User:Chriswaterguy/recipes and cooking tips

This is the recipe page of Chris Watkins.

I'm going to start adding recipes here when I come with something particularly good --16:35, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

If you try these recipes (especially the ones I've written myself) please give me feedback - thanks.

My favorite recipesEdit

Good sitesEdit

Check Varsha's recipes and homepage. She also makes lots of good comments and suggestions on other recipes - I would try anything she gives 4 or 5 stars to.

I've been using the foodie view recipe search engine, and it's fantastic - just choose the recipes that have 4 or 5 stars, and preferably have been rated by a lot of people.

Beans, dal & chickpeasEdit

My own recipes:

Here's some that I found with foodie view:

  • Yellow split pea Dal Recipe - Note I followed the advice in the comment by Varsha, and added q/2 tsp of garam masala 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and some mild chilli flakes.
  • Lentil Dal with Garlic-and-Cumin-Infused Oil. I've also cooked this with other dals, such as chana dal, and it was still great.
  • Sambhar, which requires the preparation of Sambhar Masala powder. Quite involved, but worth it. This is the kind of thing I would prepare for a dinner party.
  • Yellow Split Pea Soup. Simple but good. An alternative to the mustard is to use a spoon of soy sauce (or to taste) for a bowl of soup. (I like to have it with mustard, but sometimes with soy sauce instead, as a change.)
  • Moroccan Lentil Soup. I added 2 tsp salt. I served with couscous (not really necessary, but nice.
  • Split Pea-Spinach Dal with Cauliflower - quite good as a side-dish. It uses a lot of mustard and cumin, making it slightly bitter, so I wouldn't use it as a meal on its own.
  • Spicy Red Lentil Dal with Pita Wedges - a thick dal with Indian spices. I had no onion or garlic, so I used hing instead (half to one tsp). Also I had only black mustard, but it shouldn't (and didn't) cause a problem.
  • Sweet and Spicy Soup with Black-Eyed Peas and Sweet Potato - I used dried black-eyed peas soaked overnight and fresh sweet potatoes and made a few adjustments, partly based on others' comments, and used fresh herbs. I'll write up my own version. (oops, forgot to write up... might try this again some time.)
  • Black-Eyed Peas and Sweet Potato Stew. Very good, hearty and flavorful. As I don't have Old Bay Seasoning (I've never seen it in Australia and I wasn't going to go hunting), I did a little research and replaced it with: 3 bay leaves (torn on the edges to let flavor out), 1/2 tsp black pepper corns, 1/4 tsp cardamom seeds, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp black mustard, and 1/2 tsp paprika. I also didn't have celery seed, celery or parsley, so the extra sspices were to make up for that. Also added a handful of wholemeal pasta swirls, 1 tsp of dark brown sugar, 1 large green/orange capsicum (bell pepper), 6 tsp of Massel's "beef" style stock (that's vegan, imitation beef, but v nice) and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Bay leaves went in with the beans. Paprika and cinnamon also went in the pot. Whole spices were dry fried till they blackened a little, then added a little oil, fried some more and into the pot (I don't have a spice grinder, and I wanted to soften them properly - only partly successful with the cardamom). garlic, then capsicum and onion fried in EV olive oil with the ground ginger. Stock and salt go in when the beans are soft (as always), as does the tomato. Then sweet potato, and finally wholemeal pasta. Simmered till the sweet potatoes are soft. Very nice. I served with wholemeal toast drenched in EV olive oil. The sweet potato was just tender when I ate it, not mushy - not sure if it might have been slightly nicer if I'd cooked it a little longer or cut them smaller. 05:44, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Black Bean Soup - very nice. I used dried beans soaked overnight (1 and a quarter cups equates to two 400g/14-ounce tins). Used fresh thyme - it was a little lacking in flavor, so I added more thyme at the end (making 10 sprigs for the doubled recipe) and it was great. I stripped the leaves and tips of the sprigs and mixed them into the hot soup - didn't need extra cooking. These were young, soft thyme sprigs - older leaves might be much stronger.
  • Creamy Chickpea & Rosemary Soup - nice, very easy, and proved popular with my friend that I cooked for. But it feels to me like it needs something else to be a 5 star recipe. Next time I'll try either a little bit of tomato/tomato paste, or some butter or cream. Or perhaps I'll try replacing the garlic with hing, or with onion and hing.

Other mealsEdit


  • Vegetables cooked briefly in miso & water. Potato goes well; haven't tried other veg yet.

It's good to have some quick and delicious food ideas, such as:

Quick soupsEdit

A good soup is nourishing, tasty, and light, and keeps appetite at bay between meals.


Add hot water and serve:

  • Miso with silken tofu & baby spinach (or seaweed, for a more traditional version). Avoid mature spinach - it should be the young tender leaves.
  • Good quality stock (e.g. Massel) with baby spinach (or salad greens), and possibly silken tofu.

Microwave & serve:


Garlic marinade: In Java, I often saw tofu & tempe done this way, and it was very nice. (It was also often fried plain, and wasn't very nice). Mash garlic on the grinding stone, add salt and a couple of spoons of water. Should be quite a watery mixture. Place tofu & tempe, cut into oblong pieces, on the grinding stone, in the liquid, while the oil heats up. Press the pieces into the liquid (don't know if it helps, but that's what they did). Turn the pieces over so the other side contacts the garlicky liquid. Pick up and let the liquid drain off for a few seconds. Drop gently into the oil and deep fry. BE CAREFUL! As the pieces are wet, they will tend to splatter a bit. If you know what you're doing and don't stand too close, it seems to be fine... but remember, I warned you!

Bu Yem's marinade: I don't know whether this was a common recipe, or a specialty of Bu Yem, the East Javanese woman who cooked for me sometimes. Garlic, ginger, galangal, turmeric root, coriander, cumin and salt. (I can't remember if she added chilli - probably a little.) Grind the spices and add enough water to make a thin paste. Soak tofu & tempe in this (a few hours, or overnight in the fridge). Fry as with the garlic marinade. I don't know the proportions, so go by experience or seek advice.

Now, strict vegetarians please avert your eyes. This marinade goes really well with ikan lele, the delicately flavored freshwater catfish popular in Indonesia - the cheapest but also the best-tasting fish. (Nothing like the large, strong-tasting catfish I tried in Australia... and yes, in spite of all the spices, I could tell that the lele was delicately flavored.) From the very delicate flavor of the lele I had in Indonesia, I would say that I haven't eaten the shitty ones! If you're in Indonesia though, get help when buying the fish... you don't want the fish that have been used for cleaning up rather disgusting... er... water.


  • Adzuki (red) beans with cinnamon, palm sugar and cinnamon is easy, but not quick... you need to soak the night before (or several hours ahead) and simmer for perhaps 30 minutes or more. There's not much to it but I'll write the recipe later.
  • Indonesian kacang hijau (green bean). Soak mung beans overnight, then boil till soft with pandanus leaves and palm sugar (the lighter one, or a mix of the dark red palm sugar with ordinary sugar). Make it to a porridge-like consistency.
  • Yoghurt with apricot & toasted almond. Michelle made this, and it was delicious. Natural yoghurt (home made is nice, and cheaper); mix chopped dried apricots with syrup. Toasted almond slivers with a little olive oil and cinnamon powder. Add the almonds and apricot syrup mixture to the yoghurt, according to taste.

