Thursday, October 28, 2010

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Coconut Curry Bark

I offer up an exotic Indian twist on this traditional holiday gift-able sweet.

10 oz. dark chocolate chunks (like Private Selection 62% Cacao Dark Chocolate Chunks)
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder, divided (like Kroger Curry Powder)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided

You'll Also Need:
a large cookie tray, parchment paper, a nonstick skillet, a microwave-safe mixing bowl, a microwave


1. Line the cookie tray with parchment paper.
2. Put the chocolate in the mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with a paper towel. Microwave on high power for two minutes.
3. While the chocolate is melting, pour the coconut into the skillet in a thin even layer. On low heat, toast the coconut, stirring frequently.
4. When the microwave beeps after two minutes, stir the chocolate, then re-cover and put back in the microwave for another two minutes on high. Continue stirring the coconut.
5. When the microwave beeps, stir the chocolate again, then re-cover and put back in the microwave for another minute (or until completely melted).
6. Now that the coconut has been toasting for about four and a half minutes, add a 1/2 tsp. of the curry powder and a 1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon to the skillet. Stir frequently for 30 seconds, then turn off the heat and remove the skillet from the burner.
7. Add the remaining 1 tsp. curry powder and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon to the melted chocolate. Stir through.
8. Add about 3/4 of the coconut mixture from the skillet into the mixing bowl with the chocolate. Fold in.
9. Spread the mixture thinly onto the parchment paper. Pour the remaining coconut-spice mixture on top of the bark. Refrigerate for about an hour.
10. Use a pizza cutter to break into pieces.
Makes about 14 pieces.

The AHH Factor: When it comes to making traditional Indian food, let's face the facts. You don't want me making it for you. Or, at least, you don't want me making it for you, then trying to pass it off as authentic, when the truth is I substituted multiple ingredients for ingredients that were "easier to find" or "healthier" or "that I could pronounce."

But fusion cuisine, now that I can do. So, with the holidays swiftly approaching, I developed this recipe as an exotic version of the American holiday favorite: chocolate bark. A few years ago, I made a white chocolate bark with broken candy cane pieces and gave it out as a casual Christmas gift. I got great feedback on this gift.

This year, I had friends taste-test this bark. Actually, I put them on the spot and asked them to guess the secret ingredient. (OK, so it's not a secret for you since you've read the recipe already, but I wanted them to say "curry powder.") I heard a range of guesses that were all in the correct range -- cumin, turmeric, and coriander, to name a few. I also got comments it was clear there was a "warm taste in the background," "a distinctive aftertaste," and that it should be "inhaled, and not just tasted on the tongue." I know -- my friends sound a lot more sophisticated than I do!

Later, Nick, who already knew what the secret ingredient was, surprisingly liked this bark too. I say surprisingly because Nick doesn't generally like dark chocolate. He's more of a sweeter milk chocolate guy, but I think it was the coconut that won him over.

Oh, and yes, I know that chocolate is better melted using the double boiler method, and it was also suggested to me (quite correctly, actually, I will also acknowledge) that instead of using a ready-made curry powder mix, I would be better off selectively picking the individual spices in the correct proportions, maybe even grinding them myself. And, I would even make my own suggestion that it's more fun to break the bark into pieces by slamming the pan on the counter, rather than quietly slicing with a pizza cutter.

But, again, let's face the facts: I didn't have the time to pull the bark out of the refrigerator until 1 a.m. (And I'd be willing to bet I'm not the only one with this no-spare-time predicament.) So, I say -- in the spirit of Thanksgiving -- let's all be thankful for pre-made mixes and microwaves!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Diwali Celebrations in Southern California

NETIP Los Angeles Diwali Gala 2009
November 5 marks the start of Diwali, the annual "Festival of Lights." It's a happy five-day event that celebrates the triumph of good over evil. And what better way to celebrate than with food, fun, friends, fanfare, and, well, I better stop before the alliteration gets me into trouble!

Happy Diwali, everyone!

Diwali Celebrations in Southern California

Oct. 30:
:Diwali Mela 2010, Indian Cultural Center of Los Angeles, Reseda High School, Reseda. Cultural program, Food, Booths.

