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, 2017

Quinoa Medley on Eggplant Boats


We all need a break from the usual every once in a while. Today is one of those days. We spotted this beautiful Sicilian eggplant at our local grocer and couldn't go home without it. So purple and succulent! 

My mother picked it up and knew just what to do with it. Instead of chopping it up and making our usual curries, she decided to use it as a vessel or boat and stuff it with quinoa and vegetables. 

Don't you just love how her mind works? 

Check out this huge Sicilian Eggplant!

Ingredients
  • 1 Sicilian eggplant, cut into quarters
  • 1/2 cup Quinoa cooked 
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen cut spinach
  • 3 to 4 oz firm tofu (optional), cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 tsp ginger/garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp crushed chilies
  • 1 tsp dhanjeera powder (cumin and coriander powder)
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella (we used Cabot pepper jack cheese for lil kick)
  •  salt for taste
  • 1 Tbsp veg oil for seasoning
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

Procedure
Preheat oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit and start your prep work for the Sicilian Eggplant boats:

1) Cut the top flesh off each quarter of eggplant, leaving behind a 3/4" of it at the bottom. 

Sprinkle salt and rub into each eggplant quarter. Also brush it with oil, inside and outside. Cut the top flesh into small cubes and set aside.

2) Heat oil in a skillet and add cumin seeds. When it sizzles, add dhanjeera powder and a pinch of turmeric. Stir and add onions, ginger/garlic paste, and crushed chilies.

Stir fry until the onions are transparent. Add tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Allow them to cook under closed lid. After tomatoes are cooked, add eggplant and continue to cook under closed lid.

3) After the eggplant is soft, add frozen spinach and stir for a one to two minute and add salt and cooked quinoa. Mix well and continue to cook for two to three minutes until all are mixed well.


4) Spoon the cooked mixture into the eggplant quarters evenly. Then sprinkle the shredded cheese on top of all the stuffed quarters. Place the stuffed quarters in a small aluminum tray and add half a cup of water.
Cover the aluminum tray with foil, Then take a knife and pierce a couple of holes in the foil for the steam to escape. When it is ready, place the tray in the oven for 30 minutes. Add more water if needed.

5) Make sure the eggplant is soft and cooked, remove the foil and broil until the cheese turns golden brown. Remove from tray and serve hot.

This dish had everything a foodie like me would enjoy; eggplant, cheese and lots of flavor. The fact that it was healthy didn't even cross my mind. :)

I hope someday, I can hold a vegetable in my hand and know it's future...all the endless possibilities of dishes I can make with it.  OH, THE JOY!! 

Until then, I will learn all that I can from my foodie mentor and guru, my mother, and share with you all. 

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If you liked this eggplant dish, then you are sure to love our Eggplant Raita (yogurt dip), Gourmet Grilled Cheese with Eggplant Bharta and/or Stuffed Eggplant dishes. 


February 11, 2017

Comfort Food Series: Waffles to the Rescue!

Idli Waffles with hot sambhar and creamy coconut chutney 

Winter snowstorm Niko plowed us in for the day, so we took the day off and experimented in the kitchen. We got out our nifty Cuisinart waffle maker and made Idli Waffles. These crispy and savory waffles are a real crowd pleaser. 

Bon Appetit!!  

February 9, 2017

Comfort Food Series: Jeera Rice with Palak Paneer

Jeera Rice with Palak Paneer

This Valentine's Day impress your date or loved ones with a homemade meal that is rich in taste but easy to make. It all starts with a simple rice dish like jeera rice and then you step it up a notch by making a vegetable gravy curry for the rice. 

Here are a few vegetable gravy curries that pair well with jeera rice: Palak Paneer, Easy Dal MakhaniMethi Malai Mutter CurryCauliflower and Paneer Curry and Indian Chili. You can also enjoy jeera rice with raitas; my favorite is cucumber raita. It's light and easy to make. The picture above showcases Jeera rice with Palak Paneer 

We decided to use a shortcut and bought Rasoi Magic's Palak Paneer spice mix packet. We followed the simple instructions on the packet and were able to make this curry in just 15 minutes. Please note that paneer and spinach are not included; you have to buy those separately. 

