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.

November 16, 2011

Upma With A Twist!

Time to get all the ingredients together with Thanksgiving just around the corner. One of the most popular recipes, besides the Turkey, is the stuffing. The traditional way is making it from scratch or you can just buy the pre-made variety. Since we don't eat Turkey, that's not something we worry about. However, when we host the big dinner, we serve up some of the traditional dishes. Instead of Turkey, we usually make biryani or something hearty like koftas. Last year, we incorporated the stuffing by dressing it up a bit and making a dish out it...desi style. Have you ever heard of Stuffing Upma? You may have heard of stuffing and upma* separately, but have you heard of them together as one dish? We didn't think so and that is why you are seeing it now...in time for Thanksgiving. Serve up something new as part of the dinner or for the morning after. This recipe makes 4 to 6 servings.

Ingredients: 
- 1 packet (5oz/200g) of Bread Stuffing (plain variety, corn or wheat)
- 1 medium Onion, chopped (or use French's onion rings)
- 1 cup of Frozen Peas & Carrots
- 2 medium Tomatoes, cubed
- 1 cup of French Cut Beans, microwaved for 5 minutes
- ⅓ cup of Cashews, halved
- 6 to 8 Curry leaves (optional)
- 4 Green Chilies, finely chopped
- 1 inch piece of Ginger, finely chopped
- 1 tsp of Salt (or as needed)
- 1 tsp of each Whole Cumin and Mustard seeds
- 4 tbsp of Vegetable oil

Procedure:
1) Start off with preparing the seasoning for the dish by heating oil in a saucepan and adding cumin and mustard seeds. When they start to splatter, add cashews and fry them until golden. Then add onions, green chilies, ginger and saute until onions are caramelized.
2) Then add tomatoes and beans and stir until the tomatoes are cooked. Next add water as per the measurements on the stuffing packet.
Add salt, peas and carrots, and then allow the water to come to a boil, reduce the heat and mix in the stuffing quickly.
3) Stir until the vegetables and stuffing are mixed well and water is completely absorbed. Close the lid and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Hint: For flavor enhancement, mix in a tbsp of butter and serve hot.
Upma is a popular South Indian breakfast item made with semolina, variety of vegetables, and spices.

November 7, 2011

Rich Ricotta Kalakand

Love Milk? Then you must try this North Indian dessert called Kalakand; which is also known as Milk Sweet. It's really easy to make and fun to eat like brownies. Ooooh, just thinking about it is making me hungry.

Butter not shown
Here's what you need:
- 32 oz of Ricotta Cheese (whole milk) 
- 14 oz of Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1½ packets (3.2oz/pk or 90g)of Evaporated Milk Powder
- 4 tbsp of Butter
- 10 Nuts (Almonds, Cashews, or Pistachios), cut into 4 pieces
- 6 to 8 Cardamom pods, seeded and powdered

Procedure: Mix evaporated milk powder and ricotta cheese together until all the liquid is absorbed. In a non-stick pan melt 3 tablespoons of butter and fry the ricotta cheese mixture for ten minutes. Add condensed milk into the cheese and keep mixing regularly to avoid the mixture sticking to the bottom. Allow the mixture to cook for 20-25 minutes or until it comes together. Now add the cardamom powder and mix well. Transfer the mixture into a dinner plate or a cookie sheet and spread evenly. In a small pan, heat one tablespoon of butter and evenly roast the nuts until golden brown. Remove from butter and gently press them onto the neatly pressed mixture in the dish. Allow the mixture to cool in the refrigerator or keep outside at room temperature and then cut it into squares. This recipe makes 24 squares.

***Quick Tip: Roohafza or Rose water can be used instead of cardamom powder to give a mild rose flavor to the sweet.


November 4, 2011

Back To The Basics...

Wow, what an interesting week we had!

We were like thousands of residents in the Northeast who lost power due to the early snowstorm that left a path of destruction behind it. A lot of trees, branches, and power lines were down due to the weight of the snow, making it harder for the plow trucks to clear the area. It was all a big mess. On top of it all, we didn't get to celebrate Diwali the way we planned. Instead we spent it shoveling the driveway and packing all our food into ice boxes. Luckily we had a gas stove and were able to heat up the food and not worry about wastage.
So what did we eat during this whole week? I realized how much we relied on electricity for our everyday cooking. We used the microwave to heat up frozen vegetables for our curries or to speed up cooking time. Even something as simple as making rice turned into a project since we couldn't use our rice cooker. We made it over stove top by candlelight; watching over it to make sure it didn't burn. It was a good learning experience. We also made payasm (Vermicelli Pudding), pav bhaji (mixed vegetable curry served with bread), and simple vegetable curries which can be rolled up in rotis like Kati Rolls.

Update: Power was restored last night and keeping my fingers crossed that we don't lose it again. It was a hell of a week with no heating and light. We went to bed early praying, we would wake up in the morning realizing it was all a nightmare. Our heart goes out to all those who still have no power. Be strong!!