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Archive for September, 2009

Back in August, when H. and I were in New York, my dad’s friend from college, Narayan Uncle, and his wife, Indu Auntie, took us out to dinner at Buddakan. I probably wouldn’t have gone there on my own; Buddakan is a trendy, two-level restaurant with a cocktail bar, a room wallpapered with electronic, back-lit books, and another room where the higher wall is paneled with Buddha portraits. (I think there are two more rooms, too). But I’m so glad we tried it because we had a delicious meal filled with food that was a lot of fun to eat. We started with  sublime edamame dumplings that just melted in my mouth, and the pea green colored puree inside each small pouch tasted as though it had  been mixed with truffle oil, though the menu just says they are in a “shallot-sauternes broth.” Clever, and proves that anything with truffle tastes good, but it  sure did work; we ordered two plates and polished them off. Next, we tried the thick cylinders of udon noodles, slicked in peanut sauce and topped with tangy lime sorbet. Maybe the sorbet was gimmicky and the combination of noodles, peanuts and lime is an old standard, but texture was the real pleasure here. Our order of charred asparagus with black bean foam tasted more buttery than I would have expected from a Asian restaurant and our spiced tofu and cashew stir fry with oven dried pineapple was an inventive dish that Hrishikesh (of course) loved. But the standout dish of the evening was the afterthought, the one that sounded most mundane: vegetable rice with coconut curry foam. It came steaming, its fragrance wafting around the table, a soft mound of vegetable-speckled rice alongside a thick and creamy curried coconut sauce. We lapped it up. Desserts were chocolately affairs that didn’t disappoint: the Crying Chocolate and the Chocolate Peanut-Butter Bombe. Oh, and throughout the meal, I sipped on a chipotle-strawberry cocktail that was smoky, spicy and just sweet enough.

Buddakan is Not that Expensive, despite its trend appeal. I would recommend going there when you’ve got a friend to impress.

Buddakan
75 9th Avenue, NY, NY
(Between 15th and 16th)
212.989.6699

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chocolate prune macarons

Over the weekend, Hrishikesh and I made salted caramel butter ice cream. Well- we almost made it- we made the caramel, and added the salted butter, and the cream and milk and egg yolks, thickened the mixture to a custard, strained it into another batch of ice milk, chilled everything overnight and the next morning put it in my brand new ice cream machine, which I brought back from America- only to have it stop running after five minutes. We were using a converter, because American electronics run on 110 v and Indian run on 220 v- but it didn’t help. After letting the machine cool down, we gave it another go and again, after five minutes, it stopped churning. I didn’t want to break my ice cream maker, which Hrishikesh says we can get rewired to the correct voltage (?) so I put the custard back into the fridge and tonight I’m going to churn it in my grandmother’s old machine.

i'm delicious

i'm delicious

Anyway, I had five egg whites leftover from the ice cream so today, feeling particularly ambitious, I attempted to make macarons. Before I met Hrishikesh’s family, I had a hazy concept of macarons- all I knew is that they were an eggy cookie. But Hrishikesh’s family is obsessed with them. Whenever his parents go abroad, they bring back a box of beautiful Sprungli macarons, little almond cookies filled with rich ganache, and the lazy time after dinner suddenly becomes an anticipated event of passing the pastel cookies from person to person and relishing the flowery almond bites.

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