This Sh*t's Delicious

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Tag Archives: Indian

The Best Veggie Burger Recipe Ever (and no, it doesn’t involve tofu) @songsonglol

Alright, I am back after a long hiatus. The whole A-Cocktail-A-Day didn’t really pan out once I got back from Vancouver. I had several epiphanies during my storm chasing trip, the big one being about blogging more, so I jumped on to the the first thing that popped into my head, which was cocktails.

I really like cocktails. But I like blogging about other things too. There’s so many hole-in-wall restaurants that I would like to review. So many people to interview. A single-minded focus on cocktails would be great, but it isn’t the only thing I want to blog about.

Cocktails are still going to be the focus, but just not everyday. I am going to aim to blog everyday, just not only about cocktails.

With that in mind, here’s the first blog post of the week. I organized a BBQ with some friends on Sunday. The weather was a bit shitty, but the food was really good. Song, one of my long-time friends from Engineering was kind enough to make me (?) some veggie burgers. Song’s one of those gifted home chefs that makes her own recipes from scratch. She would be the one “thing” I would bring to a deserted island so I could have gourmet food everyday while waiting to be rescued.

Veggie Burgers (unedited – makes approx. 8 burgers)

Ingredients:

2 cans lentils, rinsed (green or yellow)
1 can six bean blend, rinsed
1.5 cups fresh herbs (loosely packed; mostly basil, carrot top, and a bit of cilantro, but parsley is good in it too!)
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 egg
2 cups shredded vegetables (I used one carrot and like 4 tiny beets and a small jalapeno, but whatever’s around works. I’ve made them with apples and zucchini before.)

Bread crumbs (I think it was nearly 2 cups I needed)
Oil (as needed)

Instructions:

1. Combine 1 can of lentils and 1/2 can of beans into a food processor with the herbs, garlic, cumin, and egg. Blend until it becomes a smooth paste.

2. Transfer the paste into a large bowl. Add the remaining lentils and beans along with the shredded vegetables and 1/3 cup bread crumbs. Stir until well combined.

3. Form into patties.  Pour additional bread crumbs on a plate or shallow dish. Take patties and press them into the crumbs to coat.

4. Fry them on the stove top over medium heat until golden on both sides.  Use oil in the pan liberally.

5. You can eat them after you fry them or store them in the fridge / freezer for a BBQ later!!

———

That’s it! The best thing about these burgers is the sheer amount of protein you consume. I am not really a big fan of those tofu veggie burgers as they often taste rubbery or quite frankly, are pretty bland and tasteless.

Song also likes the chunky texture you get by combining whole beans along with the pureed stuff, but if that’s not your thing, you could puree everything, I suppose.

A great compliment to the burgers was the sweet, tangy Carolina sauce that Song made from the original recipe. The only difference was she didn’t add any white pepper and switched olive oil for butter.

I ended up mixing the Carolina sauce with a little bit of Mango Fire hot sauce and it was absolutely gorgeous.

Let me know how you like this recipe!

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[Cool Sh*t] The Mother of All Hot Sauces–aka How to Get an Anal Ring of Fire & Love it

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IMG_0006In my ever expanding quest to find the best and greatest hot sauces, I have sampled many a generic department store hot sauce – everything ranging from Frank’s Hot Sauce to Colon Cleanser – only to face constant disappointment. Most hot sauces found at Co-op, Safeway, or Superstore are usually either a) not hot enough, or b) are just too bland – they simply don’t pack the emotional punch. The only hot sauce to date that I can respect (and that can own my ass) is that Sri Racha hot sauce that gets commonly served at the pizza-by-the-slice places. But even then, my body’s gotten so used to it that I no longer experience the coveted anal ring of fire.