Good foods for vegetarians & vegansEdit

This is about taste, pleasure, satisfaction, not just about nutrition - I'm assuming you know to get protein from legumes (and/or dairy/eggs), and that if you don't eat a lot of animal products you should consider B12 supplements.

There are some foods that I find particularly satisfying and - and when they're well made, I feel that being vegetarian isn't a sacrifice at all. Some of my favorite things are:

  • Legumes. The variety of legumes makes for a variety of meals... even if I only had one recipe for dal, at least it would taste different when I made it with different legumes (chick peas, black-eyed peas, lentils, adzuki beans...). They also make me feel great physically - I was satisfied but felt lighter. It feels more easily digested than meat, and maintains a healthy blood sugar level as well as making you very "regular." (The soluble fiber content contributes to the last two benefits.)
  • Baby jackfruit. Delicious, mild flavor with a satisfying texture. The first time I had this, in a coconut-based soup called "lodeh," I wasn't sure if it was meat or a vegetable. Also used to make gudeg, a kind of stewed, spiced & sweet baby jackfruit. Some versions use chicken (so ask, if you're Indonesia, but maybe take the answer with a grain of salt). Vegetarian versions here, but I haven't tried the recipes: White Curry Jackfruit - (Gudeg Putih), & one in Indonesian, Gudeg Nangka
  • tempe - pressed soybean cake. I love this in Indonesia, where it's bought from a cart that goes down the street each morning, with a heavy layer of natural mold. Dipped in a mix of garlic, salt and a little water (and occasionally marinated in other spices such as coriander, cumin, ginger, galangal and turmeric root) before frying, it was delicious. I avoid it in Australia, where it comes from a packet - though I had a nice tempe burger in Nimbin, with sauce, mayo and lots of salad that covered up any deficiencies in the tempe.
  • Organic milk - preferably from a cold climate where the cows make nicer milk.
  • Coconut cream - goes well in most dals and in desserts. I've discovered delicious coconut cream in a tetra pak, Kara brand, from Indonesia and available at my local Indian shop. However you buy it, stick to the cream - as far as I can work out, the difference is just the water (and maybe thickener and flavor) that they put in the coconut milk and lite coconut cream.
  • Good quality stocks. My favorite (in Australia) is Massel - no flavor enhancers, no animal products, yet a great flavor and comes in beef/chicken/vegetable style. Interestingly, meat-eaters think they taste like meat, but life-long vegetarians don't find they have the "off" taste and smell of meat.
  • Fresh vegetables. That's fresh vegetables. Fresh. When you buy veg and cook them the same day, it's amazing how much better and more satisfying they are. If the vegetables you eat are 2 weeks old, no matter how well cooked they are, you'll find yourself daydreaming about hamburgers and such.


Here are some notes and recipes... feel free to browse.


I'm getting into simplicity. A couple of flavors can be enough to make a great meal. This morning it was cracked black pepper and turmeric. I microwaved some chopped veg (a chopped carrot with a spoon of tomato paste and 1/8 tsp hing, for a minute, then a chopped yellow squash, cooked together for maybe 2 minutes), then added the black pepper (1/2 tsp) and turmeric (1/4 tsp), salt (3/4 tsp) and cooked kidney beans. Heated till it started bubbling slightly (2 minutes) then 4 minutes on minimum heat. Very nice. Would also work well with chickpeas.

Not that I'm giving up on the wonderfully complex flavors of Thai curries, Indian sambhars, African tangines and Middle-Eastern baharat, of course. But it's good to have a simple and delicious option as well. --04:16, 1 September 2006 (UTC)


My personal aims are pleasure, energy, well-being. A broader aim is encouraging a diet which causes less damage to the environment and less suffering to animals. And possibly promotes justice (a la "Fair Trade," though I'm still unsure how much I believe in the effectiveness of this).

I'm trying to eat more veg, and be more like those long-lived Okinawans. Or, to be more precise, I want to increase my veg / (grain + dal) intake ratio. I.e. more high water content food, providing satisfaction and nutrition with fewer calories.

Low meat versionsEdit

I know that many people are not ready to give up meat entirely, but want to eat more vegetables. Many of these recipes are suitable to use either as an accompaniment to a meat dish, or can have a little bit of meat added to satisfy the craving. (You may find, though, that the vegetarian versions are more satisfying than you expected.)


One way to get the most out of the meat is to use a small amount of an older, more strongly flavored cut of meat, in slow cooked casserole style dishes - try mutton or hogget, or ask your butcher for what has good strong flavor for casseroles. This works especially in the Middle-Eastern and North African dishes.

You may benefit from the extra browning effect of cooking it in the oven, or perhaps on the stovetop, rather than in the microwave. I'm not really sure how much difference there is, though - certainly any form of slow cooking will break down the proteins and bring the flavor out.

Cravings for something sweetEdit

If you feel like something sweet, consider that a cup of tea with a teaspoon or three of sugar can be very pleasantly sweet, while not having nearly as much sugar as a soft drink (9 tsp to a can, they say!) or a slice of cheesecake.

I avoid sweet things until at least mid-afternoon. If I have something sweet in the morning, I want to keep eating all day.


There's a new diet, called the "100 mile diet" or something like that. It's based partly on the assumption that the major environmental impact of what we eat is transporting it long distances from where it is grown. I believe this assumption is wrong. It depends on the form of transport, and how bulky or heavy the food is - air travel is fuel-hungry, though the impact of a small piece of chocolate made from cocoa that's flown across the world hardly matters. If we're talking about sea freight, that is extremely low in fuel usage due to the huge size and large Froude number (i.e. streamlined character) of the ships. Thus I'd expect that legumes shipped from India would have far less environmental impact than beef grown locally.

I don't know the full answer on this, but I plan to look into it, sometime before the end of 2006.


  • Anything containing turmeric will cause a yellow stain. Don't slop it on your best shirt (or if you do, run for the laundry), or spill it on an expensive carpet or white tablecloth. Plastic cooking utensils will change color permanently (unless they're black). Don't let this put you off - brightly colored foods are often extremely good for you, and I've heard turmeric is good for cancer. (I'm not going to look up a source for that claim, because I don't really care - as long as it tastes good, and I'm getting a varied diet rich in veg, my health will benefit.)

Where to find good recipesEdit

I like to follow recipes (more or less) but as I've become more confident, I use my own judgement and experiment more.

