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December 28, 2007

Fried Plantains and A Review

While we were in San Francisco last weekend, it was a photo shoot session for Rajesh and a culinary adventure for me . We both did our most favorite things.

We both enjoy each other's hobbies which is great. We went to quite a few restaurants, but we will review those we liked the most. We decided to try a restaurant in Berkeley which serves fine African food, Tropical Paradise Restaurant. After I looked at the menu online, I was drooling just thinking of the fried plantains.

We reached the restaurant on Saturday at around 10:30 pm, there were two other tables occupied by people who spoke the same language as the chef..that said OK, the food must be authentic.

Now while we don't know if the authentic, it definitely was tasty. We loved the service and liked the fact that we could see the kitchen. The only disappointment for me was that they did not have the fried plantains.

We ordered the Chicken Chichinga Dinner and we were in for a treat. "Entrees are served with jollof rice (cooked in a tomato based cassarole with bay leaves, anise & nutmeg), ginger fried plantains ( ripe plantains seasoned with ginger, herbs and spices, deep fried in soy bean oil) with your choice of spinach stew (spinach cooked in a tomato casserole with melon seeds, herbs and mild spices) or Finger licking black-eyed peas cooked in a tomato based casserole with health herbs and mild spices."

Since they were out of fried plantains we were served with both sides, spinach stew and black eyed peas. The stews were for sure cooked for a very long time. The chicken was tender and cooked to perfection. I ordered a tropical non alcoholic drink which had guava juice and the ginger gave it that punch. It was an excellent accompaniment to the food.

There was nice music playing in the background and the chef was dancing to the music as he was grilling our chicken, which was fun to watch :)

This is a must go place for those who like to try different ethnic food.

Service: Excellent

Food: Excellent

Price: For under $15 this was a treat!

Address: Tropical Paradise Restaurant 2021 University Ave Berkeley, CA. 94704

Phone # 510-665-4380

Remember that they are closed Sunday and Monday.

Now comes the fried plantain, since I missed eating them there, I recreated this recipe at home after googling..http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Miscellany/Recipes_from_12913.html

Plantain - 1
Lemon juice - A dash
Salt - a pinch
Fresh Ginger - 2 tbsp (grated)
Chilli Powder - 2 tbsp
Oil for frying

  • Chop the plantain into 1/2 inch rounds.
  • Sprinkle Lemon juice.
  • Rub the ginger, chilli powder and salt over the plantains
  • Heat oil and deep fry the plantains

Try it and let me know what you think. Our verdict was it reminded us of nethram pazham and was nostalagic.

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December 19, 2007

Little Bundles of Joy!

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While I wanted to do something special for my students who I give classes to, I also wanted it to be food related and be Indian at the same time. Where else can I look for ideas other then our blog world and lo & behold I found this wonderful blog ,where she made this gift for her MIL.

I was thrilled to bits and was sure that everyone in my class will love it. I did not have the time to dehydrate the ginger. I ground ginger powder, cinnamon, a small teaspoon of fennel seeds, cloves and cardamom and mixed it with the tea leaves I brought from India. I used a silk cloth at home to make these bundles. I printed out the recipe to make the tea as well!

Thank you for a wonderful year in the blog world. While we have been facing a lot of challenges in our life, blogging and reading other blogs has been a breath of fresh air from everything . We are really thankful for having made good friends who have helped us in many ways.
Have a wonderful year ahead and be safe!

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December 10, 2007

Hara Bara Kebabs

Inspired by Indira's Hara kababs, I tried my hand at these with a twist and I was very happy with the outcome.

When I was in Mumbai recently I saw this on the menu and every time I wanted to order it, the guy would go,"time lagega"(it takes time to make it). I would go nah and order something else. On the last day, I called and ordered 45 minutes before lunch and thus got to have this tasty treat.

I asked the guy who served me to find out what were the ingredients in the dish was and he looked at me like I was out of my mind. In a place like Mumbai where everything is so fast paced, here I was asking him the recipe. He came back and said the chef is busy, but it has peas, channa and potatoes.

I followed Indira's recipe , but added cooked spinach and green peas to white garbanzo beans and cooked it longer and did not add besan.

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December 06, 2007

Dates Raitha

This is one the easiest recipes and tastes great. We made this in our cooking classes. The menu was basmati rice, chicken vindaloo, palak paneer and dates raitha. This salad cooled off the hot vindaloo.! I found this recipe in a cook book at the library, I cant seem to remember who the author is :)


Dates – 10 chopped finely
Raisins – 2 tbsp
Green apple – 1 chopped
Yogurt – 1 cup
Salt & pepper to taste
Ground cumin – 1 tsp

Combine all the ingredients and serve chilled. This will keep well for about 2 days if stored in the refrigerator. Add fresh grapes for that added crunch.

If chandrika accepts this late an entry, I will submit this for http://akshayapatra.blogspot.com/2007/11/afam-november-dates.html
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