April 10, 2016 § Leave a comment
One of my favorite juice places in all of India has to be the popular Juice House in Ram Jhula, Rishikesh. The city is situated on the foothills of the Himalayas and along the Ganges river. It is a place of pilgrimage and a very holy and peaceful place.
The juice stall is a popular travellers’ hangout and is always full. Usually you need to squeeze into a shared booth and it can take 20 minutes to get served but it’s worth the wait. The mango lassi as featured above is full of mangos and has fresh pomegranates on top with shredded coconut $2. They have many fresh fruit and veggie juice combos along with smoothies including some which have avocado.
Their other popular menu item is their fruit salad and the one shown above is a replica that I made at home. I usually get the vegan version which comes with muesli, bananas, watermelon, papaya, mangos, pineapple, coconut, pomegranate, soy milk, date syrup and mint $2.80.
The date syrup was difficult to find so I decided to make my own. I soaked a cup of dates in warm water for a couple hours. Then I puréed the dates and water in a Vitamix blender. Squeezed out the date pulp and put the liquid into a saucepan and brought to a boil. I cooked the liquid until it thickened, allowed it to cool and poured it over the fruit. It was so heavenly that I ate it everyday for over a week.
December 5, 2013 § Leave a comment
The hugging saint “Amma” was visiting San Francisco from South India so I travelled to her ashram in San Ramon to attend her retreat. Amma is a humanitarian and has an international charity called Embracing the World that focuses on ending poverty by educating people in India and implementing creative solutions to change the world.
In India she has built universities, hospitals and orphanages to name a few. She gives out free meals and scholarships to those who would not be able to afford education. She has spoken many times at the UN and is an inspiration as she came from a small fishing village.
I enjoy being in her presence and so I took the opportunity to see her in California. I always look forward to the food as it is made with love and warms the soul. One morning when I entered the cafe, I was so happy to find some of my favourite south Indian breakfasts. The idlis tastes just like the ones in India and the sambar sauce complimented it perfectly.
I kind of pigged out and also got a scoop puttu which is made with ground rice and has savoury spices with veggies. I was so in heaven and I washed it all down with a cup of chai.
I had a great time at the retreat and the space for solitude and reflection was what I needed. Back at home I feel more connected and relaxed and eager to research recipes on South Indian breakfasts. If you would like to know more about Embracing the World, visit their website at www.embracingtheworld.org for more info on Amma, visit www.amma.org.
October 29, 2013 § Leave a comment
Uncommon Restaurant in Chicago won the Greenest Restaurant in America award earlier this year. They have herbs planters that line their patio and the nation’s first certified organic rooftop garden. The fruits of their labour end up in the menu. My friend’s sweet toffee latte was topped with whipped cream and he craved seconds after finishing this big bowl.
French toast with grape syrup using local grapes and topped with toasted pecans and icing sugar. The tender grapes were peeled and had the softness of a pear. The combination was delectable.
Vegan chilaquiles with scrambled tofu, homemade vegan seitan chorizo, topped with cheese, tortillas, guacamole and a side of hashbrowns. The staff was still asleep when we arrived at 9am and my order took three attempts to get it right. It gave me time to savour my french pressed coffee. The seitan was my favourite part of this dish, and the focal point of flavour. I added hot sauce to the dish which was a mistake and turned my mouth on fire and altered my taste buds.
Uncommon Ground Restaurant is located in 3800 N Clark St, Chicago, IL, 60613 . You can reach them at (773) 929-3680 or visit their website at www.uncommonground.com.
October 29, 2013 § Leave a comment
I went out for pancakes to my friend’s favourite place by her house in Oak Park, Illinois. Delia’s Kitchen is a family owned restaurant and the owner Veronica was very friendly and came over to our table to say hi. Veronica owns another restaurant in Chicago and is currently working on a third concept that will focus on healing foods.
I was so excited to see buckwheat pancakes on the menu and ordered them with a side of strawberries. The pancakes came in a stack of three and were lightly dusted with icing sugar, topped with thinly cut strawberries and served with a side of syrup. They were light and fluffy and taste delicious. I was happy to find this healthy option on their menu and made a mental note to learn how to make them.
Delia’s Kitchen is located on 1034 W Lake Street, Oak Park, IL 60301. To contact them call 708.358.1300 or visit their website www.deliaskitchen.net.
May 21, 2013 § Leave a comment
Oatmeal is a very healthy breakfast food and this recipe is a new twist on the long time breakfast staple. I like to play around with the combination of toppings that I add to keep my palate excited. In this recipe I decided to add my favourite berry, blueberry with another other favourite ingredient coconut. It is so delicious and if you like, you can add nuts or seeds as well.
1 cup (250 ml) oats
2 1/2 cups (625 ml) water
1/8 tsp (.5 ml) salt
1 cup (250 ml) coconut non dairy milk
2 tbsp (30 ml) coconut sugar
fresh or frozen blueberries
1. Bring the water, salt and oats to a boil in medium sauce pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the oats are soft 10-15 minutes.
2. Add the coconut non-dairy milk and cook another 3-5 minutes until the consistency begins to thicken.
3. Add the sugar, stir and take off the heat.
4. Serve into bowls and top with blueberries and coconut flakes.
April 30, 2013 § Leave a comment
Tea is a popular beverage in India and good coffee is rare. When I came back to Canada, my craving for coffee diminished and I got into a routine of drinking green smoothies every morning. I throw in some healthy components such as a greens powder and healthy oils. My kids really like them and it’s a good way to start the body and brain.
Cooking time 10 minutes
2 tbsp (30 ml) plain yogurt (optional)
1 tsp (5 ml) greens powder
1 tbsp (15 ml) Udo’s 3.6.9 blend of essential fatty acids
4 pitted dates soaked
2/3 cup (165 ml) fresh or frozen strawberries
1/2 cup (125 ml) coconut beverage
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and mix together.
April 2, 2013 § 2 Comments
samosa and chai
Street food in India is usually very inexpensive and a chai and samosa costs about 18 cents. Some places have benches or stalls to sit on that are in the street. Street food usually has more flavour and is more authentically made as it’s geared for locals and not tourists. If you’re in a hurry, you can get something and it’s ready within minutes of ordering compared to spending an hour or so in a restaurant.
When I first started going to India, I never ate the street food. I’ve heard many horror stories from people of sicknesses that have lasted over a week over some dodgy meat that tempted them in the market. That was enough to keep me away for some time. But you do hear of people who eat everything and even drink the tap water without any side effects. I decided to give street food another chance and have come up with a method to help decipher what is safe.
I usually look for places that are busy where all the locals eat. I watch the person cook a few items and see how they handle the food, the money and clean up. Look to see if the person is using their hands or utensils, and using the same hand for money. Often they don’t have running water and only a cloth at their side
Look at how the item is cooked and in some cases like deep-frying for samosa, it may kill some bacteria. Overall you need to use your judgement and intuition as to where to trust. After you’ve tried a place, see how your body feels and then you’ll know if it’s good to go back.
Vendor cooking uttapam on the ghat in Varanasi