My latest endeavour is to make things that reflect the Gastropost mission of the week. Last week’s was Canadian food, to show our Canadian pride for the Olympics. What is more Canadian then Maple syrup and bacon? I was looking for a creative recipe that would include these two wonderful breakfast ingredients. The pumpkin just came along for the ride, and it masqueraded as dessert. But I’m sure it would taste equally good for a 5am hockey final.
Since I was so concerned about the caloric potential of this mind boggling dessert, I declined to make the glaze that went on top. I meekly tried to get away with a dab of plain Greek yogurt and a slice of bacon for decoration. This cheesecake is that good, that it doesn’t need a topping. Prepare to go on a diet after a slice.
Looking for a place to fuel our post-climbing hunger, we decided to make a trip for Indian food. I’m very familiar with East Indian food, but not so much with South Indian and Indian Chinese food. Marina Dosa & Tandoori Grill is a small restaurant in a strip mall. It seems to be family run. The maximum seating is for four as they are in booths. Good to note, in case I want to bring back all my friends. There is a counter in the back with a large menu board, presumably for ordering takeout.
Having no idea what we were ordering, a nice lady sitting at the table next to us helped us understand what we were considering. The server also came by and she was very helpful. I sort of thought that we could eat family style, but as the dishes arrived, it didn’t seem like the correct choice. We definitely splurged on the food; both of us were fascinated by all the unfamiliar dishes.
We ordered vegetarian samosa cholle to start. Imagine some beautifully fried samosas. Then smother them in a chickpea curry. Samosa cholle, and a meal in itself.
We moved onto one of the restaurant’s specialties, dosa. We ordered the Marina masala dosa, which is a South Indian crepe that is wrapped around a filling. Ours was stuffed with onion and potato, served with sides of a soup with cumin and spice undertones, coconut chutney and a spicy tomato based chutney.
Our next course was vegetable Manchurian, which is a Indian Chinese dish. Fried vegetable croquettes in a sweet and spicy sauce. It tasted a bit like sweet and sour sauce combined with a good dose of soy sauce and Indian spices. We ordered it medium spicy and it was. Not like in some other restaurants who treat medium spicy as mild for Canadian taste. An intriguing dish, I will have to try to make it at home.
We moved on with lamb kothu paratha, which is a stir fry made with eggs and chopped up paratha bread as a base. Paratha is also known as parotta. I’m more used seeing paratha as a stuffed bread on East Indian menus. It was served with a side of a yogurt based sauce. We also had a side of naan thinking the dishes would be more like East Indian style. The dishes are meals in themselves; no additional starch was needed. Our server mentioned that the dishes could be eaten as is, or with a side of naan, roti or rice. By the end of the meal, we weren’t sure if family style was the correct way to order as we were only given one dinner plate and that was halfway through our meal. No matter, the food was delicious. The flavours are strong and bold; enticing for people with adventurous taste.
The server was very friendly and helpful. The dishes took time to come out but that is the price to pay for well prepared food.
Lily Vietnamese Submarine is a small takeout on Bowness Road. They also serve noodles, rice and bubble tea. But I came here for the subs. It’s very easy to miss if you didn’t know what you were looking for. I ordered a chicken satay to go back to work with. It was a good size and tasty. The peppers gave it a nice kick. Fast, fresh, and friendly. Great if you are in a hurry.
It’s been a long time since I have cooked homestyle Cantonese. What I mean by that is food that is not found in Chinese restaurants. Food my Mom made for dinner at home.
Three Kinds of Steamed Egg with Pork (xiam dan jing che yok)
4-6 eggs, reserve ½ egg shell
1 *pickled or salted duck egg (ham dan)
1 century duck egg (preserved egg)
1/2 lb ground pork
1 diced green onion
Vegetable oil, ground pepper, soy salt, soy sauce and water
Saute ground pork, ground pepper, and salt with oil until almost cooked through. Chop preserved duck egg and salted duck egg. Beat regular eggs; try 4 first. Also beat in pickled egg if using. Add ½ egg shell of water for each regular egg (3T). Mix the eggs and water together.
Put ground pork in 9” pie plate, add chopped eggs and egg mixture. Boil water, steam for 10 minutes in a suitable pot. Halfway through steaming sprinkle green onion on top. Drizzle with soy sauce before serving. Serve with steamed rice.
*Some salted eggs looked like a medium boiled egg with orange yolk. Some pickled duck eggs have a raw white with orange liquid yolk.
The recipe for a jazzed up version of steamed pork (yuk beng) was courtesy of Eat Your Heart Out. The traditional version uses steamed pork and mushroom only.
To steam the dishes, I used a 10″ pie plate, a plate lifter, steaming rack and canning pot. It works really well, but for a plate of this size, a larger canner is needed. The plate lifter and steaming rack can be bought at Asian food stores or Asian restaurant supply stores.
