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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Smoky Eggplant with Coriander

I found a new way of making a smoky eggplant. Well, really, I rediscovered a common method that I had relinquished for convenience. Charring eggplants in the covered gas BBQ gives eggplants that are so very easy to peel, and so that is the way that I have been roasting them for years. Recently I ran out of gas for the BBQ just as I needed to roast eggplants, so I roasted them on the gas stove.

The difference is enormous. First, it is more difficult to peel than those roasted on the BBQ, sigh. But the smoky flavour is so enhanced that the trouble is worth it when only 1 or 2 eggplants need to be char-roasted.

This recipe is for a mash of eggplant, onion and coriander leaves. You can call it a salad, but it works just as well as a dip with corn chips, a spread, and in wraps. You will love it. It is even good on toast!

Similar recipes include Smoky Aubergine with Tahini and Pomegranate, Smoky Eggplant and Asparagus,  and Smoky Eggplant and Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Eggplant dishes and all of our Eggplant Salads. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Collection: Delicious Pachadi Recipes from South India

What is a pachadi? For many people, it is equivalent to a raita, and indeed there are curd or yoghurt based pachadi dishes that have similarities with the raitas of the North of India. They are both yoghurt based dishes that contain mashed, pounded or diced vegetables, less often fruit, and seasoned with spices. Pachadis vary from raitas in the flavourings and spices used. Typically a yoghurt based pachadi will contain coconut and be seasoned with mustard seeds, ginger, curry leaves and chillies. Raita is typically seasoned with coriander leaves, roasted cumin seeds, mint, chillies, chaat masala and/or other herbs and spices.

It is these yoghurt based pachadis that are the most well known variety of pachadi throughout India. Even Wikipedia believes these are the only pachadi varieties in some regions like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

But my goodness, there are quite a few variations of Pachadi, from the ground vegetable and green ones of Andhra Pradesh, to the mashed vegetables of the South, to ones that contain cooked vegetables or fruits in a white, non-dairy sauce, to the sweet pachadis of Kerala (also without yoghurt). Then there are pachadis with sago, bhoondi or poha. North Karnataka cuisine has some Koshambari varieties without yoghurt or curd which are also called Pachadis.

You can read more about different Pachadi types here. Today we bring you a collection of Pachadi recipes for your enjoyment.

Similar articles include Hearty Dishes for Early Winter, What to Do with Daikon Radish, and A Collection of Kitchdi Recipes.

Browse all of our Pachadi Recipes, and all of our Collections.  You can browse our Indian recipes, and our Indian Essentials series. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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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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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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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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Life-Changing Fried Cauliflower with Mint and Tamarind Dipping Sauce

Some vegetables that have a poor reputation because they have been over cooked or over-boiled in the past, have redeemed their reputations through roasting or frying. I am thinking of Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower particularly, also Broccoli. I do love Cauli and Broccoli steamed gently but I also have nightmare recollections of how my mother cooked them.

Today we have a life-altering Cauliflower recipe for you. This is REALLY GOOD, and you won’t believe it is vegetarian. Fool your friends!

In this recipe, cauliflower is deep fried in a spicy batter and breadcrumbs, then it is dipped in a sauce made from herbs and tamarind. The original recipe is one of Ottolenghi‘s from Plenty More, but I have changed the batter so that it does not contain eggs. Chickpea flour batter makes an excellent batter for deep frying and we have used that. I have also made the batter spicy and left the breadcrumbs plain. We always feel free to substitute ingredients in Ottolenghi recipes that are not readily available in our local area, or to massage them to suit what is available in our garden and pantry. Seek out his original recipe in the book to compare – I can’t find a version online.

Similar recipes include Cauliflower Roasted in Olive Oil, Cauliflower Fry, and Crispy Cauliflower with Capers.

Browse all of our Cauliflower recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes are here and here are the recipes from Plenty More. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Collection: Incredible Slaw Recipes

Coleslaw is part of the Australian vernacular – a ubiquitous dish that appears at every buffet, BBQ and feast. Thinly sliced cabbage with grated vegetables in a delicious creamy dressing. I admit a good coleslaw is worth hovering over.

But slaw, without the cole, can come in many forms. The word comes from the Dutch sla, a shredded or chopped salad of raw vegetables, coated in a dressing (and cole comes from kool which means cabbage).

Crisp vegetables that can be shredded easily are best for slaw.  What comes to mind, in addition to cabbage (green, red, savoy and Chinese or Napa), are carrots, parsnips, cucumbers, radishes (especially long white daikon), celery, celeriac, kohlrabi, onions, zucchini, fennel, turnips, capsicum, snow peas, asparagus, jicama, radicchio, witlof, beetroot, green mango, green papaya and even apples and Asian pears. A true farmer’s market collection.

We have some exciting slaw recipes for you, and only three of them contain cabbage! They are salads for all seasons – don’t restrict yourself to Summer slaws.

Similar articles include What to Do with Daikon Radish, A Collection of Kitchdi Recipes, and Delicious Recipes with Green Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Slaw Recipes, and all of our Collections. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Zucchini Carpaccio with Parmesan

Today we bring you another beautiful yet simple salad, Italian in style, featuring zucchini and parmesan. The zucchini is marinated in oil and lemon juice then placed on a bed of rocket with slivers of parmesan. The salad is then scattered with a toasted breadcrumb mixture of onion, olives and feta. Perfect. Easy. Delicious.

Similar recipes include Grilled Zucchini and Fennel, Zucchini, Lemon and Dill Salad, and Salad of Zucchini and Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Zucchini Salads and all of our hundreds of Salads. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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