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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Black Onions – Onions Slow Roasted

Black onions sound intriguing, don’t they? Well they are. Onions, sauteed then cooked with vinegar and sugar until brown and crispy in a low oven. Sweet with a touch of sour and deep oniony flavours, they are the perfect topping for soups, salads and dals. They go well in sandwiches, rolls and wraps. Mix with chopped herbs and top rice with them. Mix into pasta dishes. Use them for lunches, snacks and dinner dishes.

The black onions keep well so they can be made and will last a week in the fridge. They are not burnt but rather are deeply caramelised.

Similar recipes include Lentils and Pasta with Caramelised Onions, Broad Bean Dip with Roasted Onions, and Urad Dal with Onions Four Ways.

Browse all of our Onion recipes or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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A Collection of 30 Soups for Late Autumn | Seasonal Cooking

Sometimes late Autumn can bring sunny days and warm weather still, and secretly we hope for it. But the farmers pray for rain, and most years it comes. Cold weather comes too. We settle in for 4 – 5 months of cold weather before the sunshine emerges again with its warmth and new life.

By now we have stocked up on the lentils and beans for winter. There is citrus fruit and root vegetables. The oven provides warmth in the kitchen. Soups, soups and soups are made – they become a daily ritual.

Similar posts include What to Do with Daikon Radish.

Enjoy our 30 Soup Suggestions for the month that heralds the colder weather to come.

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Dried Fava Beans with Garlic | Ful Bit-Tewm

This is a dish that is made in Spring in Malta and the Middle East with fresh broad beans. For  the rest of the year it is made with dried broad beans. There are two types of dried broad beans (generally called dried Fava beans). The first, commonly available here, are large, darker coloured beans. Huge, really. They are not peeled, so require soaking and peeling before cooking. Despite the work, I do love the intense earthy flavour of these large beans.

The second type is a more delicate dried fava bean, small in size and golden in colour. These are generally already peeled, and so less work in the kitchen before cooking. They are more difficult to find, and I had to search them out in a large Greek grocery.

Today, I am using the smaller variety, as I think that they are better suited to this dish, but note that the larger beans or fresh broad beans can also be used. It is just the cooking time that will vary.

Similar dishes include Dried Fava Bean Soup, Fava Bean Puree with Herbs, and Fava Bean Puree with Dill and Olive Oil.

Browse all of our Broad Bean recipes, and our Middle Eastern recipes. Or explore all of our Mid Spring dishes.

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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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A Collection of 30 Salads for LATE SPRING

Late Spring can still be capricious – but warmer weather is beginning to settle in. The last but large flush of Spring flowers covers the garden. We need to begin regular watering.

Salads are definitely lighter. Fewer grains are used and fresh Spring produce dominates – Asparagus, Broad Beans, Pomelo, for example. Nuts and seeds garnish the wonderful dishes.

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A Collection of 30 Salads for Late Autumn

By Late Autumn we have finally accepted that Summer has passed. Days and nights are cooler and mornings cold. The heater comes on. Rains are also expected. Farmers turn hopeful eyes skyward, keen to ensure farming efforts won’t go to waste and it won’t be another year of drought.

Salads are heavier, often featuring grains, lentils, pasta and even bread. French style, Italian style, Greek style, Persian style, we don’t really mind, as long as the salads are simple and delicious. Winter veggies and fruit are appearing in the shops.

Here are 30 of our best salads for Late Autumn.

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