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.

October 22, 2014

Wishing All Diwali Greetings


There's always something warm and bright, 
about this time of the year.
When everything has a special glow, 
and hearts are full of cheer. 


This special greeting comes your way, to wish you all of life's best on Diwali and in the coming year, too!


I am grateful that I was able to spend this Diwali with close family and friends...specifically my grandmother. We threw a small party and enjoyed well. Of course, it isn't a party without food and dessert. We served aloo and mixed vegetable tikki, three bean salad with Doritos scoops, and mixed lentil patties. These appetizers wouldn't be complete without their dipping sauces such as sweet and tangy tamarind chutney and refreshing mint chutney.

It was surely a colorful spread with all these snacks. As the night progressed, w could see that everyone were engaged in striking and meeting new people.  Before we knew it, it was time for dinner. We served: Jeera rice, egg curry (for non-vegetarians), creamy cauliflower and paneer curry, Jalfrezi Okra with green bell peppers and tomatoes, Schezwan Singapore noodles with stir fry vegetables, and whole wheat roti. It's so hard to stay light during these party times. You want to try everything.

Whenever we host these kind parties or get togethers, we always play a game to make the evening more fun. Last Saturday, we played Dumb Charades - you have to act out the movie or show that the opposing team gives you for your team. You are not allowed to talk or use props. It always reminds me of Whose Line Is It Anyway TV show. Have you ever heard of this show or watched it?

After all the fun and games, we brought out the sweets or desserts for everyone. During this festival, it's a tradition for family and friends to share sweets with their friends and loved ones. That night, we indulged in decadent Gulab Jamun, Cashew Burfi, and assorted burfis and laddu from Sukhadia's (a local sweet shop). FOODCOMA anyone? I surely was in one that night and the next day.



It was good to catch up with old friends, new friends and family, All in all, it was an entertaining and great night.  The past few Diwali celebrations were halted or short because of the crazy weather we've experienced.

***Quick Tips: 
- The easy egg curry recipe was borrowed from justindianfood.com. It was really easy and everyone loved it. 



July 28, 2014

Last Sunday was National Ice Cream Day??

Can you name all the flavors?? Answers below.  

I didn't know that! Don't fret all, I celebrated it today when I stopped at my local grocer and bought myself two pints of Haagen Dazs ice cream: Coffee and Rum Raisin. I couldn't let this holiday go by unnoticed. 

Did you know that the National Ice Cream Day and Month were designated by President Ronald Reagan? I didn't. I thought it was one of those holidays made up by yet another company trying to sell something. According to IDFA, President Reagan recognized ice cream as a fun and nutritious food that is enjoyed by 90% of the nation's population. 

My question is what happened to the other 10%? Who doesn't like ice cream? 

In President Reagan's proclamation of creating this National Ice Cream Day, he called for all people of the United States to observe these events with "appropriate ceremonies and activities." Don't worry Mr. Past President, we will! 

From top to bottom, here are all the flavors: Mint Chocolate Chip, Macadamia Nut, Cherries & Vanilla on top of coffee & Espresso chip ice cream, Mango kulfi (Indian ice cream), Mint, Tutti Fruti (Indian ice cream), cookies and cream and coconut.  

There's still time for you to celebrate National Ice Cream Month - it's only July 28th! What are you waiting, go grab some ice cream!! 

July 18, 2014

A Super Moonlit Dinner with the Family

My grandmum and me! 

Last Saturday my parents, grandmum and I drove down to Liberty State Park to catch a glimpse of the Super Moon. We could already see the Super Moon rising into the sky as we got onto Route 78 heading to the park and by the time we reached, it was bright orange in color and beautiful. We parked our car near the "Empty Sky" Memorial and walked over to the pier. 

We sat on nearby benches and enjoyed a SUPER MOONLIT dinner with Paneer Kati Rolls that we purchased from Hot Breads in Parsippany on the way to the park. Good thinking on my parents part! 

