Kutti Dosa – Little South Indian Rice & Lentil Pancakes

small indian dosa pancake

The last time we made lacto-plums on an impulse I threw some of the plum vinegar into a batter I was making for dosa. I usually keep my dosa pure, but in for a penny, in for a pound: in went some black cumin after which a pinch of hing felt obligatory. Then I waited until morning for the result.

The batter had a definite yeasty smell and was extra full of air. This batter wanted to make soft, fluffy kutti (small) dosa. The type you drop onto a skillet and let spread naturally while a thousand bubbles burst to adorn the top

You can make Kutti Dosa the traditional way: just omit the lacto plum vinegar. Even the spices are optional

Continue reading “Kutti Dosa – Little South Indian Rice & Lentil Pancakes”

Potato & Onion Pakora – With Cumin, Fennel And Black Salt

onion and potato Indian pakora

Typical Christmas eve in Spain: meet frineds for drinks around eight, home for family dinner at ten, out again by two (am), breakfast in the town square, bed, then . . . that was last year.

This year we’re experiencing reduced staying-power and early nights, the effects of not drinking since before Easter. Even so, I set the alarm to be up in time to prepare Christmas brunch – just in case.

  • air-fried onion and purple potato pakora
  • sweet tomato and black mustard relish
  • salted cucumber with dehydrated fermented persamons
  • south Indian sambhar
  • two poached eggs on buttered rye sourdough toast
  • with alcohol-free lager
  • and chocloate brownies. It is Christmas

Continue reading “Potato & Onion Pakora – With Cumin, Fennel And Black Salt”

Shukto – Bengali Mixed Vegetable Curry

bengali vegettarian curry - Shukto

It’s the custom in the Bengal region of north-east India to start a meal with a bitter dish. Shukto achieves this through the use of karela, a bitter gourd readily available from most Asian grocers. If bitter isn’t your thing you can simply omit this vegetable and use any of your favourite ones.

Two other flavours are common in Bengali dishes, mustard in the form of seed, the oil or kasundi and panch phoran or five spice. This dish combines all these flavours for a traditionally sweet dish with a mild bitterness – or leave out the bitter and keep it sweet. Continue reading “Shukto – Bengali Mixed Vegetable Curry”

Aam Kasundi – Bengali Mustard & Green Mango Relish

Bengali fermented mustard and green mango kasandi

Traditionally served with greens, kasundi ( कसूंदी ) is a perfect accompaniment to dry vegetable snacks such as pakora and samosa. Added to pasta it’s a marriage made in heaven.

Though available commercially, kasundi is easy to make at home. No vinegar or other acids, no additives, no cooking even. Just natural fermentation of raw materials for a condiment bursting with pro-biotic goodness and umami deliciousness. Continue reading “Aam Kasundi – Bengali Mustard & Green Mango Relish”

Aloo Gobi – Potato & Cauliflower Curry

aloo-boby - indian potato and cauliflower curry

This is my earliest memory of making curry. 1981, the London Sivananda Yoga Ashram, my home at the time, is hosting a distinguished group of Indian scholars for a week of lectures on Vedanta philosophy. Declaring European fare as “bland” our guests have brought their own cook who is promptly dispatched to the kitchen.

A Brahmin, the highest of the Hindu casts, Rita handles food exclusively with her right hand, her left dedicated to supporting a long, shimmering fold of silken sari. She requests assistance. My luck is in. Continue reading “Aloo Gobi – Potato & Cauliflower Curry”

Spiced Smoked Aubergine Curry – Began Bharta

flame-roasteed aubergines

A member of the nightshade family, along with tomatoes, peppers,  potatoes and others, aubergine’s popularity derives largely from its great abosrbency. They are masters at mopping up flavour – and also oil. As with potato, they’re no good raw. But while potatoes can be steamed or boiled, aubergines are at their best cooked in oil. Or are they?

indian and palistani smoked aubeergine curry Continue reading “Spiced Smoked Aubergine Curry – Began Bharta”

Vegan Sour Tamales – With Pumpkin-Seed, Tomatillo & Courgette Filling

fermented Sour Michoacan Tamales With Tomatillo Salsa And Pumpkin Seed

Vegan Sour Tamales – Corn At Its Best!

The usual thing with tamal dough is to chill it, something which greatly helps it pass the float-test, a sure sign that the end result will be light and fluffy. Sour tamales, on the contrary, are allowed to rest in warm place to ferment.

Nixtamalization, or lime-treatment of corn has great nutritional benefits. The alkaline lime (calcium hydroxide) breaks down the indigestible outer husk releasing essential amino acids and vitamins. Enter fermentation to fully open the door to nutrients not otherwise available. This is maize at its very best. Continue reading “Vegan Sour Tamales – With Pumpkin-Seed, Tomatillo & Courgette Filling”