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.

July 27, 2011

"Corny" Rainbow Salad

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One of the best ways to lose weight and boost your health is to add more color to your diet. So we played with that idea and created the Rainbow Salad. It's so easy that even my sister who always claims she's too busy, took the time to make it and loved it. Now that's saying something!!

- 16 oz frozen bag of Yellow Sweet Corn
- 16 oz frozen bag of White Sweet Corn
- 1 Red Bell pepper, cut into 1cm cubes
- 1 English Cucumber, cut into 1cm cubes
- ½ cup of Coriander, chopped
-  2-3 of Carrots, peeled & grated
- 2 tbsp of Lemon juice

1) Microwave both yellow & white corn for 4 min each and allow them to cool.
2) Then microwave bell pepper for 3 min and cool.
3) Mix corn, pepper, carrots, cucumber and coriander in a large bowl along with lemon juice. Serve cold.

We make it for all our backyard parties and whenever we need a side dish for lunch or dinner. It requires minimal assembly and spices. And these types of salads are very popular in South India, specifically in the Karnataka region.


Substitutions:
- If coriander/cilantro is not available, parsley can be added.
- English cucumber can be replaced with regular cucumber (peel and seed to avoid watery consistency) or green squash.
- Moong Dal sprouts can be used instead of corn. 
- Use chat masala instead of lemon juice for a zesty flavor.

July 20, 2011

Tofu Lovers Rejoice

Here's another tofu delight from our culinary chest that we know your taste buds will love and rejoice. We love cooking with tofu because it is low in calories & fat and high in protein and iron. Now that's goodness we can bite into. There are also varieties in tofu, such as Steak (firm), soft/silken, or dried that you can work with to create a number of dishes. We prefer to use the Steak type in dishes like our Potato & Tofu with Spiced Tomato Sauce because the tofu will not crumble so easily when mixed with the other ingredients. This dish can be served with hot naan, roti, rice (brown or plain) or enjoyed by itself as a side dish. 

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Serves: 4 to 6
Ingredients: 
- 6 oz (½ block) Extra Firm Tofu (steak type or plain), drain well and cut into 1”cubes                      
- 1 large Potato, microwave, peel and cut into 1” pcs
-  ½ cup of Crushed tomatoes                                                        
- 5 fl oz or 150 mL (small can) of Evaporated milk            
- 1 large Onion, chopped finely
½ cup of  Carrots & Peas (frozen)                                                
- 1tbsp of Dhan-Jeera powder (coriander/cumin)
- 1 tsp of Ginger/garlic paste
- 1 tsp (or to taste) of Chili powder
- ½ tsp of Turmeric powder                                                             
- small handful (approx. 1/8 cup) of Kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves)    
- 1 ½ tsp (or as needed) of Salt                                                                                        
- 1 ½ tbsp of Vegetable oil                                                                     

Procedure:
1) Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add Dhan-jeera, chili powder, turmeric and mix well. Now add onions, ginger-garlic paste and fry for 2-3 minutes.
2) Add tofu and potato cubes and mix well to coat them thoroughly with the spice mixture (3-4 minutes).
3) Next add crushed tomatoes and mix well for 3-4 minutes to remove the raw taste and then add evaporated milk into the mixture. 
4) Then add 1 cup of water. Next add salt, methi leaves and cook under closed lid for 7-10 minutes until the gravy thickens and the spices are infused into the tofu & potato. Remove from heat, mix in carrots and peas, and allow it to sit for 5-6 minutes.

Quick Tips: 
- All the spices help elevate the flavor of the tofu and potato in this dish.
- Cauliflower can be substituted for potato. 
- The curry will taste even better if allowed to sit for a few hours or the next day. 

July 8, 2011

Tandoor Chef's Samosas


The one thing I've learned since watching my mom cook is that sometimes, shortcuts are necessary to cut cooking time. That's why whenever we have company over, we love serving snacks that don't require a lot of assembling or heating time. Recently Deep Foods, leading manufacturers of Indian food contacted us to review some of their products and we were happy to provide our feedback. 
So today we will be sharing our thoughts on snacks, specifically samosas made by Tandoor Chef, one of Deep Foods' brands. Three varieties of samosas are available: Palak paneer samosas, jumbo samosas with coriander chutney, and tandoori chicken samosas. We tried the Palak paneer samosas and the jumbo samosas (pictured above).

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Samosas contain no artificial flavors and made with 100% natural ingredients. We liked the fact that chutney (dipping sauce) was included but the consistency was watery. We added some ketchup to make it more thicker and bring out the tangy flavor which fit well with the spicy filling. In terms of appetite pleasing, better to grab a samosa than a candy full.

Next up, Palak Paneer samosas:

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The flavor test: good taste, medium spicy, and well cooked filling. We liked the crunchy crust and crispy texture after baking them (as per the cooking instructions on the box). Another winning point is that they weren't too oily and are the perfect size for a snack. The spicy taste of these samosas go great with a "cold one" or hot beverages such as Chai or tea. The only con for this snack is that no sauce was included in the box.   

Now I will attempt to read your mind...wait for it...You're wondering where you can get some samosas. Currently, these snacks are available at your local Indian grocery store.   

July 2, 2011

Begum Palace - Gem of the North

My dad celebrated Fathers Day this past Thursday with his two "little" girls: my sister and I. We started off the day by surprising him with a new Smartphone like ours. We were so proud and so was he! We were so famished after we went over all the cool features and setup of his new toy, that we decided to go out for dinner. After dining at most of the restaurants by our town, we decided to trek a bit farther and went to Begum Palace restaurant in Madison.
Although the restaurant appeared small, it was quite the opposite inside. Since we went on a Thursday night, it wasn't too crowded or noisy, which was perfectly fine with us. I especially enjoyed the music; it was a mix between classical Indian, instrumental, and trance. Here are some pictures from our evening for your viewing pleasure.


We started off the evening with some appetizers: Mirchi pakoras, pani puri, and papdi chaat. I loved the pani (seasoned water) in the pani puri a lot; it was cool and refreshing. My parents love spicy food, so they enjoyed the mirchi pakoras. The appetizers were so tasty, we finished them off pretty quick and couldn't wait to dig into the entrees. We ordered Bhooni Bhindi (Green okra cooked with onion, tomatoes and various herbs and spices), Saag and Paneer Koftas (chopped spinach and Indian cheese dumplings in a tomato based gravy sauce), and Achari Chicken kebabs (Hot and spicy Indian chutney infused into the chicken kebabs tossed with onions and topped with cilantro). We ate these with Peshawari naan (Unleavened bread stuff with coconut, nuts and raisins baked in the tandoor) and basmati rice. After all that food, everyone was pretty full but I was still contemplating about dessert. Our dinner was completed with a plate of warm and juicy gulab jamun on the house...we must have charmed the host.
Overall, we enjoyed our evening which was filled with nice conversations, delicious food, and good company. My parents were impressed with the courteous wait staff and the friendly nature of the owner who strolled by a couple times to make sure we were enjoying ourselves. That's what I call SERVICE. I would definitely dine there again!