The Juhu Beach Club Cookbook

Indian Spice, Oakland Soul


By Preeti Mistry

By Sarah Henry

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This “delicious and exciting” (Anthony Bourdain) take on Indian food features personal stories and 100 recipes from Top Chef alum and owner of Oakland's Juhu Beach Club, Chef Preeti Mistry.

Influenced by her background as a second-generation Indian — born in London, raised across the US, now based in the Bay Area — Preeti's irreverent style informs her personality and her food. This collection of street food, comfort classics, and restaurant favorites blends cuisines from across India with American influences to create irresistible combinations.

Organized by feeling rather than course or season, with chapters like Masala Mashups, Farm Fresh, and Authentic? Hell Yeah, The Juhu Beach Club Cookbook weaves Preeti's culinary journey together with more than 100 bold, flavor-forward recipes to excite and inspire home cooks. Illustrated throughout with full-color photography and playful line art, this book captures the eclectic energy and wide-ranging influences of one of the West Coast's most up-and-coming chefs.



I thought I was going to start out with a food truck. But back in 2010 Ann, my then-girlfriend and now-wife, kept nudging me to do a pop-up at the slightly sketchy liquor store across the street from our South of Market loft in San Francisco. It’s the sort of place you’d drive right by without giving it a thought. The Garage Café, as it’s known, was where I went for beer, snacks, scratchers, and emergency milk for the six years we lived in the neighborhood.

It had a kitchen hood, which clears grease, smoke, and heat above a cooktop. That was about all the store had to recommend it. But it was an important detail. You need a hood to deep-fry; you can’t cook Indian street food without deep-frying. That’s Juhu Beach Club: It’s the hot dogs and funnel cakes of Indian cuisine.

Still, I’m a chef who’s cooked in fine dining and corporate food service. So the idea of this disorganized, filthy space selling convenience foods… my first inclination was to turn my nose up at it. But I didn’t. Instead, I approached the owner, he was open to the idea, and we figured out an informal agreement about what hours we could open and what equipment we could use.

We spent days cleaning. I worked on a menu. We had no idea if people would come. Though not wholly positive, the Top Chef TV exposure from the year before helped: Who is this woman and can she cook? People were curious: they came, they ate, they wrote about it.

But the first day, before we opened for business, I was totally scared. I felt a lump in my throat. My mom told me to pray. I don’t pray. But the first morning of the pop-up I brought in a small statue of Ganesh and prayed. A friend’s son gave me a little green plastic toy for good luck. I kept it in my pocket every day back then.

I felt like this was my one chance. I could not fuck it up.

I made sandwiches, samosas, and a lassi to start with. I was doing something different, flavor profile–wise; it wasn’t your typical Indian food.

People liked the pop-up. They really liked it. I made just three sandwiches at first: a spicy, veggie sloppy joe; a grilled green chile chicken with tangy turmeric slaw; and a smoky black cardamom braised short rib with a cucumber raita. I served them on Acme torpedo buns. They were both familiar fare and a flavor adventure. I sold samosas I rolled by hand and my kind of lassi: a little sweet, a bit salty, the kind an adult would enjoy.

Word started to spread on Twitter and elsewhere in social media. By the end of six months we were cramming more people into that liquor store than I ever imagined possible, and the menu was a page long. I had developed a loyal following.

Now I needed a place of my own.

I had some false starts. First, I tried to find a home for a restaurant with an investment partner in San Francisco’s Mission District. It’s a long story: there were permitting issues, budgetary constraints, and contract disputes—too many points of contention. I didn’t want to walk away, but I had to. So the deal fell through. It was such a bummer: It was an amazing space, a corner spot with high ceilings. That left me without a financial backer and without a space to call my own in San Francisco.

It happens a lot in this industry. But when it happens to you—out of the blue—it’s a major blow. I’d been telling everyone I was about to open a restaurant in the city. Then it became clear that wasn’t going to happen. San Francisco is a very expensive place to try to launch a first-time restaurant when you don’t have access to a lot of capital.

