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.

June 22, 2018

Fun Filled Fathers' Day Celebration

You never really know how much your parents mean to you until you move away and start your own life. It's been 8 months since I got married and I miss my parents everyday. I didn't move far away but it still feels like they are oceans away...

My husband and I took my dad out for dinner a week before Father's day since we were going to be in town. We decided on Ming II in Morristown. It's a Pan Asian restaurant which serves a mix of Indian and Chinese dishes. I always a new dish so, this time I ordered Thai fried rice but I was a bit disappointing. I felt that it lacked flavor. 

The best dishes of the dinner were Eggplant in Szechwan sauce, Pad Thai and Shrimp curry.

Although I didn't enjoy my dish as much, I really enjoyed my boozy drink...I can't remember the name of it and can't find it on the restaurant website to share with you all. It was smooth and delicious.

Boozy Coconut and pineapple drink from Ming II, Morristown

Actually, we all ordered drinks that night and enjoyed them a lot. My mom, ammamma and my husband ordered spicy mocktails and my dad got a glass of Riesling.

Since I celebrated with my dad the weekend before, my sister celebrated with him the weekend after. She took the whole family bowling and as I hear it, my mom placed second. Wonder how my dad did?

After bowling they enjoyed some home cooked food. My mom made some of my dad's favorite dishes including Dahi Vada, Pea'Nutty Pakoda, and Aloo Papdi Chaat.

Just over the Hudson, I was celebrating Father's day with my husband and his family. We went out for lunch at a new seafood buffet restaurant called Ebuffet in Brooklyn. First impression: it's spacious, still has the new feeling, friendly staff, and good food...even for a semi vegetarian like me.

I celebrated father's day with so many fathers this father, my husband, his father, and my sister-in-law's husband. So much to be thankful for...good food and good company.

Happy Father's day to all those celebrating! The most important thing in the world is family and love

May 26, 2018

A Healthy Mixed Vegetable Curry for Dosas

I love eating stuffed dosas with peanut chutney

However, none of the South Indian restaurants ever serve the dosas with this chutney. They always serve them with coconut chutney and sambhar and potato curry, which is stuffed inside the dosa. The curry is always bland. It tastes like they just boiled the potatoes, mashed them up and mixed with some spices. It doesn't complement the dosa at all.

It's been brought to my attention that peanut chutney is only made at home and never served at restaurants. I wonder why? It's so good. 

I was so sick of eating the "bland" potato curry, that my mom decided to make her own, better version. No need to give our money away to the restaurants who can't even make a decent curry. 

Dosas served with peanut chutney and mixed vegetable curry

My mom's version has more vegetables in it and it's much more tasty. Let's take a look at the ingredients for this dosa curry...

Ingredients / Serves 6-8:
- 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
- 2 cups of cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 2 large carrots, diced into ½” cubes
- 1½ cups of frozen French cut beans
- 1 large onion, chopped into 1" pieces
- 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
- ½ cup frozen green peas
- 4 to 5 green chilies, chopped per taste
- 3 Tbsp Vegetable oil
- ½ tsp whole mustard
- ½ tsp whole cumin
- 1 Tbsp urad dal (black gram lentil)
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 Tbsp salt (or as needed)
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish (optional)

1) Heat oil in a large saucepan, add urad dal, and fry for 1 to 2 minutes. When they brown, add mustard and cumin. When the mustard and cumin start to splutter, add turmeric powder, onions, and green chilies. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes and add tomatoes. Sprinkle a pinch of salt, mix well and allow it to cook under the lid for 2 to 3 more minutes. 

2) When the tomatoes are cooked, and form a gravy, add potatoes, beans (pre-cooked in microwave for 4 minutes), carrots and cauliflower. Then add salt and cook for another 12 to 15 minutes under closed lid mixing every couple of minutes.

3) When the potatoes are cooked or soft (can be cut easily with the spatula), remove the lid and allow any remaining water to evaporate. Mash the potatoes slightly for curry to come together. Taste to adjust salt and spice level.

4) Transfer into a bowl and garnish with chopped fresh coriander and serve hot with dosas either as a filling or alongside.

