A few weeks ago I was hooked on Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes. Inspired, also read as easy-to-make, I made one of his Turkish breakfast dishes called Ciblir. It was a delight. Who would’ve thought eggs and yoghurt could be on the same plate? After that, I made another one of his dishes. Well, almost. He baked his eggs, I went with the stove. There are a few other tweaks too, but that’s not important. What’s important is that it turned out just as delicious as the cilbir.Wilted spinach atop of which nestled eggs that were cooked just enough so their yolks would run, dollops of cold Greek yoghurt with streaks of hot chilli butter and of course, crunchy bacon bits. What’s not to love?
Ricotta on Toast with Grilled Pear and Orange Caramel
It’s too long a title for something so simple. I’ve always wondered what ricotta tasted like. Yes, I’ve had them at nice cafes but it’s a distant memory and let’s just say I wanted to make some. From cooking shows to books, they all tell you how easy it is to make ricotta. Although, there are many Italians who I see refuting the commonly found recipe of ricotta. The recipe asks you to make it out of milk or a mixture of milk and cream. But I’ve also read that ricotta is traditionally made from the whey collected after the milk solids are separated. Phew.
Kadle Manoli Aajadina / Ivy Gourd and Chickpeas with Coconut
This one’s no different from the beans aajadina I had cooked recently. This one too uses the same coconut mixture in the end to be stirred in. Ivy gourd, from what I’ve seen and eaten around here, is almost always cooked to death. Well, that’s true for most vegetables. Homemade or not, these lovely crisp veggies are often overcooked with so many spices that you won’t know what you’re eating. I guess that’s why many twitch their face when they see these vegetables being served at lunch in the office or at home. Thankfully, I’ve grown up eating vegetables cooked lightly so they retain their colour, shape and original taste.
Roast Chicken with Cherry BBQ Sauce
I think I’ve made a chilli sauce with almost all fruits except papaya. Good lord. Anyway, this one time I bought a big box of cherries and made a really good compote with it and we had great pancakes that Sunday. I saved some to try a savoury sauce. It turned into a BBQ sauce when I added tomato puree, garlic and chilli I guess. The cherry flavour by the end of it was quite mild but overall the sauce tasted slightly fruity and really good. I used this to marinate and brush over some whole chicken legs and used the air fryer to toast them.
Ginger Miso Ramen Bowl with Mushrooms
I’ve only had miso things at restaurants and I don’t even trust them to put a good amount of miso or even the real deal in there. So basically I never really knew what miso actually tasted like. But I went ahead and bought myself a jar from Amazon. After using it I can safely say that it’s the magic ingredient that can make soups and broths taste like nothing else. It’s a good thing. This miso ginger ramel bowl is essentially the product of some old stock cube, a couple of mushrooms, ginger and miso. All this bubbling away for just about 15 mins gave me a fragrant and delicious broth. Some ramen was cooked and put into it along with a boiled egg. Dinner was served.
One way to to use leftover chickpeas from when you made chole or hummus is to turn into a salad. Chickpeas are very filling and make for great salads without adding too many vegetables or even any meat to it. I usually toss the chickpeas in some salt and pepper and add some cucumber and tomatoes. This time I took it up a notch and popped them in my air fryer for a few minutes. They crisped up on the outside and were still soft on the inside. This added a great element of texture. Threw in some cherry tomatoes, capsicum and onions. Not just that, I roasted some cauliflower with turmeric and that was a great addition too.
Beans Aajadina / Beans Sukka / Beans stir fried with coconut
French beans are one of my favourite vegetables. It cooks fast and works in any form and cuisine. Be it a quick stir fry with salt and pepper or garam masala or in sambar, beans are made a number of ways in India. One of my go to recipes is a sukka. We are more familiar with chicken, mutton and seafood sukka dishes at restaurants. But back home, sukka or as it’s called in Tulu “aajadina”, is a common way of making a side dish with vegetables. Beans, ivy gourd, chickpeas and many other legumes and vegetables are made this style.
Recipe for thouthe koddel / Mangalore cucumber curry
Thouthe koddel is what I grew up eating. Grandma and mother would make it at least once a week. It’s spicy, sour and is balanced perfectly well with a little jaggery. Like most Mangalorean curries, this one too has a coconut based ground spice mix. Koddel can be made with many vegetables – ash gourd, okra/lady’s finger, Malabar spinach and others. But my koddel was made with Mangalore cucumber, also called Madras cucumber, Thouthe in Tulu and southe kai in Kannada. It is a part of the cucumber family and the texture is close to that of bottle gourd, but tastier. Ideally it shouldn’t be turned into mush. Thouthe pieces should hold their shape and form and have a bit of give when you bite into them.
Learn how to make zucchini corn fritters that you can pack for lunch the next day. This recipe is very simple to follow, too. Working moms know how difficult it is to prepare dinner, especially when coming from work. I’ve been there before; rushing home after work and thinking of what to prepare for my kids and husband not just for dinner but also for breakfast and lunch the following day. It can be very, very exhausting. Are you the type of mom who would cook 1-2 meals in the evening, so there’s extra food that can be packed for lunch? If so, then you would likely be interested in the zucchini corn fritters recipe that I am to share with you.
Roasted Eggplant with Zaatar and a Tahini Dressing
Eggplant/brinjal/aubergine, call it what you may but it is under appreciated. It’s easy to cook and soaks up all flavours really well. One of my favourite ways of using eggplant is roasting it – on a pan or in the oven. I can’t do the battered and deep fried fritters style because the grease on it makes me queasy. The way I make it, I barely use 2-3 tsp of oil in the pan and then it goes straight into the oven to cook through.