Paneer Kati Rolls, oh so yum!
After dinner, we walked along the pier enjoying the New York City view. We could even see fireworks in the distance but not sure in which town. Maybe Staten Island?  It's moments like these that you will cherish forever...moments spent with your family. I had a great time and can't wait for the next SUPER MOON...

***We love kati rolls because they are easy to eat and enjoy. You can make them at home as well. Click here to check out our recipe

Did you catch a glimpse of the Super Moon? We would love to hear about it. Please feel free to share your experience with us in the comment box below. 

July 13, 2014

Vangi Bhath - More Than One Way to Eat Rice!

You know what the Chinese and the Indians have in common? RICE!! It's our STAPLE food. We eat it with everything. 

We Indians ESPECIALLY LOVE mixing it with SPICES and VEGETABLES to make it more flavorful and different. The spices make the STAPLE food more interesting to eat. 

Here's a signature rice dish from Karnataka (a state in Southwest of India) called Vangi Bhath. It's made with a special blend of spices called Vangi Bhath spice powder (which include coriander, black gram dal, cumin, red chili, Fenugreek, cloves, and cinnamon), eggplant or brinjal, curry leaves, peas, cashews, mustard seeds and of course, plain white rice. 

I love eating Vangi Bhath with a little bit of YOGURT!


Quick Tips:
- To make the rice dish, simply follow instructions on the back of the spice powder packet
- These packets are available at most Indian grocery stores such as Subzi Mandi or Patel Brothers. 

May 21, 2014

Even a Tuesday Can Be Special!

"You're only as old as you think you are." If this statement is true, then I think I am in my 20s and sometimes I feel like I'm in my 20s. And you know what, people think so too so who am I to tell them anything different.

Hello everyone! Yesterday was the day I graced the world with my presence. People from the wood works sent me happy greetings including an international call from my hometown in India.

That Smile is Priceless and for everything else, there's MasterCard!
I thought as you age, birthdays become more ordinary. I stand corrected. I was greeted in the morning with a card and presents from my parents...which was unexpected. 

Then, my friend Harchint treated me to lunch at this Thai/Vietnamese restaurant called Lemongrass. And before the words came out of my mouth, he read my mind and ordered dessert: Mango Guava Cheesecake. It was comprised of three layers of sinful sweet bliss: mango cheesecake on the bottom, guava cheesecake in the middle topped with perfectly whipped mango mousse sprinkled with toasted almonds. If a picture is worth a thousand words, I wonder what the picture above would be worth? I blew out the candle and savored every bit of that cheesecake. And don't worry, I let my friend have some too; I'm not that selfish.  

My extraordinary Tuesday finally came to a close when I took my parents to see the movie, Million Dollar Arm with Jon Hamm (from Mad Men), Suraj Sharma (from movie, Life of Pi) and Madhur Mittal (from movie, Slumdog Millionaire). It's based on a true story and beautifully directed. I recommend everyone to go watch it.


April 4, 2014

Paratha Junction: Your Connection to Hot Hot Parathas

I remember the good old days when my friends and I would stand in line for at least half hour to an hour just to get a falafel sandwich or chicken and rice from the guy at 53rd and 6th ave in New York City at 4am Friday night. That was our thing; sometimes you have to give in to your cravings, no matter how late it is.

Although, I'm not that age anymore, some things still remain the same. Like the fact that I still get those cravings after a night of fun. 

A couple weeks ago, my friend and I went to the city for a party and on our way home, he tells me he knows of a great place to curve my cravings. Lucky for us it was late and found great parking on Newark Ave. This spot has the best parathas (Indian stuffed flatbreads) is what he says.

Paratha Junction is located on Newark Avenue in Jersey City, NJ. It's a small place but the parathas (which was why we were there) are hot and plenty. Oh and did I mention they are the size of dinner plates so they can charge you $6 or more a paratha. 