The books that got me started. When following some of the recipes, you may need to reduce the amount of chilli used, to avoid breathing fire - I only use a fraction of the chilli recommended in the Thai and Indian cookbooks. (Note - the ISBN can help you find the book, but won't show you other editions of the same book - so also search by book and author's name if you have problems):

  • Kurt Kahrs, Thai Cooking. The author cooked at the Bangkok Hilton (from memory). This is the book that first taught me to cook well, and taught me that the secret to learning is to have an excellent cookbook. My brother's Thai girlfriend gave this to my mum as a present, and I found my own copy for $3.50 at a sale. I learnt to make my own curry pastes and developed a reputation among my friends as a cook, largely thanks to this book. Since going vegetarian I haven't been cooking so much thai, but some of the recipes do adapt well for vegetarians, especially if you make an exception for shrimp paste... (not sure if there's a a vegetarian alternative for that). ISBN 078581731X, ISBN 1931040273, ISBN 1850764204 & ISBN 0831787244
  • See also this list of Thai cookbooks, sorted by their rating at online bookstores. I've used Thailand, the Beautiful Cookbook (ISBN 0002550296) and it's good, and makes a great coffee table book, but Kahrs' book is my first choice.
  • Graimes, Vegetarian - the Greatest Ever Vegetarian Cookbook. I'm suspicious of books with recipes from every kind of cuisine - sometimes they're bland and unauthentic. This one, however, has some great recipes. My tagines are partly adapted from this book (though the one in the book is unnecessarily involved, in my view, with coating vegetables with the oil & spices and grilling them before adding them to the dish - my experience is that it's delicious with or without this fiddly, time-consuming step.) It has a habit of recommending organic vegetables and such - I ignore this hippy propaganda. ISBN 0681020725, ISBN 0754800903
  • Chandra Padmanabhan Dakshin: Vegetarian Recipes from South India - gave me a whole new approach to Indian spices and dals. Fairly daunting recipes to look at, but I luckily had an Indian flatmate (Amit, who already knew about North Indian cooking) who got into it and demonstrated - and I learnt that the recipes are delicious, and not so hard when you understand what's going on. If you're a keen, patient student, you can learn a lot from this book. ISBN 9625935274, ISBN 020718187, ISBN 0062511750.

Books that I might buy or borrow:

  • Nancie McDermott, Real Vegetarian Thai gets a 4.5-star rating on Amazon. It apparently has curry paste recipes (no adding curry paste from supermarkets, thank God! And Fried Cashews with Chilies and Green Onions...? my mouth is watering at the thought. ISBN 0811811514
  • Rachel Carter, The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook - could be interesting, for quick recipes. ISBN 1571459987

Online recipesEdit

foodie view searches for recipes and ranks them by rating - so you find recipes that other people think are good.

Apart from that... If you know a link to someone whose recipes you think I'd like, especially if it's an online source, please let me know on my talk page.

Hot drinksEdit

It's good to have a selection of teas - keeps the appetite at bay, improves digestion. Can help get things moving in the alimentary canal of a morning.

My favorites include:

  • Rosehip
  • A nice black tea. Flavor varies a lot (you'll notice it if you drink it regularly). Try different teas to see which you like. My favorites are the Twinings range, especially English Breakfast & Prince of Wales (a bit smoky).
  • Dark berry tea - found in a Polish shop - which goes to show, it pays to experiment.
  • Mint tea. Peppermint tea bags can be nice, but it's far better to pick fresh mint (e.g. spearmint, garden mint or other variety) from the garden.

In the morning, it's good to start with teas that have a slight laxative effect - black or white tea, or rosehip tea, are pretty good. Having a piece of fruit will also help - apples are suitable (because of their pectin content I think). But find something that you enjoy, and that makes you feel good.


I'm starting to experiment with brown rice. I liked it when the Hare Krishnas cooked it when I went to Veg Soc at Sydney Uni in '96-7 or thereabouts. It was very soft, with a nice but mild flavor.

I avoid white rice when I can - little fiber and nutrients, not very filling so you can keep stuffing your face too easily.

Brown rice is more challenging to cook, but it's not difficult once you learn.

Cooking brown riceEdit

  1. Buy a good rice,[1]
  2. follow the instructions on the packet for ratio of water to rice. The ratio will vary according to the type of rice, so the packet is your best guide.
  3. I like to cook it by the absorption cooking in the microwave, (or on the stove if need be).
  4. I bring it to the boil, and then let it cook on minimum power for 30 minutes or so while I make the rest of the meal. And if I put it on early, it won't hurt the rice it to let it sit while I finish cooking the meal (leave the lid on keep the heat in, and it will keep cooking slowly, getting softer).
  5. If using the stove, the minimum temperature is probably too high, so after it's been simmering for 15 minutes, turn it off and leave it for another 15 minutes or so (and perhaps put the minimum temperature on again). Something like that - I don't measure the time, I just go by feel and make sure it's cooked for a long time till it's soft.

It should come out very soft.

If you need to use the microwave for something else, that's not a big problem. Get the rice cooking early, then swap the dishes when you need to. As long as the rice is near boiling, it will keep cooking. Perhaps wrap it in a towel if it's out for a long time (though I don't bother) and pop it in again later and bring it back to a simmer.

Make it mushy. If you follow the instructions. I used to dislike mushy rice, and made an art of cooking rice so that it was just tender but still separate. But in Indonesia I got used to having it mushy - it seems to mix better with the food and the sauce. Now, with brown rice it's even more important, as if it's not mushy, it's probably chewy, and that makes eating into hard work. It's your choice, but I like mushy.

How to eat brown riceEdit

It's delicious on its own with kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce) - I often have a small bowl like this if I'm in the mood for a second course.

It goes better with some dishes than with others, so I'm still experimenting. Strongly flavored tagines go well with brown rice. The Hare Krishnas' mild curries also went well. I'll keep you posted as I learn more.


If you have good quality vegetables, it's often best to do them done simply to make the most of their flavor. The Stir fried vegetables with hing (or garlic) is an example of this approach.

Or you can go for something more full flavored, such as a tangine (yet to be posted).

Stir fried vegetables with hing (or garlic)Edit

Great accompaniment for Indian food such as dal.

Very simple - you need:

  • oil
  • hing[2] or garlic. Not both.
  • vegetables
  • salt.

Chop the vegetables, heat the oil, medium hot. Once it's hot enough to sizzle when you add a pinch of hing (or garlic), then add all the hing (or garlic). Avoid burning. Add the vegetables, starting with what takes longest to cook.

For example, I cooked it tonight as follows:

  • 1/2 tsp hing in the hot oil, stirred briefly, then chopped vegetables[3] as follows:
  • small pontiac potato, (quick cooking, great flavor), cut into narrow lengths, and a small carrot, chopped (I could tell you how I like to do it, but some people might do it wrong and cut their fingers off); then once that had cooked a few minutes, but not yet soft...
  • half a head of broccoli, cut into florets, and half a zucchini, chopped as for the carrot.
  • 1/2 tsp salt.
  • left until all the veg were soft enough, but still slightly firm.

Tonight there was enough there for a satisying side dish (with dal) for two hungry guys.

If eating with dal in a bowl, as I do, I advise a separate plate or bowl for the veg so they don't mix together in one blend of flavors..

Variations: You can add one or more spices to this - don't add too much until you've got the hang of it. A little fresh or dried chilli, added early. (I prefer not to fry chilli with the oil unless I have a cook lid on the pan AND a good exhaust fan. Half a teaspoon of turmeric sprinkled over & stirred in, a few minutes before the end. A little mustard, or cumin seed or curry leaves fried with the hing should also work well. Thanks to Amit for the basic idea. --14:07, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

Vegetables with turmeric and yellow bean sauceEdit

This is inspired by a yellow curry recipe in Kurt Kahrs' book... though the only thing left from the original recipe is the idea of using turmeric and yellow bean sauce[4]

Choose fresh vegetables in season, including tomatoes and onions (preferably spanish onions). I wouldn't use spinach or silverbeet in this one.

