Jewel of India – Restaurant review

Tucked off the intersection of Broad and South Street sits an Indian restaurant cooking up family recipes from scratch.

jewel of india restaurant sign

When you say a restaurant is a hidden gem, it typically means it’s a place not many people know about, whose reputation does not do it’s food justice. In this case all of that remains true, though perhaps even more so in the fact that Jewel of India is not so easy to find. It’s not a restaurant you’d see walking around the streets of downtown. It takes a bit of seeking out. Though I think the journey makes the gem all the more precious, does it not?

We arrived for dinner at Jewel of India, met with an unfussy dining room and comfy booths. A wave of spice hits you as you walk in the door. It’s the kind of smell that makes you go, “This food is going to be GOOD.”

butter chicken
Butter chicken – a popular favorite.

Jewel of India is a family-owned restaurant, cooking up family recipes. When I say everything is made in house — I mean everything. Yogurt, sauces, paneer (a type of cheese), all of the roti (breads), curry and spice blends — it’s all handcrafted according to family recipes. Not only does the time, dedication and care shine through in the food, but it’s atmospheric. This is a homecooked, made-with-love meal that happens to be served in a restaurant.

The meal starts with Papadum, a traditional type of crispy bread dotted with cumin seeds. Enjoy them with the provided sauces, a spiced cilantro sauce and a sweeter sauce tinged with molasses.

Appetizers include Samosas as big as your fist, a platter of Onion Bhaji (a kind of onion fritter), and chicken pakora spiced with ginger and garlic paste. The Samosas are more than generous in size, filled with peas and potatoes. The onion bhaji are fried in sunflower oil, rendering them deliciously crispy without being heavy. No canola oil is used here, and Jewel of India’s emphasis on quality ingredients is a commitment you can taste.

onion bhaji and vegetable samosas
Onion Bhaji (left) and Vegetable Samosas (right)

For entrees the options are extensive, but the menu doesn’t feel overwhelming in size. There are plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, and the cooks are accommodating to any dietary needs you may have. Jewel of India uses a housemade almond, pistachio, and cashew cream base for their cooking so dairy dishes can be easily made dairy-free. Vegan and vegetarian dishes are cooked separately from meat dishes, ensuring utmost purity in every meal.

I enjoyed the Bengan Bhartha entree, fresh eggplant roasted in the tandoor over charcoal and then cooked curry style with fresh tomatoes. The depth of flavor, the layering of spices created in each dish is a cornerstone of great Indian cuisine, one Jewel of India executes with ease.

bengan bhartha and basmati rice
Bengan Bhartha and complimentary Basmati Rice

Now, I must say when we saw the small size of the entree bowls, we both thought, “That’s not very much.” I promise you, neither of us were able to finish our entrees. Don’t doubt their small size, the flavor is mighty and extremely filling! Order a side (or two) of naan to enjoy with your meal. Choose from butter naan, garlic naan, or my personal favorite, jalapeno naan.

jalapeno naan
Jalapeno Naan — Yes it’s as tasty as it sounds

The Pickle Tray is essential with every meal, including a chutney that can vary seasonally (we enjoyed the Sweet Lemon chutney) and a type of pickle relish, finely minced pickled vegetables that are at once bitter, savory and a hint sweet.

pickle tray
Pickle Tray – half eaten because I got carried away and forgot to take a picture sooner 🙂

For dessert, try Kheer, basmati rice cooked with sweet milk, cream, nuts and raisins or Gulab Jamun, freshly made savory cheese balls, deep-fried to a rosy brown in purified butter and gently cooked in light, rose flavored syrup. Only sugar in the raw is used in desserts, no overly processed white sugar.

kheer
Kheer for dessert

Truly, the only negative I have to offer is the fact that I didn’t visit Jewel of India sooner. Since every aspect of your meal is house-made, expect to spend some time at the restaurant. By no means is this a “quick dinner” spot. Instead, it’s a go-slow, try new things, and take time to savor type of restaurant. Serving up perhaps the best Indian food on the Central Coast, I believe Jewel of India is well worth the wait.

For hours of operation, visit the Jewel of India website.

Follow Jewel of India on Instagram!