Gobi paratha with lime pickle and plain yogurt - FINGER LICKING GOOD :) 
I wish I had the stomach and endurance like Anthony Bourdain from No Reservations TV Show. That guy can eat anything and everything. I chose a safe bet and ordered one each of the mooli (raddish) and gobi (cauliflower) parathas. I ate about half of each and packed the rest for home. 

Recap of my comments: 
- each the size of a dinner plate
- seasoned well with fresh coriander, spices, and vegetables in almost every inch of flatbread
- cooked and toasted well
- I just wish I told them to add more chilies or chili powder so it would have been a bit more spicy otherwise A OKAY. 

My friend ordered the chicken tikka and Hydrogen bomb (made with chicken, lamb, and lots of chilies) parathas. He liked the spice combination with the chicken in the chicken tikka one but he could have done without so many chilies in the latter. He was satisfied with his selection and told me he will go back there again to try more varieties. 

Overall, I would recommend this place to anyone who likes Indian flatbreads (incl. parathas, chappatis, rotis, naan, puris, etc). I am looking forward to trying more parathas, whether it be a late night craving or lunch. 

March 31, 2014

Spring is in the Air and so is Another New Year!!

I started the day with a taste of the Ugadi Pachadi and my usual breakfast: hot black tea and cereal. I was so happy, Ugadi (our new year) fell on the weekend this year. It gave us ample time to cook for the guests who were joining us for the holiday



Along with the pachadi, we made vegetable pulao, vegetable koftashahi korma, cucumber raitapulihora and halwa puri. The heavenly aromas of spices were wafting from the kitchen and through the house that I could hardly stay away.

Here's to a sweet New Year from our family to yours! 

February 15, 2014

Cauliflower and Onion Pakora - A Hot Appetizer for Cold, Snowy Nights!

According to my dad, on a day like this, which was pretty much everyday in the past week


nothing warms the heart like hot and spicy vegetable pakora made with chopped cauliflower and sliced onions. I forgot to mention that this is also his specialty. My dad usually cooks on a whim and doesn't follow recipes so below is a brief synopsis of the ingredients he used and how he made the appetizer. I will somehow drag the recipe out of him and share with you. 

He took a medium sized onion and sliced it up in thin circles and chopped the cauliflower into 2 inch florets. In a medium sized mixing bowl, he mixed together 3/4 cup of fine channa dal flour (besan) and 1/4 cup rice flour, chili powder and salt for taste and a teaspoon of ajwain or carom seeds (this is optional). Finally he mixed all these ingredients with about 1 cup of water to make a sauce like consistency so it's easily coats the vegetables. He then added oil for frying into the a wok set on high. Next he carefully dropped the besan covered vegetables one by one into the wok. (Hint: Take care not to splatter any hot oil on yourself.)


Here you see him frying the vegetables, making sure they fry evenly. You should take them out when they are golden in color. It's a good idea, to take one out and cut it with a knife to see if the vegetable cooked well. He scooped out the golden pakora with a metal spatula and transferred them into a meshed colander that was placed on a plate covered with paper towel (the towel helps to soak up the oil).
Once the oil was soaked up, we ate the hot pakora with sweet tamarind chutney, shown above. The onion pakora were the best. 

And don't worry, you haven't seen the last of my dad's cooking either. He'll be back soon. He makes a mean cauliflower curry that brings everyone to the table. 


If you liked this recipe, you are sure to enjoy some of our other fritter and popper recipes, such as Chili Poppers,Veggie Pops, Masala Bread Pakora, Onion Drop Fritters and/or Picante Peanut Poppers.  


February 12, 2014

~You Always Remember Your First Time~


1991
First winter, snow angel and snowball fight in the United States.

1994
Ate my First cheeseburger and frankly I was a bit perturbed by it. I couldn't understand why it tasted so funny. Halfway through the burger, someone pointed out that there was beef in it and I freaked out (I was a strict vegetarian back then). It was an innocent mistake.  

