Beetroot Vadai

These are wonderful vadai that incorporate beetroot, and are a specialty of Chetinand (an area of Tamil Nadu). They make delicious snacks,  but can also be served as an accompaniment to a meal.

Like all of India’s deep fried snacks, these are healthy-ish, meaning that they are made from wonderful, fresh and balanced ingredients, yet are deep fried. Of course, eat in moderation. If you can.

Vada are interesting food items – a compact way to get lentils, vegetables and spices into the diet. They are eaten  with a meal or as a snack during the day, grabbed from a walla on the street, or packed into tiffins to take to work or on long trips. Perfect balls of healthy ingredients that are always at hand.

Similar recipes include Broad Bean and Cabbage Kofta, Coriander Vada, and Medu Vadai.

Browse all of our Vada recipes, our Beetroot dishes, all of our Indian Snacks, and our Patties. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Elephant Yam Masiyal with Lime Juice

Two of the special yams in India are Elephant Yam, and Elephant Foot Yam. Sadly, these two often get confused, even by Indian bloggers and writers. It took me quite a while and lots of conversations to sort the two out.

This Masiyal can be made with either of the two yams. I am using frozen yam as fresh ones are not available here. Its a surprising dish, incredibly delicious.

If you have any more information about these yams, please share.

This recipe is from Meenakshi Ammal in Vol 1 of her books Cook and See. The dish is made with toor dal (red gram dal) but uses lime juice instead of tamarind. Lemon juice works too, due to the same word being used for both fruits in India it is often difficult to tell which is intended. Both work well in most dishes. I like lime because it gives a tropical spark to dishes.

Similar recipes include Ridged Gourd MasiyalPoritha Kootu, and South Indian Yellow Pumpkin Soup.

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

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Lime Rasam – easy with Rasam Powder

Today there is another Rasam to add to our series exploring the different types of Rasam. This one has a slight toor dal base, uses sambar powder, and uses lime juice for a tangy, digestion promoting, delicious dish. There are four different ways of making Lime Rasam, according to the Queen of Tamil Food, Meenakshi Ammal. This is the second of her methods.

We are pursuing 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.

Similar recipes include Mysore Rasam, Tulsi Rasam, and Pepper Rasam.

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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Elephant (Foot) Yam Masiyal

India is Yam Heaven – so many more varieties there than are grown or available here. Two outstanding ones are Elephant Yam, and Elephant Foot Yam. Sadly, these two get confused, even by Indian bloggers and writers. It took me quite a while and lots of conversations to sort the two out.

While you can’t purchase them in the shops here, not even in Asian or Indian shops, you might just find them in the frozen section of your South Indian grocery store. It is worth searching them out, just to try them and to say that you have eaten Elephant (Foot) Yam.

If you have any more information about these yams, please share.

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Garlic Rasam

The health benefits of garlic in the diet are well known. Pair garlic with Long Pepper and you have an immune boosting rasam. Long Pepper is well known in Ayurveda to have multiple health benefits. It also is known by numerous names in India – Pippali, Thippili, Kandathippilis, Desavaram.

This rasam is flavoured with the Pippali and Garlic, as well as black pepper, cumin seeds, chilli and curry leaves. With such layerings of flavours, how could it not be delicious?

Are you interested in other Rasams? Try Lime Rasam, Cumquat Rasam, Kottu Rasam, and another version of Garlic Rasam.

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 Late Spring recipes.

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South Indian Amaranth Leaves Soup with Tamarind

Amaranth is loved across India (and features strongly in a range of Asian cuisines). All parts are used – the seeds are well known outside India, and at the moment they are fashionable and quite popular. But in India the leaves are also used, and the young, tender stems as well.

Amaranth leaves are available in Asian shops so keep an eye out for them. There are different varieties – some are green, but others often contain a tinge of red. Beautiful indeed.

