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”

Avocado with Sour Cream and a Tomato-Chilli Salsa

In avocado season they pile our fruit bowl high – we are such lovers of them. Honestly we can eat them straight out of their shell. In Summer we make cold avocado soups, all year round we mash and spread them, and they pile into our seasonal salads.

Our snack today is a guacamole type mix with a spicy tomato salsa on the side, and some thick sour cream. We have some great bread from the local baker, and we crisped it in an oven that was still hot from roasting brussels sprouts! It is better than fresh bread for this mix, but you can also toast or grill the bread, or use crackers or corn chips. Whatever floats your boat.

Similar recipes include Avocado and Broad Bean Mash, Avocado Salsa with Deep Fried Tortilla Crisps, and Grilled Green Tomatoes Tostadas with Black Beans, Avocado and Coriander Leaves.

Browse all of our Avocado dishes and all of our Snacks and Spreads.  Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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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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Seasonal Cooking | Simple Beautiful Summer Salads

Sometimes we forget that simplest is bestest.

Elizabeth David is the best source of simple but utterly delicious salads. I love to read her books, and today I have taken the liberty of reproducing some of her beautiful salads.

Similar posts include 30 Great Salads for Early Summer.

Browse all of our Salad recipes and all of our Early Summer dishes.

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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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Tray Baked Veg with Pomegranate Molasses and Baharat

As Autumn slowly turns colder we pull out the jumpers, get the heater serviced and turn the oven on. What is it about oven cooked food that is so delightful in late autumn and winter? It is used most days during the cold weather in our kitchen. Today we throw some vegetable onto an oven tray and bake them with home made pomegranate molasses and baharat, the Middle Eastern spice.

They get placed in a very hot oven and are cooked in no time.

Similar recipes include Tray Baked Spicy Chickpeas, Kombu Baked Veg, and Winter Roast Vegetables with Chickpeas.

Browse all of our Tray Baked dishes and all of our Baked dishes. Or explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Caprese Salad | Insalata Caprese

This is one of the most awesome Summer Salads, and, better still, it takes just a minute to two to prepare. Of course it is awesome, it originates from the Italian island of Capri, and you can just feel the summer sea and breezes in this salad. So simple – great tomatoes, sweet basil and fresh mozzarella. In Italy it is usually served as an antipasto, not a contorno (side dish).

The salad was created in the 1950s at the Trattoria da Vincenzo as a light lunch for regulars. They’d order a just-picked tomato and fresh fior di latte (cow’s-milk mozzarella — no buffalo on Capri). The salad has evolved on the island to include a few leaves of rughetta (wild arugula) and a pinch of dried wild oregano, both local products. Elsewhere in Italy it takes the form of just tomato, mozzarella and basil.

The dressing is always only a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Vinegar is thought to destroy the delicate flavour of the cheese and is never used in Italy. Because this salad is so simple, top-rate ingredients are necessary – floury tomatoes, rancid oil and rubbery processed mozzarella are unacceptable.

In fact this is so good that it is worth making double the amount, and using the remainder to pile onto flatbread, garlic toast or just on slices of fresh beautiful bread. Or turn it into another classic Italian salad by adding cubes of dried or crispy baked bread.

Similar dishes include Salad of Rocket and Radicchio with Parmesan, Ensalada, and Marinated Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato.

Browse all of our Tomato Salads and all of our Italian recipes. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Tomatoes Stuffed with Feta and Basil

An Italian beauty – stuffed tomatoes with feta, basil, olives and wine. Stuffed tomatoes are a bit retro, yes we admit, but that does not mean that they are without flavour. Classic Italian flavours make this a great addition to our several Stuffed Tomatoes recipes.

Baked feta is a classic dish too, baked in a terracotta dish (if you have one) with olives, tomatoes and olives. A variation on this recipe is to use a vegetable – capsicums, pimentos or tomatoes, for example – to hold the feta and accompaniments as they bake. Totally delicious.

Similar recipes include Baked Feta, Baked Dakos, Baked Pimentos with Feta, and Baked Ziti with Feta.

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.

Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series. You might also like our Stuffed Tomatoes recipes  or you browse Italian recipes . Check out our easy Early Autumn recipes .

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Indian Sweet and Spicy Tomato Chutney

Who can resist a sweet tomato chutney? This one is from India but with unmistakable influences from the British occupation. The result is a wonderfully sweet, rich flavoured chutney with hints of spice. Adjust the chilli levels to your own preference.

Serve the chutney with rice, idli, dosa, chapati or as an accompaniment to other Indian dishes. Great as a dip and with fried snacks.

Not only is this chutney great with Indian dishes, it also goes well with Western dishes. Serve it with vegetable pies, in sandwiches and wraps, and over deep fried tofu. Drizzle it over soups and baked vegetables. You are limited only by your imagination.

This recipe can also be made in bulk and frozen, to add to soups, stews, braises etc during the Winter months.

Similar recipes include Roast Tomato Chutney, Eggplant Chutney, Green Tomato Chutney, and Fresh Radish Chutney.

Browse all of our Indian Chutneys and all of our Tomato Dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Crushed Potatoes with Roasted Tomato and Roasted Eggplant | Aloo Baingan Bharta

I love a good mashed potato, don’t you? The English standard is potatoes mashed with milk or cream and lashings of butter and generously seasoned with salt and pepper. But France makes theirs a little differently. Where the English use floury potatoes, the French use waxy potatoes. In India, it is more usual to crush potatoes rather than mash them. Such a good idea, leaving texture in the dish while incorporating spices and herbs.

So I tend to collect mash potato recipes. This one has its origin in Vivek Singh’s (from Cinnamon Kitchen) book Curry. It is so simple but packs a punch of flavours. I adjusted it to our flavours. It is a variation of Aloo Baigan Bharta.

Similar recipes include Aloo Gobi, Simple Indian Potato Crush, Garlic Potato Mash and Potato Pallya.

Browse all of our Potato recipes and some other Mashes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

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