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.

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 !!