It felt like another kick in the teeth. I had thought my dreams were going to come true. Everywhere I turned there were roadblocks. I cried. I’d failed—again. What was I going to do now?

It all ended up working out. Ann and I pooled our savings, and with financial help from my parents, we had enough money to secure a lease on an existing restaurant in Oakland. Juhu Beach Club is now in its fourth year in its humble home in a little strip mall behind a check-cashing outlet and a pawnshop. Ann and I found our home in Oakland as well; it’s a good fit for us.

This is my story—failing up and being true to myself—every step of the way. It’s Juhu Beach Club’s story too: Indian spice and Oakland soul.


The recipes in this cookbook are arranged in an intentionally eclectic fashion. For instance, recipes aren’t listed by the season, menu, dish type, part of the day, ingredients, timeline chronology, or other traditional cookbook conventions.

The recipes are grouped around the stories and anecdotes that precede them and reflect the theme of a chapter, be it street eats, comfort food, Oakland, farm fresh, signature dishes, or so-called authentic cooking. My personal journey and my cooking career, those two things are pretty much tied together these days. It’s tough, maybe even impossible, to tease them apart.

There is some logic to this unorthodox approach: All the building-block recipes are in one place, at the beginning of the book. The masalas or spice blends that show up in almost all the recipes in these pages are grouped in one chapter, as are all the restaurant’s signature slider sandwiches, known as pavs, found on the Juhu Beach Club menu. The chutneys and sauces that are used in multiple recipes are described in full on first usage, then cross-referenced in subsequent recipes, as needed. In general, within a chapter recipes are organized from simple to more complex in nature, and from snacks and starters to main dishes.

Adult beverages seemed to belong in a chapter called Failing Up—cheers to that—so that’s where all the drink recipes are housed. Thanks, in advance, for humoring me on that score. Finally, it seemed fitting to end on a sweet note—the one dessert in the book—and a special occasion dish at that.

Trust me, a sense of order will reveal itself to you—especially if you read the material that comes before the recipes. My hope is that something in these pages—whether words, images, or recipes—whets your appetite to pick a dish or two or more to make in your kitchen.

I want to introduce Indian food lovers and adventurous home cooks to the joys of making modern masalas from scratch, along with the popular dishes that have become required ordering at the restaurant. And yes, a recipe for the Manchurian Cauliflower can be found in these pages. So you can surf through this book by recipe—use the recipe list here or the index here as a guide, or dip into a chapter that piques your interest and go from there.

As you can see, this cookbook is a reflection of my personality and sensibility.

Here’s to failing up in the kitchen. Come join me.


Some of the special ingredients, preferred brands, and specific equipment needed to make the recipes in this book can take a little legwork to find. To begin with, look for an Indian grocery store in your area. Indian grocers have popped up in just about every midsize city in the United States. Aside from remote, rural locations, there is usually an Indian grocery shop within easy driving distance of most Americans. To find an Indian grocery store in the United States near you, hop online and consult this site:

The Indian grocery is your first place to go to source spices, produce, lentils, and other ingredients not readily available at conventional supermarkets. That said, many specialty food shops or big supermarkets in large cities may also stock these supplies. Indian shop owners may also be able to help source ingredients or equipment that they don’t already have in their inventory. Just ask; they’ll likely know where to find an item or can order it for you.

My preferred online resources for sourcing Indian ingredients include Kalustyan’s:; Patel Brothers:; and World Spice Merchants:



We use a lot of butter at the restaurant, but I’m not attached to a particular brand. We use unsalted butter, always, and I recommend using butter as a substitute for ghee over any other oil.


Canned chickpeas are a poor substitute for dried chana that have been soaked for at least six hours and then cooked on the stove. Make a batch, which will keep for up to a week in the fridge, and in addition to the uses in this cookbook, add to salads, stews, soups, dips, or veggie burgers.

