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.
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.
“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.”
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.