:Diwali 2010 Musical Extravaganza, Indo-American Senior Heritage, Sanatan Dharma Temple, Norwalk. Dinner, Music by Preetysha & Her Orchestra (old and new Hindu movie songs)

Nov. 3:

:Diwali -- 4th Annual Red Carpet Event, Tanzore restaurant, Beverly Hills. 3-Course Festival Menu, Live Sitar, Henna Artist.

Nov. 4:
:Diwali -- 4th Annual Red Carpet Event, Tanzore restaurant, Beverly Hills. 3-Course Festival Menu, Live Flute, Henna Artist.

Nov. 5:
:Diwali -- 4th Annual Red Carpet Event, Tanzore restaurant, Beverly Hills. 3-Course Festival Menu, Live DJ, Dancing,  Henna Artist, Exhibition Booths, Bollywood Dancers.

:Diwali Celebrations, Shree Ramkabir Bhakta Samaj of Southern California, Bhakta Cultural Center, Norwalk

:Diwali Dinner and Annual General Meeting, Hindu Matiya Patidar Samaj of Southern California, Hindu Matiya Patidar Samaj, Norwalk.

Nov. 6:
:Diwali -- 4th Annual Red Carpet Event, Tanzore restaurant, Beverly Hills. 3-Course Festival Menu, Live DJ, Dancing,  Henna Artist, Fashion Show, Exhibition Booths, Bollywood Dancers, Club Night after 11:30 p.m.

Nov. 7:
:Diwali -- Children's Day, Tanzore restaurant, Beverly Hills. Diwali Skit, Storytelling, Fashion Show, Dance Performances, Snacks, Drinks.

: Diwali Celebration, A More Balanced World, Senior Center Simi Valley, Simi Valley. Dinner, Dancing.

Nov. 13:
: After Diwali Mela Party, Moksha Indian Cuisine, Canoga Park. Updated 11/6/10: Tickets ($25/each) must be purchased in advance by calling (818) 368-4103. Time: 7:30 p.m. - 11:30 p.m. Dinner, Live DJ, Dancing, Live Indian Musical Performances, Live Indian Comedian.

:Diwali Cultural Program '10, Pasadena Hindu Temple, Cliffton Middle School Auditorium, Monrovia. Food, Cultural Program: Music, Dances, Skits, and more.

Nov. 14:

: A Joyful Diwali Celebration, Chili Beatz, The Canyon Club, Augora Hills. Live Bollywood Music, Dinner, Dance.

Dec. 4:

:NETIP Flavors of India Gala (Combined Diwali and Holiday Event), NETIP Los Angeles, Sheraton Delfina, Santa Monica. Updated 11/20/10: Four-course Indian dinner, Vodka Pani Puri, Indian dance performances, stand-up comedian, plus after-party with a live DJ. 

Will you be attending a Diwali celebration this year? (If I left a SoCal event off of the above list, please leave me a comment and I'll update this calendar.)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Restaurant: Traditions, Tustin

10 out of 10 Peppers = Extra Spicy
A perfect 10, Traditions has delicious food, an expansive buffet, and top-notch customer service -- all served in an elegant, Indian-inspired atmosphere.

The Details: I was debating, mostly with myself as Nick's learned to tune these things out, on what constitutes a 10 Pepper restaurant. Obviously, I want to reserve this designation for only the best-of-the-best. I've given out an 8 and a 9 on saagAHH, but I didn't have any question about giving them a 10 because I could pinpoint something that could be improved. What if, I asked, a restaurant has outstanding food, a lovely decor, and in every other aspect from the parking lot to the customer service, there's not a single flaw that my discerning eye can spot -- is that a 10 Pepper restaurant?

Nick looked at me like: What else do you want? For a genie to come out of the kitchen after your meal and grant you three wishes

Well, first of all, um, yes. But second of all, I'm slowly losing hope that that's ever going to happen, so I think the flawless everything else thing will certainly be enough.

And I'm happy to award Traditions in Tustin with the first 10 Pepper rating.

The restaurant's tagline is "an Indian food experience" (a tagline which I think says it all) and it has an expansive lunch buffet. It's $10.99 on Saturday and Sunday and includes champagne.

