Jerusalem, Moro and Ottolenghi and inspired dinner

I have recently become addicted to three cookbooks I acquired from Amazon and our local library. They are, in order of favouritism,

1. Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

2. Moro by Samuel and Samantha Clark

3. Ottolenghi also by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Why the addiction – well these books respect vegetables like I have been taught to respect them as a life time vegetarian. Growing up in a South Indian household, my mother and grandma had endless ways of making vegetables exciting and I try and continue this tradition till today. However, I’m also a little more adventurous that mum and grandma and I cannot eat the same/similar things day in and day out. This is something I did quite gladly did when I was still dependent on my parents, but ever since I’ve moved out on my own, my kitchen has been a bit of a playground, as is this blog I host.

Jerusalem, Moro and Ottolenghi, while laden with meat-based recipes are also quite generous with their coverage of vegetable/vegetarian dishes from Eastern Mediterranean regions, Israel, Palestine with influences from Italy, Spain and Northern Africa. Overall, these vegetables are prepared quite differently (most of the time) to how I’d prepare them as a person of South Indian upbringing and I find that really really exciting. Sometimes, I find some similarities and start thinking about the origins of certain food and how recipes might have travelled from one region to another in ancient time.

To summarize it is food, vegetarian food, exciting vegetarian food and I love it! Food to me is most satisfying when I’ve made it and others are enjoying it 🙂 An opportunity presented itself when we decided to host a dinner and board games evening at our place. While I usually cook Indian food, I decided that I’d try recipes from my recently acquired books instead. There was a deathly silence as everyone sat eating until one of our friends spoke up and said , “You know the food is good when everyone is too busy eating and cannot stop to speak”. I’m going to call it a successful experiment based on this !

My menu and links to the recipes are presented below. I managed to take a lot of pictures for the first few dishes and then ran out of time and my guests arrived so I couldn’t keep clicking any more. Hope you try some of the recipes and like them !

Menu for board games night

Menu for board games night

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Akki rotti or rice flour pancakes with vegetables

Don’t ask me why, but I love the word “quintessential”. My problem lies in using it in the correct context and after a few chats with my partner, I think I have got it. So it is with great confidence that I say that “Akki rottis” are a quintessentially Kannada dish. These rice based flatbreads comes from the state of Karnataka where I grew up and are a popular breakfast or light dinner option. The word “akki” means rice, usually uncooked. The word “rotti” means bread, usually unleavened. This flatbread is soft and crunchy at the same time, is full of tasty veggies and has a slight sweetness because of the cucumber and rice flour which I love.  I always took a lion’s share of “rottis” when mum made them at home and wolfed them down with a smattering of butter.

This was my first attempt at making it myself after I’d spent the entire afternoon at work day-dreaming about it. It was a big hit with my partner and at lunch the next day. I’ll be making some more soon I’m sure. Hope you try it and like it too.

Akki rotti, turned over in its pan

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