Ingredients: About Miso and the Different Types of Miso

Miso has long been a favourite and we adore Miso Soup. Recently I found a sweet little Japanese bowl that just smiles sweetly and says “let’s make miso soup” to me every time I catch its eye on the kitchen bench. It is very easy to make if you have miso paste. But miso is…

Singapore Curry Spice Mix

While all-purpose Curry Powders are not a thing in India, they do exist in countries with strong Indian populations – for example, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Malaysia and Singapore. This spice mix is representative of the Singapore Indians – Singaporean influences on traditional Indian flavours. Use Singapore Curry Spice Mix in stir fry dishes, with noodles…

Kerala Spice Mix

I am not a great fan of pre-mixed curry powder, preferring to mix and grind them as needed. However, sometimes you want to elicit the flavours of a region without  following a traditional recipe. In such cases, it is a perfect time to roast and grind spices into a powder and mix with ingredients. For…

How to Make Eggless Mayo from Milk

I have a recipe from my Mum for an eggless mayonnaise that is made from condensed milk. It is pretty gorgeous, and I love it. There is also a cream based dressing that can be used in many cases as a replacement for egg based mayo. Even this Yoghurt based dressing will substitute for mayo….

Ingredients: Which Potatoes to Use in Australia

Broadly speaking, potatoes fall into two main categories, with flesh that is either floury or waxy in texture when cooked. In his encyclopaedia of kitchen science, McGee on Food and Cooking, US writer Harold McGee explains that floury potatoes are denser and have more dry starch in their cells. During cooking, they separate and become…

Common Rices of India

There are hundreds varieties of rice grown around the world. Rice is a staple in India, Asia, Middle East and parts of the Mediterranean. Yet, for all this, few know of the different types of rice. Rice originated in India, and it is first mentioned in the Yajur Veda (c. 1500-800 BC) and then is…

What is Bitter Melon? Bitter Gourd?

Bitter is an important flavour in the Indian Ayurvedic tradition, and also in other Asian medical regimes. Bitter Gourd (also called Bitter Melon)  is only one of a range of bitter ingredients in those parts of the world, but in the western world it may be one of the most bitter tastes one is likely…

Potatoes in Australia

Potatoes in Australia are confusing. Firstly there is not a lot of difference between waxy, floury and all rounder varieties. Popular potato varieties grown in Australia are neither particularly waxy nor floury, not even the ones that we label as such. All rounders tend to sell better in the Australian market as a whole than…

Ingredients: Cucumbers

You might not know this, but cucumbers originated in India, in the foothills of the Himalayas, and were first cultivated around 3,000 years ago. From there, they spread east through traders, particularly Phoenician merchants who took the seeds to Egypt and Greece. They began to be grown in Sicily, mainland Italy and North Africa. The…

Making Tamarind Paste from Tamarind Pods

Don’t you L O V E tamarind? I am not sure what I would do without this ingredient in the kitchen. While others rave about black garlic, it is the commonly available tamarind that gives that umami taste to my dishes. As a added bonus, it is at once sweet and sour. Oh, the delights…

Ingredients: Black Barley

Black Barley is a heirloom grain, and has remained unchanged, farmed for generations in small batches and prized for its flavour, colour and nutritional value. Originating in Ethiopia (but now also grown in several countries), black barley is the only grain that can go from field to fork without being processed. That is because the…

Collection: Watermelon Salads to Beat the Heat

Watermelon has this household hooked in the Summer hot weather – that luscious pink colour going looking so good in the heat, and the juices running down onto one’s plate (or down one’s chin). Eaten with a sucking noise, to extract every piece of juice, it cools and supplies a sugar energy boost at the…

Ingredients: Purslane | Pigweed | Luni-Bhaji

Purslane is that ubiquitous weed that grows almost anywhere, but it is mostly weeded. It is persistent, with seeds being able to germinate even when 40 years old, and plants will spring from tiny pieces of leaf. What is not commonly known is that Purslane is delicious and highly edible with a pleasantly sour taste….

A Collection of 28 Dishes to Make with Broad Beans

Broad Beans, a little out of fashion except in Italian, Greek, Chinese, South American and Middle Eastern communities, are a speciality of Spring time. Once upon a time, before the green bean varieties came to Europe, Broad Beans were the beans. They are ancient and no one knows exactly where they came from. They are…

Ingredients: Mango Season! | Locally Available Mango Varieties

In Australia, we (sadly) don’t go much for knowing the varieties of fruits and vegetables sold in our Green Grocers and Supermarkets. In fact, some vegetables, like potatoes, are sold under one varietal name, but the suppliers use different potatoes  with similar characteristics, depending on the time of year. But visit a large Asian grocery,…

Indian Essentials: What are Curry Leaves?

Curry leaves add that indefinable flavour to South Indian dishes, without which they are incomplete. Curry leaves don’t taste like curry – they assumed that name because of their ubiquitous use in the curries of South India. The leaves are from the native Sri Lankan Curry Tree (Murraya Koenigii) and have a citrusy aroma. It…

Spices: Seeds of Irani Hogweed | For making Golpar Koobideh

These are the seeds of the Irani Hogweed. Often they are called Angelica seeds, but this is a mistake. Angelica is a herb of another variety entirely. The seeds are available from Afghani and Middle Eastern groceries, and some groceries specialising in German and European products. The whole Irani Hogweed Seed is often used in…

Recipe: How to Make Crispy Fried Ginger and Ginger Chips

Crispy Fried Ginger is a great garnish for vegetables and rice. It is easy to make and adds volumes of flavour. Keep a bowl of these, along with crispy garlic, curry leaves, sage and shallots, right next to your stove. You might like to also look at Crispy Garlic, Sage and Curry Leaves. Try this…