Spring Harvest Rice | Meal Prep Recipe – Vegan

This large batch rice recipe is veggie-packed, vegan and can make enough to feed you throughout the week. Substitutions included in the recipe notes!

Jump to Recipe
meal prep with spring harvest rice
This recipe is great for meal prep! It makes a large batch and keeps well throughout the week.

Versatile & Meal Prep Friendly

This is a meal prep recipe that can easily be adapted to supplement different proteins and side dishes throughout the week, or to be used as is for a delicious and healthy meal prep lunch!

It’s flavor profile is flexible and truly can be made into a side dish or entrĂ©e with anything. Similar to Spanish Rice, Spring Harvest Rice uses fresh tomatoes and a plethora of vegetables and spices.

Make as is and it will yield about 10 cups of rice.

chopped vegetables for spring harvest rice
Make the recipe as written, or substitute ingredients you prefer.

Swap It Out

Not everyone likes peas and bell peppers, and that’s a-okay with me! Here’s a few substitution ideas to suit your tastes.

  • Instead of PEAS try edamame or sliced snap peas
  • Instead of BELL PEPPERS try carrots and celery
  • Instead of RICE try farro, barley, quinoa or couscous. Cook according to package directions and follow the rest of the recipe as written.

When swapping vegetables in this recipe, keep the measurements the same. This will ensure your rice comes out as tasty as possible!

Additionally, I encourage you to use simply whatever you have on hand. Even if it’s a combination of the vegetables in your fridge to match the measurements in the recipe – that’s great! You’ll prep a delicious rice dish and cut down on food waste. Win-win.

See recipe for a full list of substitutions.

Use this spring harvest rice as the base for a delicious burrito! Add roasted sweet potatoes, black beans and cheese of your choosing for an easy meal.

Spring Harvest Rice Meal Ideas

Here’s a few ways you can make Spring Harvest Rice a meal.

Vegan

Eat as is with some fried tofu (thai peanut or teriyaki would go well) and crispy balsamic-glazed roasted brussel sprouts

Vegetarian

Wrap rice with black or refried beans in a flour tortilla topped with shredded cheese for an easy vegetarian burrito.

Omnivores

Serve with rotisserie chicken for an easy weeknight dinner.

spring harvest rice on a plate
Spring Harvest Rice — look at all those veggies!

The Cooking Process

To make this rice the best it can be, the vegetables need time to simmer. Put the pot on while you’re doing other things around the house, and check it periodically. You won’t need to watch it the entire time it cooks, so it’s good to cook when you’re already at home and can peek in on it every once in a while.

Browse through the photos below to see different phases of the cooking process and the final product.

There’s no replacement for time when cooking. Each step of the recipe builds a layer of flavor, toasting the spices, sautĂ©ing the aromatics, and then adding the fresh tomatoes and allowing them to cook down. The result is a lightly spiced, flavorful rice packed with vegetables. It’s a hearty, flavorful dish.

Spring Harvest Rice (Meal Prep Recipe – Vegan)

This is a meal prep recipe that can easily be adapted to supplement different proteins and side dishes throughout the week, or to be used as is for a delicious and healthy meal prep lunch!
It's flavor profile is flexible and truly can be made into a side dish or entrée with anything. Similar to Spanish Rice, Spring Harvest Rice uses fresh tomatoes and a plethora of vegetables and spices.
Make as is and this will yield about 10 cups of nutrient-rich rice.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine American, Spanish
Servings 10 cups

Ingredients
  

  • 6 cups cooked rice (white or brown) 3 cups uncooked
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon each of the following herbs: oregano, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cumin
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 cups fresh tomato diced (subsitute canned)
  • ½ red bell pepper diced
  • 1 lb frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper

Instructions
 

  • First, cook your rice.
    I prefer using an Instant Pot, or Rice Cooker, but you are welcome to use any method you'd like, including microwaved steamed rice (no shame in shortcuts).
    Substitute couscous, farro, or barley and cook according to package directions.
    Set aside for now.
  • In a large, heavy bottomed pot, or dutch oven over medium/medium high heat add oregano, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika and cumin. Toast briefly (a minute or less) to bolster their flavors.
    Next, add in 3 tablespoons of olive oil, or preferred cooking oil, and heat until shimmering.
  • Add diced onion, garlic, and bell peppers. SautĂ© until tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and simmer uncovered over medium heat about 30-40 minutes, until tomatoes are cooked down and there is minimal liquid left in the pot.
    Simply put, it should look less like tomato sauce and more like a big pot of sautéed vegetables.
  • Incorporate the bag of frozen peas and salt and pepper. Mix well to combine and defrost the peas.
    When using frozen peas, it's best to add them at the last minute. If they cook too long, they turn mushy!
  • Add the rice 1-2 cups at a time, mixing well.
    Be sure to break up the chunks of rice to blend with the vegetables. Repeat the process until all of the cooked rice is incorporated.
    Done!

Notes

  • Substitute rice for farro, barley, quinoa, or couscous. Cook according to package directions. 
  • Combine any of your preferred spices for a custom blend. Add some cayenne if you enjoy heat, or swap basil for paprika if you prefer things more mild.
  • Substitute sliced snap peas or edamame for frozen peas, if preferred. 
  • Substitute carrots and celery for bell peppers, maintaining measurements.
Keyword easy meal prep, meal prep recipe, meal prep rice, spring harvest rice, vegan meal prep, vegetarian meal prep

Have you tried this Spring Harvest Rice? What substitutions did you make? Let us know how you liked it in the comments below!

Stovetop AppleSauce | Recipe (Sugar Free Option)

This applesauce recipe provides a guideline to make easy, homemade applesauce. Adjust sugar and spices to your own tastes. Cut the apples according to how long you have to cook it, and how chunky (or smooth) you’d like your applesauce. Tastes great, simple to prepare and way better than store bought!

Jump to Recipe

No Water Added

Cook the apples low and slow in a covered sauce pan. This eliminates the need to add water to the applesauce, which dilutes the flavor, and often facilitates the need for more sugar.

apples

As Sweet As You Like It

Feel free to adjust the recipe to your tastes. Add more sugar if you’d like, or eliminate it completely for a delicious sugar-free treat.

Use any apples that you prefer. I prefer a gala or fuji for best flavor and sweetness. Taste a slice of the apples you will use. This will help determine how much sweetness will need to be added to the applesauce.

applesauce

Chunky or Smooth

Just like peanut butter, everyone has their own preferences when it comes to applesauce. Whether you like it smooth or chunky, this recipe has you covered. Slice your apples into large chunks and forgo the mashing for a satisfyingly chunky applesauce. Or dice smaller apple pieces and mash (or blend/food process) well at the end for a silky smooth applesauce treat.

applesauce

So Versatile You Can Eat It At Every Meal

Here’s a few ideas to serve and enjoy your tasty homemade applesauce:

  • Spooned over some oatmeal, topped with sliced almonds
  • Mixed with savory spices and served with pork chop
  • Layered with yogurt and granola for a filling parfait
  • Sealed in puff pastry for easy, flaky hand pies
  • On the side with some hot, fresh potato pancakes
  • Enjoyed straight from the jar as a midnight snack
yogurt, granola, and applesauce parfait
Decadent yogurt, granola, and applesauce parfait.

Stovetop Apple Sauce

This applesauce recipe provides a guideline to make easy, homemade applesauce. Adjust sugar and spices to your own tastes.
Cut the apples according to how long you have to cook it, and how chunky (or smooth) you'd like your applesauce.
Tastes great, simple to prepare and way better than store bought!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 4-6 apples any variety you prefer
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice fresh or bottled
  • 1 tablespoon your favorite sugar granulated, brown or monkfruit (optional)
  • 1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1-2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

Instructions
 

  • Peel and core the apples. Slice and dice into medium-sized chunks. The smaller the chunks, the faster the applesauce will cook down.
  • Add apples to a saucepan over medium heat. Add lemon juice. Cover pan with lid and let cook 10-15 minutes.
    The heat will release the apple's natural juices. This eliminates the need to add water to the pan. Just ensure the pan is not too hot so the apples don't burn. Stir occasionally.
  • Once the apples begin to release their juices and start to soften, add in sugar (optional), cinnamon and nutmeg. Cover pan again and let cook down another 10-15 minutes.
  • Test the apple's doneness by poking with a fork. If the fork slides easily, they are ready.
    If not recover and cook an additional 5-10 minutes until ready. The cooking time of the apples depends on the type of apple and how large the pieces were cut.
  • To mash or not to mash. If you prefer a smoother applesauce consistency, you can now mash the applesauce into a smooth paste or use an immersion blender.
    If you prefer chunkier applesauce, no need to mash.
  • Taste the applesauce and adjust spices if desired. If it needs a touch of sweetness, add agave or honey. Feel free to add more spices if desired.
  • Let cool and store in an airtight jar in the fridge.