1996
Took my First cooking class (International Cuisines) in high school and loved learning new dishes.

2002
First time eating sushi and wondering why it tasted so funny. Oh yea, because I was eating EEL. However, eel avocado became my favorite roll soon after. 

2003
First time making perugu or dahi (plain yogurt) on my own in my little Hoboken apartment and eating it with rice. Yogurt Rice is my comfort food. 

2010
My First food blog about Indian cooking; it is now in its fourth year. Woohoo!! Thanks everyone!

2011

2012
Won VIP tickets to my First food festival, Varli Food Festival, through Yelp.  

Photo from 123newyear.com

Two weeks ago, I attended my First Lunar New Year dinner and Tea Lunch which was extended to me by one of my close friends. According to Chinese culture, it's important to bring in the New Year by having a feast the day before and day after the holiday. I was able to join the feast the day after the celebration and boy was it delicious.


Can you recognize any of the dishes? Did you notice anything interesting? I noticed the multiple bowls of rice surrounding all the meat and vegetable dishes. You always start with a certain carb and you add on from there. South Asians start with RICE, East Asian with RICE and/or RICE NOODLES, Italians with PASTA, Spanish with RICE. Do you see a trend here? 

In my culture, we never show up to our relatives place without bringing something. It's just wrong. So I arrived at my friend's place bearing a tray full of Daan Taat (Egg Custard Tarts) for dessert. I was proud of my achievement and hard work. 


Even though we were all full from dinner, everyone ate one of my tarts and that made me happy. It gives me no greater pleasure than feeding people. That night I knocked out like I was in a food coma.  

Although I was still feeling full from the night before, I couldn't turn the invitation to attend another New Year festivity. My friend and his parents invited me to Tea Lunch at a popular Dim Sum House in the neighborhood. Believe me when I say this, the place was popping and there so many people waiting to be seated. 

And since this was Tea Lunch, my friend's dad served everyone tea that he brought back from his recent trip to China. After we settled down, we started our lunch. Ladies with carts full of all sorts of dim sum came around us and handed us whatever dishes we wanted. Here's a few that I remember (click on the dishes for pictures): shrimp shumai, Jin deui (fried glutinous rice balls with sweetened black sesame paste), vegetable spring rolls, Cheong fan (rolled rice noodles) with sweet soy sauce, Do fu fa (tofu pudding), and Fung zao (steamed chicken feet - I didn't try and that was fine with me). 



Halfway through lunch, we heard music coming from near the entrance and we turned out attention to see two yellow dragons making their way around the tables. It doesn't matter how old you are, everyone loves Dragon dances. And since it was Lunar New Year, parents gave red envelopes to their children to hand to the dragons (you can see in the video). It was so cute. Have you ever seen these dances before? 


I had so much fun that weekend. So many foodie delights and festivities that will stay with me forever. Thanks to my friend for extending the invitation to celebration with his family. I was truly touched. I'm looking forward to many more Firsts and here's wishing you...Gong Xi Fa Cai !! 

January 14, 2014

~Happy 2014 & Makar Sankranti To All~


"Good things come to those who wait."

Hope everyone had a good holiday! This past Christmas, instead of buying gifts for everyone in our family, we planned and invested in a MODERN NEW KITCHEN. Our holiday was spent clearing off everything from the kitchen and into storage; only the essentials were kept around. 

The construction started in the new year and is still going. With no cook top, we've been preparing our vegetable curries with the use of the microwave and a hot plate. We also bought some frozen entrees (ex.: Tandoor Chef's curries, Masala Dosa with Coconut chutney, Udupi Onion Uttapams with Tomato chutney and Deep Foods' Palak Paneer & Paneer Bhurji Pockets). Occasionally we eat out so we don't get bored of the same old dish. 

With each week, the scenery changes so there's something new to look at and admire. I can't wait for our kitchen to be furnished with all new appliances and cabinetry. It will surely be a wonderful splendor! Once all the construction, installation, and tiling is completed, we will post the before and after pictures. We can't wait and we know you can't either!