Below is the recipe for making the jeera rice. 

Ingredients
  • 1 cup Basmati rice 
  • 1-1/2 tsp whole cumin
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Procedure
Wash the rice and then drain the water (use a microwaveable container). Add oil and whole cumin to washed rice and microwave for 3 to 4 minutes (mix the rice after every minute to avoid rice grains sticking together).  Transfer the contents into the electric rice cooker. Add 2 cups of water and salt and cool until done. Serve the jeera rice with any type of gravy curries. 

Quick Tips
- For added taste, stir in 1 teaspoon of butter when rice is hot. You can also garnish rice with toasted almond slices or cashews.
- The Rasoi Magic Palak Paneer spice mix is available at most Indian grocers such as Patel Brothers, Subji Mandi, and/or Delight Bazaar. The instructions were easy to follow and cut cooking time in half versus making everything from scratch; really saved on cooking time.



February 2, 2017

Andhra Special - Stuffed Eggplant and Potato Masala


One of my favorite vegetables to cook with is Eggplant. It's slightly sweet and pairs well with the spice mixtures (or masalas) we cook with. In addition, there are so many varieties to choose from and can make dishes: small round ones, Chinese eggplants that are long and slender; both purple and white, Italian Eggplants, fat eggplants that I use to make bharta, etc.

Last week we went to our local Indian grocer and we found these lovely small round eggplants perfect for making Guthi Vankaya.

Guthi Vankaya in English means stuffed eggplant. This dish is popular in Andhra Pradesh. The stuffing is made with a variety of spices, onion and fresh coriander.

Most of our family likes this dish, the only person who doesn't like it is my sister. She truly, deeply dislikes EGGPLANT. We trick her now and then by camouflaging the vegetable but she can see right through us.  

Guthi Vankaya - Stuffed Eggplant and Potato Curry
She's totally missing out. I mean who doesn't like Eggplant? I asked my sister many times but all she tells me is "I don't like the taste of it".

Since my mother is making this dish for all of us, she throws in a potato so my sister can still appreciate the dish without eating the eggplant. The masala and vegetables combination is really delicious.

It's not difficult to make; you just have to make the stuffing and stuff the eggplant and cook it together with the potato to the right consistency. Let's check out more details on how to make it.


Ingredients and Prep Work
1-1/2 lb or about 10 Eggplant (small round type) 
1 to 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1 large onion, chopped finely or grated coarsely
1/3 cup chutney powder
1/4 cup dry coconut powder
2 Tbsp Dhan-jeera powder (coriander and cumin powder)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped (optional)
1 tsp tamarind pulp 
3 to 4 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp or 2 pinches turmeric powder
1 tsp salt or as needed


Procedure
Cut the stalks of each eggplant and make a + slit at the bottom (as shown in picture below).

Mix in a bowl all the dry ingredients: chutney powder, dhan-jeera powder, dry coconut powder, chili powder, onion, fresh coriander, and tamarind paste. 


Then sprinkle two tablespoons of water to bring the mixture together.

Now it's time to stuff the eggplants. Rub a pinch of salt inside each of the slit eggplant.
And then take about tablespoon of the mixture and stuff each of the eggplant and keep aside.

Heat oil in a skillet on low-medium flame; then add turmeric.
Stir and immediately add the stuffed eggplant and potato and sprinkle a couple of pinches of salt.

Mix well and cook under closed lid for 3 to 5 minutes.

Add in remaining onion and masala mixture (if any) and stir and continue to cook for another 3 to 4 minutes or until the eggplant are browned. Transfer into a serving dish and garnish with freshly chopped coriander. Serve hot with rotis or rice.


If you liked this recipe, also check out our Stuffed Karela dish. For more dish ideas, also check out our recipes page.