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.

May 31, 2012

Turning Up The Heat with Chili Poppers!!

You know what I miss most about "my India". The street food. And I don't mean like lamb brains or anything weird, like what you see on the travel shows. I'm referring to snacks like bhel puri, aloo tikki chaat, aloo papadi chaat, samosa chaat, and one of my favorites: chili poppers also known as chili pakora.


The chili poppers are made with long green chili peppers, which are usually stuffed with masala and batter fried.
As a kid, I used to love eating the fried batter part since the peppers were too spicy for me. But now I'm all grown up and I love eating every bit of the popper including the pepper. Woohoo, I've matured and figured out the best part of this snack. Either that or my mom figured out a way to get me to eat the peppers with her winning recipe. Isn't my mom the bestest!! For my recent birthday, she made these chili poppers and I ate like 10 of them in one sitting. They were that good!

Heat Seekers, come thither and try these spicy chili poppers...if you have what it takes!!

Ingredients:
- 10 Long Green Chilies (fresh, firm and straight)
- 2 cups of Vegetable Oil (for frying only)
  For the stuffing:
  - ¼ cup of Dry Coconut Powder
  - 1 ½ tsp of Dhan-Jeera powder
  - 1 tsp of Tamarind paste
  - ¼ tsp Salt (adjust to your taste)
  For the batter:
  - 1 ½ cups of Ladu Besan (flour)
  - ½ cup of Fine Besan (flour)
  - ¼ cup of Rice flour
  - 1 tsp of Ajwain seeds (also known as carom seeds, similar to thyme)
  - ¼ tsp of Red chili powder
  - ½ tsp of Salt (adjust to taste)
  - ¼ tsp of Soda Bicarbonate powder (cooking soda)

Procedure:
Make a slit into the green chilies length wise and carefully remove all the seeds. (Making sure not to cut till the very end.) Boil water in a big pot sufficient enough for you to dip the chilies into the water and remove from heat. Close the pot with a lid and allow it to stand for 10 minutes. Drain the chilies, making sure to remove all water. In a microwaveable bowl, measure out the dry coconut powder, add some water to moisten it and heat it with closed lid for 30-40 seconds. Remove from microwave and then mix it together with dhanjeera powder, tamarind paste and salt.

 

Take a teaspoon full of the mixture and stuff it into the chilies.

Click here to see video on how to stuff the peppers
Make sure not to over stuff them. (Hint: You should be able to close the slit once stuffed with masala.) In a medium sized bowl, mix all the dry ingredients for the batter and add water to make it into a pancake mix like consistency. Allow the batter to soak for at least 10-15 minutes. Heat oil in a frying pan. When you feel the heat from the oil on your palm from above the pan, you are ready for frying. Take each stuffed chili pepper, dip into the batter and coat it completely. Then slowly drop each one into the hot oil. Fry them until golden brown by turning each one over for even frying.


You are now ready to enjoy these spicy poppers. Kick it up a notch by slitting them open and stuffing them with finely chopped onions and a few drops of lime juice. They are sure to hit any one's spicy spot! Enjoy with a nice cold one!!

***Quick Tips:
- For all you Serious Heat Seekers, go ahead and leave the seeds in for a spicier kick.

May 25, 2012

A Birthday Bonanza!

I've heard it a million times...as you get older, you gain more wisdom and maturity. I guess that's what happened to me over the weekend. I celebrated my new found virtues with a new hairstyle and outfit.


I decided to keep it simple this year and hung out with family over Sunday brunch. We sat outside and enjoyed the only sunny day from the whole week of rainy weather. On every birthday, my mom prepares our favorite dishes no questions asked. So this year, she made me chili pakora and they were good but not really spicy. (I'm a chicken when it comes to spicy food, so take it from me when I say they weren't).  

May 15, 2012

~*A Special Mother's Day Weekend*~

Mother's Day started on Friday for us since I couldn't wait to give my mom and grandmother the flowers I bought for them. I left work early and drove straight to the local florist (been going there since my prom). I had a floral arrangement made for both them; sending lots of love from my sister, dad and me.


They loved the burst of color from all the various flowers: lilies, daises, mums, roses, hydrangeas, and carnations. The florist inserted shimmering crystals into some of the flowers for that extra sparkle. Only the very best for the special ladies in my life.

My mom is "one of a kind" and she deserves things that are also just like her. So of course, I had to give her this brooch.

A great find from Red Ribbon Gift Shop, Morris Plains NJ 
Once gift giving was complete, I kicked my mom out of the kitchen and started on the next surprise; it's something crunchy and peanut buttery.

May 11, 2012

Chunky Chana and Potato Dip

Oh thank heavens for Lentil goodness!
Ingredients: 
- 2 cups of Whole Chana (Black or Green Chana), soaked in water overnight
- 7.75 oz of Salsa (Spice level - Medium)
- 1 medium Potato
- 1 tbsp Ginger-garlic paste
- 1 tbsp Dhanjeera powder 
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ½ tbsp or as needed of Salt
- ½ cup of Cilantro/Coriander leaves, chopped
- 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil

Procedure:
Peel and cut the potato into cubes. In a pressure cooker, heat oil and add dhanjeera & chili powder and ginger-garlic paste. Then stir for 2 minutes. Next add salsa, the whole chana (soaked and drained) and potato pieces. Mix well and then add ½ cup of water and cook under pressure for 10 minutes. Slightly crush the chana and potatoes to make some gravy before the mixture cools down; add little bit of water if necessary. Then transfer the mixture into a serving dish and garnish with chopped coriander. Voila! It's ready to be served. 

***Quick Tips: 
- We like eating it with toasted naan/pita or multi-grain chips.  It's also great as a side with jeera rice, brown rice, or even quinoa.
- If you like this recipe, you may also like Chole curry made with chickpeas.  
- Dollop of sour cream optional!

May 9, 2012

~*My Birthday Specials*~

Left to Right: Chunky Chana and Potato Dip, Chili Pakora, Karela Fry, Sarson Ka Saag w/ Makki Roti
Every year, my mom asks us what special dish we want prepared on our birthdays. This year, I asked for chili pakora, also known as stuffed chili fritters. Golden brown battered and fried chilies stuffed with onions and spices. Can't wait to feel the heat. Here are some of my other favorite dishes that I enjoyed on my birthday over the years. Chunky Chana and Potato curry served as a dip or eaten with naan or rice as an entree. Seasoned Karela Fry* is so delicious and not so bitter. Last but not least, is the Sarson Ka Saag with Makki Roti (corn flatbread similar to arepas). This is as authentic as you're going to get with North Indian food and is simply delicious. I ate this on my last India trip and wish they doggy bagged it for me but that concept hasn't reached there yet. Shocking, I know!

***Other vegetables that make awesome fries are Arvi (Taro root), green plantains, sweet potato and of course, potato.