On my way back from ‘boarding at Lake Louise last week, I had the sudden brain flash to stop off at the Grizzly Paw to stock up on some delicious local, hand-crafted sodas and beers. As I walked into the store, I got momentarily distracted with all the cool Grizzly Paw merchandise. Turns out it was a serendipitous distraction as my eyes immediately gravitated to the “hot sauce” corner. “What’s this?” you say. Since when did The Paw start selling hot sauces? I don’t know, but did I really care? With awesome titles like “Acid Rain” and “Grumpy Bear”, I couldn’t resist taking a look…

To be honest, I was pretty sceptical: after years of disappointment, I roll my eyes at warnings like “This hot sauce is extremely hot. Use at your own risk.” Really? I bathe in this shit, biaaatch, I am pretty sure it’s not that fucking hot. Nevertheless, I turned over the hilariously titled hot sauce called “Alberta Crude” to examine the ingredients: tomato paste, jalapeno peppers, habanero peppers, peri-peri peppers…wait what? Habanero peppers? Surely, you jest? My eyes deceive me…

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But, no, it turns out my eyes hadn’t deceived me. The ingredient list indeed contained habanero peppers, one of THE highest ranked chilli peppers on the Scoville Heat Index. The HI on these babies range anywhere from 325-570,000…and I finally found a hot sauce made out of them.

I was pretty excited at this point, to say the least. I took a look at the other offerings and settled on “Mother of all Hot Sauces” as my second choice. This one had even more AWESOME warnings like “Not for people with heart or respiratory problems” and “Give yourself a natural high…without working out or pumping iron!!”

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YES.

I sped home and eagerly opened up the bottles. My initial instinct was to dump a whole bunch of Mother of All Hot Sauces (MoAHS) on my samosas, but common sense prevailed. You respect the habanero, no matter how much heat you think you can handle. So, I dropped a dash of MoAHS on a spoon and gave it a taste…

SH*T! THIS FUCKING SH*T IS HOT! My mouth and throat started burning instantly. I could feel sweat pangs forming on my forehead. My eyes started watering slightly and I felt the onset of a small headache. And this wasn’t the kind of heat that goes away after an instance. It stays with you, burning a hole in your throat and stomach. You don’t drink water to quench heat like this – you have to go straight for milk or yogurt!

Unfortunately, MoAHS is so hot that your taste buds can’t really process any other flavours – your brain just gets overwhelmed by the sheer intensity of the heat. This isn’t necessarily a pleasant sensation (as you might have figured out by now), but it is worth the $5 I spent on the bottle. I suspect that as my taste buds eventually get used to the heat, I will start tasting the other inherent flavours present in this potent creation.

Next up was Alberta Crude. The warning signs on the label were slightly less frightening: instead of being “extremely hot”, this one was only “very hot”. Haha. I tried this one by itself as well and was actually rather pleased by its mellow (er) heat index. My taste buds could detect hints of other flavours – the overall effect was that of a smoky, sweet BBQ sauce with more kick to it than a regular BBQ sauce. It went really well with the samosas I had at home, especially as the tangy notes in AC were reminiscent of tamarind chutney that samosas get traditionally served with.

Overwhelmed by how awesome these hot sauces were, I sat down at the computer to do some research on the interwebs. I knew that The Paw didn’t make the Hatari brand of hot sauces; their selection was limited to the beer-infused Grumpy Bear brand that they made in-house. Turns out there is an entire website dedicated to these hot sauces. This isn’t some mom & pop operation, it’s actually an entire line of hot sauces, bbq sauces, and dried spices that you can buy online or at retailers. BUT best of all….

IT’S ACTUALLY MADE IN CALGARY! What the what…?!IMG_0030

Turns out “Sam”, the owner of the Hatari Bros. brand, was born in Africa, but eventually settled in good ol’ Calgary, Canada for some reason and has been pumping out his potent creations throughout Canada and US. Even the name “hatari” is a Swahili reference to a chilli pepper discovered in South Central Africa…though I wasn’t able to find any references to this particular hot pepper in my quick 1 min. Google search. Also, Acid Rain, which is one of the milder hot sauces, was actually an award winner at the Fiery Food Challenge, 2000. Damn, Hatari Bros. hot sauces have been around since then? #fail.

The next morning, as I was peeing, I felt a tinge of burning sensation at the tip of my penis. All was good in the world again. Order and balance had been restored. Although slightly peeved that I didn’t know about such an epic creation right in my own city, I am nonetheless proud that some of the hottest hot sauces known to man are made in Calgary!

Good eatin’!

-Kiran

Review of Indonesian Kitchen

Indonesian Kitchen is officially named Calgary Sweet House because they originally focused on Indian food and desserts. On urbs (what I call urbanspoon), there is one listing for Calgary Sweet House, and a separate listing for Indonesian Kitchen. They are, in fact, the same place.

INDONESIAN KITCHEN IS IN ALL CAPS, HOW CAN YOU MISS IT?

