Monthly Archives: June 2015

Mango Cole Slaw

I came up with this recipe about seven years ago when I hosted a BBQ at my house for 80 people.  It was a hot day and I needed to make sides that would hold up without spoiling in the heat over a period of five or six hours.  I really enjoy cole slaw with BBQ but it’s often too gloppy and is most certainly not heat friendly when made with mayonnaise.  A good cole slaw must be crisp, fresh and dressed just right, but does not necessarily need mayonnaise.   And so I remembered an Indian cabbage salad (koshimbir) that my mom sometimes makes and decided to use that as my base.  The result was a big hit and I’ve made it for many summer parties since then to equally rave reviews.  

Last night I was pressed for time and was asked to bring a side to a BBQ and made it again. This time I decided to finally write down and publish the recipe since several at the table asked me for it.


1 head Cabbage
1/4 head Purple Cabbage
2 Carrots thickly grated
1 large Mango – peeled, cored and cut into small dice
1/4 cup Champage wine vinegar (sometimes I will use Verjus instead)
2 Tbsp Lime juice
1/2 Tsp Sugar
1 Tsp Sea salt (or to taste)
Freshly ground Black Pepper
1/4 Cup Extra virgin olive oil
1 Tsp Cumin seeds
1 Tsp Black Mustard seeds
1 Thai green chili – finely chopped
15 – 20 Kefir Lime leaves or Curry leave (if leaves are large, chiffonade them)
1/4 Cup Cilantro – chopped


Remove outer leaves of cabbage and cut into quarters with core at the base. Remove the core from each piece and halve each again vertically.  Thinly slice each piece with a sharp knife into a fine shred.  Repeat with purple cabbage.  You may do this in the food processor but I often find that the shred is too fine resulting in a mushy rather than crisply slaw.  If you’re really pressed for time, many markets sell a bagged cole slaw mix.  It’s not quite as fresh but will do in a pinch.  Combine shredded cabbage into a collander and thorough rince under cold water and leave aside to drain while grating carrots.  In a large bowl combine green and red cabbage & carrots.  Add the Champagne wine vinegar, lime, sugar, sea salt & pepper and mix thoroughly (generally easier with your hands).  Place a small skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil, cumin seeds and mustard seeds.  When the seeds start to sizzle & pop, add the chillies.  Once the chillies stop sizzling (about 10 seconds), add the kefir lime leaves all at once and quickly and immediately step back as they will pop & splatter vehemently for about a second.  Once the popping stops, pour the hot oil over the cabbage mixture and mix thoroughly (if using hands, be careful of the pockets of hot oil).  Add mango & cilantro and mix again.  Allow to sit at room temperature for an hour mixing occasionally until the cabbage has “cooked” in the marinade.  

Serve chilled or at room temperature.  Enjoy!!

Note : You can add more heat to this by using one more Thai chili or reduce the heat by using a seeded serrano or jalapeno.  For anyone who may want to eliminate the salt, I do recommend adding at least some.  Not only to bring out the flavor but also because it helps to cure and cook the cabbage along with the acids.  Kefir Lime leaves or Curry leaves as they are often called can be found at most Indian markets.  There really is no substitute for these in this dish.  You can try adding lime zest but the taste will not be the same.  Some day I’ll have to blog about the word “Curry” which is so misunderstood, misused and completely butchered by most, including prominent chefs.  

Summer in the City – Part 1 – New York, NY

I have recently embarked on a project that is very exciting and daunting at the same time.  It is, perhaps, my biggest undertaking ever – ok maybe having a child was a bit bigger. For the past several years I have been planning to finally put in the kitchen of my dreams in my house.  What started out as just a kitchen renovation, quickly turned into something that involved excavation and gutting most of my home which meant that I had to dial down some of my kitchen dreams to shift the budget to other necessities like bathrooms. I moved out of my home several weeks ago and construction began two weeks ago.

My old kitchen

How it looks today

Given the extent (and expense) of this project, there are no major travel plans in my immediate future and most certainly not for this summer.  So I’ve decided to take the time to go on some adventures in and around New York City and take you along with me. The plan is to try and find some new things to do that I have not done before.  The City is always changing with new neighborhoods, restaurants and things to do cropping up all the time and so I thought it would be fun to do a little exploring.

Despite the gloomy weather yesterday, my son and I decided to head to NYC right after his morning tennis lesson.  We headed in just around lunch time and took the PATH train from Jersey City to Christopher Street.  We walked up Hudson St trying to decide where to eat.  There are many well known restaurants in that area like The Spotted Pig or Barbutos, but I like to go to some of the more neighborhood type places instead of what’s rated on Zagat as many of the popular places tend to also be touristy.