2 lbs chicken breast, skinless, boneless, sliced
4 cloves minced garlic
1, 5” piece ginger, peeled and julienned
8 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked and sliced
3 tbs oyster sauce
3 tbs soy sauce
¼ C Chinese cooking wine
2 tbs corn starch
2 tbs vegetable oil
Marinate chicken with oyster sauce, soy sauce, wine, corn starch and black pepper to taste. Add enough water to make a sauce. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. When ready to cook, brown garlic in vegetable oil in a frying pan. Add the chicken. Cook the chicken until some pink remains. Add the mushrooms and ginger. Add more water if required to thin the sauce. Cook until chicken is no longer pink. Serve with sesame oil drizzled on top, and with rice.
For dessert, my dinner guests brought over some homemade strawberry meringue tarts. They were absolutely delicious! It’s not Chinese, but it is dessert.
After a day of skiing in the mountains, I was famished with nothing in the cupboard and hunger to tame. Hubby had to go to the mall so we visited the food court in Market Mall and I found Cedars Deli. I have been on a Mediterranean kick of late, with making my own pitas and falafel. Even thought this restaurant is in a food court; it is a local, made in Calgary chain. I was looking for something fresh and healthy, and this fit the bill.
I ordered the Mediterranean plate which had: two falafel, three vine leaves (dolmades),one kibbeh ball, a generous spoonful of hummus, tabouli, tahini and a large whole wheat pita. Everything was tasty and there was more than enough to satisfy my hunger. Don’t let the food court facade fool you. This is healthy, good tasting local food.
I decided to try a new bao recipe today. This one has an interesting ingredient, water roux. It made my buns lighter and I like the addition of an egg to the recipe. I made some with red bean paste and some with curry beef. Recipe is courtesy of Honey and Spice blog.
There is a strip mall, at the corner of 28 St. SE and Memorial Dr. It is nondescript, and full of ethnic food proprietors. A Jamaican cafe, a Middle Eastern cafe, a Filipino cafe, and Safari Grill. The mall has an interesting name, Short Pants Plaza. I’m guessing it is named after all the tropical cultures that have set up shop within.
After five hours at the climbing gym, I was ready to polish off some serious eats. A short drive down the street brought us to the Safari Grill. Being seriously hungry, the three of us shared the Spicy Kuku Bite (chicken in tempura batter with a sweet and spicy chili sauce) and the Mboga Combo. This was a combination of vegetarian appetizers: fried cassava, samosa, round potato scallops fried in batter and fried lentil balls. It came with dipping sauces: mild green chili, hot red chili, tamarind, yogurt sauce and coconut chutney. It reminded me of the dipping sauces from Tiffin, across the street.
East African cuisine tends to feature inspiration from Indian dishes, along with a good dose of grilled meats and spice. Some of the entrees were meant to be shared at the table and some were individual. We choose the individual plates. I ordered the Afrique Mishaki, which was BBQ chicken cubes marinated in peri peri and grilled. It was served with a side of spicy corn and masala chipsi (fries). The dish as a whole was medium spicy.
The food is well done, and the portions are substantial. The decor is very zebra, with lots of African trinkets. The service was good. I suggest going with a hearty appetite; you will not be disappointed.
Looking in from the outside, this restaurant looks like an inviting oasis from the Calgary cold. The decor is tasteful, and the house is packed.
We started with the golden tofu and scallops. The tofu was crisp and the sauce packed a flavor punch. The scallops remind me of something you might see in a fine dining restaurant.
Moving along to the pad thai. One of my friends commented that it was the first time the noodles were done al dente. The panang salmon was an interesting dish. The battered fish in the sweet and sour basa stayed crisp as the sauce pooled nicely on the bottom of the plate.
It’s really popular, and there seems to be an endless number of regulars, as the waitstaff greet the customers with friendly recognition. The service was spot on, even when it got really busy.
I had an evening engagement downtown at the Central Library, so my friends and I decided to try Soban Korean in the Dragon City Mall. Regarding the underground parking, I have a public service announcement. The rate is $9.45 before 5pm and $4 after 6pm until 6am next day. If you arrive at 5:30, you will still pay $9.45; you may not pay in increments. When you go back to renew after it expires in a hour, you will wait in line behind ten people that made the same mistake. Thank you for reading and back to your regularly scheduled food review.
The food was really good. We shared the seafood pancake, which had the nice slightly charred crust. The pancake also did not fall apart like some others I have eaten. The banchan (side dishes) were tasty. It’s the first time I’ve tried radish kimchi. I also liked the tempura yam. For my entree, I ordered the pork bulgogi which came on a hot plate with quite a few veggies. Yes, I could come back.