Quick Tips
- Potatoes can be replaced with grated paneer and will be added when veggies are half-cooked.
- Fry cashews and add to the curry in the end to give a crunchy taste.

April 29, 2018

Onion Relish for Sakinalu

I love chatting up my ammamma (maternal grandmother) on the phone. You know why? Because she tells the best stories. Stories about her childhood, about her hometown in Telangana (state in southern India), and her favorite dishes. 

She made the long journey from India to US and is currently staying with my family. I'm so happy because I can go visit her whenever I want to and listen to more of her stories. She always has something new to tell me. 

My favorite part of the conversations are always about food. She knows how much I enjoy cooking and trying new dishes and snacks. A popular Telangana snack is sakinalu.  

Sakinalu served with onion relish
Sakinalu is circular in shape (as shown above) and is crispy and crunchy. It is made with rice flour, some spices, sesame seeds, carom seeds, salt and is fried in oil. 

My ammamma used to get this snack especially made for us whenever we visited her in India. Her relatives made kilos of this snack, packaged it in gallon sized ziplock bags and distributed to all the family. It's best when eaten within a month's time otherwise it will go stale. 

Sakinalu can be enjoyed on its own or with onion relish or chutney (shown below).

The main ingredient or highlight of this relish is the onion, hence the name. It's best to use sweet onions but if those are not available, you can also make with regular onions as well. Check out the recipe for the relish below: 

1 large (about 4" wide) white or sweet onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp chili powder (adjust to taste)
1/4 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1-1/2 Tbsp dry coconut powder, grated

Heat oil in a medium saucepan on low and add chili powder. Stir for 15 seconds and then add onions, brown sugar and salt. Continue to cook on low heat stirring frequently for 10 to 15 minutes or until the onion is well cooked and water is evaporated and the chutney comes together without sticking to the pan. Next add the coconut powder and mix well. Cook for an additional minute and remove from the stove. 

The spicy and sweet flavors in this relish pair well with the Sakinalu. Sometimes, I wonder...which do I love more? Sakinalu or the relish...especially since I put a teaspoon of the relish on each of the piece of the snack. At this rate, I usually run out...but I can always make more because now I have recipe. 

Whenever I eat this snack, I think of my ammamma and all of her stories...looking forward to seeing her again soon...

How do you enjoy sakinalu? What chutney do you eat it with? Drop us a comment. 

March 18, 2018

2018 Ugadi Specials

I traveled two plus hours to get to my parents' place over the weekend to celebrate Ugadi with them. 

It was worth the travel! 

The aroma of sweet halwa puri hit me as soon as I walked into the house. I quickly took off my jacket and shoes and sat ready at the table. That was the signal for my mom!


I said "Mom, I'm hungry". She handed me a small bowl of Ugadi pachadi to drink so I can start off the "new year" properly. 

Then she placed a plate full of yummy food in front me. I was jumping for joy over the beautiful sight in front of me just like S.V. Ranga Rao's expression in the song, Vivaha Bhojanambu from Maya Bazaar (youtube link below). 

I enjoyed eating the mango pulihora, vegetable pakora, and of course multiple halwa puris. She also made mint chutney, green beans with moong, and Italian beans curry to eat with rice and chappati. 

I was all smiles by the end of my meal...hope to have a fruitful new year! 

                  From my family to yours... Happy Ugadi!! 

February 16, 2018

It's the Year of the Dog

Happy Lunar New Year, from our family to yours! 

Will be celebrating this holiday with my husband's family.

February 2, 2018

Spinach Raita with Naan Dippers

Looking for game day appetizer ideas? Expecting company? 

Look no further! 

I love making vegetable raitas or yogurt dips for guests. There are so many varieties you can make. 

The picture above is spinach raita with naan dippers by StoneFire Naan. I LOVE StoneFire's naans. They have different sizes; these bite size naans are great for dipping into your favorite dip or sauce. I also the texture; they crunchy and the flavor is on point. 

My husband and I hosted our first game night at our place a couple of weeks ago. I was trying to figure what snacks I can make using the ingredients I had at home and ones that are healthy; not too fattening. 

