Chinatown's Finest; Ayurvedic Delicacies; Safe Fish; Diet and Love; Vegetarian Delights

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Carl Chu is the author of "Finding Chinese Food in Los Angeles" published by Crossbridge Publishing. He spoke about Foo Chow Restaurant, 949 N Hill St, Chinatown.

Recommended dishes:

  • Conch dishes (the poor man's abalone)
  • Meatball special, looks like a wonton but the skin is made from pounded fish or pork. It's chewy and crunchy.

Arun Deva can be found at City Yoga in West Hollywood, 323-654-2125 or email him at

Indian Rice Pudding

Serves 2-4

The legend goes that when the Buddha began to eat for nourishment again after his extended fast, this is the food he ate. One of the most Sattvic (balancing) of all foods, it is one of the few desserts that Ayurveda considers suitable after a meal. Generally, Ayurveda believes desserts to be heavy in nature and therefore they tend to slow down the digestive process if eaten after meals. So eat your dessert first!


  • 1/2 cup Basmati rice
  • 3 cups milk (organic, if possible)
  • 1/8 tspn saffron threads
  • 4-6 cardamom pods split open. (Use powder if unavailable)
  • 3-5 spoons Turbinado sugar or Sucanat or maple syrup.
Wash rice several times in cold water till the water is clear. Then soak in warm water for 20 minutes. Meanwhile soak the saffron in the milk. In a wet saucepan, pour in the milk and add the cardamom pods. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, add the drained rice and stir well. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally till the mixture is reduced by one-third. (Takes up to an hour or more) Stir in the sugar and test for desired sweetness. Add more if required. Remove the Cardamom pods and let cool. (Can be eaten cold, needs more sugar or hot, needs less sugar)
Optional: add in one teaspoon slivered almonds.
Optional: add in a pinch of cardamom powder.


Kitchari means mixture, usually of two grains. There are many different versions, some with vegetables. One kitchari recipe, which is particularly nourishing and easy to digest, is given here. This recipe is used in Ayurveda during cleansings and to break a fast.


  • 2 Tb. Ghee: Clarified butter.(Organic, if possible)
  • Pinch, Turmeric powder
  • Pinch, Asafetida (Hinga)
  • Spices:
    • 1/2 inch slivered ginger
    • pinch crushed black peppercorn
    • pinch each cumin, coriander and fennel seeds
  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup Mung beans (split green or yellow or red)
  • 7 cups boiling Water (Pure)
  • Sea Salt: To taste
  1. Carefully pick over the rice and split mung beans to remove all stones and what not.
  2. Wash this mixture in at least two changes of water and drain.
  3. Saut- the turmeric and asafetida in the ghee.
  4. Add the rice and mung beans and saut- one or two minutes.
  5. Add seven cups of boiling water and simmer for 30 minutes or until the grains are done.
  6. Add the spices.

Boil water, bring to a simmer, add spices and let simmer for 10 mins. Strain.
  • Vata tea equal parts of ground ginger, cumin, coriander
  • Pitta tea equal parts of ground cumin, coriander and fennel
  • Kapha tea equal parts of ground ginger and cinnamon with a pinch of ground clove.

Jim Humphreys is the Regional Director of the National Stewardship Council. To download or search fish that are safe to eat, go to:

Cynthia Sass is a registered dietician and health educator. Her book is called, "Your Diet is Driving Me Crazy: When Food Conflicts Get in the Way of Your Love Life" published by Marlowe and Co.

These recipes are from Jack Bishop's "A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen" published by Houghton Mifflin.

Savory Corn Griddle Cakes
Serves 3 or 4 as a main course

  • 4 medium ears of corn, husks and silks removed
  • 1 ounce cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for cooking the griddle cakes
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or salsa
  1. Place a platter on the middle oven rack and heat the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Grate the corn on the large holes or a box grater set inside a large bowl until the cobs are clean. Discard the cobs. Stir the cheese, cilantro, milk and eggs and melted butter into the corn until smooth. With a rubber spatula, fold in the four, baking powder, and salt until no streaks of flour remain.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and lightly grease it with butter. Fill a 1/4 cup measure with batter and pour the batter into the hot pan to make a round cake. Repeat until the pan is filled with griddle cakes (you should be able to fit 4 griddle cakes in the pan.) Cook, flipping the griddle cakes once, until lightly browned on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Use a spatula to transfer the griddle cakes to the warmed platter in the oven. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve with sour cream or salsa.

Tender Lettuce and Peach Salad with Pumpkin Seeds and Sour Orange Vinaigrette
Serves 4 as a side dish

  • 1/4 cup hulled green pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tbspn fresh lime juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 cups packed tender lettuces torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 medium peaches, halved, pitted and cut into 1/2 inch thick wedges
  1. Place the pumpkin seeds in a small skillet set over medium heat. Toast, shaking the pan occasionally to turn the seeds, until they are fragrant and begin to pop, about 3 minutes. Transfer the seeds to a plate.
  2. Add the orange juice to the empty skillet and cook over medium heat until it becomes syrupy and reduces to about 2 tablespoons, about 15 minutes. Transfer the reduced orange juice to a small bowl and cool. Whisk in the lime juice, salt and pepper to taste and then the oil.
  3. Place the lettuce, peaches, and toasted pumpkin seeds in a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the salad, toss to coat evenly, and serve.

Shredded Zucchini Frittata with Parmesan
Serves 2 to 4 as a main course

  • 3 medium zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced fresh herb leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. trim the ends from the zucchini. Shred the zucchini using the large holes on a box grater or the shredding disk of a food processor. Wrap the shredded zucchini in several layers of paper towels or in a kitchen towel and squeeze gently. Continue squeezing, using new towels if necessary, until the zucchini is fairly dry.
  2. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the zucchini and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the herb and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Meanwhile, beat the eggs and cheese in a large bowl. Move an oven rack to the top position and heat the broiler.
  4. When the zucchini is tender, add the egg mixture to the pan and stir gently with a fork to incorporate the zucchini evenly into the eggs. Cook over medium-low heat, occasionally sliding a spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen the frittata, until the bottom of the frittata is golden brown and the eggs are runny just on top, about 8 minutes.
  5. Place the pan directly under the broiler and broil just until the top is golden brown and set, 1 to 2 minutes. Do not let the frittata burn. Slide the frittata onto a large platter and cut it into wedges to serve or cool it in the pan and serve at room temperature.