/* */

January 30, 2008

Healthy Spring Rolls

I was introduced to Vietnamese spring rolls by one of my colleagues. I was hooked! I bought these spring roll wrappers 7 years ago thinking they were the one for deep frying and was sadly diasspointed. But you know what, they taste like rice papad if you deep fry them. Sprinle with chaat masala and it is a whole different appetizer.

Just loved the refreshing burst of flavors and that there is no after effects of feeling bloated. A simple and very light appetizer that anyone will love. The recipe is really very easy. All you have to really do is set all veggies and noodles in an assembly line and you are ready to go. We made this an hour ago and had them in the refrigerator until we were ready to serve.

We made about 12 spring rolls

Vietnamese egg roll wrapper - 12
Rice noodle or bean thread - two handful ( soak in warm water and drain)
Julienned carrots - 1 cup
Green Onions - 3 finely chopped( I used only the green part)
Mint leaves - 1/4 cup
Bean Sprouts - 1/4 cup
Cilantro - 1/4 cup
Crushed peanuts - A handful
Serrano chilies - 2 to 3 cut in thin long strips

We really dont know if this is an authentic recipe, but we love it made this way.
  • Place all the ingredients in individual small bowls or in a plate.
  • Have a large bowl with cold water.
  • Dip the wrapper in cold water
  • The wrapper gets kind of soft, start assembling everything on it starting with the noodles.
  • Wrap the noodles like you see in the picture.

We served ours with a spicy peanut sauce. For one cup of creamy beanut butter, add three tbsps of chilli garlic sauce, a dash of tamarind paste. Mix well and serve with the rolls. Best of all NO DEEP

Update: A lot of you have mentioned about having eaten the one's in Costco..that wrapper and this one are completely different. The rolls we have made cannot be deep fried.

Eileen and Sue are caterers, please read what they have to say,"Be sure not to keep them too long after making..they wil get hard like rice that has been refridgerated..I wouldn't make them more than a couple of hours before serving and cover well to keep the air out. You did a good job.. they look great! There is a difference between those rice paper wrappers and the regular egg roll wrappers.. you can't use the egg roll wrappers without frying."

Labels: ,

January 24, 2008

Steamed Nenthram Pazham - Steamed Plantain

My mom learnt this from our neighbor, Mrs. Varghese. They had this for breakfast and shared it with us. I was a baby then and have no memories of it. But it became a regular in our home when my mom could get a hold of nenthram pazham. When we went to India this time, my mom made it for me...the aroma of steamed plantain with coconut jaggery wafts in the air..yum

I made this at home one day for brunch after we found it our natural food store. The recipe is simple and very filling too.

Ripe Plantain - 2
Jaggery - 1/2 cup
Coconut - 1 cup
Cardamom- 1 (powdered)
  • Slit the plantain without separating it with the skin on.
  • Mix the coconut,shredded jaggery and cardamom in a bowl.
  • Slowly fill the plantain with the mixture and then tie the open end of the plantain.
  • Place the plantains in a steamer and let it steam for 15 minutes.
  • Untie the plantain, take the peel off and serve hot.
This goes to Jyothsna of CurryBazaar for RCI - Cuisine of Kerala.

Labels: , ,

January 21, 2008

Pani Puri - Indian Crack?

We had loads of fun in our cooking class this month. The class was about Indian street food. what better then Pani Puri and Aloo tikki right? We also made Kaara pori (churmura).

I thought it was an acquired taste, but trust me when I say everyone loved it. The students made everything from scratch . The puris were perfect and I served it to everyone just like in India. Dunked the puri in the pani and they all waited in line to have them.

One of my students came to me and says,"this is Indian crack! I am addicted!" Now that is a compliment and I know she is hooked. One of them is planning on serving it for a party. I thoroughly enjoyed giving this class. It was a blast!

If you are interested to get the recipe, please send me an email.

Labels: , , ,

January 18, 2008

Protein Laden Paniyaram

When I started giving cooking classes, I arranged different lentils in a glass to showcase the different lentil we use in our cooking..now what do I with them? So this was my brainwave last week.