Notes

  • Use a six-section apple slicer to make coring the apples a breeze. Leave slices in their larger size or cut in half for faster cooking time.
  • The smaller the apple slices, the faster they will cook. 
  • Add additional spices like all-spice or ginger if you’d like.
  • Use honey or agave in place of sugar, or go sugar-free!
  • If not using sugar, start with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and increase if desired.
Keyword applesauce, chunky applesauce, gluten free recipe, smooth applesauce, stovetop applesauce, sugar free recipe, vegan recipe

Best Thanksgiving Meal Plans for Everyone – Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free

Making a holiday feast that satisfies everyone’s dietary needs can be challenging. But it doesn’t have to be! We’ve searched the internet for the best Thanksgiving Meal Plans for everyone, including plans for Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free and Dairy-Free.

Don’t forget dessert! We’ve also included our favorite picks for Sugar-Free and Vegan desserts to make the holiday meal complete.

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored in any way and based on personal opinion. Here at Edible Ink, we want to help make your holidays as best (and simple) as they can be, with no strings attached!

Skip to a specific menu:

Vegan Thanksgiving Menus

Mel at A Virtual Vegan goes above and beyond with her Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner Menu, including a shopping list to make preparations for the big day a breeze! Plus a timeline to make cooking a full feast manageable. Dishes include:

Get the full printable Thanksgiving Dinner Menu with Timeline and Shopping List at A Virtual Vegan.

group of people making toast
Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

No doubt, large gatherings have been a rare occurrence this year. If your holidays are less grand feasts and more intimate dinners for two, the Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner for 2 may be your ideal menu. Set up as a “choose your own adventure’ of a menu complete with cooking tips, this meal plan is great for small gatherings, or just you and your significant other. Dishes include:

Gluten Free Thanksgiving Menu

Packed full of gluten-free Thanksgiving options, this Easy, Gluten-free Thanksgiving Menu satisfies every celiac’s holiday food cravings! Here, turkey is still on the menu, with modifications to cornbread, biscuits and gravy. Dishes include:

alcoholic beverages close up cuisine cutlery
Photo by Flo Dahm on Pexels.com

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu

Vegetarian food blogger Cookie and Kate provides a list of 33 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes to make your own meat-less feast. No need for Tofurkey with delicious, whole food dishes like:

food grapes delicious snacks
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Dairy Free Thanksgiving Menu

Nothing makes a lactose intolerant person happier than a big bowl of dairy free mashed potatoes! This list from Cook Nourish Bliss includes a slew of dairy free classic Thanksgiving sides, as well as a few dairy free Thanksgiving desserts. Dishes include:

For more dairy-free Thanksgiving side dishes, check out 19 Dairy Free Thanksgiving Side dishes from the Nosher:

Easy Thanksgiving Menu

How about a super simple Thanksgiving Menu this year? Instead of roasting the whole turkey, try a juicy Turkey Breast from A Head of Thyme. More recipes include:

person holding a roasted turkey
Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova on Pexels.com

Sugar Free Thanksgiving Desserts

For the ultimate list of sugar-free desserts, check out this compilation from Diabetic Gourmet. Recipes include:

Vegan & Gluten Free Thanksgiving Desserts

Easy, vegan, and for some, gluten free! This list of 28 Easy Vegan Thanksgiving Desserts is sure to have something for everyone. So go ahead, make two! Recipes include:

What are your Thanksgiving plans this year? Are you using any of the meal plans listed here to craft your ultimate Thanksgiving feast? Let us know in the comments below! Like, share and subscribe and don’t forget to tag Edible Ink!

Happy Feasting!