Chop vegetables into bite size pieces. The total should be enough to slightly overfill a 2 L dish if chopped and piled together except you won't put them in all at once, and they will settle down, enabling you to add more as it progresses. (I just figure it out as I go along, but I'm trying to give an idea of quantity)

Put the harder veg in first (cauliflower, carrots), sprinkle with:

  • 1/2 to 1 tsp turmeric
  • about 40 ml yellowbean sauce,
  • chilli flakes to taste. (I'd use a teaspoon of mild chilli flakes)

...and start cooking. Cover and cook on high in the microwave for a few minutes; or add a few spoons of water and bring to a simmer in a covered saucepan. Don't overcook - they should be just starting to soften a little when the next ones go in.

Then add the ones that need less cooking (Japanese pumpkin, eggplant if it's tender without prominent seeds, squash, tomato), mix and heat again; continue this way through vegetables such as zucchini, and lastly putting in things like broccoli and green beans which only need a few minutes.

Use your own judgement for times - it will depend on the quality and varieties sold in your area. Tomato can go in earlier or later - earlier for a smoother sauce; later for a fresher taste.

Variations: Add coriander powder with the turmeric, 1/2 to 1 tsp, and/or a teaspoon of regular soy sauce, and/or a teaspoon of grated ginger. My experience with this was that it needed a lot more cooking for the flavors to blend and mellow - it was actually better the next day. Personally I prefer the light flavor of the simpler recipe given above.

Amit's Indian vegetablesEdit

Another of the recipes I got from Amit... actually just a variant of the one above.

Start with a 2 L saucepan. Heat 2 tsp oil, then add:

  • 1/4 tsp hing
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp mustard (or use mustard oil, later)
  • curry leaves, several (optional)
  • mango powder (amchur) (optional)

Fry the spices for a minute, don't let them burn. Add:

  • Chopped vegetables, to almost reach the top of the saucepan, adding the slower-cooking vegetables first. I like to use two or three types. Suitable vegetables include cauliflower, potato, eggplant, tomato.
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric

Stir to mix in spices, adding a couple of spoons of water if necessary to avoid sticking. When heated through, cover saucepan and cook on a low heat until vegetables are soft enough.

Variations: Vary the result by using different vegetables. E.g. whether or not you use tomato makes an enormous difference to the flavor, though it's nice both ways.


Tagines are a North African style of richly spiced, slow cooked dish.

They often have a sweet ingredient such as apricot or raisins. I've found apple works well - placed in early so it breaks down and sweetens the sauce. Pumpkin may be used instead, or as well as the fruit.

My versions of these dishes use a vegetable base, sometimes with chick peas.

They can be cooked on the stove, in the oven, or in the microwave. The oven give a nice browning effect, and some caramelisation, and the stove does this a little bit too. I mainly use the microwave as it's easiest, but I'm going to try the others.


  • If this is different to what you'd ever usually cook, don't be put off by the list of ingredients. Once you've done it a few times, you find it's quicker, and you can start changing the mix of spices slightly, for variety.
  • These recipes often have a lot of ground cinnamon. A side-effect is a slightly powdery effect when you eat it. If this bothers you, reduce the amount of cinnamon slightly and the effect will disappear.
  • The vegetable pieces don't have to be very small - larger pieces are nice, and chopping time is reduced, but it will need to simmer for a bit longer.
  • Use your judgement and preferences to decide which vegetables to use. Zucchini goes well, and possibly swede and turnips (I'm planning to try them - I saw them in a recipe online). When I was cooking a Baharat vegetable dish with a friend, snow peas found their way in... I don't think snow peas suit tagine or baharat - I leave them for stir fries. But it's entirely up to you.

My basic chickpea & vegetable tagineEdit

Here's one I cooked on 12 July 2006. I've used this basic recipe regularly, with consistently good results, so this time I'm recording exactly how I did it. Most often I just use vegetables and eat it with a good wholemeal bread, but this time I added chickpeas.

Use a clear 2L microwave dish. Add:

  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • 1 T ground coriander
  • 2 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t cumin (up to 2 t... I just reduced it to get a different effect)
  • 1/2 t chilli flakes (To taste. Or use fresh chilli or black pepper)
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 t Massels stock powder (beef style) (optional)
  • the harder chopped vegetables (the veg that needs cooking for longer - I used 1 carrot, half sweet potato; if you use potato or cauliflower, put it in now; pumpkin).
  • 2 to 4 T tomato paste
  • a little water (say 1 cup - use boiling water if you want to speed it up a little)

Cook in microwave to while chopping the next ingredients

Place in microwave, and start preparing:

  • 1 small apple, chopped. Remove core, of course, but don't bother removing skin. Or use another sweet ingredient: apricots, dried apricots (avoid the heavily preserved ones with sulfur, that make you cough); or sultanas/raisins. (I wonder how peach would taste...?)
  • 1 400g tin chickpeas, drained (or a cup or so of home-cooked chickpeas). Optional.
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 t Massels stock powder (beef style) (optional)
  • the harder chopped vegetables (the veg that needs cooking for longer - I used 1 carrot, half sweet potato; if you use potato or cauliflower, put it in now; pumpkin).
  • 2 to 4 T tomato paste
  • a little water (say 1 cup - use boiling water if you want to speed it up a little)
  • chopped vegetables - now add the ones that cook relatively quickly: Japanese or Kent pumpkin; a few button mushrooms, halved or quartered, go very nicely; eggplant goes very well; broccoli goes well, but add this a few minutes later - and remember its distinctive taste also changes the taste of the dish, which can be nice as a change.
  • more water if needed (it's all guesswork, really - I was going to say there's no wrong answer, but considering some of the things my flatmates used to cook at Abercrombie St, I know that's not true. Add another cup, as long as the water level isn't more than 2/3 of the dish).

Cook further - bring to a simmer, then reduce the power and simmer for, say, 15 minutes. Mix in

  • 1-2 T Extra virgin olive oil

Taste test, and adjust the flavor if necessary.

Pumpkin and bean tagineEdit

Note: this is for my own notes - I haven't cooked it for years, and I recall it was slightly disappointing in the vegetarian version. I'll add Massels stock powder and see if that solves it. A "low meat version" should also work very well if you're a carnivore - just add say 200g of mutton or hogget.

This gives a much milder, lighter version of tagine.

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (if unavailable, next best might be 1 tsp of sweet paprika - but make sure there's some form of chilli or (black) pepper in the dish, otherwise you'll miss out on the hotness.)
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 4 medium tomatoes, ripe, chopped. (Or 400g tin diced tomatoes if unavailable)
  • 2 tsp sugar (optional - shouldn't be necessary if you've used a nice ripe pumpkin)
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh chilli, or 1/2 tsp chilli flakes or powder; or to taste.
  • 1 tbs raisins
  • about 250g pumpkin, cubed
  • 500 g green beans, halved
  • 1 tbs vinegar (white wine vinegar should be nice; not sure about balsamic)
  • 2 tsp Massels beef style stock powder (or vegemite, 1/4 tsp might help?)
  • 2 tsp salt or to taste. (Note: if you use a stock powder other than Massels, it might already have a lot of salt, so don't overdo it.)