Merguez with Hummus & Salad

Our walk led us to Meme (pronounced May May), a small Mediterranean restaurant with outdoor seating on Hudson Street just north of 11th.  The menu had brunch items like Shakshuka, Melawach along with some small plates and salads also.  Everything looked and sounded delicious and we had some trouble deciding.  My son opted for the spiced lamb burger and I ordered the merguez which came with hummus and a salad.  The lamb burger was flavorful & juicy and served on a firm baguette instead of roll.  It came with grilled onions & tomato, a small side salad & fries and was topped with feta cheese.  My son said it was so good that he didn’t even need to add ketchup.  My merguez was equally delicious with great flavor and just the right amount of heat.  With the crisp salad, dressed only with lemon juice, and the smooth hummus, it more than satisfied my hungry stomach.

Lamb Burger w/ Fries

With our stomachs full and the sky starting to throw down a little drizzle, we started walking towards our one planned destination for the day – The Whitney Museum of American Art.  The Whitney, as it’s often called, has recently moved back downtown to the Meatpacking district on Gansevoort St.  The building, designed by Renzo Piano, is quite interesting and certainly depicts the theme of this museum which is contemporary art.  I had acquired passes for us in advance which allowed us to skip the rather long line in front to get tickets.  Honestly, I’m not sure I would have bothered otherwise. 

Outdoor Space at The Whitney

We perused through all the floors of art work, each devoted to different periods throughout the twentienth century.  I can’t say I understood or appreciated much of it, but we certainly found it entertaining.  Like the artist who had cut a square of old wallpaper and framed it to look nice, or another who had stuck a whole bunch of “VIA AIR MAIL” stickers on a canvas board.  I’m not sure how either is art but hey I subscribe more to the notion of “Art for art’s sake” than “Art is in the eye of the beholder”.  Maybe I just don’t get it.  Either way, we enjoyed the outdoor sculptures and making up stories about them, and taking photos from the outdoor areas on the upper floors which has some great vistas around NYC.

A View of the High Line from The Whitney

After the museum, my son devoured a crepe with Nutella & bananas from a street cart before we headed off to walk on the High Line for a little bit in the still drizzly weather.  How that kid can eat so much and yet remain so thin is a mystery to me.  From the High Line we made our way to Chelsea Market on 9th Ave to see what we could scramble up for dinner.  The market has gotten far too popular now and I’m not sure I like it as a tourist attraction.  There are great food options and one can find some wonderful fish and meat there, but the prices now reflect the tourist trap feel and the crowds are unmanageble and off putting.

The sky threatened stronger storms and so we decided to make our way back to the PATH station and head home to hunker down in our temporary home with some bread, cheese and a movie.  But not before stopping at Eleni’s for some Butterscotch Cookies – my child was hungry again!!

Restaurant Review : Pier 701 Restaurant & Bar

Does a beautiful view and outdoor seating make up for mediocre food?  I say not.  Recently I was meeting friends from out of town for dinner and Piermont NY was a good central location since we were each in three different directions.  I’ve been to a few restaurants in Piermont which I liked, but chose to try a new one as I thought it would be nice to give the out of towners a view of the Hudson and the Tappan Zee Bridge.  With this in mind I made a reservation at Pier 701.  I was feeling optimistic for a nice day so we could sit outside, but unfortunately it was not to be.  We had a long, cold winter and spring seems to want to linger on this year.  And so we were seated indoor which was fine.

We ordered our drinks and a bowl of mussels arrabiatta to start.  The cocktails were good except that the bartender felt it was ok to substitute a wedge of lemon for lime in my friend’s drink and couldn’t understand why it made a difference.  Really?  She changed it upon our insistence.  We were all quite hungry after a long day of work, and so when our mussels arrived, we dug in.  The mussels themselves were just ok and quite small with too many shells empty, but the arrabiatta sauce was delicious with just the right amount of heat.  We would have been happy with a bowl of sauce and bread and would rather have skipped the mussels. If I were the chef, I would take the mussels off the menu rather than serve sub-par quality ones to my guests.

For our meal, we all ordered the special entrée which was a fillet of sea bream described as served on a bed of coconut jasmine rice with a curried carrot puree and spring vegetables.  When I order the special in a restaurant, I expect it to be a standout dish.  After all, the chef has decided to present it more prominently than the usual menu which implies that this is something that he/she paid extra attention to developing for that evening.  I couldn’t have been more disappointed.  The puree was more like a soup and essentially covered everything in the bowl including half of the fish.  The taste of curry powder overpowered the “soup” and essentially everything else in the bowl, the rice was buried underneath and the vegetables had gone to mush.  The fish itself was good and fresh but under-seasoned.

Overall, we had a good time, but mostly just because we were in good company. While the food wasn’t awful, it certainly wasn’t something I would go back for.  But it got me wondering if I would have noticed the flaws in the food had it been a beautiful day and we’d been seated outside with a view of the Hudson.  I’m really not sure of the answer to that. So many factors play into a successful dining experience, but for me food is the one that is most important.  I’ll have to think about this some more the next time I go to a restaurant with a great ambiance and see if I can evaluate the food independently.
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