Plantain Moar Koottu | Plantain in Yoghurt Sauce

This dish is a yoghurt sauce served with cooked plantain. It is similar to an aviyal, but made with one vegetable only. Other vegetables that can be used instead of the plantain are amaranth stems, chow chow, ash gourd, and plantain stem.

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 recipes include Moar Kuzhambu, Kerala Aviyal, Pulissery, and Pineapple Pulissery.

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

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Sonth Panak | Tingling Ginger Warmer

In the depths of Winter we turn to hot drinks to warm the body. But there are herbs and spices that will also warm us from the inside. Rosemary is one, ginger another, and black pepper too. This drink uses ginger, cardamom and pepper and will tingle and warm your body in the coldest of weathers. It is consumed either warm or at room temperature, so is a no-fuss recipe.

In India, ginger is well known as a cure for colds and sore throats. Dry ginger powder mixed with water is said to work wonders to relieve stiff joints. You can see that this drink is essential during Winter.

The dry ginger powder is essential to this drink – for maximum effect, don’t substitute with ginger root. The ginger, cardamom and pepper do not dissolve completely. Do as I do and stir while drinking, or allow it to sit for 5 or so minutes, then strain.

Similar recipes include 30 Indian Dishes for Mid Summer, Chai for Winter Colds, Peppery Chai, and Tea for Rainy Weather.

Browse all of our Indian Drinks, our Winter Drinks, and all of our Drinks. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Green Mango Rice | Mamidikaya Pulihora

India must be the country that has the most appreciation of rice. It boasts thousands of different rice varieties and many many more dishes that feature rice as the main ingredient. Rice is never ever relegated to a side dish, playing second fiddle to the main dish or dishes of the meal. There it is, front and centre, always. Pulaos, Kitcheri, Biryani, Bhats, Pongal and Mixed Rices are examples of well known rice dishes.

Pulihora is a South Indian rice which is usually made with tamarind. But the same dish can also be made with green mango or with lemon juice as the souring agent. It is a rice dish that plays homage to the love of sour tastes in Tamil Nadu and beyond. In this recipe, the tamarind is replaced with green mango, and some carrot adds a sweet counterbalance and colour.

This dish is also called mangai sadam and mavinakayi chitranna in different regions. The recipes vary a little, e.g. coconut might be added, but the  base is essentially the same. In South India mango pulihora is made during certain auspicious occasions and festivals too.

Similar dishes include 30 Indian Dishes for Mid Summer, Saffron RiceSaffron, Date and Almond Rice, Ghee Rice with Pandanus, and Green Mango and Coconut Rice.

Browse all of our Mixed Rice dishes, all of our Rice dishes, and Green Mango Recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and the Indian Essentials Series is here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Thani Kootu

Thani Kootu is a popular Thanjavur recipe traditionally prepared for Sumangali Prarthanai, Sankaranthi and other festivals. In this dish, 5 different vegetables are prepared in separate jaggery kootus – a delicious and tangy South Indian base for the vegetables which is made with tamarind, freshly ground spices and jaggery. Jaggery brings out the tanginess of the tamarind in a surprising way.

Thani means stand alone in Tamil, and this indicates how the vegetables are made into separate dishes rather than mixed together. The different Thani Kootu dishes are generally serve with plain steamed rice. The base can also be served on its own without any vegetable added. It is pretty delicious!

To make it easy to prepare these dishes we make a large pot of the base Kootu, then divide it into five. The vegetables are cooked separately, and then added to the bases. It is common today to combine the vegetables in one dish, but traditionally, five different ones were made.

By the way, Sumangali Prarthanai is a thanksgiving religious function to honour our female ancestors.

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 Plantain Moar Kootu, Okra Tamarind Kootu, Green Bean Kootu, and Brinjal Kootu.

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

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Murungakkai Vendhaya | Drumstick and Fenugreek Kuzhambu

How we love drumsticks, those funny long thin pod-like vegetables that grow on spindly trees in South India. Whenever we see them in the shops we bring them home to freeze for later dishes. Rasam, Sambar and Kuzhambu are three of our favourite ways to use them.

Today’s recipe with drumsticks is a kuzhambu that includes fenugreek. Actually the recipe can be made without any vegetables (we have a version here), but we like the addition of drumsticks or eggplant. You can also use okra, small onions or shallots, or Indian broad beans.

Similar recipes include Vendhaya Kuzhambu, Drumstick Sambar with Curry Leaves, and Pitlai.

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

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Pulagam | Telegu Ven Pongal / Kitchari | Ghee Pongal

Across India there are many versions of rice cooked with lentils, called various names such as kitchari (and variations on this) and pongal. In Andra Pradesh, it is called Pulagam and is made with short grain rice and mung dal.

It is a very pared-back version of pongal, without any tempering and with only turmeric as spice. But it is surprisingly delicious, mixed with a little ghee and well seasoned.

It is often used as naivedyam in festival such as Sankranti and Varalakshmi Puja.

You might want to browse our 25 or so Kitchari recipes, collected together for you.

Similar dishes include Moth Bean Kitchari, Ven Pongal, Goan Bisibelebath, and  Masoor Sprouts Kitchari.

Browse all of our Kitchari and Pongal dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Winter recipes.

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

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Lime Rasam with Green Chillies

There are four different ways of making Lime Rasam, according to the Queen of Tamil Food, Meenakshi Ammal. This is the first of the methods. Lime Rasam, made with green chillies and a base of toor dal for that slightly silky texture. The green chillies give a fresh green taste with the lime juice. There is no tamarind in this recipe as the lime adds sufficient sourness. In this version of Lime Rasam, very little spice is used beyond the chillies, some asafoetida and mustard seeds. It is deliciously hot and tangy. Perfect for a hot day (I like to make it in summer when it is 43C).

Similar recipes include Mysore Rasam, Pepper Rasam, and Tomato Lentil Rasam. There is also a version of Lime Rasam without the toor dal. Or browse our 30 Indian Dishes for Mid Summer.

You might also be interested in the following articles:

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 Early Summer recipes.

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Green Mango Pickle | Mango Aavakaaya

One of my first tastes of India, smack in the middle of South India, was of a pickle that was hot, sour, salty, all at once. I grew addicted to that taste. While most non-Indian people love the Sweet Mango Pickle, I am a devotee of Green Mango Pickle.

This recipe is fairly easy to make if you can get your hands on hard, green mangoes – make sure that they are really green, and not a half ripe sweet mango.

Mustard seeds – whole or ground – are a feature of many Indian pickles. Not only do they taste good, adding a pungency, they are anti-microbial so certainly help in pickles and other preserves.

Similar recipes include Indian Fresh Green Apple Pickle, Mustardy Carrot Pickle, and Onion Strings Pickled Salad.

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

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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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Dried Okra Pachadi | Crispy Dried Okra in Yoghurt

Some time ago I dried some okra to see us through the non-okra season, and it is time to use them.  These are teeny crispy dried okra, tiny little rounds of okra and today we pair them with yoghurt in a Dried Okra Pachadi.

The dried okra is flash fried in some ghee and added to yoghurt which has been flavoured with spices. It is totally delicious, and can be used as a snack or as a side salad to a meal. We have even used it as a sauce or dressing for other dishes.

Are you after more Okra dishes? Try Yoghurt Curry with Okra, Spicy Dried Okra SnackOkra with Apricots and Lemon, Dried Turmeric Okra, and Fried Okra.

Also try Tri Colour Raita.

Browse all of our Okra dishes, and all of our Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or find some wonderful recipes to make in our Early Summer collection.

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