Vegetarian version: Use a 2L or larger casserole dish. Put ingredients up to chilli in the casserole dish, (saving raisins, pumpkin, beans and vinegar for later). Bring to a simmer. Add raisins, pumpkin, beans and vinegar and cook till pumpkin is very soft.

Low-meat version: Note that you may not need the stock powder if you are using meat - or not as much. Use a 2L or larger casserole dish. Put ingredients up to chilli in the casserole dish, (saving raisins, pumpkin, beans and vinegar for later) together chopped meat, and cook for 1 hour or until meat is quite tender. Then add raisins, pumpkin, beans and vinegar and cook till pumpkin is very soft.


Baharat is a wonderful Middle-Eastern spice mix, a little bit like tagine but with no turmeric, and with paprika, pepper, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg. I'll post my recipe here when I can... you can also buy it from Middle-Eastern stores, but it's a bit of a gamble - I tried buying it from one shop, didn't like it at all, and now always make my own.

You can use it as in the tagine recipes, above - however if if you've ground the coriander yourself, it will have a quite rough texture, and you may be better sauteing it briefly in olive oil on the stove, before adding the vegetables. I'm still experimenting with this.

Making the Baharat spice mixEdit

II need to find tthe cookook, but it goes something like this:

/3 cup Black pepper

  • 1/3 cup Coriander powder
  • 1/4 cup Cinnamon
  • 2 Tbs Cloves, ground
  • 1/3 cup Cumin
  • 2 tsp Cardamom, ground
  • 1/4 cup Nutmeg, ground
  • 1/2 cup Paprika, ground

That's moderately spicy - reduce the black pepper to reduce the heat. (You can always add more later).

Optional: grind the spices yourself for an even better flavor. Takes work. It's best to dry roast the spices first - this makes them grind more easily (and it's supposed to bring out the flavor).

For cinnnamon, use cassia bark for a slightly stronger flavor - that's the straight one rather than the quills. Cassia is standard in Middle-Eastern and Indian cooking, though it's usually called cinnamon.

Using BaharatEdit

You can fry it with onions in olive oil - or just put it into the sauce as you start. If it's rough ground, you'll need to make sure it's cooked enough - dont' add a big amount of Baharat at the end of the cooking time or it'll be gritty.

I find it goes well with tomato, and with pumpkin.

For, say, a 2L dish/saucepan almost full of veg and/or chick peas, use 1 Tbs or more of Baharat.

Optional: add Massels chicken or beef style stock powder.

Pasta sauce: A tiny amount of Baharat gives a lift to tomato based pasta sauce. Say 1/2 tsp in 2 L of sauce.

Introduction to legumesEdit


Rinse, discarding any legumes that are broken or have holes in them, as well as any pebbles or other crap. I don't worry too much about defective legumes - I just remove any that float... it usually becomes an issue if they've been stored for a long time and have been eaten by insects, which does lead to a stale taste if it's at an advanced stage.

But... the important thing is pebbles - not good for your teeth. Usually I find it's not a problem, but be especially careful if you're using a new source or a new type of legume.


Don't add salt until they are soft enough that you'd be happy to eat them. Salt stops the legumes getting nice and soft. But don't add right before serving as well - give the salt time to be mixed and absorbed in.

Pressure cookers are often used, but as long as the legumes are soaked for several hours this is quite unnecessary. Mostly they will cook in 20 min or less - even chickpeas should be nice and soft by this time, though it depends on the batch.

The smaller lentils don't need soaking, but I prefer to soak all of them. I figure that the soaking process activates the enzymes that start to break down the tough material inside, ready for sprouting, and that is probably good for digestion and nutrition.

Microwave cooking appears to be a good alternative for legume preparation, in terms of nutrition.[5] It also has the advantage of being able to set a time, so you don't accidentally overcook them and turn them mushy.

Adzuki (red) beansEdit

Used in Asian desserts. I sometimes use them in Indian style dals as well. These beans need more cooking than most - make sure you soak them overnight to make cooking easier. But it's been a long time, so I need to check I wasn't just doing something wrong (like adding salt too early).


(Also known as chick peas or garbanzo beans)

One of the most versatile foods in vegetarian cooking. They go well in:

  • Salads, soups and curries
  • European cooking. Rosemary goes particularly well.
  • Middle-Eastern cuisine - nice with tagines and baharat.
  • Indian cuisine - delicious with a thick gravy-style curry (with lots of ground spices), or in a thin, soupy curry, using mango powder for sourness along with other spices.

What chickpeas go well with:

  • Rosemary
  • Silverbeet, not spinach. My experience is that spinach[6] goes well with lentils, chickpeas with silverbeet, but not the other way around. This is my own taste, of course - you might disagree.

The best tasting, nicest textured chick peas are the larger ones. They might cost twice as much, but if you've found a reasonably priced Indian shop,<;ref>It's worth comparing prices. Sometimes you'll find a shop that does its own importing and is much cheaper. There are about 5 Indian shops where I have been staying in Ashfield (Sydney) but one (The Indian Spice Warehouse) is the cheapest by a long way.</ref>it's not too expensive. They often come in two sizes, with the larger ones something like 10 mm.

Soak for at least several hours. Overnight is good. However, if you soak them too long outside the fridge, especially in hot weather, there is a danger of food poisoning.[7]

Split peasEdit

Considered a very low grade lentil by Indians; however, can make a tasty soup. Corn kernels go well.


Vegetables with herbs & lentilsEdit

Posted 17:01, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

1 L microwave dish with lid or cover. Use the lid always, to prevent drying out.

Sometime during the day, or just before you cook: put red lentils and/or split mung lentils in a cup - about 1/4 to 1/3 cup. Add water and leave to soak. Actually, you don't need to soak them, but I prefer to. You could just rinse them and put them in the container with water to easily cover them, if you prefer. In that case, microwave for about 2 minutes while you start chopping.

Dice 1 medium or 2 small carrots, , microwave a minute or two while you chop cauliflower, smallish (2 cm or less), enough to nearly fill container, tuck in bay leaves, 2, microwave 2-3 minutes.

While that cooks, put spices in a bowl: salt 1/2 tsp; cracked pepper 1/4 tsp; 1 Massell's beef stock cube, or 1 tsp stock powder.[8]

Pour spices into the cooking container - and the lentils, if you haven't added them yet.

The veg in the bowl will have settled down a bit, leaving room for Japanese pumpkin[9] - take a slice (ooohhh... say 200g? As much as you can fit into the bowl) and cut into smallish pieces (1 cm avg). Also add half a Spanish onion[10] and some 1 sprig fresh thyme,[11] may stripped, and any tiny branches chopped a bit. Add boiling water so liquid is about halfway up the side.

Microwave long enough to bring to the boil. If you have a very low setting on your microwave, set that to say 5 minutes. Or just wander off. I came back in about 15 minutes, and it was delicious. I ate with wholemeal toast. Served 2 big guys. If I'd cooked a larger amount, I could have eaten it on its own.


