The word "khana" in Indian Khana Made Easy means food. So come on, let's explore and cook some easy Indian food together including Gluten Free dishes.

January 30, 2011

Bring Home the Tropics

Let's recap the events of the past few weeks: snow, more snow, and even more snow. Most of our time was spent shoveling, scraping, and salting our driveway, porch and cars for the umpteenth time. I know it sounds like I'm complaining but this is my way of venting and I know some of you feel my pain.
My sunny getaway
With all this awful weather, I just want to escape to a tropical island and relax. For now the vacation will have to wait...and since I can't go to the tropics, the tropics will have to come to me. You're probably confused as to what I'm talking about. While we sent my dad on a mission to the grocery store for some ingredients, my mom and I decorated our table with Hawaiian leis, lit some aromatic candles and made Pineapple Paneer Biryani for dinner. It almost felt like we were on an island with the beautiful setting and warm house.
Ingredients:
•Basmati Rice........................................... 4 cups
•Paneer (cottage cheese).......................... 6 oz (approx. 175g), cut into cubes
•Pineapple............................................... 1 small size fruit (or 20oz can of slices)
•Biryani masala / garam masala (mild)....... 1 ½ tbsp or adjust to desired spice intensity
•Peas & carrots (frozen)............................ 1 cup
•Red onion.............................................. 1 large, sliced finely
•Garlic.................................................... 4 pods, chopped finely
•Salt....................................................... ¾ tbsp or as per taste
•Cashews or almonds............................. 10 – 12 nuts chopped
•Vegetable oil......................................... 3 tbsp

Procedure:
1) Soak rice in plenty of water for 30 minutes. Core and cut fresh pineapple into cubes or cut the canned pineapple slices into ½” pieces.
2) Heat oil in a non-stick wok or Dutch oven. Fry onions and garlic until they start to brown (a pinch of sugar can make onions caramelize faster). Add Paneer cubes and fry until they start to brown, mix in pineapple cubes and stir for 2-3 minutes. Remove from container and set aside.
3) Place the wok/oven again on low heat and add biryani masala and rice (drained from water). Stir for 4-5 minutes until the aroma comes out. Now add 4 ½ cups of water and salt, close it with the lid and cook rice until all water is absorbed (approx. 15-20min).
4) When most of the water is evaporated, add the onions & pineapple mix into rice and mix well and cook the rice until done completely.
At the end, stir in the frozen peas and carrots.

5) In a small pan heat 2 tsp of oil and fry the nuts until golden brown and add to the biryani. Serve hot by garnishing with fried onions for additional taste.

Quick Tip: Fried firm tofu can be substituted for Paneer.

January 18, 2011

Fan Creations

To all our readers,

Over time, we added more features to the site so our readers have more insight into how we prepare our cuisine to its perfection. 

If you've ever tried, improved or added your flair to any of our recipes, we would like to know. Send us the photos of your creations and we will post them on our Facebook Fan Page. We have already received a few and shared them on our page. For your convenience, here is the link: (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Indian-Khana-Made-Easy/132766373454269

Sharing is Learning! And as always, keep in touch with us with your comments and suggestions.

Email us at: IKME2010@gmail.com

January 16, 2011

Sweet For My Sweetie - Chakkar Pongali

Serve it hot & enjoy!

Oh My Word!! Just look at those glistening cashews just waiting to be eaten. 

bout to Go ahead and drool all over this dessert! 

I've already told you about "Namkeen" pongali which is made on Pongal as prasad. 

However, did you know that you can slightly change the recipe and make a sweeter version? Today is your lucky day.

Ingredients (makes 10 servings of 1/2 cup size):
3/4 cup Basmati Rice
3/4 cup Moong dal
1/4 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Brown sugar or Jaggery
1 cup Milk
5 pods, seeded and powdered Cardamom
15 - 20 halves Cashew nuts
5 tbsp Butter (unsalted)


Procedure:
1) Cook rice and dal together with 5 cups of water either in rice cooker or stove top. Select the cooker or container size slightly bigger to avoid water spillage. Use low to medium heat level for stove top cooking. 

2) If using rice cooker, transfer the cooked pongal into a saucepan. 



Add milk, sugar, brown sugar and cardamom powder to the pongal and cook on low heat until it is well cooked and all the liquid is absorbed. Add 3 tbsps of butter and mix well.

3) In a small pan, heat the remaining butter and fry the cashews to golden brown and mix it into the pongail.

South Indian Treasure: Pongali

Pongali
The main ingredients of Pongali are rice and lentils...and of course lots of love. We decided that instead of making a totally different sweet for the festival, we would make two types of pongali: one sweet and one savory as mentioned in the post about Pongal. It is preferred that you eat them both when they are warm for the optimal taste. First we will discuss how to make Pongali (the savory kind). 

