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Cumin seed vs. caraway seed

Persian cumin if you are referring to Iranian cumin is actually black cumin. It is smaller and darker than the typical cumin used in North America. It is also a lot more earthy and has a stronger, more destinct smell.

Caraway resembles the cumin used in North America and is easily mistaken in looks. The flavour profiles of cumin and caraway are actually very different.

Many places mix up similar looking ingredients. My wife always makes fun of a famous food blogger who couldn't tell the difference between parsley and cilantro.

Montreal Mega-Visit In Progress

Your favourites seem to be the same as all of ours. Kouign Amann is also probably favourite patisserie in Montreal.

Did you have the poutine at APDC? It's one of the best I've had. Possibly the best.

I haven't had Katz but that is because Langer's was a huge disappointment. I prefer Shwartz's by far.

I think you would have enjoyed L'Express. It feels like you are in the perfect example of what a French bistro should be. The food is simple but delicious. Especially their beef tartare.

Le Club Chasse et Peche, which is Le Filet's sister restaurant, was also one of our favourites. I preferred the ambiance and food at Le Filet.

Montreal Mega-Visit In Progress

Le filet was also one of our highlights as was that same dessert.

Montreal Mega-Visit In Progress

As again, pointing out that Joe Beef is a mediocre institution with too much hype. I don't know how they created the buzz and have maintained it. The restaurant is very small and nice, service is good and menu items sound delicious but the food was actually worse than mediocre. We had a dessert which would be disappointing from a Safeway.

Au pied de cochon is the exact opposite. One of my favourite meals in years. Every single dish was amazing (actually) and we had way too much between the two of us.

Recommendation needed for one 'wow factor', Michelin stars caliber meal in Vancouver

La Quercia. Maenam. Vij's. Phnom Penh.

Pear Tree is extremely overrated. Same with Hawksworth. I didn't even know that Secret Location was supposed to be impressive - it is not on my radar.

Blue Water and West are both very good but typical of high end restaurants.

Baby Friendly Dining in Vancouver?

Tavola (Italian - Robson/denman)

Fisherman's Terrace (Cantonese dinner/dimsum - Richmond)

Jul 13, 2015
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Monday night in March - Restaurant AG or Pirouette?

What is the difference between Pirouette and Zebulon?

(as in, food style and quality, restaurant style and price points)

Feb 27, 2015
quddous in France

Dubai - Recommendations


So far the best options are Zomato (which recently bought Urbanspoon) and TripAdvisor. Timeout is the best magazine style website.

I visited Ravi's and though the gravy flavours were really good, the chicken meat itself was precooked/overcooked. The bread for their Qeema nan reminded me more of the Chinese Shaobing than a typical stuffed nan - Very enjoyable. Their mutton biryani and the sauce that came with it were delicious as well. I would probably go with their bbq dishes + stuffed nan + biryani on my next visit. Total bill was 75 dirhams (25usd) for two curries, biryani, stuffed nan, regular nan, raita and two drinks.

Feb 09, 2015
quddous in Middle East & Africa

Dubai - Recommendations

In case anyone wasn't sure - I am looking for recommendations in Dubai. The restaurants I listed above are the ones I found in my earlier research and have some good reviews.

I have researched some more lately.

Ravi's is recommended quite often for Pakistani food.

Other's I will read up on more are -
Tajin and Tanjiah (Moroccan)
Calicut Paragon (South Indian)
Baker and Spice (Bakery)

Jan 14, 2015
quddous in Middle East & Africa

Fresh Curry leaves

T&T and most Indian grocers carry it.

Jan 13, 2015
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

making your own vinegar mother

Raw apple cider vinegar has active mother. That is why you use it. If you have your own mother from previous vinegar making then you can just use that instead of raw apple cider vinegar. The mother converts alcohol to acetic acid.

You don't need to feed anything.

You add raw apple cider vinegar to your wine once and you leave your wine until it becomes vinegar. If you don't see mother forming in your wine after a few weeks, you can add more raw apple cider vinegar.

Jan 12, 2015
quddous in Home Cooking

perfect mexican/spanish rice

That is a very interesting way of cooking rice. Iranians do something similar but still very different. Thry start by cooking the rice in boiling water until 90% cooked; they will then drain the rice, wash off excess starch and cook the rice at low temperature until fully cooked.

Jan 11, 2015
quddous in Home Cooking

making your own vinegar mother

Unfiltered Raw Cider Vinegar. Braggs is an example but I didn't get a mother using it the first time. I bought another brand and it worked.

You want to use a wide mouth jar, Fill with your wine then add a few tablespoons of cider vinegar, cover the top of the jar with cheesecloth and use a rubberband to secure it. Leave it in a dark room temperature area. My vinegars have taken anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to develop. Smell and taste until it tastes good to you.