To make it even more confusing, when you look for this place, its main signage says Calgary Sweet House with Indonesian Kitchen printed on a smaller banner on the window underneath. The place has apparently been open for five years, but only in the past year have they started serving Indonesian food alongside Indian food (on separate menus). I am considered the Gordie Howe of urban navigation in some circles, so I didn’t have trouble finding this restaurant, but I can how some people might (ie. me –Richard).

Richard and I came for the Indonesian food. The owner is actually Indonesian, but I am sure she does a fine job with the Indian food too.

Alright, story time:

The menu picture that almost ended KentI got there first and decided to take a wide photo of the restaurant from the inside. Immediately after I took the photo, this big burly dude asks “was I in the photo?”. No smile was made, he looked pissed. I think I offended him and at that instant my testicles ascended into the depths of my body cavity. I was going to die that night.

My reply was “um, no sir”, and I sat down. I take a photo of the menu because us at TSD (This Sh*t’s Delicious) folk tend to forget names of dishes. BBD (Big Burly Dude) then asks “are you stealing food ideas for your own restaurant?”. This place is in Forest Lawn. If I were to disappear in this lawless land, no one would know! My response was “um sir, I am actually writing a review for a food blog”. Five long seconds passed before he said “oh cool” and went back to his meal.

Now to the food:

This picture makes these look better than they actually are :P

(Kent didn’t take notes and it took us 3 months to get around to writing this, so it’s all me from here! –Richard)

The first thing out was a plate of some sort of salty, southeast-asian tasting chip – it had an… interesting flavour, but I wasn’t a huge fan of it – it was rather stale and unevenly salted/spiced.  Hey, at least they were free!

We ordered a variety of things to split, as the only Indonesian food I’d ever had previously was from a food court in Singapore and I was eager to try something new.  Kiran wasn’t with us so we took the opportunity to order all meat.  Our server recommended the deep fried wontons to start, and we went with the rendang stew and satay skewers to flesh things out.

Who doesn't love the deep fryer?

The wontons were kind of floury tasting, but nice and crispy – and the dipping sauce had that complex tangy/vomit-y (not in a bad way) taste that you only seem to get with Southeast asian cuisine (tamarind-y?  My flavour vocabulary is rather limited here, sadly – if you know what causes the flavour I’m talking about though leave a comment!).  The rendang was pretty good – rich like a curry, but not spicy at all.  The satay skewers had a very unique flavour – kind of grassy, very peanutty, and with a sort of lofty bitterness that reminded me of vodka.  Also, they put fried onions on everything (or something resembling onions, as they didn’t have that strong of a taste).

We were also treated to a plate of ayam goren ibu sari – quite the mouthful!  What was this, you ask?  “Mother’s recipe”, we were told – piping hot and very tasty chicken wings!  Probably the best dish we had there, and we didn’t even order it!

Curry? Nope, just rendang!A satay that's actually peanutty - fancy that!Awesome wings, and not just because they were on the house!I only counted 27 layers... rip-off!

To top it off we got a 30-layer cake, which sounded like a real pain in the ass to make.  It smelled warm and cinammony, and it had subtle yet exotic flavours that I can’t quite describe.  You’ll have to try it yourself!  Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention that the coconut juice has floaty bits in it – just like Orbitz, if anyone remembers that.

Doesn't this look like a nice summer drink? Oh yeah, that's when we were there.All in all, the food was decent, though the servings seemed kind of small given the price and the foot wasn’t all that hot (though maybe we were just eating too slow).  The Indian menu, on the other hand, seemed damn cheap from what I saw (lots of dishes under $10, which I’m pretty sure isn’t typical in Calgary!).  The service was good, but it wasn’t very busy so hard to say what it might be like on a different day.

The owner (the husband half of it, anyway) sat down for a chat with us near the end, and was quite the talkative guy – apparently he’s quite the well-traveled renaissance man.  Car importer, correctional officer, school board member, restaurant owner – oh, the stories he could tell!

Summary

The food was hit and miss (though the hits were really quite good), but the people and place were cool (there’s even a stage there where they hold speeches, weddings, and other events), so if you’re ever in the area and in the mood for something different, it’s worth checking out.

