together as a collection. You can see the collection here.

Similar recipes include Mysore Rasam with Tomatoes, Tomato Pepper Rasam, and Cumin Seed Rasam.

Browse all of our Rasam recipes and all of our Goan dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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.

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Beetroot, Radish and Carrot Kachumber | Beetroot Salad

We had a focus on Indian Salads last Summer, mainly varieties of Kachumber and Kosumalli/Koshambari. As the weather slipped into cooler parts of Autumn, I found myself wondering if thes were the last ones we would make until the warm weather arrives once more. Perhaps not, I thought, as I do love salads in Winter too, but they become a little heavier than the Summer versions. More lentils, grains and Winter vegetables.

It is Summer again, so time to bring you this particular salad. It is such a delightful salad, healthy and quick to make if you use a food processor. The dressing is the usual Kachumber dressing of lime juice and black pepper.

Although I use raw vegetables, but many in India like them cooked in some way. You can either saute them lightly in ghee or Indian sesame oil, or steam them just a little if that is your preference.

Similar recipes include Beetroot and Carrot Kachumber, Chopped Salad, and Cucumber, Carrot and Green Mango Koshambari.

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

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Spring Onion (Green Onion) Salad | Kachumber

This is another chopped salad, a kachumber made in the food processor, so it can be done in under 5 minutes from start to table. It is a combination of spring onions (scallions or green onions), coriander leaves, green chilli, cumin powder and lime juice. Divine!

Similar recipes include Beetroot, Radish and Carrot Kachumber, Spring Onion and Pea Soup, Salad of Spring Onion Greens, and Indian Spring Onion Soup.

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

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Tomato Pachadi with Coconut-Green Chilli Paste

We can never have enough pachadi and raita. Cooling and refreshing, they are prefect on a hot Summer’s day. Tasty and delicious, they are an excellent way to include yoghurt in your diet and to include another vegetable in your daily mix of food. Indian food is an excellent vehicle for including more veg in your meals than you ever thought possible.

Similar recipes include Tomato Raita with Lemon-Chilli Paste, Pomegranate Raita and  Bitter Melon Pachadi.

Browse all of our Pachadi and Raita recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn 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 Horsegram Thoran, 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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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 Saar, 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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Kootu with Coconut

Kootu (or Koottu) is a simple, yet delicious dish that’s made in most Tamil homes in Tamil Nadu in South India.  While it can be made at any time, it is especially important during some festivals, such as Pongal.

This kootu is different from the traditional Aviyal as the mix of ingredients is different. Each Tamil home has their own style of making this kootu and the vegetables chosen also differ from home to home. Kootu usually includes lentils and is similar to sambar and kuzhambu, but there is a variation that is similar to Aviyal in that lentils are not used but a variety of vegetables are included. Most kootus are spiced with a coconut, cumin and red or green chillies in a paste – sometimes spices are kept to a minimum and just a coconut paste is used.

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.

Similar dishes include Aviyal.

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

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