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Aubergine Raita

Raitas, there are many types of them, are a very popular side dish in India. There are made of yogurt, water, spices and some kind of vegetable, or sometimes fruit. A very refreshing dish in hot weather.

Serves 4

  • 1 aubergine (egg plant)

  • 1 litre of yoghurt

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1 piece of ginger, finely chopped

  • 1 very small pinch of asafoetida

  • 1 fenugreek

  • a pinch of salt

  • 1 tablespoons ghee or sunflower oil

Prick the skin of the aubergine and bake in oven mark 6/ 200C until soft.
While aubergine is cooking, whisk the yogurt with a cup of water and the salt in a large salad bowl.
In a small sauce pan or wok, fry the ginger, cumin, fenugreek and asafoetida for a minute in the ghee or oil and add to the raita.
When aubergine is cooked, cool in water for a few minutes, then cut in half, scrape the flesh of the skin and cut it in very small pieces, or better, blend it roughly, then add to the raita. Cool in the fridge for half an hour before serving.

Cucumber Raita

Another very refreshing dish.

Serves 4

  • 1 cucumber (egg plant)

  • 1/2 litre of yoghurt

  • 2 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1teaspoon coriander seeds

  • 1 good pinch of rock salt (can be got in Indian store, if not available, ordinary stal will do)

  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint 

Grate the cucumber and drain the juice.
Roast the cumin and the coriander together on a dry pan untill theystart changing color, then grind them, together wit the rock salt. 
Mix the spices, the grated  cucumber and the yogurt thouroughly.Garnish with chopped fresh mint. Cool in the fridge for half an hourbefore serving.

Avocado Salad Gratinée

For two
Cut 2 ripe tomatoes in 8 bits (not slices). Peel one ripe avocado and cut in bits as well. Put in oven proof dish. Add chopped spring onion if you like. Mix well. Sprinkle with fresh thyme or basil. Cool in fridge for a couple of hours.
Just before serving, sprinkle generously with grated cheese. Roquefort is  best, but expensive and not always available. Any blue cheese or crumbly goat cheese could do (but cheddar, won’t!). Top with crushed almond, sunflower seeds, pine kernels or hazel nuts. Put under a very hot grill until the cheese starts to melt and the nuts to brown, or just grill the nuts in a very hot frying pan, stirring constantly, and throw over the salad. Sprinkle with olive or nut oil, and bring to the table. Mix well just before serving.

Apple Chutney

We have many apple trees in our gardens on Clare Island, so in the Autumn, we usually do a lot of this chutney, which last well into the new year!

  • 1 kg apples. The better the apples, the better the chutney!

  • 300g brown sugar

  • 150 g of grated ginger

  • 3 tablespoon cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder

  • 15 black cardamom pods

Peel the apples and cored them, then grate them or put them through a food processor.
Get the cardamom seeds out of the pods and grind them to a fine powder
Put the apples and the ginger in a sauce pan with the cider vinegar and and cook gently at first, stiring occasionnally. Once the apples have started to soften and sweat, add the sugar, the ground cardamom and the chilli powder. Simmer for 20 minute or low heat, then put into sterilised jar right away.

French beans and coconut salad

Delicious refreshing on a hot summer day!

  • 1 coconut
  • 1 lb French beans
  • 3 limes or 2 lemon
  • 2 green chillies or one large piece ginger (optional)

Cook the French beans in boiling water until tender. Drain, rinse in cold water and put in a bowl in the fridge.
Break the coconut and grate the flesh. Mix with the juice of the limes and lemon.
Split the chillies lengthwise and take out the seeds (which are the hottest part), or peel the ginger, then chop finely. Add to coconut and mix well, then add mixture to the French beans, mix and leave to cool in the fridge for an hour or two before serving.

Coconut Chutney

A South Indian favourite, generally served with Dosas, but brown bread would do as well.

  • The flesh of one fresh coconut thinly chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Mustard seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • Curry leaves

In a blender, mix the coconut into a paste. Add the onion, the garlic, the salt and the mint leaves and blend into a smooth paste. Put into a bowl in the fridge.  Just before serving, heat the oil in a wok, sputter the mustard seeds, then the cumin seeds, then finally the curry leaves and garnish the chutney.

Thanks to Tina, of Mysore, for the recipe!

Pol Sambo

This is a favourite recipe of Sri Lanka, where they put plenty of chillies in it, and serve it as a side dish with (red) rice. This recipe include coconut, a food consider by Indians to be satvic.

  • 1 fresh  coconut
  • 3 limes
  • a handful of fresh chillies (optional)
  • one piece of fresh ginger root (optional)

Grate the coconut flesh and mix with the lime juice, and the finely chopped chillies (if you like it hot), or the grated root ginger (for a milder version). Leave in the fridge for an hour or two before serving as an accompaniment with rice or salads. If fresh coconut isn’t available,  just use desiccated coconut, add a bit of water to the lime juice, and leave it in the fridge overnight.

Potato and seaweed salad

Unlikely as this may seem, this is a wonderful combination. You need waxy salad potatoes (Ratte is perfect for that recipe). Unfortunately these are difficult to find in Ireland and the UK. You might have to grow your own!

  • 1lb waxy potatoes, cooked, peeled if you like and diced
  • 1 red onion or shallot, or a bunch of spring onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon or pickled ginger, chopped small (optional)
  • 2 sheets of  Nori seaweed (that the stuff they use for sushi rolls), chopped into small narrow strips.
  • 2 table spoons olive oil

Boil the potatoes. As they are boiling place the rest of the ingredients in a salad bowl. Do not overcook the potatoes. As soon as they are cooked, but still firm, drain them and toss them in the salad bowl while still steaming hot. Add all the other ingredients, give the salad a stir, and serve warm.

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See also our article on Eating a yogic diet