Miso aubergines, chaat masala salad and grilled courgettes: Rukmini Iyer’s favourite sharing plates – recipes

<span>Rukmini Iyer’s chaat masala with spiced watermelon, tomato and cucumber salad.</span><span>Photograph: Lizzie Mayson/The Guardian. Food and prop styling: Kitty Coles. Food assistant: Immy Mucklow.</span>
Rukmini Iyer’s chaat masala with spiced watermelon, tomato and cucumber salad.Photograph: Lizzie Mayson/The Guardian. Food and prop styling: Kitty Coles. Food assistant: Immy Mucklow.

I’m so excited to share these recipes with you from my new book, The Green Cookbook. They’re perfect for lazy weekends with friends, because all of them can be mainly prepped in advance, leaving you with a little light assembly just before your guests arrive – they’re minimum effort, maximum flavour recipes. For a scorching weekend, the chaat masala watermelon, the fennel with burrata and pomegranate, and the griddled courgettes with mint and parmesan are wonderful sharing plates. Or, for an evening feast, the miso aubergines with kimchi and tofu fried rice is an easy crowdpleaser.

Chaat masala-spiced watermelon, tomato and cucumber salad (pictured top)

This easy salad is inspired by one of Ruby Tandoh’s – we ate versions of it on repeat through one ridiculously hot summer, braving 35C in the kitchen to grab the watermelon and cucumber before retreating to the lounge to sit in front of a fan. Chaat masala is one of my favourite cheat ingredients: it gives you bags of flavour all in one spice blend. Serve alongside a barbecue or as part of a selection of sharing plates.

Prep 15 min
Serves 4

½ baby watermelon, peeled and cut into 1cm wedges
1 cucumber, cut into 1cm chunks
200g cherry or baby plum tomatoes, quartered
Zest and juice of 1 large or 2 small limes
3 tsp chaat masala
1 t
sp caster sugar
1 t
sp sea salt flakes
1 big handful salted peanuts
, chopped
1 big handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Put the watermelon, cucumber and tomatoes in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix the lime zest and juice, chaat masala, sugar and salt, then pour into the watermelon bowl and stir gently to mix.

Arrange everything on a big platter, scatter with the chopped peanuts and coriander, and serve immediately.

Fennel with burrata, broad beans and pomegranate

This is such a simple and refreshing salad. I like to serve it with the griddled courgettes below, good bread and butter, and, ideally, plenty of crémant – an easy scratch supper, all prepped and cooked within an hour.

Prep 15 min
Rest 45 min
Cook 2 min
Serves 4

120g vegetarian burrata
Flaky sea salt
150g podded broad beans
, fresh or frozen and defrosted
1 medium fennel bulb
Zest and juice of 1 small-ish orange

50ml olive oil
100g pomegranate seeds
(from about ½ pomegranate)

Take the burrata out of the fridge so it can come up to room temperature.

Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil, add the broad beans, cook for two minutes, then drain and refresh in a bowl of cold water. Slip the beans out of their skins (double-podding makes such a difference) and set aside.

Use a peeler to shave the fennel into wide ribbons straight into a bowl of cold water and leave them to sit for 45 minutes – the fennel will crisp up beautifully. (If you try to use it straight away, it’ll be limp and floppy, which is not ideal.)

Just before you’re ready to put the salad together, whisk the orange zest and juice, olive oil and a teaspoon of sea salt. Drain the fennel really well, then pop the ribbons in a large bowl with the drained broad beans. Pour over two-thirds of the dressing and gently toss with your hands to coat everything evenly.

Gently tip the salad on to a platter and top with the burrata and pomegranate seeds. Score the burrata into quarters, pour over the remaining dressing and serve immediately.

Miso aubergines with kimchi, Tenderstem and tofu fried rice

An updated version of a favourite recipe, which includes an easy side of kimchi fried rice, which you can make in about 10 minutes while the aubergines bake.

Prep 15 min
Cook 40 min
Serves 6

2½cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated
3 tbsp sesame oil
40g white miso paste
1½ t
bsp soft dark brown sugar
3 aubergines, quartered lengthways and flesh scored

For the dressing
Zest and juice of 1½ limes
1½ tbsp sesame oil
1 t
bsp brown sugar
1½ t
bsp tamari
1 red chilli
, stalk removed, flesh finely chopped
10g fresh coriander, finely chopped

For the rice
300g silken tofu
3 t
bsp toasted sesame oil
5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated
200g Tenderstem, or similar, finely chopped
Cooked basmati rice
3 heaped tbsp kimchi, chopped, plus extra to taste

Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Mix the ginger, garlic, sesame oil, miso and brown sugar in a bowl. Put the scored aubergines in a roasting tin large enough to hold all the quarters in one layer (or use two tins). Evenly rub the flesh with the miso mixture, then roast for 40 minutes, until cooked through.

Meanwhile, whisk all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

When the aubergines have 15 minutes left, start on the rice. Pat the tofu dry with kitchen paper, then use your hands to crumble it up. Heat the sesame oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the ginger and garlic, and let them sizzle for 30 seconds. Add the tofu and broccoli, stir-fry for two or three minutes, then add the rice and stir-fry for another three to four minutes. Take off the heat, stir through the kimchi, taste and adjust for salt as needed (you shouldn’t need much, if any); add more kimchi, too, if you wish.

Drizzle the dressing over the aubergines, then serve with the fried rice alongside.

Simply griddled courgettes with mint and parmesan

This is inspired by a salad my sister Padmini used to make. Courgette responds brilliantly to the intense heat of a griddle (or indeed a barbecue). This is a go-to side dish at home.

Prep 10 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 4

1 ripe yellow courgette, thinly sliced
1 ripe green courgette, thinly sliced
Olive oil, for brushing
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of ½ large lemon

30g vegetarian parmesan, half finely grated, half shaved
½ tsp flaky sea salt
Mint leaves
, to serve

Put a griddle pan or a heavy-based frying pan on a high heat. Brush the courgette slices with the oil, turn down the heat to medium-high, then griddle in batches for about five minutes on each side, until the courgette slices have nice griddle marks and are cooked through.

While the courgettes are cooking, whisk the extra-virgin olive oil, lemon zest and juice, grated parmesan and sea salt in a bowl. Gently toss the cooked courgettes in the dressing, then transfer to a platter. Scatter over the parmesan shavings and mint leaves, and serve hot or at room temperature.

  • These recipes are edited extracts from The Green Cookbook: Easy Vegan & Vegetarian Dinners, by Rukmini Iyer, published in June by Square Peg at £25. To order a copy for £22, go to guardianbookshop.com

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