vegetable diaries

Posts Tagged ‘indian’

ajanta on my brain

Posted by vegetablediaries on January 14, 2010

bheh, khumbi aur matar (lotus root) at Ajanta

if you are in berkeley (solano avenue to be exact) and are in need of unique and delicious indian food for cheap (lunch=cheap, dinner=moderate), then i highly recommend eating at Ajanta. i’ve been to many indian restaurants and none of them can compare to Ajanta’s varied menu and awesome preparation of regional dishes. although they are not a vegan restaurant there are usually a few vegan lunch specials from which to choose. your lunch will include yummy aromatic rice (brown rice is an option for a little more money), kala chana (black chickpeas), or saag (pureed spinach). Ajanta’s menu changes weekly, so there are always new and interesting things to try. some things stay on the menu depending on season and popularity (i think), so if you fall in love with their sambhar like i did, then rest assured it’s been on the menu for a couple of months now… and hopefully they will keep it on! i’m also quite fond of the bheh, khumbi aur matar (lotus root, shiitake mushrooms, and peas cooked with caramelized onions, ginger, garlic and spices). however i think my favourite is their hyderabadi baingan baghare (organic eggplant slices sauteed and cooked in a sauce made with onions, sesame seeds, tamarind, coconut powder, cashew paste, ginger, garlic, and spices). i don’t have a photo but take my words that you MUST order the baingan baghare if you see it on the menu. it is so rich and the eggplants are like tender little gems that explode in your mouth.

i’ve visited Ajanta for dinner, too but nothing can beat the fantastically cheap and filling lunch specials ($10 or less!).

brown rice & kala chana at Ajanta

i love the caramelized onions on the rice…

sambhar with vegetables at Ajanta

the sambhar is a south indian dish and includes toor dal (lentils) cooked with spices, tamarind eggplant, okra, carrots and potatoes. i didn’t mention this yet but Ajanta is prepared to serve your food spicy HOT if you so desire. i ordered the sambhar “hot” but for the other dishes i recommend ordering them “medium” if you’re not used to the heat. if you like the heat then by all means you should go for HOT!

lobhia aur khumbi (curried black eye peas) at Ajanta

1888 Solano Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94707


Posted in gluten-free-friendly, indian, sf bay area, vegan-friendly | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

oh my dal- recipe

Posted by vegetablediaries on August 28, 2009

oh my dal with cilantro flower garnish

oh my dal with cilantro flower garnish

there are countless ways to prepare the indian classic, dal. however this recipe is simple and delicious, and only takes under 30 minutes from start to finish if you use a pressure cooker. i use a futura five liter pressure cooker and love it. you also won’t need a pantry full of spices; although this recipe is flavourful, it only contains a handful of ingredients. feel free to use any lentils you prefer. i used a combination of four of my favourite lentils and was quite pleased with the results. dal is something i subsist on daily and i encourage you to use this method when you’re looking for something fast, fresh and tasty! as an added bonus it’s also incredibly nutritious. serve this with chapati (indian griddle bread), rice or quinoa, or eat it like a soup. enjoy!

Oh My Dal

1/4 cup split urad dal
1/4 cup whole moong dal
1/4 cup masoor dal
1/4 cup toor dal
2 or 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, crushed (i use a microplane grater)
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 serrano chilies, sliced (if you like more heat, add more)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro

dry lentils- urad, whole moong, toor, and masoor

dry lentils- split urad, whole moong, masoor, and toor

Sort through the dry lentils and pick out any stones or debris, then rinse well and set aside. Heat the pressure cooker on a medium flame and add the olive oil. Once the pan is hot add the cumin seeds and cook until fragrant, about two minutes. Add the ginger, garlic and chiles and cook for about one minute. Then add the turmeric and cook for one minute. Add the lentils and roast them with the spices for a few minutes.

roasting lentils in the pressure cooker

roasting lentils in the pressure cooker

Next add the salt and 4 1/2 cups of water. Stir to combine, then seal the lid and adjust the flame to medium-high. When the pressure cooker starts to whistle, lower the flame and cook for 10 minutes. Let the pressure come down before opening the lid, then add the fresh tomatoes and cilantro…and eat! (about 6-8 servings)

oh my dal!

oh my dal!

Posted in gluten-free-friendly, indian, recipes, vegan | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

things i miss from nyc: installment two

Posted by vegetablediaries on July 30, 2009

dosa man making up dosas in his dosa cart!

dosa man making up dosas in his dosa cart!

the dosa man has stolen my heart and the hearts of many others who frequent this shrine o’ dosas. located in washington square park at west 4th street, thiru, the dosa man will make you “purely vegetarian vegan” dosas, uttapam, samosas, and more. his most popular item is the pondicherry special, but i tried the simple sada dosa with sambar and coconut chutney. it really wowed me. thiru puts so much love and pride into his cooking; its very enjoyable to step aside and watch him take orders, create meals, and smile. what a friendly man! everything is cheap.. and t-shirts are for sale!

thiru, the dosa man

thiru, the dosa man

the sada dosa is a plain dosa. its basically a crepe made with fermented rice and lentils. you have a choice to make it spicy or not.

sada dosa with sambar and coconut chutney

sada dosa with sambar and coconut chutney

dosa man telephone: 917-710-2092

and what a lovely way to to end your dosa meal.. walk over to STOGO ice cream!!

stogo coconut vanilla and coconut chocolate ice cream

stogo coconut vanilla and coconut chocolate ice cream

oh man, stogo is the best dairy-free ice cream i have ever tried! its so rich and creamy, and their flavors are quite unique. how about vanilla goji berry crunch… the coconut vanilla and coconut chocolate are my favorites. most of the ice creams are soy, coconut, or hemp based. feeling sad? has nyc rained on your day? stogo makes life so much better. be warned, it can turn into an expensive habit but its so worth it, i think. i can’t wait to go back! babycakes nyc cupcakes and cookies are also for sale here, along with gourmet chocolates.

Posted in gluten-free-friendly, indian, new york city, vegan, vegan ice cream | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »