Archive for ethnic food

Mexican Style Cucumbers

Mexican Style Sliced Cucumbers

My favorite snack on a hot late summer day is cool cucumbers served Mexican style. Mexicans love to toss fruits or veggies with lime juice and chili. You name it: cucumbers, mango, carrots, jicama or fresh coconut chunks…all can be amped up with chili and lime.

My favorite combo is Armenian Striped cucumbers with lime and Tajin Salsa en Polvo. Tajin is a chili powder with crystallized lime and salt. I have tasted many other perfectly good varieties of Mexican chili powders, but Tajin stands out as the best. I first tasted it when my step mom brought some back from central Mexico, but we couldn’t find it anywhere. Then on a brief stopover in Puerto Vallarta, we found it in a grocery store and bought 3 containers to hold us over a while. I just discovered it in our local market in Santa Rosa. Which is a good thing, because flying all the way to Mexico once we run out may be a little excessive.

“Recipe”

1 big cucumber

1 juicy lime

Tajin (or your favorite chili powder or hot sauce) to taste

Just slice the cucumbers, juice the lime over them and sprinkle on copious Tajin. Serves one, or if you are willing to share…two.

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Vik’s Chaat Corner

Recently we rediscovered Vik’s Chaat Corner in Berkeley. What a great place to find authentic chaat (small plates of savory Indian snacks) in the Bay Area. A friend took Marc and me there 10 or 12 years ago, and just this weekend (on a great culinary adventure) my aunt took us again. They have delicious puris (flat breads often topped with spiced veggies or legumes and tamarind or mint chutney) and my husband’s all time favorite…dosas.

Dosas are South Indian crepes usually made with lentil flour. They come rolled up like a giant burrito with savory fillings. Vik’s has several dosas including the typical (but oh so good) Masala Dosa filled with potatoes, onions and chilis and spiced with turmeric and cumin. I could eat dosa every week, given the chance, but not every restaurant features them, so they can be hard to find. The batter comes out crispy, a little sour, and totally fun to eat. It’s a great meal for all senses.

Vik’s also has a giant glass case of colorful Indian sweets. Milk, coconut, ghee (clarified butter), sugar and flour are the main ingredients, but some of them are golden with saffron or even bright pink. We bought four delicious pieces of different sweets, but it was so hard to choose among the dozens of varieties. We shared them with my in-laws to rave reviews. The hot chai (spiced milky black tea) was incredibly delicious and fragrant. The cardamom almost seemed to reach out and grab you from the cup.

Indian food is some of the most complex cuisines in the world. Sometimes I find it too heavy, but the people at Vik’s Chaat Corner create wonderful light fare, great for sharing with friends. They recently extended their hours on weekends and evenings, so now there are even more chances to get my dosa fix.

 

Vik's Business Card

Vik’s Chaat Corner is located at:

726 Allston Way

Berkeley, CA 94710

510-644-4432

http://www.vikschaatcorner.com/index.htm

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