I counted more than 20 dishes on the buffet tables. It was a great mix of veg and non-veg dishes, including white and fried rice, vegetable jalfrezzi, tandoori chicken (which can be dry at many restaurants, but was done perfectly here), saag, goat curry, and what Nick dubbed "fancy" dhal (a lentil-based side dish that's typically an accompaniment to rice). The goat curry is especially impressive, as it's not typically found on buffet lines, so it's a great opportunity for you to find out if you like goat meat or not. (I love it; Nick hates it. Everyone else in Nick's family loves it -- so I think I'll fit in just fine.)
The two dishes that were on the spicy side were the samosas (at 5 o'clock in this pic) and the saag (at 7 o'clock). Everything else was mild.

The restaurant's tomato soup was amazing. Probably the best I've ever tasted.

Free naan was brought to the table. It was more crispy than is typical, but that was a plus for me. Also, the server immediately noticed when we ran out and swiftly brought us more.

Yes, I ate two desserts, and, yes, they were both worth it. To the left is kheer and to the right is mango custard with apples.

To be fair, prices on the sit-down menu are above what you'd pay at many other mid-range restaurants. Veg entrees are about $10.95 chicken about $11.95, lamb about $12.95, and seafood about $14.95. (All include rice.) And Nick says he'd give Traditions between an 8 and a 9. For him, the food didn't quite merit a 10. Though he said he'd definitely highly recommend it to other diners.

The decor is lovely, with peacock feathers in vases on each table and Indian artwork and fabric designs on the walls. Three of the walls are brick, giving the space a unique look. Also, the arched-back chairs add an elegant feel. To top off the motif, our server brought us a peacock feather pen with which to sign the credit card receipt.

By the way, there's also a huge parking lot. Score!

If you've been to Traditions, do you think it deserved the 10 Pepper rating? What restaurants in your area are worthy of this distinction?

Traditions, 14131 Red Hill Ave., Tustin 92780. (714) 508-5959.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Recipe: No Mayo Curried Potato Salad with Pickles

My friend Claire shares her recipe for potato salad with an Indian twist. I'm not usually a potato fan, but even I couldn't resist trying this preparation out.

3 lbs. baby gold potatoes, scrubbed, skins on, quartered
1 Tbsp. salt
4 oz. goat cheese crumbles
6 oz. plain Greek yogurt (like Fage Total 0% Classic Greek Yogurt)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tsp. curry powder (like Kroger Curry Powder)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
4 baby dill pickles, sliced
handful of green onions

You'll Also Need:
 a large pot in which to cook the potatoes, a mixing bowl, a colander, kitchen scissors

1. Put the potatoes in a large pot, cover them with water, and put on high heat until the water comes to a boil. Add the salt. Continue boiling for 10 minutes.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, mix together the dressing. In a mixing bowl, combine the goat cheese, yogurt, olive oil, curry powder, lemon juice, and garlic. Set aside.
3. Use a colander to strain all of the water out of the potatoes. Put them back into the hot pot to ensure they're completely dry. Splash them with the red wine vinegar and give them a quick stir to help evenly spread the vinegar.

 4. Toss the potatoes and sliced pickles into the mixing bowl with the dressing. Combine well.

5. Use kitchen scissors to garnish with some snipped green onions. Serve as a main dish in a bowl or plate it as a side to meat or poultry.
Serves 4-5.

The AHH Factor: Potatoes, commonly referred to as aloo in Indian cuisine, are a common Indian food ingredient. Unfortunately, I've never liked them. This is a point of contention between Nick and me as he LOVES potatoes. Like to the point of guilting me into making them. ("But mom would make them" is a line he's actually used. Seriously, though, how is my cooking ever going to live up to his mom's? AHHHH.) I do like one type of potato, sweet potatoes, but (of course) Nick hates those.

Does anyone know of a condo for sale with his and her kitchens?

So, it follows that when my good friend and fellow blogger Claire, who runs the insightful movie reviews blog Sneakaloo, offered me a taste of her potato salad at lunch the other day, I politely declined. But then she added that she'd put curry powder into the recipe, making it an Indian-American fusion dish. And, all that creaminess that I saw, well, it wasn't mayonnaise. It was a mix of yogurt and goat cheese. At this point, I was drooling and hoping she would stop talking so I could grab a bite. (Thanks, Claire!) I was impressed, and I hope you are too.