-Kent & Richard

Ranking

Richard Kent
Ambiance Interesting TBD
Service 5/6 TBD
Plating 1/2 TBD
Authenticity 5/6? Who knows TBD
Taste 4/6 TBD
Value 3.5/6 TBD
Overall 18.5/26 = 71% TBD

Indonesian Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Quick Review of Pushpita Indian Restaurant

Summary: an adequate Indian restaurant that is best served as a quick fix to your Indian craving

After having spent a couple of days in the metropolis of Northern Alberta known as Peace River, I was ready to come back to good ol’ Calgary and savour the sights and sounds of a big city once again. I was super-hungry getting off the flight, so the first thing I did after dropping my bags off was to head out to Pushpita, which is only a few blocks from my place. I have been eyeing this restaurant for a while now, but hadn’t had a chance to patronize it. Today was going to be the day…

I didn’t want to hang around and have the full restaurant experience, so I decided to get a couple of items to go: paneer masala ($10.99), dal ($9.99), and garlic naan ($2.50). The items weren’t over-priced, but considering Pushpita isn’t in downtown central, I was expecting the prices to be a bit lower. Their take-out lunch buffet is also $10.99, so ordering items a la carte, unfortunately, is not going to be a an everyday occurrence.

Anyways, onto the food.  The paneer masala was the first item I wanted to try as paneer (Indian cottage cheese) in anything is one of my most favourite things. In this case, it was paneer cooked in a (watery) broth of bell peppers, onions, carrots, and Indian spices.

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I like to taste the broth first as it’s the part that’s exploding with flavour. I was a bit surprised and disappointed with the broth: surprised ‘cause the broth was spicier than I was expecting; disappointed ‘cause it tasted like the chef threw in a much of chilli powder just to spice things up. The paneer was also a bit uneven as there were some pieces that were soft and chewy whereas other pieces were harder – odd as both varieties tasted the same. Overall, I enjoyed the dish, but I have had better.

Next up was the daal, which was a perfect dish for a cloudy day. Daal is a simple dish that consists of lentils in a simple broth mix of mustard seeds, cumin, and red chillies. It’s one of the most basic of Indian dishes that you shouldn’t, nay, can’t screw up. In retrospect, I should have had it after the paneer masala as the more complex spice mix simply overwhelmed the simpler daal. It tasted alright, but I have nothing really to add apart from that.

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Where the naan in all this, you might ask? The naan served as the sponge to soak up all the spicy goodness in both dishes. Once again, the naan was nothing to write home about: although it was soft, it was also weirdly chewy. The end effect was that it felt like I was chewing on doughy naan. It was edible no doubt, but it’s nothing compared to buttery, flaky, soft naan served at more well-heeled establishments.

So, all-in-all, I wasn’t blown away by this little restaurant. I was really hoping to discover a hidden jewel, perhaps much like Canada Dosa Corner, but found instead, a mediocre restaurant that will serve as a temporary fix for my Indian craving from time to time.

The final saving grace is that they have a pretty extensive menu consisting of meat, poultry, seafood, and vegetarian dishes (that’s probably part of the reason for the mediocre food – spread too thin), so I just might get some other vegetarian options to taste. Stay tuned!

Pushpita Fine Indian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Review of Canada Dosa Corner

Canada Dosa Corner (CDS) has been on my hit list for a long time. It fits every definition of a hole-in-the-wall place (HITW). In a seedy part of town? Check. Ethnic clientele? Check. Almost hilarious lack of attention to detail and decor? Check. Owner and chef from original country? Check. I could go on. To say that I was excited to check out this place would be an understatement.

CDS’s claim to fame is their ginormous dosas (crepes) made from rice flour and are a staple of South Indian cuisine (kinda like pasta for Italians). Unlike most French crepes, dosas are a traditionally savoury dish served either plain or stuffed with meat or potatoes and eaten with sambar (vegetable broth).

We sat around and twiddled our thumbs for a few minutes before our server came out. He was short line cook from Bangalore, India whose family has been in the catering business for generations. I ordered the Mysore Masala Dosa and Idli-Sambar whereas Kent & Richard ordered Minced Goat Dosa and Sri Lankan Lamb Curry. In addition, Richard ordered Mango Lassi while Kent & I decided to stick with Sri Lankan chai.