  • Cook less if you like your vegies firm, though reasonably soft is nicest in this dish.
  • Add chopped olives? But not really needed.


Dal is the Indian word for lentils. This section is for the Indian recipes.

Vegetables: Most will work well - though I'm not keen on carrots in Indian dal (they don't seem to work in my recipes, anyway).

Basic dal recipeEdit

A fairly standard approach that that works well for me is:

Cook together:

  • 1 cup legumes, already soaked overnight and drained. Or soaked for an hour for the smaller split dals. Chana dal, toor dal, red lentils, mung or adzuki beans, or chick peas should all suit this recipe.
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 1 T ground coriander
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 2 t mango powder (adds sourness).
  • chilli (fresh, flakes or powder) to taste.

When the legumes are soft enough to be ready to eat, add:

  • 2 t salt
  • 2 t turmeric

Stir in, and continue to simmer.

If you don't use mango powder, you can add tomato paste, or a tin of diced tomatoes after the legumes are soft. You can add other vegetables here if you want. (Silverbeet goes with chickpeas; English spinach goes with lentils, but not the other way around. I'm told that chana dal is traditionally cooked with vegetables from the gourd family - pumpkin goes particularly well. Other vegetables according to preference.)

Now, the next step is called tempering. Take a frypan which has a lid (or find a cover). Heat to a moderate-high temperature.


  • ~1 T oil or ghee
  • 1/2 t hing. Add a pinch to test that it sizzles, then add all.
  • mustard seeds - they start popping,
  • 2 branchlets of curry leaves

Keep covered while seeds pop. Shake or stir frypan. As the popping dies down, but before it gets too burnt, add the fried spices to the dal mixture. Stir well, taste, and adjust if necessary. For a more South Indian effect add at the very end:

  • 1 tin coconut milk (or to taste) (optional). Add right at the end, rather than cooking it, to retain the flavor.

Can be eaten with rice or Indian bread. Traditionally dals are made very thin an used as an accompaniment to other dishes and used to wet the rice. My preference is to eat it with a good quality wholemeal bread, or have on its own as a soup.

Serve with natural yoghurt (i.e. plain, unsweetened). Perhaps try a chutney from your local Indian store.

Here's something that possibly appeals only to me: When reheating the next day, it may seem to have lost its zing. Add a drizzle of olive oil, and it will bring out the flavor of the spices in a quite unusual way.

Other flavor ideasEdit

  • Lentil Dal with Garlic-and-Cumin-Infused Oil Very nice. I adapted this to my style, and what I had handy: I used half chana dal and half red lentils, and a bit less water; half clove of garlic and half a red onion, which I fried with the spices. To the spices I then added the salt and some eggplant and then zucchini, cooked them with the onions and spices till soft enough and browned; I used a bit more salt (1.5 tsp for a cup of dal) of which half went into the cooking spices and half into the dal (after it's soft); no fresh coriander; no lemon juice (forgot). I ended by adding the spice-onion-veg mixture to the dal, followed by the chopped fresh tomato, mixed in, and turned off the heat. Leave for 2 minutes or so and serve.

Chana dalEdit

Chana dal has the lowest glycemic index of any food, last I looked. But it has a much greater advantage: it's delicious. Seriously.

It takes more cooking than other dals. However, if you soak it for a few hours, it can cook with as little as 20 minutes of simmering (depending on the batch, and how old it is - so if you're not sure, allow at least an hour of cooking to be on the safe side).

Vegetables: Traditionally eaten with gourds - the family that includes pumpkin, zucchini, and bitter melon. Superb with pumpkin. Bitter melon is delicious if you acquire the taste (it's seriously bitter). (It took me about 10 minutes to acquire the taste, which makes me wonder if it contains something addictive.)

Chana dal with panch phoran and pumpkinEdit

Panch phoran is a bengali spice mix. I make my own up, and leave out the fenugreek (which is bitter). Something like: 3 parts mustard 3 parts cumin 3 parts fennel 1 part nigella (black cumin). Some use a kind of onion seed instead.

For every cup of uncooked dal, I use 8 tsp of panch phoran. I fry this with hing and curry leaves (optional), and perhaps 2 to 4 tsp coriander, and perhaps ground fenugreek (1 tsp?) for a couple of minutes, so that the mustard pops, but being careful not to burn it.[12] then add onion, and add to the cooked dal mixture. The result is a dal that's full of cooked seeds - more exotic that you'll find in a standard Indian restaurant.

Use a bit of chilli, to taste.

trying tonight - a huge pot with 4 cups chana dal & pumpkin. Spices start with 8 tsp ea cumin & fennel, 6tsp mustard, and 3 tsp nigella... update later. --Singkong2005 · talk 10:51, 8 November 2006 (UTC). Missing something, better with coconut milk. Using ghee instead of oil would help. Forgot to adjust sourness - will add lemon juice to leftovers... --Singkong2005 · talk 09:17, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Chana dal with pumpkin and sageEdit

This is my own invention. I know that sage and pumpkin ravioli is delicious (having bought some in Haberfield, a suburb of Sydney with many Italian shops). And I know that chana dal goes very well with pumpkin. So with a bit of creativity and a bit of guesswork, I tried this - and loved it.

  • 1 cup dal

Rinse, soak dal for a few hours. Drain, add 1.5 L boiling water, then simmer for 20 minutes.

While it simmers, prepare:

  • 500 g Japanese/Kent pumpkin (more or less, to taste). (Other pumpkins will work more or less well... I stick to Japanese.)

Check the dal for softness. Chana dal won't go mushy like other dals, but it should be very soft and smooth when tasted.

When soft, add the pumpkin, and salt:

  • 1-2 tsp salt (more or less, depending how much pumpkin you used, and whether you follow one of those awful low-sodium diets. Another teaspoon is added to the onion in the final stage.)

Bring back to a simmer. Now prepare the remaining ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, chopped, preferably Spanish (purple) onion.
  • 2 tsp fresh sage, chopped. (Up to 3 tsp, according to taste. If you use dried sage, the usual advice is to use half as much, though I haven't tried it.)
  • 1/2 tsp cracked or ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Once the pumpkin is soft, start cooking this final herb-onion mix.

Heat the oil in a frypan over moderate heat. Don't let it smoke. Add the onion, stir, and add the sage and pepper. Cover the frypan and turn down - this can keep some of the natural moisture in, and reduce the need for extra oil. Stir regularly, and when translucent, add 1 tsp salt. Stir for a minute, add to the soup.

Serve with a good wholemeal or rye bread.

(You may wish to mash some of the pumpkin with the back of the mixing spoon, in order to give the soup a thicker texture. You can do this while waiting for the onions to cook.)

Variations: Chilli instead of pepper; stock instead of water.

Note - the chana dal will remain separate, but become soft. If they break down and make a very thick soup, you've probably been sold the wrong thing: i.e. split peas. They look similar, but are very different to cook and taste. If this happens... add extra water as needed, then write and tell me if split pea soup with pumpkin and sage is nice.

Spicy mung dalEdit

Mung is the small, round green legumes used in Asian desserts and for making mung bean sprouts. Indians tend to use split mung; I prefer the whole dal. Sometimes they use a smaller variety for spicy food and the larger one for sweets (I think...?) but I haven't figured out whether that's necessary - I use the standard larger one and it works fine.

