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Ottolenghi: Flavor is the third book in Ottolenghi’s vegetarian series: Plenty, Plenty More, and Flavor. This is a gorgeous book filled with more delectable love poems to produce. Yes! If you adore or want to adore produce, you need this! All the dishes we tried were wonderfully complex, balanced, and filled with flavor. While quite a few of the dishes are an hour or two from start to finish, most of it is just an exercise in patience. Do this 5 minute step and come back in an hour to finish everything off. It is all worth it!
I’ll tell you all about all the dishes we tried in a minute. But first, let me share his recipe for Chaat Masala Potatoes with Yogurt and Tamarind with you. Don’t be fooled by their appearance. Two out of four of us think this is the yummiest in the book so far. The cumin, chiles and tamarind give this an amazing flavor. And his dual handling of the potatoes, first boiling, then roasting, gives them a perfectly pillowy interior and a crisp exterior. Perfection. A huge thank you to Ten Speed Press for letting me share them with you! I’ve added links at the bottom to all his books. The holidays are coming up, and these are the ultimate gift for any produce lover that wants to flex a little kitchen muscle. Prepare to crave what you’re supposed to eat!
The recipe calls for nigella seeds. Sometimes they’re called black cumin. If you’re a Penzey’s-head, they sell it as charnushka.
Chaat Masala Potatoes with Yogurt and Tamarind
This dish is inspired by aloo chaat, an Indian street food that has many regional variations, all of which are not for the fainthearted because they are loaded with sweet and sour and a fair bit of crunch. This is a slightly tamer version, though still pretty “noisy,” both in flavor and in looks. It’s absolutely perfect for a weekend lunch, alongside other vegetables, such as eggplant with herbs and crispy garlic (page 251) or radish and cucumber salad with chipotle peanuts (page 263). You can also serve it as a side dish with roasted lamb or chicken.
Chaat masala is the slightly tangy spice mix that gives this dish its distinctive flavor. It gets its sharpness from amchoor, dried mango powder, which is used widely in Indian cooking as a souring agent. You’d recognize the flavor from samosas and pakoras, where it is often used.
Both the cilantro chutney and the tamarind dressing are great condiments to have on hand to brighten up sandwiches and wraps, to spoon over eggs, or to serve alongside tofu or fish. Double or triple them, if you like – the chutney will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week and the tamarind dressing for up to 2 weeks.
1 lb 10 oz / 750 g baby new potatoes, cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch / 1 cm thick slices
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chaat masala
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 cups / 30g cilantro
1 green chile, seeded and roughly chopped (2 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup / 60ml olive oil
1/4 tsp table salt
Sweet tamarind dressing
4 1/2 tsp store-bought tamarind paste (or double if you’re extracting it yourself from pulp)
1 1/2 tsp superfine sugar
1/4 tsp chaat masala
1 1/2 tsp water
1 cup / 250g Greek-style yogurt
1/2 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds on a mandoline, if you have one, or by hand (1/2 cup / 60g)
1 green chile, thinly sliced into rounds (2 Tbsp)
1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted
1 1/2 tsp nigella seeds, toasted
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F / 220 degrees C fan. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Put the potatoes and 2 tsp salt into a medium saucepan and top with enough cold water to cover by 1 1/2 inches / 4 cm. Place on medium-high heat, bring to a boil, then simmer for 6 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost cooked through but still retain a bite. Drain through a sieve and pat dry, then transfer to the prepared baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, chaat masala, turmeric, 1/4 tsp salt, and a good grind of pepper. Roast, stirring once or twice, for 35 minutes, or until deeply golden.
3. For the chutney: Meanwhile, in the bowl of a small food processor, combine the cilantro, chopped chile, lime juice, olive oil, and salt and blitz until smooth. Set aside.
4. For the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the tamarind paste, sugar, chaat masala, and water and set aside.
5. Spread the yogurt on a large round serving platter. Top with the chutney, swirling it through without completely incorporating. Drizzle with half the dressing and top with the potatoes, onion, and sliced chile. Drizzle with the remaining dressing, then sprinkle with the coriander seeds and nigella seeds and serve at once.
Now, back to that book….
-Sweet and Sour Sprouts with Chestnuts and Grapes. This dish is divine, and I am definitely going to make it for our holiday table. Brussels sprouts, grapes, chestnuts in a sweet, sour, and spicy dressing. The flavor is so complex and exciting!
-Butternut, Orange, and Sage Galette. This is wonderful! Gorgeous fall flavors and the crust is flaky perfection. I love the little bit of polenta in there.
-Berry Platter with Sheep Milk Labneh and Orange Oil. Fabulous and super easy. There’s a little extra orange and thyme oil for your later bread dipping pleasure.
-Cheese Tamales with All (or some of) the Fixin’s. I went with the hibiscus pickled onions and salsa roja. So delicious! You have to make this one! I love making tamales and his method is surprisingly easy. I wish I’d seen it a few years back when I was having trouble hunting down corn husks.
-Charred Peppers and Fresh Corn Polenta with Soy-Cured Yolk. The fresh corn in the polenta gives this the most amazing sweetness. The dish is so pretty, but it’s even better tasting. My teenagers want two yolks next time.
-Grilled Figs with Shaoxing Dressing. Fabulous. Sweet heat with a citrus kiss and creamy ricotta against peppery arugula. He mentions that you can allow the figs to ferment longer to get a little funky, and I can’t wait to try that when our fig trees are bursting next season.
-Chaat Masala Potatoes with Yogurt and Tamarind. Don’t be fooled by their appearance. Two out of four of us think this is the yummiest in the book so far. The cumin, chiles and tamarind give this an amazing flavor. And his dual handling of the potatoes, first boiling, then roasting, gives them a perfectly pillowy interior and a crisp exterior. Perfection.
-Olive Oil Flatbreads with Three-Garlic Butter. Okay, I think my ratio of black garlic is much higher than his because my cloves were huge, but this bread is insanely delicious! I may have made a grilled gruyere cheese sandwich with some of the leftover garlic butter this morning.
-Za’atar Cacio e Pepe. Wow. This is a great twist on a classic. So simple and perfect. We all loved it.
-Confit Garlic Hummus with Grilled Mushrooms. Oh wow. This was an amazingly flavorful and woodsy hummus.
-Noor’s Black Lime Tofu. I had to go with the regular lime substitution, but can’t wait to try it again with the dried lime. Great flavor and textures.
-Sweet Potato in Tomato, Lime, and Cardamom Sauce. This is wonderfully earthy with fall spices. It’s a face melter.
-Hasselback Beets with Lime Leaf Butter. I had to go to a posh store to get the lime leaves, but it was totally worth it. We have a few lime trees in the yard. I wonder if I can use leaves from those. Thinking out loud in case someone reading this knows. Leave me a comment if you do!
*I received a copy to explore and share my thoughts.
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Okay. I can’t even pretend I’m not a total fan girl. Ottolenghi’s books are fantastic. I have all of them but Nopi. If you grab Nopi, ship a copy to your pal Jen, too! 😀
Ottolenghi: Flavor (vegetarian)
Plenty More (vegetarian)
Ottolenghi Simple (omnivore)