Kiran’s Thoughts

I have been eating dosas since I was a kid and was excited to finally find an authentic South Indian eatery as opposed to the saturated North Indian fare that one typically finds in Calgary. I couldn’t resist ordering Idli Sambar (steamed rice cakes) for my appetizer. Like dosas, I have been eating idlis like a good boy since I was 5 and was anxious to compare them to the ones my mum makes at home.  The Mysore Masala Dosa came stuffed with mashed potatoes, onions, green chillies all cooked in aromatic Indian spices. All dosas came with the standard sambar and two assorted chutneys.

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As you can tell from the above picture, these dosas are frickin’ massive. Believe it or not, that’s the way they are made back home. When your portions get this big, it is pointless to maintain any decorum by using utensils – I dug in with my hands, using my fingers to tear the dosa into smaller chunks and dipping them into either one the sambar, onion chutney, or tomato chutney.

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IMG_0031.CR2The dosa was exactly like my mum makes it – mix of crispy and soft with just the right amount of salt in the batter. The stuffed potato also was perfectly done. The prize, however, had to go to the sambar. It was everything I could ask for – a perfect blend of spicy, salty, tangy, and umami. It was like being transported back to a food stall in India with every bite. Absolutely fabulous.

Idli is typically had as an appetizer/breakfast, but is a time-consuming dish to make as the rice cakes have to be steamed. The idlis were piping hot when they came out, fresh out of the steamer. They were a tad stickier than I am used to but were fluffy and moist.  The idli also came with the standard thoroughfare of sambar, onion and tomato chutney. IMG_0055.CR2

The only issues I had with CDS was the relatively poor service and the off-putting taste of the chutneys. There was a moment in time where the server completely forgot about us and we had to ask him a couple of times to refill our water. Also, the Sri Lankan chai that Kent and I ordered turned up towards the middle of the meal instead of the beginning…or even the end. As for the chutneys, I just wasn’t a big fan of them. They had a weird off-putting taste which I can’t describe that completely turned me off them.

Richard’s Ruminations

The place smelled delicious even when standing outside in the parking lot – that was surely a sign of good things to come!  Entering the restaurant, we were surprised to see that it was completely empty, given how much hype this place has been getting (though there were a few tables with reservation placards on them).  Like many an ethnic restaurant, they had sweets prominently displayed in glass cases, which caused some excitement in the group (not for me though; I’m not a fan of Asian desserts in general).  The menu, on the other hand, sparked my interest substantially – ultimately, Kent and I decided to split a goat dosa as well as a Sri-Lankan lamb curry.

The curry came out first, quite quickly (probably one of the few things that is slow-cooked and hence already made – the waiter made sure to inform us that they freshly cook virtually everything upon order).  The curry came with rice by default (as it should, IMO), a nice change from many places where prices for curry may seem deceptively low if you don’t take into account the extra rice order.  The lamb was melt-in-your-mouth tender and the depth of spices was terrific, though there were a lot of bones in the curry.

Then came the dosas.  These things were f*cking huge!  They were literally the length of your torso and looked like they could feed a small country.  The crepes themselves were thick (for a crepe) yet crispy, with decent filling and a few nice chutnies on the side.  I also ordered a mango lassi, which ended up being kind of plain tasting.

Kent’s Two Cents

Everyone, this place is effin amazing. South Indian/Sri Lankan cuisine is hard to come by in Calgary. The dosas are gigantic and could be ordered on its own if you are looking for a meal for yourself. And if you are not that adventurous, the more well known Indian dishes are also excellent. It might be my favourite place in the city for butter chicken, and I NEVER order butter chicken at an Indian restaurant (its equivalent to the California roll for sushi for me). The service could use a bit of work depending on the server, but that is mostly due to miscommunication and a language barrier. Don’t let that stop you from visiting Dosa Corner, everything there is absolutely delicious.

Summary

It is hard not to see why CDS was recently crowned as the hidden jewel of Calgary 2011 by Avenue Magazine. Although the service was ok, and the location out of the way, CDS is an must for everyone looking for a taste of authentic South Indian cuisine. This is definitely where the real locals eat. I took a huge dump the next with a solid ring of fire around my anus and that’s how I knew it was good times. Thank you, CDS!