Coconut Milk

We prefer the Chaokoh brand. It’s the richest coconut milk I’ve found. It’s a welcome addition to curries, and as a bonus it adds a dairy-like creaminess without animal products—which keeps vegans happy.


Find moong dal, also known as mung beans; toor dal, a bright yellow lentil; and urad dal, a white lentil, in packages or in the bulk aisle at an Indian grocery, specialty market, or online. Buy in the smallest quantities needed to ensure freshness.


At the restaurant we use pre-peeled, whole cloves of garlic, due to the high volume we go through. But we don’t use pre-minced or puréed garlic, and you shouldn’t either. Home cooks can quickly peel a few cloves of garlic as needed, and you’ll find this aromatic in most recipes here.


A recipe for ghee, also known as clarified butter, is found here. Ghee is made from boiling butter until it becomes clear (or clarified) and browned milk solids settle to the bottom of the pot. Ghee keeps for a long time, so I recommend buying your preferred unsalted butter and making it at home. Store-bought ghee is not very economical, and you can’t control the flavor. Besides, you miss out on the rich, nutty fragrance that wafts through the house when you make it.


Fresh ginger is a cornerstone of most JBC dishes, including the vast majority of the recipes in this book. It adds so much pungency and flavor to every recipe it’s in. Everyone has a trick for cutting this knobby rhizome: some peel it using the back of a teaspoon; I just use a sharp paring knife. Fresh is best: Those puréed packets of ginger tend to sit, which can lead to an unpleasant bitterness. Simply prep ginger as you go for best results.


The main fat we use in our restaurant aside from ghee is rice bran oil. Rice bran oil is extracted from the outer brown bran layer of rice, as well as the rice germ, after the husk has been removed. Rice bran oil is excellent for high-heat applications, such as deep-frying or stir-frying, because it has a very high smoke point of 450ºF. It is also totally neutral in color, flavor, and fragrance, making it a versatile oil for a wide range of dishes. If you can’t find rice oil, I recommend another neutral oil like sunflower, safflower, or canola oil. In the restaurant our preferred brand is Rito rice bran oil.


Basmati rice is my rice of choice because it’s what I grew up eating and I appreciate the mild, delicate flavor and instantly recognizable aroma of this long grain variety, grown in northern India. Basmati rice is best rinsed in a couple of changes of water to remove any starch, and then soaked for 20 minutes to allow the grains to lengthen, a step that many home cooks miss. This crucial step improves the taste and texture of the rice and reduces the cooking time as the grains soften from soaking. Avoid oversoaking, though, which can cause the grains to break and fall apart during cooking.


Salt plays a big supporting role in JBC recipes and in this book: It helps bring out the flavors in masalas, marinades, and meats, and enlivens the taste of fruits and vegetables. So taste and season as you cook, and adjust as your palate and dietary restrictions dictate.

Unless otherwise indicated, we use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. I recommend it or any other kosher sea salt. In certain recipes, we use a flaky finishing salt on dishes; in those cases, I suggest Maldon Sea Salt. It is readily available at most grocery stores with a broad salt selection.


In the summertime, when tomatoes are in season, we use either fresh Early Girl or San Marzano tomatoes in our sauces. They offer the best form and flavor for our recipes. The rest of the year we use organic canned whole tomatoes. I recommend paying a little more for organic tomatoes: They really make a difference to the taste and texture of a dish. At the restaurant, we prefer to buy whole canned tomatoes, and then break them down or purée them in dishes, as needed.


Yogurt is a key ingredient on the JBC menu. At the restaurant we use yogurt from Straus Family Creamery, located in nearby Marin County. The quality of their whole plain organic yogurt and Greek-style variety is decadently rich and creamy. If you can’t find Straus yogurt near you, use your preferred yogurt brand.


Chickpea Flour

Chickpea flour, also known as besan flour, gram flour, or garbanzo bean flour, shows up in JBC batters throughout this book. It’s a useful alternative to regular flour for gluten-free eaters, and widely available at Indian grocery stores and specialty markets. Chickpea flour adds a slightly nutty flavor to a dish.