Meenakshi Ammal in her cookbooks Cook and See mentions Amaranth leaves and stems a lot in her sections on sambars and kuzhambu recipes. This recipe she calls (in English) Greens Soup with Tamarind and it sits in the chapter of Poritha Kuzhambu. It is an unusual name given that soups are not traditionally part of the Tamil cuisine (although they are popular more recently). I wonder if the name in Tamil is quite different. However, she certainly got the colour correct!

This recipe is a cousin to this one of the same name. While that one uses Pitlay spices but not a tadka, this recipe uses sambar powder with a tadka. Both are pretty special and you should try them both. This one is closer to this Poritha Koottu with Tamarind.

Would  you like more Kuzhambu recipes? First, check our Poritha Kuzhambu dishes and Poritha Kootu recipes. Then try Moar Kuzhambu, Lentil Balls in a Spicy Gravy, and Vatral Kuzhambu.

Some popular Indian Soups include Indian Potato and Tomato Soup, South Indian Cauliflower Soup, Two Gentle Mung Dal Soups, and A Light, Summery Tomato Soup.

But why not browse all of our Kuzhambu recipes, and all Indian Soups? Or explore our Amaranth dishes, and our complete Indian Recipe Collection. Or take some time to check out our easy Early Autumn dishes.

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Mango Dal / Kootu

Mangoes are coming back into the local Asian shops – there have been green mangoes for a while, but recently the early sweet mangoes are appearing. We needed no further prompting to celebrate the long Australian Mango Season with mango dal.

All the flavour and taste of mango is in this kootu as tamarind is not added – it is full of natural flavours. You might think that it would be too sweet, but the spices mellow the sweetness. The recipe is meant for a sweetish mango, but a slightly sour one can be used as long as it is soft enough to melt into the dal. Our local shop will have sweet-sour mangoes later in the season. These would also work with this dal. Today I have made it with a very soft sweet one.

It is quite a simple dal with few spices, but that is the beauty of the South Indian style of cooking.  If you feel it is too sweet, add a little amchoor (to layer different mango flavours) or lime or lemon juice. I never find this is necessary, but it is an option if you prefer. I like with good chilli heat and slightly salty.

This is a very traditional Tamil recipe. It 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 traditional 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 Lemon Dal.

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

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Ridge Gourd Dal | Peerklankai Paruppu

Ridge Gourd is also known as Ribbed Gourd, and it makes a particularly lovely dal. It is a simple dal recipe that perfectly accompanies rice and roti. It is also very good with curd rice. This is a dish loved in Tamil Nadu.

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 Mango Kootu, Kerala Mung Dal, Ridge Gourd Masiyal,  and Poritha Kootu with Simple Spices.

Browse all of our Ridge Gourd dishes and all of our Dals. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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

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Cluster Bean Dal Kootu | Kothavarangai Paruppu Kootu

Cluster Beans are similar to green beans except smaller, flatter, crunchier, tougher, and slightly but nicely bitter in taste. They have quite a distinctive taste. In Australia it is rare to find them fresh, even though they are grown here. They must all be exported. But frozen cluster beans are common in any Indian grocery.

Cluster beans are also known as Gawar Ki Phalli or Gaur in Hindi and Marathi, and Kothavarangai in Tamil.

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 Ezhukari Kuzhambu (Pongal Kootu), Ridge Gourd Dal, Sambar, and Aviyal.

Browse all of our Cluster Bean recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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Brinjal Asadu | Simple Eggplant Kootu

I am repeatedly saying that I love potatoes, and India has some of the best potato dishes in the world. I should have also mentioned that the same is true about eggplants. This particular eggplant dish is wonderful! Simply flavoured, it is also very quick and easy to make.

Kootu loosely means a thick vegetable dal in Tamil, and Asadu loosely translates to silly or someone indulging in bad-behaviour, or simple. This is a simple kootu, one that is only made with eggplants. It does not have many spices, just tamarind, turmeric, chillies and a tadka. You can say that it is behaving badly in the spice department due to its simplicity.

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 Brinjal Kootu, Baingan TamatarCluster Bean Kootu, Brinjal Kothsu with Tamarind, Brinjal Rasam, and Baingan ka Salam.

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

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