Vendakkai Puli Kootu | Okra Tamarind Kootu

Okra is so very good in the shops right now, as I write, so I grabbed some from the Asian market in my last shopping trip. Lovely thin, tender, long spears of goodness – how we love them.

You will love this recipe. It is as simple as Indian cooking can get. The okra is sliced and cooked with tamarind, green chillies and a little toor dal. Other recipes will add tomatoes, onions, garlic, sambar powder or other spices, coconut, etc, but I prefer this simple, honest preparation from the Palghat (Palakkad) area of Kerala. I have made it quite thick, as you can see, as I prefer it that way, but you can have more sauce if you prefer. I found this approach in the book Classic Tamil Brahman Cuisine by Viji Varadarajan.

Similar recipes include Pumpkin Kootu with Coconut, Cluster Bean Kootu, Okra Patia, Bhindi Bhaji, and Okra Kuzhambu.

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

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Tamarind Summer Cooler

Another great Summer Cooler is made with tamarind – that sweet-sour and ubiquitous Indian souring agent. If you can find fresh tamarind, go the whole way and make your own tamarind paste – it is worth the effort.

The tamarind paste is mixed with sugar syrup and tasted to get the perfect balance of sweet and sour. In the photo, we have also used dried barberries that have soaked in the sugar syrup. Not only do they look festive, they also have a delightful sweet-sour flavour that compliments the drink very well.

It is interesting how tamarind coolers feature around the world, from the Nam Makham of Thailand to the Agua Fresca de Tamarindo from Mexico.

Similar recipes include The Ultimate Pineapple Juice and Coconut Cooler, Ginger Cooler, Pandan Cooler, and Jal Jeera.

You might like to read 40 of our Best Coolers for Summer.

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

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Grilled Corn on the Cob with Miso Tamarind Mayonnaise

As I write, sweetcorn is very cheap, so we have been indulging ourselves in sweetcorn dishes. Such a versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw, simmered, grilled, roasted and pureed. In particular, corn on the cob is a special snack, bringing back memories of childhood and eating corn fresh from the vegetable garden, the juicy corns as sweet as sweet can be.

For this recipe, the corn is blanched then char grilled before being smothered in a mayonnaise with tamarind and miso. It is delicious. I use an eggless mayo as we do not cook with eggs, but use the base mayo that you prefer. I will leave that to your choice. The tamarind and miso mayonnaise is utterly delicious!

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.

In fact 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 recipes include Miso Vegetables and Rice with Sesame Dressing, Roasted Sweetcorn and Avocado Salad, and Sweetcorn and Tomato Salad with Greens.

Browse all of our Sweetcorn recipes and our Miso 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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Sticky Makrut (Kaffir) and Tamarind Tofu

Sadly, many people believe tofu is boring. Perhaps recipes like this one are secret, locked away from view unless you have the password or know the secret phrase to say. An easy dish to make, the tofu is marinated in tamarind, kaffir leaf and lemongrass with sweet soy sauce for half an hour, and then sauteed until it forms a crust on the outside. The marinade is reduced to a sticky sauce which coats the seared tofu.

Similar recipes include Thai Silken Tofu with Bean Sprouts and Broth, Curry Laksa with Fried Tofu, Black Pepper Tofu, Baked Marinated Tofu, and Deep Fried Tofu with Peanut Sauce.

Browse all of our Tofu recipes and all of our Asian dishes. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Pomelo, Green Mango and Pea Eggplant (Turkey Berry) Salad with Herbs and Tamarind Dressing

A salad that comprises all of the tastes.

Sometimes you come across something so good, it becomes your chief meal for a week. I quite love herby salads – see this Lebanese one, and of course, Buddha’s Bowl  to which I add heaps of Asian soft herbs – but in the past it was a lot of work to get Asian herbs.

However, things have changed. With a huge Asian supermarket “just down the road”, life is so much easier in the Asian department. Pomelos, green mangoes, pea eggplants, herbs of every nationality, and so much more, at my fingertips.