At JBC our chiles of choice include the dried chile de árbol, for its hot, smoky flavor; the fresh serrano, for its grassy flavor and heat; and the dried ghost pepper, which ranks way up there on the Scoville scale—that’s a measure of the intense pungency of chile peppers found around the world. The ghost pepper chile, also known as bhut jolokia in India, is a wrinkly, supercharged spice with a somewhat fruity flavor. We don’t deseed our chile peppers: we use it all. The ghost pepper should be handled with caution—wear gloves—and used in moderation, as your taste buds dictate.

Curry Leaves

Fresh curry leaves are essential to many of the dishes in this book. These small, dark green leaves pack a lot of sharp citrus and herby notes when fried alongside other aromatics. There is no real substitute for them. While you may be able to find dried curry leaves, the flavor won’t rival their fresh counterpart. Scout your local Indian grocery store to see if it carries fresh curry leaves; if not, ask the grocer to source them for you. Or purchase online. If you like to garden and live in a warm part of the country, you might plant a curry leaf tree in your backyard, that way you’ll always have a ready supply and can share or trade with others in the neighborhood. Source seedlings or established trees from a local nursery or online.

Fenugreek Leaves

Fresh fenugreek and curry leaves are generally available in Indian or Chinese grocery stores, or, if you’re fortunate, at your local farmers’ market. The only substitutes for the fresh leaves, which have a mustardy, musky flavor a little reminiscent of fresh oregano, are frozen or dried fenugreek leaves, which can also be found at Indian grocery stores or purchased online. In this book we use fresh fenugreek leaves in pestos, salsa verdes, and sauces.

Mustard Oil

We use mustard oil in a few different pickles in this book. The oil can be found at most large grocery stores or online. Mustard oil ramps up flavor and adds a thicker viscosity to a pickle brine.


Our pavs, or slider-size bread buns, are baked by our friends at Starter Bakery, located just down the street from JBC. If you can’t find a bakery close by that makes fresh slider-size buns, you can substitute packaged slider buns from the supermarket. Choose buns that are fluffy and buttery, like a brioche bun.


Look for tamarind blocks at an Indian grocery story. You can buy tamarind pulp (sometimes called concentrate) but making your own is its own reward in terms of the taste payoff. Jarred pastes, pulps, or concentrates lack the fruit’s complex flavors, and they aren’t cheap. Soak blocks in warm water and remove the flesh from the seeds. This fibrous fruit, with its deeply acidic and tart taste, is used in many dishes in this cookbook.


Due to its newfound popularity in the U.S.—mostly for its antioxidant properties and digestive aid duties—both powdered turmeric and the fresh root are more readily available than ever before. Please be sure to note where recipes call for the powder or the fresh root of this rhizome, a woody, brown-skinned aromatic that looks a little like ginger but has bright, yellowish-to-orange flesh. It promises a bitter note to dishes and imparts an earthy, mustard-like smell.

Its color is so potent that just a little—less than a teaspoon—is needed to turn a pot of rice a pleasant pale yellow hue, which is how we serve all our rice at JBC.


Whole spices are so central to my cooking that I’ve devoted an entire chapter to them in this book. For details about common spices, such as cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks, and cardamom pods, see Masala Mashups (here). Below are notes on less familiar spice friends.


Amchoor (also known as amchur) is dried green mango in powder form, and it adds a welcome sour note to several dishes in this book. Look for it in Indian grocery stores or online. Heads up: A little goes a long way, so you won’t need to buy in large quantities.

Black Salt

Kala namak as it is called in Hindi, or Indian black salt, is actually pink when ground. But the Himalayan rocks that it is derived from are black when compacted. Black salt is becoming more widely available; you may be able to find it at a traditional grocery store. Or look for it at an Indian grocery store or online. A word of caution: It has a sulphur smell—much like rotten eggs—so inhale gently when smelling a package of this salt. Rest assured, added in small amounts, it brings a terrific umami dimension to dishes.

