This is an all-raw variation on one of my favorite, traditional Indian snacks — roasted chickpeas. Actually, my earliest memory of roasted chickpeas is having them served as part of breakfast at the Hare Krishna temple in Philly in the early 90s.
Years later, when I really got into raw foods, I was sprouting just about everything I could find. I’ve experimented a lot with sprouted chickpea houmous and I love chickpea sprouts in salads. That said, they’re not for everyone. Try it and see if you like the fresh, raw, nuttier flavor. On their own they taste a bit weird, but the ginger and lemon and pinch of spices brings out a nice, zippy flavor to go with the crunch. Earth-crunchy, that is.
I’ve had the pleasure of many, very different Veg Biryani dishes, all across India and at various places across North America and Europe. A boring biryani is quite a disappointment. Yeah, I’m a bit of a biryani snob. This is the story of the dish that reset my standards for that typical South Indian meal. If you’re lucky, it’s served on a giant banana leaf, maybe on top of metal Thali plate, maybe not. And if you’re wise and willing, you’ll eat it with your fingers.
One of my favorite appetizers was inspired by my many visits to Kingdom of Vegetarians and New Harmony Restaurant, both Vegetarian Chinese places in Philadelphia. I used to work long hours in my studio loft in downtown Philly Chinatown and take a break for some excellent food. When my family visited from Jersey, a visit to one of Ming’s restaurants was almost certain. Especially from the dim sum menu, this was one of my must-order dishes. Once I figured out how to make it at home I usually only ordered it to convince myself how far along my own attempts were getting.
I never found this in my travels in China, and determined it must belong to the many dishes that fall into the category of American Chinese, as with many menu items that are called Chinese, but actually have been adapted or created for foreign whims and tastes. Still, especially on a warm summer day, with chopsticks this is a real treat and great starter. It’s also excellent for picnics and parties and can be kept in the fridge in a closed container. Like many noodle dishes it’s usually even better the next day. If there’s any left.
If you’re into juicing, like me, several times a week you make an awesome fresh juice in the morning. And end up with juice pulp you just can’t stand to throw out. Everyone I know who’s gotten into juicing has always, almost from the start asked me: Hey, what can I do with the pulp? My favorite solution is to save it in a container in the fridge and that night (or maybe the next day) use it for… Veggie Meatballs! (My other favorites include adding it to pancakes, muffins, or using it for veggieburgers.)
Saturdays have always meant one thing to me: Pancakes. Now, I don’t have pancakes every weekend, but a Saturday with pancakes just has to turn into a good day. As a kid, my little brothers and I would always wake up with my father already in the kitchen cooking up a huge pancake breakfast. I’ve got so many memories of the family-sized electric griddle plugged into the wall and the familiar smell of the kitchen and dining room turning into our own personal classic diner. We’d all gather around the table, lazy, half-dressed and hungry and Dad would flip some pancakes on to our plates. There were frequent debates on whether syrup is poured before or after slicing up the pancakes, and there were always extra pancakes to go in the freezer for after school snacks the following week.