So on one of the first Sunny, warm days of this Spring, this salad came together. Not quite Thai, but it definitely has some overtones of Thai food. I do hope that you enjoy.

This salad is fresh and herby, crispy from the vegetables, with crunch from peanuts and shallots, sour from the pomelo, tamarind and green mango, bitter from the witlof, hot from the chilli, sweet from the dressing, salty from the soy. It has all of the flavours built into one dish.

Are you looking for more Pomelo recipes? Try Pomelo, Radish and Kohlrabi Salad, Three Citrus Salad with Green Chilli, Ginger and Almond Salsa, Pomelo with Avocado, Pomelo and Carrot Salad, and Pomelo with Asian Flavours.

Or what about Green Mango? Try  Longan and Green Mango Salad, Jicama and Green Mango Salad, Vermicelli and Green Mango Salad, and White Peas and Green Mango Sundal.

For Pea Eggplants, try Sundakkai Sambar, an Indian dish with fresh Pea Eggplants.

Browse our Thai recipes and our Salad recipes . You might like our general Eggplant recipes, all of our Pomelo dishes. and all of our Green Mango recipes. Or simply explore our Mid Spring dishes.

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Kottu Rasam

This is a recipe for a plain rasam, very simple and quick to make as it does not contain any significant amount of dal or vegetable. This type of plain rasam is characterised by being made from water, tamarind and spices.

The recipe is another from Meenakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See and she has three methods for making this rasam – each one treats the one teaspoon of toor dal that contains, in a different way. I have detailed Method 1, and this is Method 2. (Method 3 is included in the Recipe Notes at the end of Method 1.)

You might like to read about rasam powder. Rasam powders vary as much as rasam recipes themselves. It is interesting to note that most recipes that specify rasam powder (rather than individual spices) are not clear about the type of  rasam powder to be used. For example, if your intention is to make a plain rasam without toor dal, Meenakshi Ammal recommends using a mix that does not contain large amounts of toor dal.  That is the case with this rasam. So if you are going to make your powder fresh for this recipe, choose one without much toor dal. But, really, if you have some already made or purchased, it will still work really well, so use whichever type you have. Even Sambar Powder will be Ok.

If you are new to Indian cooking, you might like to read about the difference between rasam and sambar. And find out how to make Rasam Powder.

Similar recipes include Garlic Rasam, Kottu Rasam (3rd  version), Cumin Seed and Pepper Rasam, Spicy Tomato and Dal Rasam, Cumquat Rasam, Tulsi Rasam, Kottu Rasam, and Tomato Rasam.

Explore all of our Rasam recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here and Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to browse our easy Mid Winter recipes.

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Kolache Poha | Flattened Rice with Coconut, Tamarind and Jaggery

Tangy and lovely, an Indian breakfast dish.

Poha, or Pohe, a glorious food made by steaming and rolling rice to produce a flattened version of rice. It is very popular in South India, Maharashtria and Konkan regions of India. It also forms the basis of great snacks for those times when you just need to graze on something rather than have a full  meal.

There are several different thicknesses of poha – Nylon (very thin and crisp), Paper, Thin, Medium, Thick and Dagdi (thick and chewy). There are also poha types made from red rice and brown rice. For this dish, you want to use a white, thick poha, it gives a better result. Medium can also be used.

This dish can be used for either breakfast or snack. It is a quick, no-cook dish, except for the tadka. Because it is a cold dish it is perfect for our Summers.  It takes less than half an hour to make, and you can make it in just 5 mins if you presoak the poha and tamarind, and drain the poha.

Are you looking for Poha dishes? You could also try Kanda Batata Poha, Kanda Batata Poha (another version), Poha Chaat, Poha with Onions, Poha with Banana and Honey, and Poha with Potato and Peanuts.

Are you looking for breakfast dishes? Try Moraiya Kitchari, Mushrooms for Toast, and Overnight Oats.

Or browse all of the Poha recipes and all of our Breakfast dishes. Explore our collection of Indian Recipes. Or simply take some time to browse our Mid Summer dishes. Continue reading “Kolache Poha | Flattened Rice with Coconut, Tamarind and Jaggery”

A Wicked Tamarind and Lime Dressing and a Thai Betel Leaf Salad

A wicked, wicked salad.

I remember my first trip to India, travelling the back-roads of Goa with a gorgeous Indian tourist guide for the day. He pointed out some betel nuts drying on the sides of the roads. In all of my naivety, I said to him “Don’t betel nuts make you go funny?” With a sage wiggle of his head, he replied “My dear, there are many things in India that make you go funny.”

How right he is, and not all of them in the hallucinogenic way.

Actually, betel leaves have many uses in India and beyond. Some of them spiritual, some of them artistic, some of them culinary.  Today’s use is in a salad, and it is not Indian, but Thai, with the telltale flavours of sour, sweet and hot melded perfectly together.

I have heard that Betel Leaves are not from the same plant as Betel Nuts, but rather a plant closely related to pepper. They can be eaten raw, and are often used as a wrapping for food in India and Thailand.

You might also want to try Miso Sesame Dressing, Steamed Thai Eggplant and Zucchini, Steamed Eggplant with Sesame and Soy, and Ottoleghi’s Steamed Eggplant and Soy Dish.

Our Thai dishes are here, and our Salads here. Be inspired by our Summer dishes here and here.

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Tamarind Rice | Puliyodharai Saadham

A popular Indian rice dish

Never have there been cuisines that do such a variety of special and wonderful things with rice as many of the Indian Cuisines. The variety is endless. This recipe is for Tamarind Rice. The Iyengar community in Tamil Nadu specialises in this rice and the dish is famous among South Indians. There must be many thousands of variations of this recipe.

Are you after other Mixed Rice recipes? Try Clove, Cardamom and Cinnamon Rice, Persian Barberry Saffron Rice, Sri Lankan Yellow Rice with Yoghurt, Carrot Rice, Urad Dal Garlic Rice, Peppered Rice, and Mango Rice.

What about Tamarind in recipes? Try Kottu Rasam, a Tamarind and Lime Dressing, and Amaranth Soup with Tamarind.

Browse all of our Mixed Rice dishes, and all of our general Rice dishes. Checkout all of our Tamarind recipes too. Explore our Indian recipes here, and our Indian Essentials here, or be inspired by our Late Winter recipes.

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Amaranth Soup with Tamarind | Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind and Amaranth Leaves

Amaranth – a wonderful, underused vegetable.

Amaranth Greens are quite common in India, but are an unusual ingredient here and only available in specialist Asian markets, unless you grow your own. We have rows and rows of them throughout the garden because they look so beautiful.

S. Meenakshi Ammal in Vol 1 of her book Cook and See, has a Poritha Kuzhambu that incorporates Amaranth Greens, perfect for when these are in season.

If you are interested, you can read about the differences between the sibling dishes of sambar and kuzhambu. See  Sambar vs Kuzhambu for more information. This recipe is a Poritha Kuzhambu, close to the Pitlay variety with its special spice mix and toor dal. Ammal does not call it Pitlay and it does have some differences, but it uses a Pitlay spice mix.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Amaranth Leaves Coconut Kootu, Green Amaranth Soup, Amaranth Leaves Masiyal, Simple Poritha Kuzhambu, Poritha Kuzhambu with Chilli and CuminPitlai, and  Sampangi Pitlai.

Are you looking for other Kuzhambu recipes? Try Fenugreek Kuzhambu, Pulse Ball Moar Kuzhambu, and Grated Coconut Masala Kuzhambu.

You can browse the other kuzhambu recipes here. Check our Amaranth Leaf Recipes. Browse our other Indian recipes. Or simply be inspired by our Mid Spring recipes.

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