Indian Red Chili Powder

Indian red chili powder is much hotter than cayenne, so please do not substitute cayenne pepper. You can find this common, fiery spice in Indian grocery stores or online. Look for a deep red color as an indicator of freshness—the hue fades with time. At JBC we use this powder liberally in sauces, snacks, chutneys, marinades, raitas, and even on the rims of drinks.



This is a tiny, affordable rolling pin used for rolling out puri dough. Find it in an Indian grocery store or online. A small regular rolling pin will suffice as a substitute, if necessary.


We use an immersion blender a ton at the restaurant to purée soups and sauces. An immersion blender, which doesn’t take up a lot of room in your kitchen cabinet or cost a lot, allows you to more easily control the texture of a final dish—whether you’re looking for a smooth or chunky finish. My preferred tabletop blender is the Vitamix; it’s powerful enough for the biggest jobs at the restaurant. But a standard, inexpensive blender for making sauces from this book will do the job.

Food Mill

A food mill is a useful tool that you can find in most kitchen supply stores or online. It is particularly helpful in cooking from this book for puréeing tamarind and mashing potatoes. If you do not have one, you can use a sieve to remove seeds from tamarind, and a potato ricer or masher for the potatoes. In the restaurant we use a pricey one for large batches, but home cooks don’t need to fork out for such costly equipment.

Oil & Candy Thermometer

A candy/deep-frying thermometer (the same thermometer works for both purposes) costs about $10 to $15 and can be purchased at kitchen supply stores or online. The thermometer will be invaluable in cooking sugar at the exact temperature required. It will also make sure your oil is at the correct temperature for deep-frying on the stovetop.


We use a mandoline slicer for a number of recipes in this book. There are stainless steel mandolines that can cost upwards of $150, and they will most likely last you a lifetime. If you don’t want to make that kind of investment, there are cheaper plastic options that start as low as $15. Just know you will have to replace a plastic mandoline after a certain amount of wear and tear.

Sev Sancho

A sancho is a unique Indian kitchen tool, not dissimilar from a Playdoh extruder. We use a sancho when making batter for sev, the crispy noodles that garnish several of our dishes. You can buy one either at an Indian grocery store or online. The best sanchos are made from brass—they last longer and are less likely to break—but you can find them in less expensive stainless steel and aluminum as well.

Spice Grinder

An inexpensive electric coffee grinder is the most economical and effective spice grinder for home use. You can buy one in just about any kitchenware store or online. I recommend designating one coffee grinder for spices only. It just makes sense to keep your coffee and spices separate. But if you are in a pinch and need to use your daily grinder to make a masala, the best way to remove any excess grounds from the equipment is to pulse the grinder with a few small pieces of white bread. The bread will pick up the majority of the grounds or spices.

Grind spices only as you need them for the best flavor results. Grinding helps to release the essential oils that make spices such an integral part of Indian cooking. A mortar and pestle can come in handy to crack hard spices such as cinnamon sticks or cardamom pods before grinding, but a spice grinder results in a fine, even spice powder, which is what we’re looking for in our masalas.


Makes 1 quart

I have made ghee for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until about ten years ago that I mastered my mother’s technique quite by accident. Ghee is simply clarified butter—it’s what’s left when the milk solids separate from the fat. Ghee is a foundation ingredient in Indian cuisine; its comforting, familiar smell permeates Indian kitchens around the globe. Ghee adds a delicious richness to any dish. And yet for many years while my ghee was good, it always seemed to be missing a little something compared to my mom’s. My mother is notorious for leaving out ingredients or steps when sharing recipes with others—she’s not secretive; there’s just this assumed knowledge she forgets to pass on. I discovered that was the case with ghee, when one day I was making it on the stovetop and forgot about it. When I finally remembered to check the pan, I found browned milk solids on the bottom and the most intoxicating aroma. It smelled just like my mother’s ghee: clear fat with all the nuttiness of browned butter.

