Sunday, July 29, 2012

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream

81 Bergen St (at Smith St)
Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, 11217
(347) 763 2979

And other truck locations in and around Manhattan
(718) 701- 1630

Ice cream trucks in New York are omnipresent in the summer months. And I am sure, you have tried many. In SoHo, the Van Leeuwen artisanal ice cream truck looks different and does stands out.

We found the truck in SoHo on Prince Street on a warm saturday afternoon. It is a light yellow truck with a simple ice cream cone and a coffee cup image. The truck has large open windows on all three sides and a descriptive menu board with all the flavors they have.

We tried three flavors, chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. Taking pictures became a difficult exercise, as the kids finished the vanilla and the chocolate ones with super speed. Only the Strawberry one was safe in my hands and the picture above shows the rich creamy texture of this ice cream.

They have the ice cream flavors which are really fundamental, alongwith some unique and special ones. None of these are comparable in quality and taste to the ones which are available in the freezer section of a supermarket. One spoon, and you will taste real french chocolate, real tahitian vanilla, and fresh new york strawberries.

They do have some other flavors which are not the usual. Earl Grey Tea flavored with Bergamot is one option I have not seen many places. The cinnamon one is also another option I will look to try next time and its description reads like another genuine creation.

Besides artisanal ice cream, there are on the menu small treats like donuts, cookies and fresh brewed coffee. Not a large variety probably just like their few ice cream flavors, but nevertheless high on quality.

On a side note, they use bio degradable plastic spoons and recycled brown paper cups. There is surely something about ice cream from these brown paper cups that gave it a more chic feel that is not at all out of place in SoHo.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fruit Chaat (Salad)

Fruit Chaat is a unique blend of sweet, salty and tarty flavors all in one. It is a refreshing summer salad, which can be served as a part of a full meal or can be eaten just by itself. The below recipe is my husband's favorite and when he is at home, he makes it for the kids. The recipe is on today's Fox news website.

You can use any combination of fruits which are in season. It is a delicious way of eating fruits. The chaat masala will lend the perfect combination of spices to your taste buds.

This is a lunch time side dish that adds color and flavor to any main entree. Acting as an appetizer this equally complements a meal.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


106 Lexington Avenue,  New York, NY 10016
(212) 684-6842

On Lexington avenue, around the 40th street area there are several restaurants that serve Indian food. It was with surprise that we walked into 'Singapura' which is a mix of South East Asian and Indian cuisine. For dinner, the place was packed when we called though the wait time was not too long.

Appetizers of spring rolls or fried dumplings are always de riguer for this type of cuisine and we did the honors by ordering both. Well prepared, they came in rectangular platters with dipping sauces.

The fried dumplings had mixed vegetables and mushroom filling. Both were well made and satisfying. You cannot go wrong with appetizers like these.

Lotus lamps hang from the ceiling in hues of red and orange giving soft light all around. The decor is subdued and quiet. The Chinese version of the abacus is placed several places along the walls next to the tables. My kids had a good time practising their addition and subtraction skills.

The vegetarian Hakka noodles were made with thick noodles and a good helping of carrots, bell peppers and green onions. The serving size was good for two people.

Noodles always go well with a sauce based dish and even before entering the place, I had known what I wanted to get. Vegetarian Manchurian, probably does not exist in pure Chinese cuisine, but the Indian version of Chinese food cannot have a menu without this.

Here too it was on the menu. Balls with mixed vegetable in a gravy sauce, this dish is one of my favorites. Flavorful and made just with the correct spice level, it was tasty and just as fulfilling as I could have imagined. The manchurian balls were so well made that they were melting in my mouth.

For me the chili paneer was a bit too chili. The staff was courteous and quickly fixed the dish making it much milder. This version came out perfect and was quickly polished off with the rice and noodles. An overall good experience and will be on our list to visit when we are looking for some fusion food.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sev Puri Chaat

Makes 12

This Indian street food, which comes under the category of chaat has all the flavors in one. It is tangy, sweet and salty all at once. You can buy puris, chutney and fine sev from the Indian grocery stores and just combine it at home.

1/3 cup Yogurt, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Sugar

12 Sev Puris
1 medium Potato, boiled and slightly mashed
1/2 cup Chickpeas, from a can, slightly mashed
3 tbsp Tamarind Chutney
1/2 tsp Chaat Masala
1/2 tsp Cumin Powder
1/4 cup Fine Sev
2 tbsp Cilantro Leaves, finely chopped
1/4 tsp Red Chili Powder

Add the salt and sugar to the yogurt and keep aside. Bake the store bought puris in a pre heated toaster oven for 1 minute to make it more crunchy. Take them out and make a hole in the centre of each puri.

Fill each puri with mashed potato and chickpea. Lay them nicely on a plate and pour the yogurt and chutney on top. Sprinkle the chaat masala, cumin powder, fine sev, cilantro leaves and red chili powder.

Serve right away as the puris become soggy quickly.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sambhar Powder

Makes 3/4 cup
Sambhar Powder gives off a most distinctive frangrance that is sharp and appeasing at the same time. I have memories of my mother making this fresh which made the sambhar more tasty. You can get this powder ready made at most Indian stores, but making it at home with the recipe below will bring out the wonder that the combination of these spices can create.

30 Curry Leaves (Meethi Neem)
4 tbsp Coriander Seeds
1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
2 tbsp Mustard Seeds
2 tbsp Fenugreek Seeds
2 Dried Red Chiles
1 tbsp Urad Dal
1 tbsp Channa Dal
1 tsp Black Pepper Powder
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 tsp Asafetida

Heat a medium skillet and dry roast curry leaves, coriander, cumin, mustard, fenugreek, dried red chiles, urad dal and channa dal on medium to low heat by constantly stirring the mixture for about 5-6 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it cool in the skillet and then transfer it to the coffee grinder and add the black pepper, turmeric and asafetida. Grind this mixture till it is very fine. Store it in an airtight glass jar for upto 6 months.