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Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.

Vegetarian Indian Through a Barbecue Lens

The masala dosas at Madura Indian Cuisine are good enough, but the chutneys that accompany them are spectacular, especially the tomato and coconut versions, says mdg. In fact, "dosa variations seem to be like barbecue variations," mdg theorizes: "Madras Cafe is more like Texas style where the dosa is the star and the chutney, if any, is secondary; Madura is more like Kansas City where the chutney plays a more central role, though the dosa itself is still very important. One's not better than the other, it's just a different stylistic emphasis."

Madura specializes in the vegetarian cuisine of India's southernmost state, Tamil Nadu. (Madras, a.k.a. Chennai, is a city in Tamil Nadu.) zartemis, a big fan of Madura's thalis, or combo meals, says they're too generous to finish, featuring more variety in vegetable curries than most other places. However, zartemis prefers the rava dosas at Saravana Bhavan, but not SB's madhouse atmosphere.

Madura Indian Cuisine [South Bay]
1635 Hollenbeck Avenue, Sunnyvale

408-245-2111

Madras Cafe [South Bay]
1177 W. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale
408-737-2323

Saravana Bhavan USA [South Bay]
1305 S. Mary Ave, Sunnyvale
408-616-7755

Discuss: Madura Indian Cuisine in Sunnyvale

Ssssh! Burmese Goat Curry Is a Secret Special



Larkin Express's occasional special of goat curry won't appear on the menu, but word of mouth makes all 10 servings go fast, says Cynsa, who describes it as "a delicious $8.50 serving of tender falling-off-the-bone chunks of goat in a rich curry sauce that is not too spicy." Make sure to order a side of rice so none of the sauce escapes.

Larkin Express Burmese Kitchen [Tenderloin]
452 Larkin Street, San Francisco

415-474-5569

Discuss: Burmese Kitchen's Special of the Day: Goat Curry

Overheard on the San Francisco Boards

"Flying Fish falls on the correct side of the homegrown-touristy dichotomy ... There's no view to speak of (unlike all of the awful places at Pillar Point Harbor in HMB), and the food here is far better." - mikeh on Flying Fish Grill in Half Moon Bay

"The thought of spicy Lao sausages in a sandwich sounds pretty good to me." - munchies247 on a sandwich at Pal's Take Away

"It is unfair to judge a place by the soft opening ... but since it is already very good, and my early read is that this place is going to be great, people should know." - jmarek on Barbacco, the next-door sibling to Perbacco

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How to Fold a Wonton

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The apotheosis of wrapper and filling. ... WATCH THE VIDEO

How to Wrap a Dumpling

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Do You Eat Food off the Floor?

Riffing on a Connecticut College study that found that you actually have about 30 seconds (not five) to pick up and eat food that you've dropped on the floor before it gets bacteria-laden, San Francisco's SFoodie blog gives us "The 30-Second Rule: A Decision Tree."

If you've dropped something on the ground and you need to know if it's still edible, simply follow the flowchart to find out the food's fate. Funny, I can't help noticing that "eat it" is the most popular option—something I agree with, particularly if no one is around to see you picking up your lolly and clapping it right back into your mouth without so much as a token rinse.

Do you eat food after you drop it on the floor?

Already voted? See results.

Half-Hour Dinners with Baked Fish

Baked fish fillets or steaks make easy, no-fuss meals, as using the oven is an easy way to cook dishes low in added fat.

Will Owen bakes fish in fresh salsa, such as pico de gallo, to which he adds capers and olive oil. He makes a bed of salsa, adds thick fillets or a double layer of thin fillets, covers with more salsa, and bakes at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes. pasuga bakes salmon smothered in salsa and says, "The salsa keeps the fish very moist."

millygirl bakes fish in parchment with orange juice, a touch of olive oil, sliced fennel, a few black olives, red onion, herbs, salt, and pepper. "OMG, it is wonderful," she says. "I sometimes even add some rice or very small pasta. I've even served this dish for company and everyone loves how flavourful it is."

Veracruz-style red snapper "is always a good bet for healthy, delicious baked fish," says goodhealthgourmet. She also likes black sea bass with Moroccan vegetables and chile sauce.

valerie is a fan of a halibut with capers, olives, and tomatoes. janniecooks recommends cod in fennel-tomato broth, but thinks a shot of Pernod "is necessary to bring out the fennel flavor."

Discuss: your fave baked fish recipe

Taming Rapini’s Bitterness

Rapini, also called broccoli rabe, is a green with a bitter bite that "can be toned down by making it compete for attention with other flavors: sweet, salt, sour, umami. Or with spice," says Junie D. Bitterness also varies from bunch to bunch, she adds. Many also find that briefly blanching it before further cooking can reduce bitterness.

Favorite hound takes on rapini:

• Pasta with sautéed rapini, spicy italian sausage, golden raisins, garlic, chicken broth, and pecorino.
• Rapini with anchovies, garlic, and chiles sautéed in olive oil. It can then be served as a side, used in soup, and tossed with pasta, a classic treatment. mbfant blanches the rapini in boiling water before sautéing, lifts it out, and then cooks the pasta in the same water.
• Sautéed with garlic and oil, topped with tomato sauce, and used as a sandwich filling.

Discuss: Rapini