Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Vegetarian in Barcelona

As a vegetarian in Barcelona, I did not have any problem going in to regular restaurants and getting a variety of vegetarian tapas to satisfy my tongue.  Also I tried Teresa Carles and loved it so much I went back!  It is off of La Rambla.  I also wanted to try L'Hortet but it was closed both times I went.

Baked potatoes drizzed with Rosemary Olive Oil

Fritters at Teresa Carles

Rice with Seitan in a Catalan-inspired sauce

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Vegetarian Thanksgiving Feast

It has been almost 6 years since V and I hosted a Thanksgiving dinner because we usually use the long weekend to get out of town especially in my old job where vacation days were sparse.  We felt a bit rusty, but confident that we could pull it off if we kept the menu simple and manageable after a very packed work week, especially since V was just returning from out of town.

Here is the menu list as we wrote it down on a ruled A4 sheet of paper.


Neither V nor I are in to wine and hardly keep any at home, and since we knew none of our guests were oenophiles either, we didn't procure any.

Munchies (Appetizers) before the actual dinner:

  • Pita chips (home-made from pita bread with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt & pepper)
  • Crackers

with -

  • Hummus-olive tapenade
  • Guacamole (home-made)
  • Spiced Strawberry Jam (home-made)

Main course:

  • Stuffed red bell pepper with wild rice-wild mushroom stuffing


  • Turkish-style green beans
  • Brussel sprouts with stone-ground mustard
  • Roasted butternut squash with sage in browned butter

  • Peach cobbler from Ikeda in Auburn, CA
  • Three Twins Dad's Cardomom icecream (available at Whole Foods)
  • Masala chai

A lot of precise chopping was required.  V handled that end while I handled the cooking part.   I will be posting the recipes one by one.   In the meantime, here is a picture to feast your eyes on!

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Vegetarian Saraswath Cooking

Saraswath community has a very interesting migratory history moving from the river Saraswati plains of the Northern India to various parts of India. For people who are curious, jump to this link This migratory origin of their history is reflected well in their cooking style and choices. I have always been fascinated by their style when I have eaten at friend’s places who hail from this region.

In addition, I recently bought Chandra Padmanabhan’s new book called Sourhter Flavors. I overwhemly recommend this book to any fan of South Indian Cuisine.  The book can be bought at

Chandra does a masterful job of delving into all the southern regions and picking recipes that are unique to that region. Given that I picked two recipes to make from this book,

 Ghashhi – Chickpea curry
 Kairas – Capsicum and Peanut curry

The recipes have the same basic formulae – Make a spice paste using coconut and a variety of spices, lightly fry/steam the vegetables and add the spice paste to the vegetables and you have your final recipe. Since the devil is in the details,

For Ghashhi , the spice paste includes 1 tsp oil, 4 red chillies, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1 cup grated coconut, small marble-sized tamarind ball. Pressure cook the chickpeas and boil the potatoes and mix them with the spice paste and add tempering at the end.  The full recipe can be reviewed at page 39.

For Kairas, the spice paste includes grinding 2tsp oil, 2 tsp coriander seeds, 2 tsp white sesame seeds, 4 dried red chillies, 1 tsp split Bengal gram, 3 tbsp grated coconut, small marble-sized tamarind ball. You add capsicums after pressure cooking the peanuts. Add the spice paste to this base and let it simmer till the raw aroma of tamarind disappears. The full recipe can be reviewed from the book on page 77.

We served it with plain roti and all the recipes were divine.