What are you favorite aloo recipes? I have this feeling that there will be many more potato recipes in my future.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Restaurant: Bombay Bistro Restaurant & Bar, Montclair

6 out of 10 Peppers = Medium 

If you can make it through the maze of confusion that is Bombay Bistro's customer service, then the cheese at the end is especially tasty. Seriously, the food is great, the service isn't, but all in all, a restaurant worth checking out if you're in the area.

The Details: Nick and I have both evolved the peculiar weekend habit of not realizing until about 3 p.m. that, oh wait, we forgot to eat lunch today. This is a both a blessing and a curse: we're either the only patrons in the restaurant, which means we're enjoying VIP service...or we're left peering into the windows of a closed restaurant and expressing shock that it deigns to close between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. because apparently most people are not eating one of the three major meals during this time. (What do they know?)

At Bombay Bistro, our foursome -- our friends Lisa and Warren came along -- approached the doors at 3 p.m. and saw the all-too-familiar Sign of Doom. "Hours: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., 5 p.m. - 10 p.m." ARGHHH: How dare they? I was still in the expressing shock and cursing stage when Warren casually pushed open the unlocked door. "Are you open?" he asked. I was both bewildered and delighted to hear that they indeed were.

We were, of course, the only customers in the restaurant (any other potential customers being turned away by the misleading sign, I presume), but the only VIP service we got here was Very Intermittent & Perplexing. First, we noticed that the buffet was still in place, so we asked if they'd still be refilling it. We never really got a yes or a no on that. So, instead we all opted to order off of the menu. A server takes our orders. But, a few minutes later, a different server asks for our orders. When we let him know that our order had ready been taken (and point out the server who took it) he told us that we still needed to place our orders with him.

Were we on candid camera?

Thankfully, one way or the other, our orders get communicated to the kitchen staff, and the food is brought to our table fairly quickly.

Nick, ever the samosa connoisseur, orders a Keema Samosa, which had a ground lamb and peas filling. He has quite happy with the samosa. (I could pretend that I took this open samosa photo to show you the filling, but in all honesty, I bit into it before remembering to take a photo. It was 3 p.m., people -- I was starving!)

We all shared an order of Naan ($1.95), which was enough for all four of us. We also shared a plate of Basmati Rice, which was included with our orders. Most of the menu can be ordered either a la carte (with rice only) or as a bistro platter (which is served with house salad or soup and a choice or rice or naan). We all ordered the a la carte option, so we were a bit confused when only one plate of rice came out -- but the server said he'd bring us more if we ran out.

For her main course, Lisa ordered the Chicken Tikka Masala. Referred to as a house special on the menu, it's a boneless chicken breast prepared in a tomato cream sauce. She liked it, but her one critique was she wished it had more vegetables. I give Lisa props for admitting this, as I sometimes feel like I'm the only person who ever wishes a dish had more vegetables. I always hear diners saying they wish the restaurant hadn't skimped on the meat, but honestly, I'll take an actual U.S. food pyramid-recommended portion of meat, with an extra helping of vegetables any day over a supersized meat portion.

Warren ordered the Chicken Jalfrezzi, which was described as boneless chicken cooked with jullienned peppers and seasonal vegetables. Warren enjoyed this dish and, as the only one of us who'd been to Bombay Bistro before, he said all of the dishes he'd had in the past had been delicious too. If you're into vegetables like Lisa and I are, this dish is a good bet as I could see lots of green swimming in the broth.

Nick ordered the Lamb Vindaloo, which was described as lamb and potatoes cooked in special herbs with a hint of lemon. He liked it, though I know he liked my sauce better (I got a tikka masala), because he kept tasting mine. In addition to chicken and lamb, the restaurant also offers shrimp and other fish as other protein options.

I got the Lamb Tikka Masala. Despite all of the confusion at this restaurant, I really liked my food. I thought the sauce was superb.

Have you been to Bombay Bistro? I'd be curious to know if this mixed service is typical or if they were having an off-day. Also, has anyone tried the buffet?

Bombay Bistro Restaurant & Bar*, 8851 Central Ave., Ste. E-F, Montclair 91763. (909) 445-1455.

*The to-go menu lists as its website, but I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that it doesn't work.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Recipe: Swai in Turmeric-Chili Gravy with Tomatoes

Passed down to me from my mother, this traditional Bengali dish -- known more commonly in the Bengali community as macher jhol -- is a simple sauteed fish in a spiced water-based gravy.

