Vadai with Yoghurt

Truth be told, making Indian batters from lentils or pulses is a challenge. The Indian grinder is not available here, nor the ubiquitous mixi with its multiple contains all for a different purpose. My Indian friends pop over to India at least once a year, so their kitchens are purpose built for Indian cuisine.

You will find numerous people advise high speed blenders, like Vitamix, for grinding batters, and I bought one with this in mind (and my old blender had had its day). It was Ok, I have to say, but still hard work. At the same time I bought a popular high-mid-range food processor – high speed with a twin blade. I decided to experiment with it to make batter for these vadai, and am really happy with the result. Quick and easy, no need to use a tamper to push, as with the blender, and I wiped the batter down only twice. There was no need to add extra water. To say I am over the moon is an understatement.

These deep fried vadai, a simple form of Medhu (Medu) Vada, are made from Urad dal with a few spices. They are the type that are soaked in yoghurt for 30 mins – on their own they are a little dry. They can also be soaked in Sambar, or, as I do when I am in a hurry, serve with a bowl of seasoned yoghurt and dip each bite into the yoghurt so that you get a luxurious amount over the vadai.

Similar recipes include Beetroot Vadai, Maddur Vadai, and Broad Bean and Mint Croquettes.

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

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Dried Apricot Pachadi

Our local Afghan shop has the most gorgeous dried apricots. They are as hard as a rock and really uninviting, but once soaked, their flavour is sweet and intense. We make a range of dishes with them, often long, slow cooked dishes of a Middle Eastern style, but we also make a South Indian pachadi (pureed vegetable or fruit in yoghurt with spices).

You might expect this dish to be sweet, but the sourness of the yoghurt and the heat of the chillies counterbalances any sweetness that the apricots retain. You can also use apricots that you have dried yourself.

Similar recipes include Bitter Melon Pachadi, Pomelo Raita, and Cucumber Pachadi.

Browse all of our Pachadi recipes and all of our Mango dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Snake Bean Sambar

Sambar! That one word is enough to have us running to the table. Today’s sambar is made with Snake Beans, also called Long Beans. It has a base of onion, carrot and potato. I have broken one of Meenakshi Ammal’s cardinal rules – only one vegetable per sambar – but I’ve kept the onion, carrot and potato to small amounts. I don’t think she will mind.

Similar recipes include Okra Sambar, Drumstick Sambar, and Green Tomato Sambar.

Browse all of our Sambar recipes and all of our Snake Bean dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

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Collection: A Huge Collection of Recipes for Dips and Spreads

Who said dips are dead? Certainly not in our house. They are generally easy to make, are great snacks, and fill hunger gaps. They are gorgeous for guests. We layer them with other ingredients in main meals. Or simply eat them out of the bowl while standing at the fridge. Sssshhhhh!

Browse all of our Dips and Spreads, and all of our Collections. Or explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Buttery Dal, with Urad and Tomatoes

In Northern India, there is a deep love for urad lentils, those hard back bullets that are white when skinned. Recipes vary from deeply spiced and complex, like Dal Makhani, to gentle, subtle and glorious, like Urad Tamatar, and Amristari Dal.

What all (or most) of them have in common is an enrichment with butter and/or cream. Urad lentils are particularly comfortable with surprising amounts of this dairy fat, so there is a need to get over any qualms – just dive in and add. After all, you are not eating it every day, right? This is a restaurant style dish (ie lots of butter and cream), but if you do want to minimise the quantities, you can get by with adding about 1/2 or 1/3 of the amount. In homes similar dishes are made for breakfast, particularly in the countryside and probably with smaller amounts of butter and cream.

The recipe is one of the gentle, subtle, earthy urad dishes. You will adore it. I have added a chilli-cumin finishing oil which is gorgeous, but optional.

Similar recipes include Amristari Dal, Dal Makhani Nilgiri, and Urad Dal with Onions.

Browse all of our Urad recipes and all of our Dals. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Brinjal Dosai Masiyal | Eggplant Masiyal

This Masiyal made with eggplants is so good with Dosai that is has been given the name Dosa Masiyal. It is thick and gorgeous, tangy and spicy, and easy to make.Β  But don’t keep it only for dosa – it is also good as a side dish, or with rice. It is surprisingly good in wraps and on toast! Or thin it somewhat, and it is perfect for rice and idli.

I have cooked without onions, but onions can be added – see the notes at the end of the recipe.

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, Brinjal Asadu, and Brinjal Kootu with Tamarind.

Browse all of our Eggplant recipes and our Masiyal dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.
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30 Soups for Early Spring

Oh the joy at the arrival of Spring. But truth be told, despite longer days and gorgeous gardens, the weather is in transition and can still be quite cold.

Our soups for this season straddle the heartier soups that reflect our transition from Winter, and the fresher, herb laden soups that echo the emergence of Spring.

To help you on your way with stocks for your soups, here are the ones that we use the most

Now that you have your Spring menu organised, let’s get cooking! Many of these soups will freeze well.

Here are 30 of our best Soups for Early Spring.

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Puree di Fava | Tuscan Broad Bean Puree

We have just a few broad beans left from our pick this week, and to shake things up a bit, I make a Tuscan Broad Bean Puree, full of butter and cream or milk. Quite decadent, but then there was only enough for both of us to snack on at afternoon tea time. Delicious! And quite different to the other purees of Broad Beans that we have made.

This is an excellent way of serving broad beans when the beans are no longer young and tender. The beans are double peeled and simmered till tender, then pureed with butter and milk or cream.

Similar recipes include Broad Bean Dip with Wilted Greens, 31 Dishes to Make with Broad Beans, and Broad Bean Puree with Chilli Oil.

Browse all of our Broad Bean dishes and all of our Purees. Our Tuscan dishes are here. Or browse our Late Spring recipes.

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EARLY AUTUMN – Don’t Miss these Stunning INDIAN Dishes for Early Autumn | SEASONAL COOKING

We always need spice and heat, right? As the weather cools and the days become shorter, spice brightens up our days. Enjoy these highlights from our Early Autumn Indian recipes.

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Capsicums Baked with Feta and Tomatoes

Feta is delicious baked – when I discovered this Mediterranean dish, we were over the moon, baking it for friends and family for quite some time. We love feta – did you notice? – and our local Afghan shop has the best, soft and smooth feta that you could hope to find. It is more Danish style than Greek style feta, and we love it.

This year’s interpretation of that dish is to stuff capsicums with feta, onions, tomatoes and olives and bake. This makes a substantial dish – a feature of a meal – but also we have used it for after-work and after-school snacks. It is pretty good with some crunchy bread or Middle Eastern flatbread.

For a different version of this dish, use creme fraiche instead of the feta, and mix it with the tomato, onion, and olives.

Have a look at our Very Best Feta Recipes, a collection of dishes that we put together.

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

Browse all of our Feta dishes and our Baked recipes. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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