My favorite vinegar so far has been a Pedro Ximenez sherry vinegar. So amazing.

Jan 11, 2015
quddous in Home Cooking

Why did my polenta corn grits get watery when I added cream?

I've never had that problem. You may have just added too much liquid for the amount of grains you had. I wouldn't recommend adding more grains after the fact. Your best bet would have been to put the grits/polenta on low heat until it thickened up.

I typically make mine thicker to begin, then when serving I will heat the grits/polenta and add water slowly until I get the consistency that I want.

Jan 11, 2015
quddous in Home Cooking

Quick Simple Asian

When making fried rice, only use the meat/vegetable ingredients, day old rice and salt. Do not add soy sauce.

kochujang + sugar + sesame oil is a delicious sauce for any quick meal.

Froze udon noodles are super quick and easy as one poster noted. Soak the noodles in warm water until pliable. Fry ingredients for udon, add udon and add soy/butter mixture. Guu (Izakay) uses a butter/soy mixture as their base for their noodles.

Nobu Miso sauce works for chicken/fish

1/4 cup sake
1/4 cup mirin
4 tablespoons white miso paste
3 tablespoons sugar

I like making sichuan chili oil.

My ratios are approximately
sichuan peppercorns 1 part
dried chili 4 parts
neutral oil 10 parts

Grind the spices
Heat the oil until hot but not smoking
Pour oil over spices

I like to add a touch of sesame oil to the chili oil.

I keep the oil in my fridge - I think it preserves the flavors better.

I like making a Sichuan cold noodle dish using this chili oil.

Garlic, sugar, chili oil, chinese black vinegar, soy sauce

I also use a similar sauce for chargrilled eggplants or cucumbers.

Chinese five spice is also really delicious and can be used in many dishes. Cinnamon, sichuan peppercorn, cloves, fennel, star anise.

Best wood for a cutting board?

Haha, agreed. Luckily, it is from Costco and I will probably be returning it sometime (they have the best return policy ever).

Jan 11, 2015
quddous in Cookware

Help with a Southern Style Supper

White barbecue sauce with smoked turkey. Yum.

Jan 11, 2015
quddous in Home Cooking

Help with a Southern Style Supper

I did that turkey gravy recently and it was phenomenal.

I typically make my own cajun/creole seasoning - paprika, cayenne, cumin, thyme. I usually add garlic too but didn't for the gravy.

Jan 11, 2015
quddous in Home Cooking

Best wood for a cutting board?

Agree with all the posters above. I have quite a few different cutting wood boards and don't really notice a difference between them (I'm too busy cooking to worry really). I actually tend to use my large epicurean the most because I care about it the least and it is lighter than my wood cutting boards - easiet to move around and easier to clean. My recommendation - get something that isn't too heavy for you but is still large enough to handle the amounts you cut.

PS I have an 18" Boos which looks amazing but is so heavy that I barely use it.

Jan 11, 2015
quddous in Cookware

Best Dim Sum in Shanghai?

I recommend Nanxiang over DTF for a few reasons, first being their xlb are better (though Din Tai Fung was phenomenal the last time I went). Secondly, Din Tai Fung is everywhere now. If you go to Nanxiang, there are three floors with prices and quality increasing at each floor and decreasing in line length. The area around it is very nice to see as well.

I really love one Dimsum restaurant in Shanghai - it is called Tang's in Dickson Center Mall. They are chain and this particular location seems to be a higher end location. I've included a link.


Other restaurant recs -
Jesse for Shanghainese
Southern Barbarian for Yunnanese
Yershari for Xinjiang
Mala Youhuo for Sichuanese
Yang's Fry Dumpling for Shengjian bao

TV cooking show pet peeves

I personally only dislike shows which aren't about the food. Ie drama instead of food. You don't learn anything, you just waste time. That is really what I don't like about current food shows and tv shows in general.

Search for Bites of China on YouTube.

Jan 08, 2015
quddous in Food Media & News

Please help me shorten my list!

I don't know if that really makes sense. It is a large sausage. I am a big guy (6' 200lbs) and it was good for me.

I liked Bestie but I would have liked it more if they made their own sausages and did more unique things (from what I last read, their sausages are from Oyama). I still liked it overall.

Jan 08, 2015
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Vancouver Suggestions

Middle eastern wise - I prefer Jam Jar, Babylon, East is east. I am not too fond of Nuba.

I like Persian food too but it's basically the same as you will find in LA.

I wouldn't go for a tasting menu in Vancouver but that's just me.

Jan 07, 2015
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Please help me shorten my list!

We haven't been to Mr Red yet. Deciding between that and Bao Bei for dinner actually.

Maenam doesn't always have the crispy rice salad so I would check with them before going in.

