Batate Saung / Potatoes in a fiery sauce

Batate saung / potato curry

Batate Saung / Potatoes in a fiery sauce

..well, as fiery as you want it to be. Batate saung traditionally is a Mangalorean dish. If I have to narrow it down further, it’s a Konkani dish. Konkani style fare is most sought after vegetarian food in Mangalore, as I remember it. That’s why grandma took on to making some of them at home regularly. Most of their dishes are light and relatively healthy. But this batate saung was something else. Fiery, sour and delicious. Using only onions, potato and a spice paste with chillies, coconut, coriander seeds and tamarind, this one takes just about 15-20 mins to make.

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Ricotta on Toast with Grilled Pear and Orange Caramel

ricotta on toast

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.

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Kadle Manoli Aajadina / Ivy Gourd and Chickpeas with Coconut

ivy gourd

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.

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Chilli Onion Jam – For sandwiches, soups, stir frys

chilli onion jam

Chilli Onion Jam – For sandwiches, soups, stir frys

I love making pastes and sauces at home. They’re really great to turn up flavours in any dish a few notches up. I’ve made harissa, bacon and onion jam, Thai peanut sauce and more. This chilli onion jam I made was essentially for sandwiches so they’re not just tasty but also have a hearty filling. It’s great on toast as it it or with a fried egg on top. There’s a lot more I can use it for but now let’s just enjoy a good egg sandwich with this delicious, sticky, sweet and spicy chilli onion jam.

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Ginger Miso Ramen Bowl with Mushrooms

miso ramen

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.

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Roasted Chickpeas and Cauliflower Salad with a Tahini Dressing

Chickpeas and cauliflower salad

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.

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Beans Aajadina / Beans Sukka / Beans stir fried with coconut

Beans aajadina / beans sukka

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.

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Thouthe Koddel / Mangalore Cucumber Curry

thouthe koddel

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.

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Roasted Eggplant with Zaatar and a Tahini Dressing

roasted eggplant

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.

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Tahini – For hummus, salad dressings, baking and more

tahini

I’ve made tahini before and only because all recipes of hummus calls for some. And without it, hummus is simply a chickpea mush without flavour. The last time I made it, I didn’t entirely grasp the versatility of tahini. I didn’t stop to take a whiff while it was freshly blitzed and still in the blender. This time I did and it smelled amazing. So nutty you might think it’s peanut butter or something. And it made it correctly this time as opposed to rushing it.

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