When cooking with mung, I use a larger amount of spices.

See also the recipe for kolak, below.

Adzuki (red) beansEdit

Mkes an interesting change. Goes well with pumpkin and sweet potato; spanish onion (the purple one) goes well, fried with the spices. I have cooked this with mustard, cumin and turmeric (pretty standard) plus some coriander powder and some of the "sweeter" spices such as cinnamon, fennel (or star anise), cloves & cardamom. It turned out pretty well. Be careful to use a tiny amount of cloves & cardamom. I'll post a proper recipe one day.

Bean saladsEdit

Extra virgin olive oil,[13] balsamic vinegar, a little salt, chilli pepper or black pepper, and some kind of salad or vegetable, are key ingredients for a great salad. If you've got fresh herbs such as basil, that can work.

I haven't used black beans before, but otherwise this is similar to what I do: Black White and Red Bean Salad. I usually add a bit less oil, and more balsamic vinegar. And I use about 1/2 tsp of salt per 16-ounce/44 g tin of beans, (assuming you're not adding salt through in the sun-dried tomatoes or whatever).

I often have a bean salad as a meal for breakfast or lunch. They're quite high in protein, and not excessive in carbohydrates - that's good to help stay alert during the day, without going overboard on protein, Atkins-diet style.

These are some examples I came up with, but use your imagination.

Each provides one large serve, or two serves if with (wholemeal) bread or toast.

Chickpeas with eggplant and thymeEdit

Posted 17:01, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

Use a chunk of eggplant about the size of the tin of chickpeas. Dice in 1 cm pieces. microwave, covered, 4 minutes or till soft.

Drain[14] a 440 g tin Italian[15] chickpeas, add to eggplant in a bowl. Mix in 1/2 tsp salt, 1 sprig fresh thyme,[11] stripped and chopped, 1/4 tsp cracked pepper. Add 1-2 tsp extra virgin olive oil[13] and 2-4tsp balsamic vinegar. Stir, and eat.


I don't use a lot of eggs, but I always use free range when I do. That doesn't solve all the animal welfare issues, but it's an improvement.

The ideal is having your own chickens, or buying from someone you know. Cage chickens have a hard life, it seems to me.

Aston's egg surpriseEdit

serves 1 I interrogated Aston after he made a delicious egg thing... and this is his memory (and estimates of quantity)

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup plum wine (I imagine sweet sherry or verjuice[16] would be a good alternative.
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • seaweed
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 sheet seaweed (the one used for sushi)
  • pinch chilli (or to taste)
  • 1 rounded tsp peach conserve
  • about 100 ml leftover veg mix (cooked with turmeric & yellow bean sauce... the recipe for that is coming soon...)

Beat egg (with fork).

Mix conserve and wine (shake or stir thoroughly together) and add to eggs, and mix.

Add seaweed, salt and chilli flakes, mix.

Cook in frypan - standard scrambled egg method. When eggs have solidified, but still soft, mix in

Serve with: 1/2 bunch spinach[6] and 2 tomatoes, cooked with 4 tsp yellow bean sauce & a dash of sesame oil. I would have liked an extra pinch of salt, but this was quite a good accompaniment as it was...

Spice mixesEdit

Bread: Toast & sandwichesEdit

Always use a good quality wholemeal bread. Bread is cheap, relative to other foodstuff, so spending even $4 for a good quality loaf of bread is well worth it. I love Helgas and Noble Rise wholemeal loaves (in Australia), and you get quite a few meals from one of these large loaves. If you can make good bread yourself in a breadmaker, that's a great option. I haven't had consistent results, so I'm happy to pay a few dollars for a nice bread.

I'll occasionally use butter, but usually I take a spoon of extra virgin olive oil and drizzle it over the bread.

Quantity: I find that more than two slices of bread makes me sleepy (due to the carbohydrates), so I make sure there's plenty of healthy vegetables as filling, or some other bulky, filling food, like soup.

Ideas for ingredients:

  • Thinly sliced (0.5 cm or less) pumpkin, cooked slowly in a little olive oil, in a covered frypan. I'll generally add the pumpkin seeds around the side - cooked slowly like this, they turn out delicious (serve with a sprinkle of Massel's stock powder or salt, and/or paprika and cracked pepper).
  • Savory peanut butter - best on a slice toast. Peanut butter[17] with cracked pepper and herbs (dried mixed herbs, or fresh thyme works well). Paprika is an option. A sprinkle of salt if there's none in the peanut butter. (It will be quite dry, unless you've got something like salt and herbs to make your mouth water. The other option is to add olive oil, but go easy - that's getting to be an oily meal).

Jam, conserve or honey as a filling is fine, if you regard it as a dessert. --03:00, 16 June 2006 (UTC)


Not your average jam on toastEdit

Something simple like jam, conserve or honey on toast, with butter, can satisfy the need for something sweet and tasty. To make it special, try something unusual:

  • Basil goes well with dark fruits. E.g. strawberry, raspberry or plum conserve - break up some basil leaves on top of the butter, then spread the conserve. Note: The best basil for this is the basil you find at Vietnamese grocery stores and restaurants. It's a flat-leaf basil, like Thai basil, but without such a strong aniseed flavor, and is delicious but not overpowering even with a full layer of leaves on the bread. It also grows very easily.[18] If you can't get this one, then try ordinary basil, but use a tiny bit and see how you like it.
  • Lemon basil[19] goes well with a wider variety of fruits & conserves, including not only the dark fruits, but also apricot. Use sparingly, leaves broken into smaller pieces. --03:00, 16 June 2006 (UTC)


My ex was a lousy cook when we were married. Now she's a great cook. "Not fair, huh?" she says. She does a version of the Indonesian kolak that I really like - it's got less sugar, and as a result the pumpkin and sweet potato stand out for their sweetness. The Indonesian version is sweeter, and making the pumpkin in particular taste bland and out of place - but that's just my opinion.

  • mung, cooked till soft
  • water
  • sugar to taste. Best to add too little, early on, and adjust towards the end. You can keep the liquid only slightly sweet, and it will be a healthy food to indulge in without nausea or guilt; or add more if you want a more traditional sweet dessert to be eaten more sparingly.
  • coconut cream/milk - one or two tins in a big saucepan should be fine. Add at very end for the best flavor (unless you're in a third world country using freshly squeezed coconut milk made with unsafe water).
  • pinch salt, perhaps?
  • pumpkin (a ripe, sweet pumpkin with a good orange color. A good Japanese pumpkin is nice and sweet).
  • sweet potato
  • banana (or plantain if available)
  • pandan leaf (pandan) - Optional. In Sydney these are available from Indian shops, fresh in the fridge. Add a couple of leaves at beginning... I guess.

Can't remember what else... Jackfruit is sometimes used in Indonesia. Boiled cassava root is also added, which I think is disgusting.

Instructions: cook. :) Obviously put slow cooking things in first, such as mung, then sweet potato, then pumpkin.

There's no fixed rules. Don't overdo the mung, though - it's usually watery in consistency, with mung mostly at the bottom.

It is served hot (especially if freshly cooked) or cold.