Black eyed peas - 2 tbsp
Masoor dhal - 2 tbsp
Yellow Moong Dhal - 2 tbsp
Channa Dhal - 2 tbsp
Green moong dhal - 2 tbsp
Whole uradh dhal (skin on) - 1/2 cup
Red Chilly - 3 to 4
Ginger - 1 inch
Curry Leaves - 2 sprigs

  • Soak all of the above except the ginger and curry leaves for about an hour.
  • Grind it to a smooth batter along with the ginger adding water as needed.
  • Chop the curry leaves and mix it with the batter.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Let the batter sit in room temperature for about 5 hours.
  • Heat a paniyram skillet (Aebleskiver pan) .
  • Pour a ladle of batter and drizzle some oil over each of them .
  • Cook until both sides are golden brown.
I happened to see a similar skillet in Solvang, if you would like to purchase one, here is a link

Labels: , ,

January 11, 2008

Judy's Cafe - A must eat place in San Francisco

Eating at this restaurant was not on our game plan at all. The idea was to go to China town and guess what? We were LOST with our GPS yelling,”keep to the left”, “turn left”, “please make a legal turn”…Hello we are in San Francisco where the streets are mostly one way. We ended turning onto Chestnut Street and we were definitely not disappointed.

I was magnanimous to let Rajesh choose the restaurant, there were a bee line of them. I first thought it was a big mistake coz my stomach was growling and it looked like we were walking towards the residential area, we then turned around and looked at the menu cards in a few restaurants... Nah! We were not impressed. We then stepped in to Judy’s Café, we were handed the menu card and the man told us,” we own no microwaves, everything is made from scratch” Those words were magic to our ears, we were SOLD! The menu card says,” Oversized portions will challenge the hearty eater” and they are right. We had a whole lot of left overs.

The restaurant is small, and we sat by the window. Being the weekend before Christmas, the streets were buzzing with activity. The walls were filled with interesting photos of famous personalities who have visited the restaurant. Tiny as it may seem, it was filled with a lot of help. The manager, Devika came by to enquire if this was our first time and explained that most of the ingredients are organic and since they cook only after they receive the order it may take a little time depending on what we order.. The menu was divided in to Omelets, sweet inspirations, egg breakfast, and sandwiches, soup & salads and beverages of course.

My eyes and heart were set on sweet inspirations….I ordered Sourdough French toast – sourdough French bread grilled in butter and sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with bananas and served with a generous amount of warm syrup on the side. It was to die for. Rajesh ordered the Huevo Grande – Scrambled eggs covered with cheese, salsa, sour cream, homefried potatoes and nine grain toast. He savored every morsel of it. The only thing different I would next time is, order one tea rather than two, since it is two whole pots of tea that we could not finish.

For both of us, it was a feast. I watched the owner having his lunch there and that makes me comfortable. After his lunch, the owner came by as I had a question about who is who standing with him in the pictures. Charles has visited India and we think he knows a lot more about Hinduism then we do ;)

We noticed that there seemed to be a lot of regulars, almost every customer who walked in knew the manager and the owner. The home fried potatoes is a secret recipe of theirs, I know it had some herbs in it. I am going to keep going back to try and replicate the recipe….

I am so glad we missed our way to China Town :)

Verdict: Great place to visit.
Service: excellent, you cannot ask for anything better.
Price: It is on the expensive side, but we pay a price when you want nothing but the best, right?
Worth a second visit: Definitely.
Hours: open 365 days, Monday to Friday: 7:45 am to 2:15pm, Saturday, Sunday & all holidays: 7:45 am to 3:00pm
Address: 2268 Chestnut Street San Francisco, CA 94123 (415) 922-4588

Labels: , , ,

January 05, 2008

Comfort Food after the Storm

After one day of huddling in bed under a warm comforter, it was time for some comfort food. What is better than piping hot rasam with rice, romanesca (cauliflower) fry, radish salad,dried chillis and vadagam.

We saw this beautiful vegetable at the co-op and R decided to buy it immediately for the love of taking pictures. The grocer told us it was called Romanesca.I just baked it with potatoes and onion after marinating it in some spices.

I thought the Romaesca taste a lot like cauliflower. The grocer told us that it was a cross between cauliflower and brocolli.

Labels: , , ,