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Ranking

  Kiran Kent Richard
Ambiance N/A 4.5/6 4/6
Service 3/6 4.5/6 3/6
Plating 6/6 4.5/6 6/6
Taste 5/6 6/6 10/12
Authenticity 6/6 6/6 6/6
Value 5.5/6 5/6 5.5/6
Overall 25.5/30 = 85% 30.5/36 = 85% 35.5/42 = 85%

Canada Dosa Corner on Urbanspoon

Review of Wicked Chili

In our relentless quest to expand our gastronomic palates, we look to all kinds of sources for ideas on new restaurants to try – in this case, Groupon (or one of those similar sites) was the hook that pulled us in with a $40 food for $20 voucher.  Having decided to finally check it out, Kiran called to make reservations, only to find out that they were “very busy” and essentially full.  Just to be sure, Kent went to check it out in person and discovered that the place was half empty.  Perhaps the place is much busier at lunch, but it still seemed odd that the person on the phone was willing to turn us away when there were tons of available seats.

The venue is a curious little joint on 17th Ave. and 4th St., right next to La Casita Mexicana, with which it shares ownership (and apparently wait staff).  The interior is styled with some Indian-looking architectural features, along the lines of a typical budget Indian buffet-style restaurant.

Kiran thought this place was supposed to specialize in Hakka cuisine (the Indian-Chinese fusion style, not traditional Chinese Hakka), however to his severe disappointment (as you’ll see below), it turned out to be a mere footnote on the menu.  The Hakka menu was made up of a measly 5 or 6 dishes with no descriptions, only a strange statement that you check with the waiter for “prices and availability” of these specific dishes.

Richard’s Ruminations

We started just by ordering drinks (chai for me and Kiran), though had we known how long it would take between ordering drinks and food,  we would probably have ordered everything at once.  Slow service was the name of the game that evening – not too surprising given that there seemed to be only 2 waiters serving both Wicked Chili and La Casita Mexicana, with a few more busboys running drinks and plates.  No wonder they tried to turn us away!  The chai was alright, though unsweetened – I felt it could have used a bit more spice and less tannins (it would have helped if the staff actually brought out sugar with the tea instead of making me walk up to them and demand sugar –Kiran).

Aloo Kulcha – it’ll blow your mind

Much to Kent’s dismay, just as we were all getting ready to order the Baingan Bharta (eggplant mash), we were informed that they were out of vegetable samosas and eggplants! We ended up ordering a number of dishes to share, including till mill zhinga (masala shrimp with naan), okra masala, paneer pakoras, Hakka noodles, aloo kulcha (potato-filled naan) and lamb vindaloo, with a side of saffron rice.

The till mill zhinga was essentially a sweet and sour shrimp, though not as sweet or sour as what you might typically find in Chinese restaurants.  Sadly, the shrimp was overcooked and hard, but the naan that came along with it was deliciously light and well buttered.  The okra dish was ok but rather salty; similarly, the Hakka noodles were on the salty side as well (which I thought was fine as I felt it was a rather plain dish to begin with – just stir fried egg noodles with cabbage, peppers, onions and chili flakes).  The vindaloo had a nice kick to it, and had a good mix of meat and potatoes.  Likely the best dish of the night was the aloo kulcha – like a perogie but better, with a silky potato and cilantro interior and a buttery naan exterior.

Kiran’s Judgement

This place is getting a lot of buzz and I don’t know why.  Maybe cause it’s on the prime 17th Ave SW strip. Either way, they have been pissing me off for weeks. Every time I would call to make a reservation, they would be “fully booked.” I am guessing this was just a ploy employed by the owner to hype up the place and make it sound super popular.

Another thing that irritated me about the restaurant was it’s supposed Hakka cuisine offerings. The wickedchili.ca website clearly states that it offers Hakka cuisine, and has an entire menu dedicated to it under the Oh Calcutta! brand, which is oddly at the same address as Wicked Chili. Clearly, what happened is the owners tried to make a go at it with Hakka cuisine, didn’t work out, switched to Indian cuisine, and left a few Hakka dishes in there so as to qualify for the “Hakka” moniker.

The third thing that pissed me off was the restauranteur’s reluctance to make any of the Hakka cuisine dishes claiming that it would take too long – I actually had to cajole him into making the dish for me. What the hell kind of restaurant refuses to make a dish cause it takes too long? Don’t fucking include it on the menu then if you don’t want to make it. Okra and Hakka noodles – who orders this shit?  Oh yeah, Kent and Kiran.

