Spices: Dried Curd/Yoghurt Chillies of Kerala

Dried Curd Chillies have been marinated in curd/yoghurt on and off for several days, to absorb the yoghurt, and then dried in the sun. The yoghurt tempers some of the spicy heat of the chillies, and they develop a tangy, yogurty flavor. They are commonly eaten alongside the dishes that form a meal, like a pickle,…

Spices: Talni Mirchi | Dried Stuffed Chillies

Talni Mirchi are dried chillies from Maharashtra. They are first stuffed with fenugreek and perhaps other spices, perhaps soaked in curd or yoghurt, and dried in the sun. To use them, they are deep fried or sauteed very briefly, then crumbled over dishes or eaten alongside the dishes that form a meal. They can also…

Ingredients: Try these Types of Pasta

Are you stuck in a pasta routine? Spaghetti, fettuccine, penne? And not much variation outside of these?  Then I recommend that you locate a great Italian grocer and experiment with other pasta types. Here are some smaller, shaped pastas to begin with.

Ingredients: What is Cocozella Zucchini?

Cocozelle is a type of Zucchini that is closer to a squash. It’s skin is medium-green with wide, light green or white stripes. The flesh is tender and its flavour is considered more pronounced than many other zucchini. Choose ones that are less than 35cm (14 inches), ideally around 18 to 30 cm long. Before…

Ingredients: Pandanus | Pandan Leaf | Screwpine Leaf | Rampe | Kewa

The stiff, bright green pandanus leaf is used for its colour and flavour in curries and rice dishes in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Chinese, Indonesia and the S.E. Asian countries.  There is no real substitute for the unusual nutty, grassy but sweet flavour of the leaf,  which is cut into pieces or tied in…

Ingredients: How to Preserve Grape Vine Leaves

If you are a fan of the Greek dish dolmada (dolma) – stuffed grape leaves – or of baked vine leaves with cheese, you will be glad to know that you can easily preserve the young and tender vine leaves for cooking with throughout spring and summer. They won’t be salty, like the store-bought tins…

Ingredients: How to Make a Deeply Flavoured Coconut-Curry Stock

Stocks are so important to the success of many dishes, but if you cook constantly with herbs and spices, it is easy to throw one together as needed. In the past I would always have a freezer full of vegetable stock, but these days I prefer the stocks made with the ingredients on my kitchen…

Ingredients: How to Make Malay Curry Powder

While India does not have a “curry powder”, it does have a range of masalas and podis that are used in specific ways or with specific dishes. For example, chole masala, chaat masala and garam masala. Not so in the Indian community of Malaysia. Influenced by Malaysian cuisine, curry powder is a common staple in…

Indian Essentials : The Difference Between Vathal, Vadagam and Vadam

South India, especially Tamil Nadu, has a culture of drying vegetables, mixtures of lentils and spices, and pastes made from rice, sago and similar. This is sensible of course – it preserves summer produce for use throughout the year, and thus in leaner seasons they extend freshly available ingredients and provide additional taste and texture….

Ingredients: How to Use Leftover Green Coriander (Cilantro)

Have you ever bought a few bunches of coriander with thoughts of herby salads and Indian dishes topped with coriander, and then found yourself with most of it left at the end of the week? We have your back – here are some ways to deal with that fragrant bunch of greenery. We have  hints…

Cooking: How to Char Tomatoes for Salads

Charring tomatoes gives a flavour boost and adds a slight smokiness to the tomatoes without having them collapse. They can be made on the stovetop or in the oven. Simple to do, charred tomatoes are a great addition to salads, hot roasted vegetable salads, soups and on their own as a side dish. Why don’t…

Cooking: How to Char Grill Sweet Corn

The secret to pulling a meal together really quickly is to have prepared lots of bibs and bobs beforehand, so that there is always inspiration in the fridge. Toppings for soups, ingredients for salads, pastes and sauces, for stirfries, things to be mixed into batters and doughs, chopped herbs, frozen and dehydrated bits, stocks, juices,…

Ingredients: How to Make Flavoured Oils

Oils ain’t oils, so the old saying goes. It means that you should watch the quality of the oils that you buy. That saying was once often applied to oils for automobiles, but the same applys in the kitchen, right? On the kitchen bench there are 5 oils — ghee of course, and some organic…

Indian Essentials: What is Kadhi, Indian Yoghurt Curry

Kadhi is a slow cooked Indian yogurt or buttermilk dish, thickened with besan (chana flour, chickpea flour) and tempered with spices. See the difference between Indian curd, buttermilk and yoghurt which are used almost interchangeably. Use Western buttermilk for an Indian Yoghurt curry especially if you are after that little sour tang that buttermilk provides….

Ingredients: How to Make Pomarola | Italian Tomato Sauce

Pomarola is one of the corner stones of Italian cooking is tomato sauce. This is a simple recipe that can be used as it is or can be added to when needed. It is important to use fresh and ripe tomatoes. Make a lot and freeze it for Winter. This recipe was given to me…