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 26, 2012

Cool Down with Summer "Beets"

Attending a wedding in Atlanta in the peak of summer is tough, especially when it's outdoors. I sweat as though I was working out for 2 hours. What a feeling! Nevertheless, it was my friend's wedding and I wanted to be there for him. I bore the heat in good spirits and returned home to Jersey where the weather was a bit cooler. Since I've been back, the weather has been temperamental; hot one day and rainy the next day.
Don't get me wrong, I like sunny weather, but not when it's humid and/or sticky. What better way to cool down in the summer than with dishes made from yogurt like raitas. With so many varieties to choose from, sometimes it's tough to pick just one. One of my favorites is with beetroot. The creamy, slightly sweet flavor of the beetroot raita goes well with seasoned rice, Indian flatbreads and/or chips. All this talk of food is making me hungry. Well, let's start cooking...here's the recipe.

Interesting Fact: Beet root is also used as a dye.

Ingredients:
  • 1 Medium Beet root, peeled and grated
  • 1 cup Plain Yogurt
  • ½ cup Low Fat Sour Cream
  • 2 to 3 Green Chilies, cut lengthwise
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp Whole Cumin seeds 
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 7 Curry leaves, optional

Procedure:
In a microwaveable bowl, add grated beet root and mix in salt. Then sprinkle a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Microwave it for 5 minutes or until cooked and then set aside. Add yogurt and sour cream to the cooked beet root and mix well. In a small saucepan, heat one tablespoon of oil. Once you feel the heat on your palm, add mustard and cumin seeds, curry leaves. When the mustard and cumin start to splutter, turn off the heat and transfer the contents into the beet root and yogurt mixture. Mix well. The beet root raita is now ready to be served. Enjoy!!


***Quick Tips:
Also check out Seasoned Beet root rice with carrots and peas. It's very tasty. We even added French's fried onions for a crunchy texture. 

July 22, 2012

Atlanta - Indulging In Sweets

Cracker Candy! Really? Doesn't that name sound a bit strange? At first I thought so too but as I started eating one and then two, I stopped thinking about it and just gave into the indulgence. Sometimes I feel we care too much about the names and less about the actual taste.

These remind me of black and white cookies! You know what I'm talking about.
The "candies" were crunchy, salty, sweet and simply yummy. We made these the night before I was leaving, so my friend packed me a goodie bag full of them for the flight the next morning. Isn't she so thoughtful!

I think it's okay to give into your sweet cravings once in a while. Give into your cravings and try it out. Don't let the name deter you from trying. 

Ingredients:
- 2 sticks Salted Butter (do not use margarine)
- 1 (12oz) package of Milk chocolate* chips
- 1 cup of Brown Sugar
- 1 sleeve or roughly 35 saltine crackers (can use Ritz crackers too)

***Preheat oven to 400 degrees***

Procedure:

1) Line baking tray with aluminum foil and arrange the saltine crackers into the tray so they touch each other, making sure there are no spaces between them.


2) Melt butter in a saucepan and slowly add brown sugar. Boil at medium to high heat for approximately 3 minutes until it becomes bubbly. (Hint: Stir constantly to prevent the mixture from burning.)

Immediately pour the liquid over the crackers and spread it thoroughly over all the crackers.
3) Place in oven for 5 minutes and then take it out immediately.


Sprinkle chocolate chips over the caramelized crackers evenly. Set aside for 5 minutes and then spread the softened chocolate over all the crackers. Place tray in the refrigerator or freezer until solid. When it is ready to serve, lift the candied crackers from the foil and cut/break into desired shapes.


***Quick Tips: 
- Dark chocolate may be substituted instead of regular chocolate.  
- If you want to dress them up with M&Ms, peppermint bits, and/or nuts, it's best to do it right after spreading the chocolate over the crackers (when it's still hot).


July 20, 2012

~Oh Sweet, Sweet Atlanta~

Never mix business with pleasure. My first trip out to Atlanta was early last year and it was all business. I attended this week long Pharmaceutical conference with some colleagues where we showcased our products. It was very busy considering all the work we did in a short amount of time (booth setup, product discussions, and then packed up). We did some sightseeing whenever possible...I did most of mine the last day just before departure.
Last week I was back in Atlanta and this time it was all for pleasure and really enjoyed myself. I attended my friend's wedding and caught up on old times. There was dancing, singing and of course lots of eating. It was truly a memorable experience and much much more. After the wedding, I visited an old family friend and the eating continued through the weekend.
My friend is a busy mom who loves to cook and try new recipes. We have so much in common when it comes to cooking. We both love to experiment with recipes to create our own flavor combinations.  During my visit, she made a couple of yummy desserts. Fun for kids of all ages including me (I'm the biggest kid of all). One of the desserts was Kulfi - rich Indian ice cream. As my friend started prepping, I grabbed my camera and started snapping away.

Mango and Pistachio Kulfi
It didn't take long for the ice cream to start melting with the Hot Atlanta weather. So of course, I grabbed a spoon and got busy eating. I loved the addition of crushed pistachios and cardamom used for flavor enhancement. They complemented each other very well. This is a great dessert to serve for your summer parties and soirees.


Ingredients:
  • 8 to 12 oz Kraft Low Fat Cool Whip
  • Half Can Mango Pulp, (Can Size: 1lb 14oz)
  • 1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk - (Size: 14oz can)
  • 1 can Evaporated Milk, (Can Size: 12oz can)
  • ½ cup Pistachios, powdered
  • 3 Cardamom Pods, seeded and powdered (optional)

Procedure:


Whisk the following ingredients together: cool whip, mango pulp, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk. Slowly add powdered pistachios, cardamom and mix well. Then pour the liquid into desired molds or medium to large glass casserole dish and place on a stable shelf in the freezer for at least 6 hours. (Hint: For best results, keep overnight and serve the next day.)

While we waited for the kulfi to set, we gathered ingredients for the next dessert called Cracker Candy. Any guesses as to what this dessert may be or look like?

 
***Quick Tip:  Other delicious flavors to try are pistachio, saffron, and rose.

July 9, 2012

MTR's Diet Delite Spiced Cereals With Vegetables

Sometimes it's tough to eat a well balanced meal when you're too busy working and catching up with life. That's why it's nice to have "Ready To Eat" entrees handy. You just heat them up and enjoy. Which leaves more time for other stuff like RELAXATION. These days it's easy to find these types of meals; they're available everywhere. They're becoming quite popular even in India where now lots of people are turning to Quick and Easy products to make cooking easier and faster. There's also a variety of brands to choose from at our local Indian store: Deep Foods, Tandoor Chef, MTR, Gits, Rasoi Magic and etc. Some are tasty and some are just BLAH!
The last time we went grocery shopping, we picked up some. One of them was MTR's Diet Delite: Spiced Cereals with Vegetables.


Here's why we were drawn to this product:
- Whole wheat and lentils cooked with aromatic spices
- Low on fat, high on fiber and taste
- Made with 100% Natural Ingredients
- Suitable for vegetarians and mildly spicy

Everything stated above was clearly a win-win for us and so we bought it. I was delighted to see some of my favorite Indian dishes made even easier to eat since all you have to do is heat it up. I was excited to try a different kind of Pongal.

This does not look like the picture on box.
All my excitement went down the drain when I emptied the contents into a microwaveable bowl and heated it up. It was just a bowl of mush with some signs of vegetables and spices. It wasn't very aromatic and it surely wasn't tasty. We ended up cooking something to make up for the bad taste in our mouths.

We do not recommend buying this product. It's not worth it.

As the famous proverb goes: There are plenty of other "Ready To Eat" vegetarian meals on the market and we're sure we will find them.