2 pounds unsalted butter

Place the unsalted butter in a heavy-bottom saucepan on medium-low heat. After the butter melts, keep a close eye on it, as liquefied butter may overflow if the temperature gets too high. If the butter looks like it might overflow, remove it from the heat for 10 minutes and then return. Continue cooking on low for about 1 hour. The milk will foam and rise, forming a white film.

After about 30 to 40 minutes the milk solids will start to drop to the bottom of the pan, and a clear clarified butter is left on top. Pay attention to the bottom of the pot now as the milk solids will slowly begin to brown. When all the milk solids have sunk to the bottom and turned golden brown, remove the pan from the heat and strain the ghee with a fine-mesh sieve. Store in a jar in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.


  • "What Preeti Mistry does on the page is as delicious and exciting as what she does in her restaurant."

    - Anthony Bourdain
  • "We're huge fans of Chef Preeti. Her personality is as big as the bold flavors and dishes she serves up at Juhu Beach Club. We love that she's changing up what Indian food is all about with her modern, delicious take on Indian street food. She's creative and inspiring and a unique voice on the American food scene."

    Kerry Diamond, Editor in Chief, Cherry Bombe Magazine
  • "At Juhu Beach Club, Preeti Mistry has built a deeply affectionate tribute to the culture of Indian food she grew up with, distilled in this book. Vivid and delicious, Preeti's cooking opens a world that seems distant to most of us, even as it expresses something essential about Oakland, a city where people have long come in search of ground fertile enough to hold deep roots."

    John Birdsall, James Beard Award-Winning Food Writer
  • With recipes written as deliciously as they taste, The Juhu Beach Club Cookbook has already sent the foodie world into a frenzy well beyond the Bay Area."—-The Washington Blade
  • Mistry debuts with this stellar collection of Indian-inspired recipes. Her creativity and enthusiasm for Indian cooking is apparent in each recipe. Her energy and passion infuse the entire cookbook, which is as exciting and inspiring to read as it is to cook from.

    -Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • You may have heard of chef Preeti Mistry from Top Chef. The book is a self-described eclectic collection of recipes, which in this case means it's a hell of a lot of fun. And while you're happily making masala fries and vindaloo chicken wings, you might just realize Mistry is schooling you on how the proper way to use spices at the same time.—-GQ
  • "Mistry's debut skillfully blends knockout recipes and career-spanning reflections. Highly recommended."—-Library Journal
  • "Every year, one or two cookbooks come out that feel like old friends. Right now, that book is Juhu Beach Club Cookbook. I'm not Indian, and I've never been to Oakland, but recipes like Peaches and Paneer, or Nimbu Pani lemonade accented with toasted cumin and cilantro speak to my very soul, while all the spice blends and the Rough Pastry Dough recipe are just good reference material. Between all those recipes is Mistry's memoir, which is super-engaging. Maybe that's what makes the book feel so familiar."—-Wine Enthusiast

On Sale
Oct 31, 2017
Page Count
288 pages
Running Press

Preeti Mistry

About the Author

Preeti Mistry is a chef and activist, known for their restaurants Juhu Beach Club and Navi Kitchen, both formerly in Oakland, CA. Born in London and raised in the United States, the James Beard Award-nominated chef earned their classic culinary credentials in the UK. When Preeti returned to the US, they worked as an executive chef at Google, among other gigs, before launching the pop-up that morphed into their popular restaurant. They live with their wife, Ann, in Northern California.

Sarah Henry is a San Francisco Bay Area-based freelance writer. She is the author of the book Farmsteads of the California Coast (Yellow Pear Press).

Learn more about this author

Sarah Henry

About the Author

Sarah Henry is a San Francisco Bay Area-based freelance writer. She is the author of the book Farmsteads of the California Coast (Yellow Pear Press, 2016).

Learn more about this author