Friday, August 13, 2010

Chaat Paradise @ Moutain View

Chaat is a plate of savory snacks, typically served on road-side tracks from stalls or carts. Most Chaats originated in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India, but are now eaten all over south Asia. Many of the Chaats are a fusion of cultures. For instance, Pav Bhaji (Bread/bun with cooked and mashed vegetables) reflects a Portuguese influence, in the form of a bun and Bhel (Sev) Puri was created by a Gujarati migrant to Mumbai.The Chaat speacialites vary from city to city.

Back home, when we feel like having Chaat, we just walk down the street to the road side Chaat stall, where the Chaat wala would be busy making paav bhaji, pani puri, samosa chaat, et al. We just tell him to keep the pani puris coming and eat plate after plate. After a few burps and belly strokes indicating the stomach is really full, we waddle away from the shop. This is a daily ritual when we visit home.

I was delighted to stop by Chaat Paradise on the way to the airport. They make authentic Delhi Chaat and is run by the people from Delhi.We went there at 2:30 pm and it was just gearing up for the evening. Mostly, people where stopping by for takeout.

Apart from all kinds of Chaat, you even get thalis, rotis, parathas, biryani, and entrees like saag paneer, malai paneer and many more. They even have Chaat Combos in their menu! You get a choice of any two Chaat, Pappad and Soda/Tea/Coffee for just $8.50!Amazing deals.We ordered a combo, consisting of Hara Bhara Bhel - puffed rice, sev (a fried snack shaped like thin noodles made from besan flour), and mixture (a mix of different types of fried snacks mixed together), as the base of the snack, tomatoes, onions, potatoes and chilis added to the base and topped with chutneys. Different chutneys impart a sweet or spicy flavour. There are two popular chutneys used, a sweet one made of dates and tamarind, and a green spicy chutney made of coriander leaves and green chillies.

and the dahi batate sev puri - mini puri shells filled with stuffings and topped with sev, yogurt and chutneys.

The round, puffy puri shell is first broken on top and partially filled with the main stuffing of mashed potatoes or chickpeas. A little chaat masala is added for taste, as well as a pinch of salt.Sweet tamarind chutney and spicy green chutney are poured into the shell on top of the stuffing. Finally, sweetened beaten yoghurt is generously poured over the shell, and the finished product is garnished with sprinklings of crushed sev, moong dal and finely chopped coriander leaves.

The Chaats were flawless and totally perfect! The best I have had in the US. If you are visiting the Bay Area, make sure to stop by this awesome restaurant. If you live in the Bay Area, I don't know what to say - I am jealous!

Chaat Paradise on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cafe Carmel @ Carmel

On the way to Big Sur, we stopped at this place for lunch in the beautiful town of Carmel. Carmel is like a story book town where different kinds of trees border the streets and the colourful flowers decorate the lovely houses.You will find tourists walking all over the town heading to cozy little cafes swarming with people having coffee or chatting over lunch or some even just starting the day with a nice scrumptious country breakfast.

We found Carmel Cafe on one such stroll and decided to have lunch there. It's like a typical bakery/deli where the menu is written up on the wall and all the baked goodies leer at you from behind the huge glass counters hoping fervently that they will soon move to a warmer home, aka your belly.

We settled for a grilled veggie burger - Veggie patty with lettuce, tomato, onion, house dressing served on ciabatta.

The burger was excellent. Crunchy ciabatta with the moist filling was very appetizing. And the dessert was an apricot pistachio something. It was not too sweet and was perfect.

A fantastic cafe for those days when you crave a sandwich/soup and the like.
Cafe Carmel on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Egg Masala

I had posted A's Egg Curry sometime before, here. That was an elaborate one. Here's A's quicker version of Egg masala. More gravyish and goes well with rice or roti.

He browned the garlic in oil, and threw in the onions and green chilies.He added turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, egg kuruma powder and salt and sauted them for a few minutes, and then, added the tomatoes. Once the tomatoes were cooked, he added 2 cups of water and let it thicken.Meanwhile he boiled the eggs, shelled and removed the yolk from them. The eggs were gently tossed in the gravy. Finally he added a dash of whipping cream, to make it a bit creamy.

We ate it with malaysian parathas. Very yummy!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Schezuan Paneer

Indian-Chinese is another of my favorite cuisines. And A loves it too. On Friday, we made this delicious Schezuan Paneer gravy for dinner. The secret ingredient in this recipe is Ching's. It really is a wonder.
We browned the Paneer in a little butter and threw in the onions and bell peppers and sauted them until they were well cooked. Added 2 cups of water to it and stirred in Ching's manchirian sauce. That's all it needed. The sauce is in powder form and contains corn starch, so it starts thickening in a couple of minutes. Voila! Schezuan Paneer is ready!

We also threw in red chilies and numbing peppers (A's new found love these days). You can add Tofu instead of Paneer, for a healthier version. We ate it with brown rice.

Aaloo Gobi Mutter

Hello People! I have been away from Bloggerville for quite sometime, but am back now! I am starting  a new Dinner @ Home series, where I'll post pictures of the dinner we cooked at home. I made Aaloo Gobi Mutter (Potato-Cauliflower Peas curry) on Sunday, and here is a picture!

This is a Indian - Pakistani dish - Potatoes, cauliflower and peas cooked to perfection in a light gravy of onion, tomatoes, green chilies and garlic, seasoned with turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, chili powder, garam masala and salt. It gets the yellow color from turmeric powder. When cooked the right way, it is very flavorful and not spicy at all. Pairs well with rotis or phulkas.
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