Espana is very, very good. Don't be scared that they call themselves a tapas restaurant - they are much better than the rest. Their fried chickpeas are salty, crispy, smoked paprika dusted. Their patatas bravas is the only one I have ever liked, and loved. The potatoes are perfectly fried, the tomato sauce thick and smoky, the cream balances it all out and adds richness. It's basically a Spanish poutine - what's not to love? Their beet salads have been some of the best I have had. Basically everything on the menu is delicious. I really like scotch eggs too and their version is quite good using chorizo instead of regular sausage.
They also have a pretty good wine I like - Bodegas Atteca (sp?).

Please help me shorten my list!

Haha. I thought you were going to say "Not your mothers Chinese food" which I would have agreed to too.

Most dished are very Chinese but have something different/better about them compared to the original dish. Or the dish isn't as common in Vancouver - one example being the shaobing, a sesame flat bread filled with cumin beef. Peaceful has a similar dish which is good but not as good as Bao Bei's version.

Jan 07, 2015
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Red Boat fish sauce

I really get annoyed by Blis - their products might be great but I think they could be quite a bit cheaper.

That does sound really amazing though. That's some very good intel that you have superhunk. Do you work in restaurants?

Jan 07, 2015
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Red Boat fish sauce

Kale is really good if done right. Terrible if done improperly.

Have you had it at a good restaurant? The Acorn used to have a very good kale caesar.

The problem with making kale at home is that it is very tough and sometimes bitter. It needs to be massaged/cooked to tenderize it. I think younger kales tend to be less bitter.

I personally prefer black kale, which is much more tender and hardly bitter at all. I tend to fry it with a small amount of good extra virgin olive oil and just finish with some salt. Otherwise I will throw it into the sauce around my Italian style meatballs and let it simmer in the sauce.

Jan 07, 2015
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Please help me shorten my list!

This is the first time I seem to be at odds with you on more than one thing.

Red Wagon - Greased up American food. Their food reminds me of typical "let's throw bacon on this until it tastes good" restaurants. Everything around that area is overly hyped. The best out of the bunch is Tacofino and it is still just "pretty good" most of the time. We did have some kind of sandwich there last time that was really amazing though. Tacofino's prices are quite high even compared to downtown.

Phnom Penh - Definitely hyped but you can't get many of their dishes anywhere else. Their chicken wings are amazing. The Beef Luc Lac is not anything like any other beef luc lac I have had. Their butter beef is also very good and different. I agree that many of the other restaurants.

I have been to Burdock and Co, three times now, and though we have some good dishes there, there are just as many that are disappointing. Highlights on the last visit include an oxtail agnolotti with celeriac puree, and a milk custard dessert (I could have had two).

Farmer's Apprentice was all I wanted Burdock/Fable/The Parker to be and more. I have only been once so will need to go back to rejudge.

Maenam is good. Sometimes I love it, sometimes I wonder why I went. Highlights include the thai crispy rice and sausage salad, and the mint chicken salad with crackling (seems I like crispy salads).

We eat Chinese food very often, are very picky with our asian food and still really like Bao Bei (I just might end up going there tonight).

Pidgin had one good dish, I would possibly drop in for that one dish and then head over somewhere else. The space is very nice and they have some very interesting cocktails. Highlight - Uni with cauliflower mousse.

La Quercia - I have had really amazing meals here. Best Italian in the city. I think it can compete with Spinasse in Seattle, which is my other favourite Italian within driving distance.

Vancouver Suggestions

Madras Dosa - not to be recommended.

Vij's is great. Even solo dining, but beware of the wait.
They have a casual restaurant next door (open for lunch) which does not have a wait and has just as interesting food. Try it, if you like it enough then you can venture back for Vij's.

I really love Babylon for their rice plates - I get their brown rice which is spiced and has beans added.

Espana is very good for Tapas - I have not liked Tapas anywhere else including Barcelona (the city) and Toro Bravo (Portland).

Jan 07, 2015
quddous in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Dubai - Recommendations

I have been hounding these boards and there do not seem to be very many recent threads on restaurants in Dubai.

Possibilities so far include

Zuma (Timeout #1 Japanese 2014/San Pellegrino Top 100 #77)
La Petite Maison (Timeout #2 French 2014/San Pellegrino Top 100 #81)
Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire (Timeout #1 French 2014)
Aramani/Amal (Timeout #1 Indian 2014)
Indego By Vineet (Timeout Indian #2 2014)
Al Nafoora (Timeout Middle Eastern Nominee 2014)
Tagine (Timeout Middle Eastern Nominee 2014)
Shawermama (Lebanese Fast Food Chain)

I would really like to find more middle eastern/arabic restaurants to visit.

Jan 07, 2015
quddous in Middle East & Africa