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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Collection: Delicious Recipes with Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are one of our favourite nuts here in the kitchen and at the table. There is nothing that quite matches its nutty, slightly dry flavour and crunch. We have used them quite a lot in our recipes, so we’ve brought together a selection for you to try. Enjoy!

Similar articles include What to Do with Daikon Radish, A Collection of Kitchdi Recipes, and Delicious Recipes with Green Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Green Mango Recipes, and all of our Collections. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Collection: How to Use Miso Paste | 19 Recipes Using Miso

Oh my goodness, Miso comes in so many different varieties, strengths and uses, sometimes it is difficult to know where to begin. But miso is so necessary in a vegetarian kitchen to add umami to dishes in the easiest and quickest way.

So we put together some of our favourite Miso recipes for you to begin experimenting and hopefully you will fall in love with this funky paste, just as we have.

Similar articles include What to Do with Daikon Radish, A Collection of Kitchdi Recipes, and Delicious Recipes with Green Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Miso, and all of our Collections. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Jeera Rice

Jeera Rice is the rice that is most commonly available in Indian restaurants  of a certain standard in Australia. Buttery and tasting of cumin, it really is a delight. It is easy to make – this version anyway – and is a perfect accompaniment to any Indian meal. There are versions with onions, and a lot more spices, but this one is a great partner with any other dish. When you over-complicate rice, it restricts the dishes it can pair with.

Similar recipes include Tomato Rice, Clove, Cardamom and Cinnamon Rice, and Black Pepper and Cumin Rice.

Browse all of our Rice dishes and our versions of Jeera Rice. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Aloo Gobi

Recipes for Aloo Gobi, the much loved potato and cauliflower dish from India, are so various that there must be a different one in every household in India and beyond. Each is glorious in its own right.

Some have yoghurt sauces, some have tomato based sauces. This recipe has one based on tomato, cumin, ginger and coriander leaves. It’s pretty good. I like it with a cumin pepper rice or a simple jeera rice.

Similar dishes include Aloo Gobi with Yoghurt Sauce, Aloo in Aloo, and Simple Cauliflower Curry.

Browse all of our Potato recipes and all of our Cauliflower dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Puy Lentils with Roasted Pumpkin, Sage and Feta

Don’t you love pumpkins especially as they appear with their gorgeous colours in Autumn? For me, they are the very best decoration for the table. Autumn colours, beautiful shapes, a reminder of the delights that Autumn brings.

But eventually it has to be cooked. What is better than a salad or warm dish based on lentils and roasted pumpkin? Butternut can be used.

This is also a very excellent Xmas dish.

This is a recipe from Ottolenghi’s Simple, but I played with it a bit. He recommends butternut, I used pumpkin; he uses dolcelatte, I used feta (as I keep an amazing creamy feta in stock almost constantly), he used Puy lentils, I used a similar one that is deep and delicious in taste – stocked by my whole foods store but unlabelled. It shows how Ottolenghi’s recipes are versatile, so flexible with the ingredients that you have at hand.

The salad can be served warm or at room temperature. It can be made in advance, up to 6 hours. If you want to use tinned lentils, go for it – just skip the cooking step.

Similar recipes include Salad of Butternut and Noodles, Grilled Butternut with Walnut Salsa, and Roast Pumpkin Couscous Salad.

Browse all of our Pumpkin Salads and our Puy Lentil recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Simple are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Tamarind Suran and Arbi | Elephant Foot Yam and Taro with Chilli-Tamarind-Mustard Sauce and Crispy Curry Leaves

Fasting recipes are common in Hindu India. Fasting is often undertaken 1 day per week, and at auspicious times such as the holy periods and festivals. Fasting is a little different –  in India fasting can mean 1 or 2 small meals per day consisting of light food that adheres to numerous restrictions.

The rules about fasting vary from region to region, festival to festival, and family to family, and involves the grains, lentils, vegetables and spices that can/cannot be used.

But fasting recipes are not restricted to times of fasting – they are delicious in their own right and can be made any time!

This recipe is a fasting one based on arbi (arvi) and suran, cooked in tamarind. It does include chilli and mustard seeds which might be restricted for some. They can be left out. The vegetables cooked simply in a tamarind base are delicious too! It is a very simple recipe without onion or additional spices. It is quick and easy to make.

This is a fairly bland dish, so if not fasting serve it alongside punchy curries with layers of complex flavours.

Similar recipes include Elephant Yam Masiyal, Yam Masiyal with Fenugreek Seed, and Sweet Potato Subzi.

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

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Collection: Chai Recipes with Love

Chai is the comforting drink that we all need every day. It is made from tea, usually an Assam tea, spices, milk and sugar. The spices are simmered in water and milk with the tea for some minutes to infuse the flavour, and it is sweetened before serving. The tea is simmered with the spices – a different way of brewing it when we consider the dunk-in-dunk-out method of the British and others.

Learn how to make Chai properly here.

Enjoy these 20 or so different Chai recipes.

Similar articles include 30 Soups for Mid Autumn, A Collection of Kitchdi Recipes, and Delicious Recipes with Green Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Chai Recipes, and all of our Collections. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Matki Sprouts Misal

Both Matki sprouts and Horse Gram sprouts are highly nutritious, and fairly easy to sprout if you are careful. For these sprouts, I prefer to wrap the soaked lentils/beans in muslin cloth and place in a dark cupboard for 24 – 48 hours, sprinkling with water occasionally.

One way of using the Matki sprouts is to make Misal – a gravy based dish that is often eaten with bread but can be served with rice. The matki sprouts don’t take as long to cook as the horse gram sprouts do – under 15 mins to be soft but with a little texture still. Just how I like it.

Similar dishes include Carrot and Mung Sprout Kosumalli, Sprouts Usal, and Black Gram Sprouts Sundal.

Browse all of our Matki dishes, and all of our Misal recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Collection: So Freekeh’ Good – Our Freekeh Recipes

Freekeh is so freakin’ good. If you are not familiar with Freekeh, it is a cereal grain made by roasting and cracking immature and soft green wheat. The wheat is parched, roasted, dried and rubbed. It’s an ancient Arabian/North African food that has become trendy to eat in some places. It has an almost smoky, nutty taste and beautiful chewy texture.

Freekeh is easy to cook. Melt a tablespoon of olive oil with a little butter in a pan, toast 1 cup freekeh and add 350ml water. Bring to a boil, cover, turn the heat to very low and let the freekeh steam about 20 to 25 minutes until plumped and tender.

How to Use Freekeh

 This grain is all about texture and flavour. Use as you would other grains and rice in such things as pilafs, soups, stuffings and salads. Add it to your next congee. It is also a great Winter alternative for breakfast, either as a hot cereal or as a parfait that’s layered with yoghurt and fruit. It can also be used as an alternative to rice, quinoa, farro, barley and other hearty grains.

Freekeh is also wonderful in stuffings to fill vine leafs, roasted capsicum or rolled slices of grilled eggplant. Or use some in scrumptious veggie burgers. It is wonderful as a base for summer salads; add your pick of cherry tomatoes, olives, grilled vegetables, feta, shallots, and anything else at hand, and dress with a light vinaigrette. It loves a citrusy or mustardy dressing.

Freekeh actually has more goodness than quinoa yet has not achieved the same levels of popularity. It has lots of health benefits including loads of protein and fibre.

Similar articles include What to Do with Daikon Radish, A Collection of Kitchdi Recipes, and Delicious Recipes with Green Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Green Mango Recipes, and all of our Collections. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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