Foods I want to learn aboutEdit

Moussaka, Ratatouille, corn bread, felafel,

Amit suggested I try tandoori paneer[20] - made with this Tandoori chicken recipe, substituting paneer for chicken. Marinate overnight, or in the morning, before cooking at night.


I recently had Soba noodles (made from buckwheat) at a Japanese restaurant and they were delicious! One dish was hot, another was just cold noodles with a dipping sauce - which would be wonderful in summer. Must learn to cook this... watch this space.

Using peanutsEdit

Over the years I've had these delicious things made with peanuts:

  • Wonderful sate (satay) sauce in Indonesian food stalls, ground on the spot from roast peanuts, and raw garlic, onion, & chilli, with kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) and salt.
  • "Chicken and groundnut curry" - an African recipe, which I helped make for a charity event. Wish I had the recipe. Thinking about a vegetarian version.
  • Sweet peanut soup, as a hot dessert at a Chinese restaurant. My father knew the manager, and I occasionally got treated to things that weren't on the English menu...

Other suggestions?Edit

Can you suggest any other vegetarian cuisines...? I know there's plenty of vegetarian options in Indian and Middle-Eastern cooking, Thai has quite a few vegetarian options, and Indonesian, though mostly a minefield for vegetarians, does have wonderful things like baby jackfruit (in gudeg and lodeh). Vietnamese vegetarian food is better than the meat version, according to some accounts I've read (as it's fresher). But what else? Please enlighten me - leave a note on my talk page.

A great place to searchEdit

foodie view which is a fantastic, handy site for recipe searches, which gives the highest rated recipes first. This is where I found Varsha's recipes and comments (above).

I have a recipe box which contains recipes I've bookmarked, for reference. It doesn't mean I endorse the recipe - I haven't tried most of them yet.

I'm looking for an actual recipe site to post my recipes - I'll wait and see what the upcoming Communipes is like before I decide on one. I've been in touch with one of the developers (on 13 July 06), and he said it's coming soon and is going to be very snazzy. Other options: Allrecipes looks good.

Beans and Lentils has some useful stuff (preparation tips, etc), & Google Base could be worth a look, but neither seem as good as foodie view.

I probably won't contribute much to the Wikibooks Cookbook, as it's trying to be a textbook. I want creativity. And comments, and voting.


tsp (or t) = teaspoon
Tbls (or T)  = tablespoon
cup = 250 ml

You should know the volume of your cooking containers - I often use this as a guide to amounts, e.g. I give the amounts of spices to use for a 2 L cooking pot/dish that's almost full. Note: it's almost full at the end of cooking, so if you put all the raw ingredients in at once, it would be much more than 2 L.

If you're American... well, it's about time you learnt the metric system ;). If there's a good conversion page, put the link here, thanks. olives nutrition facts


  1. If I'm in Australia, I never, ever buy anything from SunRice - not rice cakes or anything. I just don't like the taste or texture at all.
  2. Hing is the Indian name, and at an Indian shop they'll know what it is. Asafetida (or asafoetida) is the English name often used in cookbooks. Such an ungainly name. It's a powdered resin, with a pungent smell.
  3. (when stir frying or sauteing, vegetables should be chopped fairly thin, no more than 0.5 cm. Not in very & wide flat pieces, as they can then tend to stick together. French fry shaped is acceptable, or slightly flatter, or in thin wedges.
  4. Yellow bean sauce, also called thin soy sauce or even white soy sauce, not to be confused with "light soy sauce"! It's a Thai sauce, usually found in major Asian grocery stores that stock a variety of nationalities' foods. (In Sydney, there's a store on Sussex street, near the Sussex Centre, down some stairs). Made from yellow soy beans, I think. It's still a black color, but you can almost see through it, and it has a much lighter flavor, though still salty. You might be able to get away with using a standard "light soy sauce" and using a quarter as much - however I wouldn't, and I don't guarantee it will work well.
  5. Nutritional composition and antinutritional factors of chickpeas (Cicer arietinum L.) undergoing different cooking methods and germination
  6. a b That's English spinach if you're Australian. Silverbeet (the big curled leaves with long white stems) is sometimes misnamed spinach in Australia. If you're Indonesian, spinach is NOT bayam, no matter what Popeye says - spinach has a different (nicer) taste. Bayam is Amaranth, which is not commonly available in Australian stores.
  7. Off chick peas don't seem to affect everyone the same way - I know of a case where one person went to hospital, but other people were fine; I've also never had a problem in spite of eating chick peas that had started to ferment and smell bad (though they tasted good - as do many fermented foods)... but I will be careful in future.
  8. Massel is an Australian vegan stock cube with no flavor enhancers. Excellent flavor. Alternatively use a good quality stock powder or cube of your choice. Other amine flavors can be used as alternatives, such as Miso. Vegemite can be good in tiny quantities - a 1 L cooking dish should have no more than 1/4 tsp (to be verified - haven't used it for years).
  9. Japanese pumpkin is softer and easier to cut, faster to cook, and generally sweeter and tastier than other pumpkins I've tried. If you use a different pumpkin, it will probably need more cooking
  10. the red or purple onions - sweeter, nicer flavor. They are the only onions I buy, when I have the choice.
  11. a b Thyme is very strong. One sprig looks small, but in a meal for one or two people it's quite noticeable.
  12. If you do burn it:If it's burnt a lot, and smoking terribly, throw the spices out and start again. If it's burnt a bit, and smells burnt but it's not completely black, then you might risk it, and it might taste good. Tell your guests that it's a special recipe, with an overtone of burnt "tandoori" flavor.
  13. a b Olive oil here ALWAYS refers to extra virgin olive oil, which is the first pressing, unprocessed, with all the flavor of the olive. I find that country of origin is the biggest factor in the taste. Personally I prefer Spanish, which has a slightly fruity flavor and aroma. I don't find a lot of difference between brands of Spanish olive oil - a generic brand is fine.
  14. If the liquid is thick and gluggy, I pierce the bottom partway around with a tin opener, open the other end, and run water through.
  15. Italian legume products are better quality and often cheaper than local ones, in Australia.
  16. Verjuice is unfermented juice of wine grapes. Much nicer than actual wine, in my opinion. But it's ridiculously expensive (a friend in Sydney paid $10 for a half-wine bottle, 375 ml).
  17. Use a good peanut butter, with only peanuts, no sugar. Salt is fine; oil isn't necessary, but not a big problem. A health food store or bulk food store might be your best bet for freshly ground roasted peanuts. Failing that, the supermarket's health food section might give something acceptable.
  18. Take some basil home from the restaurant or grocery store, cut the bottom of the stem off, leave it in water for a few days, then plant it, with adequate light and water. Pinch flowers off as they appear - once it flowers, it will die. If you cut it back very hard before winter, and the climate is mild, it may even last an extra year.
  19. Lemon basil is used with fried duck or fish in Indonesia, where it's known as kemangi. In Australia it's possible to get it in "Gourmet variety basil" (or something like that) seed packets, but it seems to grow slowly outside the tropics, so it will need attention. I've never seen the leaves sold in Australia.
  20. Paneer is an Indian cheese, sometimes compared to cottage cheese, but firmer