You would think that the UWS neighborhood, home to a large Jewish community, would have lots of great, local falafel joints. But I have yet to find better chickpea fritters than at Maoz Vegetarian— the international veggie falafel chain, located on 70th and Amsterdam. For just $4.95 you can get a falafel sandwich with your choice of tasty toppings and sauces from their– the best part— do-it-yourself salad bar. Their falafel has the perfect balance of cilantro and parseley and is fried to perfection in heart-friendly canola oil. For more flavor– dress your sandwich with the classics, tabouli salad, hummus and tahini sauce, and add some spicy hot green chili dressing for heat. Stay tuned for a Creative Delites do-it-all-yourself falafel sandwich recipe!
One of my favorite Indian restaurants is Hampton Chutney Co., Upper West Side location. Their dosas are excellent, especially with the vegetarian masala filling and mango chutney. As you can imagine, I was delighted when the owners Gary and Isabel MacGurn decided to share a recipe that they make at home with Creative Delites. The recipe is for Punjabi Shrimp– a spicy, richly flavored dish, inspired by the tomato based sauces of northern India. In trying out the recipe I took Gary’s suggestion for making a vegetarian version, substituting eggplant (or you could use tofu) for the shrimp. Dosas and uttapas are the restaurant’s specialties, but if you would like to make Indian food at home and try out some of the classic spices, like turmeric and cumin, Punjabi is a great introduction.
Punjabi Eggplant Recipe
Makes: 4 servings
Courtesy of Gary & Isabel MacGurn, Hampton Chutney Co.
1 large eggplant
Salt to taste
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
3 tablespoons veggie oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
4 fresh curry leaves
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
½ jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro
1. Season the eggplant with salt. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add the eggplant and cook over moderately high heat until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the eggplant to a plate.
2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and reduce the heat to moderate.
3. Add the turmeric, cumin, and coriander and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
4. Stir in the curry leaves and cook for 30 seconds longer.
5. Add the onion, ginger, jalapeno, and garlic and cook until the onion softens, about 5 minutes; if the mixture seems dry; add up to ¼ cup of water to prevent sticking.
6. Add the tomatoes and the tomato paste and cook until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.
7. Return the eggplant to the skillet and cook, stirring, until they are opaque throughout, about 2 minutes. Season with salt.
8. Transfer the eggplant to a bowl, sprinkle with cilantro and serve.
There are a number of terrific Indian restaurants in NYC, but when I’m in the mood for a light, healthy, inexpensive Indian snack– I always head to Hampton Chutney West Side (464 Amsterdam Ave.) for their addictive dosas and fresh chutneys. I also love that the restaurant posts their nutritional info– only 189 calories and 3 grams of fat per dosa.
I recommend the spiced potato masala dosa ($7.95) with the mango chutney. If you’re not a fan of spicy Indian food, there are plenty of other nontraditional fillings, including roasted tomato, arugula, with jack cheese and grilled portobello mushroom, spinach and roasted onions, with goat cheese.
The dosas taste like delicate, flaky sourdough crepes. The dough is made with rice-and-lentil flour and baked until crisp.
Paper-thin and quite long– about the length of a large sub
Tasty vegetarian, spiced potato and onion filling
Freshly made mango chutney
This smoothie is a great remedy for a New Year’s Eve hangover. There is really no formula. Inspired by the wonderful organic smoothies at Josie’s Restaurant, I decided to make my own tropical frozen treat with organic fat-free vanilla yogurt and fresh fruit. Enjoy!
Fresh Start Smoothie
1 frozen ripe banana, sliced
1 kiwi, sliced
1 mango, sliced
11/2 cups yogurt
1 teaspoon honey
Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve right away.
Nanoosh is one of my favorite places to eat on the UWS. The Mediterranean hummus bar serves up huge portions at affordable prices, and the food is fresh, healthy, and delicious. I particularly enjoy eating at the outdoor tables during the summer– sipping some fruity wine, sharing a hummus plate with David, and people watching near Lincoln Center. During the winter months, I prefer to order take-out and cozy up on my couch, since the restaurant is small and can get pretty packed.
Tonight, I ordered my favorites– a hummus wrap with tahini ($7.25) and a side of quinoa salad with raisins and cranberries ($3.75).
Hummus Wrap: hummus, tahini, organic greens and Mediterranean salad
Quinoa Salad: organic quinoa, red peppers, red onions, organic walnut, dried cranberries, organic raisins
Both dishes are created using only organic ingredients– from the walnuts and raisins to the chickpeas and greens.
If you are looking for hummus on the UWS, this is the place to go! Nanoosh, located at 2012 Broadway, between 68th and 69th Streets, also has a second location at 1273 First Avenue, between 68th and 69th.