1 lb. swai (or other catfish) fillets, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp. turmeric, divided
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
canola oil (enough to coat the skillet)
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp. (or more, to taste) chili powder (like McCormick Chili Powder)
handful of cilantro
(optional accompaniment) 1 cup brown basmati rice (like Trader Joe's Brown Basmati Rice)

You'll Also Need:
a bowl or zipper storage bag in which to marinate the fish, a deep nonstick skillet, a plate or tray on which to hold the cooked fish while making the gravy, aluminum foil


1. Sprinkle the fish pieces with 1/2 tsp. of the turmeric and 1 tsp. of the salt. Mix these three items together well, then let the mixture sit in your fridge for about 30 minutes before using.
2. (Optional) While the fish is blending with the spices, cook your rice. (Brown rice usually takes about 30-40 minutes, so mine was done before I started cooking the fish.) Fluff the rice with a fork, then cover until ready to eat.
3. Pour enough canola oil into the skillet as to coat the bottom.

4. Add the fish to the skillet and saute on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until just cooked. (If you're not using a non-stick skillet, my mom recommends coating the fish pieces in a little all-purpose flour to keep them from sticking.) Remove the fish from the skillet, place on a plate or tray, and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
5. Add the onion and saute on medium heat for about three minutes.

6. Add the tomatoes, the remaining 1/2 tsp. of turmeric, and 1/2 tsp. chili powder (or more, to taste), to the skillet, and saute on low heat for about 3 minutes.

7. Add 1 cup of water and the remaining 1/2 tsp. of salt and increase the heat to high. When it starts boiling, lower the flame, then add the fish back into the skillet. Simmer for about 3 minutes.
8. Turn off the flame. Garnish with cilantro.

9. (Optional) Serve over a bed of brown basmati rice.

Serves 3-4.

The AHH Factor: This fish preparation has been passed down in Bengali families for generations. This month, however, marks my first attempt at making it. Macher jhol, literally "fish in gravy," is a dish my mom has in her regular dinner rotation, and this is one variation of her many ways of making it. My mom seemed to take my asking for the recipe as a "teachable moment," as she's spent the past several weeks lecturing me about how I spent way too much money on the ingredients. Apparently, I was supposed to go to an Indian grocery store to buy the spices and to an Asian-focused farmers' market for the fish. Still, I think she was secretly happy that I asked for her recipe, and I'm secretly happy that it turned out well -- though we'll never admit that to each other.

Swai is a Vietnamese catfish, which is marketed as "swai" because it can't legally be called "catfish" in the U.S. (U.S. farmed catfish producers were concerned it would take a bite out of their market.) But regular catfish works too (though I wasn't able to find it at my local grocery stores; I think my mom has an easier time in Georgia), as does tilapia if you can't find either.

I'm already thinking of some of my own variations of this recipe. Like how I think okra would go well in the gravy. (Though that may just be the Southerner in me thinking that okra and catfish always go together.)

What's your favorite fish recipe? What suggested tweaks do you have for this one?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My Recipe Philosophy

I should be up front about something: I can be quite the health nut.

Growing up in Georgia, this trait frequently made me an outcast. Indeed, I almost caused a walk-out at my parents' house during Thanksgiving dinner the year my mom made her famous potato salad with low-fat mayonnaise. All I can say is, I didn't ask her to make it with low-fat mayo...but who am I to stop her from following my lead in taking better care of herself?

In the years since, with encouragement from my siblings (who I think have finally forgiven me for the potato salad incident) and myself, my mom has also joined a gym and switched from making white rice for dinner to making brown rice. I'm thankful for that. Plus, my dad says he is thinking of joining her at the gym as well.

In southern California, of course, I'm in better company when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. It's not all salads and sunshine out here, but it is considerably easier to find yummy, low-calorie foods and specialty ingredients that can add flavor without adding unnecessary fat and calories. I also applaud the recent California menu labeling law, which helps diners make more informed choices when eating out.

