Summer spells brunch (and lots of local sprouts) at Bibi Ji

Breakfast Kati Rolls with egg, paneer, green curry leaf, and Thai chili. Photo credit: Blake Bronstad

Summer is here, the days are long, the sun is starting to peek out after months of grey skies, and you might be starting to think about dining al fresco. You’re not alone.

“We take the Indian flavors that we work with, but riff on what we grew up eating or like to see on a brunch menu,” said Alejandro Medina, co-owner of Bibi Ji, a modern Indian restaurant in Santa Barbara that opened last year and just began offering brunch on the patio this summer.

Uni Toast with uni from Sea Stephanie Fish, charcoal loaf from Oat Bakery, and micro daikon from Ojai Sprouts. Photo credit: Blake Bronstad

One of Medina’s favorite ingredients to pick up at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market? Sprouts. You find them on nearly all of the dishes.

Norma Ortiz from Ojai Sprouts and Alejandro Medina from Bibi Ji. Photo by Kathryn Barnes

“The flavor profile is much more concentrated, whether it’s broccoli or kohlrabi or daikon,” said Medina. “It’s condensed, and it adds another element to the dish, not only visually but on the palate.”

Norma Ortiz owns Ojai Sprouts, an indoor farm that grows more than 25 varieties of organic, nutrient-rich sprouts; everything from pea greens, curly daikon radish and sunflower greens to sprouted lentils, black eye peas, cashews, and wheat berries. She supplies Bibi Ji's chefs with all their sprouts.

“When the plant is younger, it’s concentrated nutrition," said Ortiz. "You get a big burst of live enzymes and vitamins in a small quantity.”

Wheatgrass flats take about two weeks to regrow when cut. Photo by Kathryn Barnes

Bibi Ji’s limited brunch menu currently features Uni Toast with local uni, charcoal loaf, micro daikon; Breakfast Kati Rolls with egg, paneer, spinach; Local Ceviche with local white fish, cumin, cilantro; and Lamb Curry Chilaquiles with papadum chips, poached egg, watermelon pico de gallo.