Ingredients for this dish make 6 servings:
- Basmati Rice......................................................... 1 cup
- Moong dal............................................................ 1 cup
- Salt....................................................................... 1 tsp or as needed
-Unsalted butter....................................................... 3 tbsp
For seasoning:
  - Cumin & mustard seeds...................................... 1/2 tsp each
- Vegetable Oil..................................................... 1.5 tbsp
- Asaphoetida (hing)............................................. 1/4 tsp
- Curry leaves ...................................................... 5-6 leaves (optional)
- Black peppercorns............................................ 1/2 tsp coarsely ground
- Dried red chilies................................................. 2, broken into two pieces
- Cashew nuts......................................................15-20, as halves
- Ginger.............................................................. 1 inch piece, grated or chopped finely

Procedure:
1) Take rice and dal in the electric rice cooker (>5 cups size) container, wash them thoroughly and drain well. Start off with adding 5 cups of water and add more water if needed. Then add salt and cook (if using smaller size cooker, start with 4 cups of water and add remaining one plus cups at intervals as the water is being absorbed).
OR
If cooking on stove top, use appropriate heavy-bottomed container so that water will not spill over and cook on low to medium heat. Cook until the dal is soft (approx. 20 - 30min). 
2) When the rice and lentil mix is cooked, mix in 3 tbsps of butter.
 
3) In a small saucepan, add oil and heat on medium. When oil is heated, fry cashews until light golden, add red chilies and mix for 30 sec later add cumin & mustard seeds. When they splatter, add pepper powder and a pinch of salt, hing, grated ginger and curry leaves. Mix well and transfer the seasoning into the cooked pongal and mix well.
Quick Tip: To add an extra lil kick serve it with any type of  Indian pickles such as Achar or chutneys.

January 15, 2011

Happy Sankranti To All!

I love the holidays, don't you? I've had the opportunity to celebrate not only my native holidays but also American ones since I moved here. I realized that every holiday no matter the religion, there are key elements that make them one of the same: prayer, food, family and more Food. The first holiday we celebrate after New Year's is Pongal. It is a harvest festival which is celebrated all through India but called by different names in different regions of India: for instance in the South, it is known as Pongal (Tamil Nadu), and Sankranti (Andhra Pradesh). In the north it is known as Makar Sankranti (Bihar, Goa, Uttar Pradesh), Maghi (Haryana), and Uttarayan (Gujarat and Rajesthan).
I would love to go on and on but I still have to tell you all about the goodies prepared for this holiday. I know you are dying to know...as I am dying to tell you. Just as there are different names for this festival, the food prepared is also different in the regions. In the north, poha and jaggery are eaten together with milk or yogurt, sweets made with Sesame seeds, chikkis (peanuts and jaggery), and multi-colored halwa. In the South, specifically in Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu, Pongali (Telugu) or Pongal (Tamil) is made and also it is served as prasad at the temples. Other items that are made in other areas in the South are Ariselu (flatbread with jaggery) and Sakinalu (rice flour and cumin pretzels).
Wow, by the time I finished typing all those goodies' names, my mouth was watering. Since Sankranti fell on a working day this year, we prepared the popular dish the night before and ate in the morning after prayer. My mom even drew some rangoli before going off to work. She's a Wonder Woman, I tell ya! The Pongali dish was prepared in two versions: Meetha & Namkeen (sweet and savory).

I hope you've enjoyed learning more about our festivities and cuisine. Please feel free to share with us what you did on the holiday. Sharing is Caring!

January 9, 2011

New Year's Resolution - Veggie Delight!

Each new year we start off with a new list of resolutions and one that usually tops the list is eating more healthy and staying fit. That means, less junk and more nutritious meals. We know more than ever how hard it is to keeping up with those resolutions through the course of the year. That is why, we are constantly coming up with more and more recipes to keep you on track without sacrificing the taste of your meals.

Furthermore, there are a lot of products that are designed to keep calories down with the help of diet drinks, bar and cereals. However, it's important to balance your diet plan with vegetables to make sure you are getting the necessary nutrients. One of those vegetables is Okra.
It is low in calories and has a good source of many nutrients including vitamin B6 and C, fiber, calcium, and folic acid (according to http://www.everynutrient.com/healthbenefitsofokra.html). We make curries with this vegetable quite often and recently discovered that adding crushed peanuts makes it even more tasty.

Ingredients for Nutty Okra:
- 1.5 lb of Fresh Okra (also known as bhindi/lady fingers)
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
- ½ cup of Roasted peanuts,  (coarsely ground)
- ½ tsp of Chili powder 
- ½ tsp of Jeera (cumin seeds) 
- 3 tbsp of Vegetable oil
- ½ tbsp of Salt  (or as needed)

Procedure:
1) Wash and dry the okra very well between towel folds or allow it to dry in open air for 15-20min. Chop the ends of the okra and make it into quarters lengthwise.
2) Heat oil on medium heat in a non-stick pan (saucepan) and add jeera. When they sizzle, add okra and mix well. Close the pan with a lid and allow the okra to soften for 5-6 min (stir in between).
3) When okra is cooked (the color will change from bright green to dull green color), remove the lid and pan fry the okra for 5-6 min mixing frequently (add 1 tbsp oil if needed) until the oil comes out. Now add chili powder and salt and mix well for 1-2 min followed by the peanut powder.
 
4) Mix the contents and transfer into a serving dish. This can be served as an appetizer or as a side dish with hot rice or rotis.
Quick Tip: Salt is added after the vegetable is cooked to avoid gooeyness. 

January 2, 2011


Celebrate Good Times, Come On!! Happy 2011 Everyone!! 
Hope all of you had a good time bringing in the New Year! We took a break from the cooking and enjoyed the holiday with our friends and family. 

Hope you all included cooking more with us in your New Year's resolutions!!