That said, that means many of the recipes on saagAHH will be tweaked to be a little healthier than they would be in their traditional form. Here are some of my common substitutions:

> whole grain/whole wheat for refined grains/wheat
> low sodium for full sodium
> low fat/low calorie for full fat/full calorie
> less meat and more veggies in any given dish
> baking, grilling, etc. instead of frying

None of my substitutions are hard and fast rules. I've found that all I have to do to get myself to desperately crave a food is to tell myself that I can't eat it. So, I will occasionally eat something that's battered, deep fried, then served with a 2,000-calorie dipping sauce. And I won't feel guilty about it either.

But by and large, you can expect to find everyday healthy recipes on this blog. And I'm always appreciative of ways to make them healthier, so feel free to leave your suggestions here or on any other posts.

I should also forewarn you that my recipe names will be pretty long-winded. I plan on continuing to tweak the recipes I post -- based on reader comments and on my own instincts -- so I may well post a variation of a recipe a few months after the original, which means I'll need to give it a new and different long-winded name. Plus, I'll try to include the main ingredients in the headline. I hate it when I find a recipe whose title sounds good, only to find out that it includes an ingredient I don't like (hello, salmon recipes that sneak in capers).

Happy eating!

What are your tricks for making foods healthier?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Restaurant: Standard Sweets & Snacks, Artesia

7 out of 10 Peppers = Spicy

 A quick-casual restaurant with helpful service, Standard Sweets & Snacks has an impressive variety of tasty Indians desserts -- including chocolate burfi! Vegetarian lunch and dinner platters are also available.

The Details: We were on a quest for chocolate burfi. Nick insisted he had once found a restaurant in Artesia with this holy grail dessert that fused together the traditional Indian condensed milk treat with Nick's favorite food of all-time, chocolate. I was skeptical -- burfi (also spelled "barfi," but, umm...I'm not recommending anything that says "barf" right in the title) is typically flavored with Indian ingredients like pistachios or coconut, not with foreign items like chocolate. Still, the hunt was on.

After peering into a few different windows of quick-service restaurants (that much, Nick could remember), we walked into Standard Sweets & Snacks. And, lo and behold, there was the elusive chocolate burfi in the case next to many other delicious looking desserts.

Of course, when we saw all of the other dessert options, we couldn't help but order more than what we came for. So, in addition to the chocolate burfi (left and right corner), we took home a nut burfi (I believe it was almond), and a sandesh (left corner; sandesh is a soft milk and sugar confection; this one was flavored with saffron, hence the coloring, but several other varieties are available). Nick also bought a chocolate cupcake (not pictured), which isn't Indian at all but, I guess he needed to satisfy his ever-expanding chocolate craving since he'd been talking about chocolate since before we went out for the night.

I was impressed with the service here. The set up is similar to a doughnut shop, where all of the appetizing options are organized in neat rows inside a case. The sweets weren't labeled well (if at all), but when I pointed to a few, the employee was patient and explained what the differences were, such as why some were certain colors (usually due to a different flavoring ingredient). As we were rung up at the register, I was still confused as to how pricing worked, but I found out that most sweets here are priced at $7/lb. Our four sweets came out to 0.37 lbs., so we paid a mere $2.59. Nick's cupcake was $1.50.

I would definitely recommend bringing a box of sweets from Standard Sweets & Snacks to an Indian-themed party -- they are tasty and impressive to ogle. Oh, and about that chocolate burfi specifically: I liked it -- but, honestly, it doesn't taste like chocolate. That layer tastes the same as the standard burfi layer, though it does add some visual interest to the dessert. I'm going to experiment with chocolate burfi recipes at home to see if I can develop one that truly tastes like chocolate-Indian fusion.

And, for those of you who know the Jay Bharat brand name, this is a Jay Bharat restaurant. I only recently became familiar with this brand in the course of wedding research. Apparently, Jay Bharat is one of the most popular Los Angeles Indian wedding caterers.

True to its name, Standard Sweets & Snacks also has a variety of savory Indian snacks available, including samosas, pakoras, stuffed poori, and more. Everything is vegetarian here, and they have affordable (under $10) lunch and dinner combos. I'm sure Nick will want to go back soon to try the puri (deep fried puffy bread), as that's another of his favorite foods.

Have you tried the savory snacks -- are they are good as the desserts? And what other non-standard ingredients do you think would be good as burfi flavorings? I want to try some fusion recipe combos.

Standard Sweets & Snacks, 18600 Pioneer Blvd, Artesia 90701. (562) 809-5009.
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