I searched my fridge and found yogurt. I always have yogurt on hand because I love yogurt and it's healthy (good probiotic).  I decided to make spinach raita and serve it with the naan dippers. 

Below is an easy recipe to make Spinach raita (in the microwave/stove top):

1 box of frozen chopped spinach (10oz)
6 oz sour cream (regular or fat free)
1 cup plain yogurt (any type as desired: fat free, regular or whole milk)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (optional)
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp whole cumin
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
5 to 6 curry leaves, fresh or dry (optional)
1/4 tsp salt or as per your taste

1) Break the spinach into pieces and transfer it into a microwavable container. Then add salt, chili powder, turmeric powder and microwave for 5 to 6 minutes or until the spinach is fully cooked.

2) Allow the vegetable mixture to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and then stir in the sour cream and yogurt.

3) In a small saute pan (or mini nonstick egg fry pan) heat one tablespoon of oil and add mustard and cumin seeds. When they start to splatter, add curry leaves, and mix well. Remove from heat and transfer the contents into the raita (spinach and yogurt mixture) and mix well. 

Finally transfer into your favorite serving dish. Raitas can be served with pulao, parathas, naan, or plain rice. They can also be used as a dipping sauce for some appetizers like nachos, tortilla or pita chips.

Quick Tips
- If you want a thicker dip, add more sour cream and yogurt. 
- You can adjust the spice level as per your taste. 

Click on each vegetable to be routed to the recipe page for other raitas you can try:
beetroot, green bell peppertomato and onion, eggplant or cucumber. We have other yummy snacks that would be great for game day. Check out our recipes page for ideas. 

January 15, 2018

New Beginnings: Cooking in a new Home

Nothing reminds me of home like the aroma of freshly chopped coriander and spices sizzling in the saute pan.

Carrots and Moong Curry and Beetroot Raita served with chapati

Moving to a new city can be unnerving. As I mentioned in my first post of the year, I got married recently and moved to New York.

I unpacked and organized the kitchen in my new home to my liking with my kitchen essentials: utensils, pans, and my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. I also brought the other essentials such as ready-to-use sauces, spices, spice mixtures, and herb plants etc, so I can enjoy my favorite dishes in my new home. 

I whipped out my newly filled spice box with garam masala, turmeric, chilli powder, curry leaves, etc and GOT COOKING. I love making raitas because they are so easy to make. And my husband loves moong, so I made Carrots and Moong curry and Beetroot Raita as the vegetable dishes and we ate them with chapati and rice.

Here's to trying new dishes and sharing my experience with you all!  

January 6, 2018

Time for Reflection and Renewal

Happy New Year everyone!!

Date and Almond Laddu
I always take time to reflect on the past year and look to the new year for renewal. This past year so much has happened that I am truly grateful for. My toastmasters club (Open Door Toastmasters) elected me club President for the 2017-2018 year, I became Area Director (for 5 Toastmasters clubs in District 83), and got married to my longtime friend and college classmate, Michael. I'm also thankful for my parents and good friends who always supported me.

We wanted to start off the new year with a healthy, sweet treat: Date and Almond Laddu (balls). Below are the ingredients and instructions on how to make this yummy treat; enjoy anytime of the year.

- 10 oz / 285g Pitted dates
- 2/3 cup Almonds
- 2/3 cup Milk Mava powder
- 2 Tbsp ghee or melted butter
- 3 to 4 drops of Pure Vanilla extract

In a food processor, add dates, almonds and blend them coarsely (approx. 6 to 8 pulses). Next add mava powder, ghee and vanilla extract. Pulse again 3 to 4 times until all ingredients are blended well. Remove the mixture from the jar and make 1" round balls or laddu. Mixture makes about 15 to 18 laddus.

Quick Tips:
1) If desired, roll the laddus in dry coconut. Food coloring can be added to the coconut powder for festive appeal.
2) If milk mava powder is not readily available, you can also use coconut milk powder.

Wishing all a very happy and prosperous new year. How did you celebrate the new year? Please share your stories with us.