All the above would have been tolerable/ignorable had the food been actually good. I ordered the Hakka noodles and it was a disappointment. It was good, but only because it was greasy as fuck and was doused in salt. What wouldn’t taste good with lots of grease and salt ? To boot, the veggies didn’t serve any purpose except as fillers. It was like putting a scoop of noodles in your mouth, followed my a fistful of shredded cabbage to chase the noodles down. W.T.F.

The only redeeming quality about this restaurant were the paneer pakoras and aloo kulcha, which were straight out of heaven. I food-gasmed in my brain and mouth after one bite.  It didn’t hurt that the naan was slathered in butter, and hence, was super soft and moist. The decision to sprinkle the paneer pakoras with chaat masala was inspired and added a touch of tanginess that was very addictive.

Ultimately, the aloo kulcha is pretty much the only reason to visit this “restaurant.” These guys badly need a restaurant intervention from Gordon Ramsay..

Kent’s 2 Cents

This vindaloo was so spicy that it made this picture blurry – actually it is just the phone cameraSo about the food? It actually wasn’t that bad. I enjoyed the amount of spice that was in the okra and lamb; not enough to give you the “ring-of-fire” the next morning, but had the right amount to stimulate your senses. The Hakka noodles tasted fine, but it was guilty of false advertisement. It was more Chinese, not enough Indian. The spices you associate Indian food with were absent from the dish. Both the okra and the Hakka noodles were a bit too salty for my taste. If they dialed the salt down a little, it would taste much better. The highlight of my visit was the potato naan. It consisted of carb on carb, doused in grease. In other words, potato inside naan bread, brushed with ghee (butter). Extremely filling, and would work really well with any curry or sauce. Hell, I could eat it on its own everyday. Butter really does make anything taste good.

Wicked Chili is a decent Indian restaurant with some disappointing service that undermined the overall experience. Prices were nothing out of the ordinary (as far as Indian restaurants go), and the food was a mix of a few hits and a few misses. Maybe next time I will visit when it is not a Friday when everyone is finishing work.

Summary

Ultimately, I found the food to be pretty good overall (with a few misses), but the service could definitely have been better – it certainly seemed busy enough to warrant additional staff, especially if they were going to be sharing with La Casita Mexicana (which I think was even busier). If you’re looking for Hakka cuisine, though, you could probably do better elsewhere.

-Richard

Ranking

  Richard Kiran Kent
Ambiance 3/6 3/6 5/6
Service 2/6 2/6 2/6
Plating 3/6 3/6 5/6
Taste 4/6 4/6 4/6
Authenticity 4/6 5/6 4/6
Value 4/6 3/6 5/6
Overall 20/36 = 56% 19/36 = 53% 25/36 = 69%

Wicked Chili (17 Ave SW) on Urbanspoon

A New Twist on an Old Tradition

Potato Stir-fry I often catch myself thinking I was a better improviser in the kitchen. It takes a lot of skill to be able to take what you have in the pantry and the fridge and churn out a delicious dish quickly and without much prep work or planning.

Well, tonight was the night where I got to practice my iron chef like mad skills and make something delicious in less than 30 min. using ingredients I already had. It’s a twist on a dish I have seen my mum make dozens of times when she didn’t have the energy to prepare an elaborate meal. It’s a pretty simple dish involving potatoes, onions, and capsicum. Here’s the recipe:

2 medium potatoes

1 medium onion

1 medium capsicum

1 small green chilli chopped

1 clove garlic minced

2-3 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp caraway seeds

1 tbsp garam masala powder

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp turmeric (for color)

salt to taste

handful of freshly chopped coriander for garnishing

The nice thing about preparing this dish is that you pretty much add all ingredients at once and sit tight. You don’t have to worry about sweating the onions, softening the potatoes or any of that bullshit. Just chop the onions, potatoes, and capsicum to approximately even sizes so they cook quickly and evenly.

In a wok, heat the olive oil on medium for a couple of minutes and add the green chilli, garlic, and caraway seeds. Fry for a couple of minutes until the garlic starts to brown and all onions, potatoes, and capsicum to the wok. Mix all ingredients evenly so the vegetables are all coated with a nice golden layer of olive oil.

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Add the garam masala, cumin, coriander, paprika, and turmeric and continue mixing to season all the vegetables. Fry for 15-20 min. or until the potatoes are soft.

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Add salt to taste. In my case, I didn’t add any turmeric, but that’s just personal preference. Enjoy!

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Peace out, bitches.

-Kiran