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.

April 23, 2013

Cheers To Many More Collaborations!



In all the years I've been blogging, one aspect that has truly made a difference in broadening the blog’s appeal is collaboration (not just within my area of expertise but in all areas). When you open up your space to others, you grow and learn from each other. For example, personally, I gained an understanding about user experience, design, and content optimization. I also found that this makes way for mutual recognition across the virtual world.

Recently, I collaborated with a couple of food bloggers who showed interest in Indian cuisine and wanted to share my insight on their websites. First let’s meet Kimlai who is the founder of www.EatinAsian.com. She blogs about Asian cuisine and culture. She wanted to introduce her readers to the "Must Have" spices in Indian cooking. Read more at http://www.eatinasian.om/indian-spices-101-whats-in-your-rack/.

The other is Lauren Van Mullem, travel and food blogger for Wanderfood Wednesdays and Website Manager for Wanderlust and LipstickWanderfood Wednesdays is about Lauren's global food adventures and interesting food trials. Her approach is both informative and playful. She wanted to do a “geek out” session on Indian cooking. Many a times, I've heard or spoken to people who've hindered away from Indian food because of certain stereotypes: it’s oily, unhealthy and/or cooking it is way too complicated. I strive to make the content interesting enough so I can change some of this thinking and get people to try it. During the session, I felt as though she really understood what I was trying to achieve with my blog. I enjoyed the conversation and her enthusiasm for the cuisine. To read more on the "geek out" session, please visit: http://wanderlustandlipstick.com/blogs/wanderfood/2013/04/16/indian-khana-made-easy-khichi/ and http://wanderlustandlipstick.com/blogs/wanderfood/2013/04/25/how-to-use-indian-spices/.

All in all, my mom and I are grateful and delighted that there are so many excited about learning Indian cuisine and hope they enjoy it as much as we do.



April 17, 2013

A Sweet Surprise in my Puri!

I have many loves in life. One specific love is for Indian sweets (or desserts). There is so much variety of sweets all over India and in every region. Long time ago, I think people got bored of making the same sweet all the time and decided to create their own. They went on to share with everyone they knew and then those recipes spread like wild fire all over the nation...but that's just my theory.
One of the sweets that became popular in South India, which is unique to the region is Halwa Puri. I Googled it  to see if I can find more information about it but didn't find anything conclusive. The only results I found were Puri served with Halwa, which isn't the same thing.


So what is Halwa puri? Halwa Puri is a sweet that is prepared on Ugadi (South Indian New Year). It is puri (a kind of Indian flatbread) stuffed with halwa. There are many ways to make Halwa and it's popular in various countries. For this particular recipe, we make it with semolina, sugar, milk, butter, and water. Simple enough so far, right? 

I love the crunchy texture of the puri combined with the sweetness of the halwa, you taste in every bite. It's so hard to eat just one. I'll stop here so you can continue reading on how to make the rest of this dessert.

Ingredients for Stuffing:
Sooji (semolina) Halwa - Prepare halwa without nuts and set aside to cool. Once it cools, roll into small balls. 

Ingredients for Dough:
- 2½ cups Maida*
- 1/8th cup Vegetable Oil (for mixing into dough)
- 2 cups Vegetable Oil (for frying)
- Handful of Sooji (Semolina)
- A pinch of Salt

Procedure:
1) Sift together maida, sooji and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl. Heat the 1/8th cup of oil and add it into the dry ingredients. Slowly add water to the ingredients until you form a soft but not firm dough ball. Put the dough aside and wait for at least 30 minutes to an hour for it to become malleable.


2) Take a walnut size dough piece and spread it on your palm. Place a small ball of halwa in the center of the flattened dough and wrap it with the dough by pulling from all sides. (Please watch video for demo) 

 Prepare all dough balls as described in Step 2
3) Heat oil in a deep frying pan on medium heat until you feel the heat when you place the over the pan. On a 6x6" paraffin paper, spread the halwa stuffed dough ball into thin puri by pressing with your fingers (as shown in video below). Hint: Apply a little oil on your fingers to avoid sticking.


4) Remove each flattened out puri from the paraffin paper and slide it into the hot oil. Fry until it's golden brown on both sides. Place it on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. 

***Quick Tips: If maida isn't readily available, try the recipe with All-Purpose flour. Note that the taste may vary due to the use of different flour. 

Discover the world, one dish at a time! Check out our blog feature on Wanderfood Wednesdays by Lauren Van Mullem!! 

April 4, 2013

My Kind of HOLI celebration!!

Celebrating the Festival of Colors aka Holi in the heart of Manhattan is one-of-a-kind treats. My first experience was back in 2011 and I was thrilled to be a part of it again. As the month of March came to a close and Spring was upon us, I knew what that meant...it's time for HOLI once more. As I made my way to Hammarskjold Park on 47th Street and 2nd Avenue, I saw faces covered with bright colors and heard Bhangra music. I knew I was close to NYC Bhangra's Holi Hai event. The park was beaming with people; people of all colors and ages, there to celebrate the arrival of Spring as one community. For a moment, I thought I was in India. 

While I searched the crowd for familiar faces, I realized where I was standing. I was amid a crowd of color smeared people looking "way too clean". I welcomed them with open arms and let them smear me with color as well as part of the celebration. 


It isn't Holi without some color!! Posing for a picture with my new friend, Patrina. 
My new friends and I stood in line and bought more color and took it to a new level of color explosion. Just look at us! We didn't spare anyone. 

:) What a colorful family: Patrina with her kids, Sachin and Sanjay :)
After we had enough rang on our faces, we moved through the crowd for some musical entertainment:



We saw performances of all our favorite songs, including the famous one from the movie Silsila called, "Rang Barse"NYC Bhangra did a great job of putting the whole event together. You know it’s a party, when they’re involved! Good job guys! Looking forward to making more colorful memories next year.

After the event, I met up with some other friends and we all headed down to my favorite Indian spot in Curry Hill called Chennai Garden. Their food is always amazing and finger licking good; try the Bhel Puri and Chole Batura. You won't be disappointed. A great way to end my weekend!