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 and vegan dishes.


November 25, 2010

November 16, 2010

Daddojanam - My Favorite Childhood Dish

Question of the day: What is your favorite childhood meal or dish?

Feeding time was always a challenge for my mom. I'm sure most new moms and experienced ones would agree; especially for toddlers versus any other age group. My mom told me that whenever she cooked something for the night, I never ate it. I would just runaway and be a menace. After many such days, she couldn't take it anymore and tried something different. She started to feed me yogurt rice (plain white rice mixed with homemade yogurt). Now that may sound awful to some people who don't eat yogurt to begin with. Well,what can I say except that it worked. Slowly she added vegetables to the mixture and that's how I got my nutrition.

When I told my mom I was going to share the recipe of my favorite meal, she thought that it wasn't anything special. Oh, was she wrong! See, yogurt rice doesn't sound fancy but it's the revised version that I find more scrumptious these days. Think of it as an upgrade. It's called Daddojanam and it's mixed with spices that make it taste different. We always serve this along with our other dishes for family parties. My mom tells me that the guests enjoy eating daddojanam after eating anything spicy because it refreshes their palate and calms the stomach.

By the way, we served this at the Diwali Dinner and it was gone by the end of party. Guess who ate most of it? ME...if you haven't guessed it by now. 

(Popular in Andhra Pradesh)

Ingredients (for 4 servings) 
1 cup Plain Rice (white or brown)
1 cup Plain Yogurt
1/4 cup Sour Cream (Regular or Non-Fat)
2 to 3 Tbsp Milk
Half Cucumber or Carrot (optional), grated
A pinch of Salt, for taste

1/2 tsp Mustard
1/2 tsp Jeera
A pinch of Turmeric (optional)
1/2" Ginger, grated
1 Green Chili, chopped
1 to 2 Tbsp Oil
5 Curry Leaves, fresh or dry (optional)

1) Cook rice to a slightly softer grain so that it can be mushed easily after done. (Hint: easier to do when rice  is hot)

2) Mash the rice and mix in yogurt, sour cream and some milk and mix well until the mixture is somewhat liquidity.

- Heat some oil (1-2 tbsp) and add jeera and mustard. When they splatter, add green chillies, ginger, salt and curry leaves. Stir for few minutes until the leaves are crisp.

3) Transfer the seasoning into the rice mixture and add salt as needed and mix well.

4) The dish will taste better if it is allowed to stand for 2-3 hrs. If you have more time, leave it in the fridge overnight.

Quick Tips:
- This dish can also be made by using cooked Quinoa, rice noodles or vermicelli.
- Additional milk or sour cream can be adjusted to your desired consistency.
- 4 to 5 cracked black peppercorn can be used as a substitute for green chilies.

November 15, 2010

Pamper Yourself With A Royal Dish

Did you know I have royal blood running through my veins? I didn't know either until I started eating this rich cuisine. You see, now more than before I have a reason to brag about my origins. I found out our cuisine is widely influenced by the Mughals. Their tastes varied from mild to spicy. Additionally their cooking had an unique aroma where whole and ground spices were infused in their cooking. I've noticed that in South Indian cooking, we use the same kind of spices to make our dishes POP. 
So I say to you now, come join me in my conquest of discovering new ingredients and trying dishes...oh and on your way, delight your palate with some "rich" food.

Eat like the Maharajahs and Maharanis with Shahi Korma.  

  • 10" long Long Squash, also known as Lauki
  • 2/3 cup Frozen peas and carrots
  • 2 Green Chilies, cut in half
  • Handful Cashews, split in half
  • 2 tbsp Raisins or Craisins
  • ½ cup Evaporated Milk
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala
  • ½ tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Salt, or as needed
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp Whole Cumin seeds
1) Peel the lauki and cut it into 1-inch cubes.  In a pressure cooker or sauce pan heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and season with mustard and cumin seeds. When they splatter, add turmeric powder, cubed lauki, green chilies (chopped), and salt.

2) Pressure cook or cook on stove top on medium heat until the lauki is soft but not mushy. Please note if using pressure cooker, turn off the heat after one to two whistles. 

3) When the lauki is cooked, add the remaining ingredients: peas and carrots, halved cashews, golden raisins, evaporated milk and garam masala. Cook well for 5-6 minutes on medium heat until the korma thickens.  
4) Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve it with hot rice, jeera (cumin) rice, or rotis. 

***Quick Tip: To add more richness to the korma, you can grind the cashews and add the mixture.

****We recently submitted this recipe for the Lufthansa: Flavors Of India promotional contest and received a generous amount of votes. We thank all our fans, friends and family for their support****

November 12, 2010

~Better Than Fried Green Tomatoes~

Tomato, what a versatile fruit or vegetable (however you view it)! There are so many kinds and so many ways to use them all. Let me count the ways: sauces, relishes, breads, rice dishes and even curries. Just take a look at those succulent and juicy varieties. Makes me want to reach in and take a big bite out of one!

Photo: Jack Gavigan (CC/SA)
One of the ways I enjoy eating tomatoes is with roti or hot rice. It's a dish called Tangy Tomato Curry which my mom prepared for a Diwali dinner recently. This gravy based dish is made with unripened tomatoes.  My mom always said, the greener the tomatoes, the better the taste. What I like about this dish is that the tomatoes are the focal point and not used as garnish or gravy. It's about time, they got some recognition! Are you with me?

Ingredients for Tangy Tomato Curry:
- 5 Medium Green tomatoes, cut into cubes
- 2 Medium Potatoes, cut into ½” cubes & microwave for 4 min
- 1 Large Onion, chopped into ½” cubes
- 4 Green chilies, finely chopped
- 1 inch piece of Ginger, grated
- ¼ cup of Grated coconut, fresh or dry powder
- ½ tbsp of Sambhar powder
- 2 tbsp Vegetable oil
- 1 tsp of Cumin seeds
- 1 tsp of Mustard seeds
- ½ tsp Turmeric
- ¼ cup of Fresh Coriander/Cilantro, chopped

Procedure: Heat oil in a medium size saucepan and season with cumin & mustard seeds. When they splutter, add onions and saute the mixture for couple of minutes. Next add turmeric, ginger and chopped chilies and stir well. Then add the potato and tomato pieces and salt. Mix and cook under medium to low heat with closed lid for 6 to 8 minutes. When the potato pieces are soft, add sambhar powder, grated coconut and mix well. Serve it with hot rotis or rice and enjoy the spicy & sour chatpata taste.

***Quick Tip: If dry coconut powder is used, sprinkle it with 2 tbsp of water and microwave it for 30 seconds to make it soft & fluffy. 

November 6, 2010

!*!Diwali Dhoom Dham Se!*!

Wishing You & Your Family

A Very Happy Diwali 

On Friday we celebrated one of India's most important holidays called Diwali. For those of you who are not well versed in Indian festivals, I thought I would share some insight into our culture. The festival earned the tag line, "festival of lights" from its name. Diwali is a contraction of the word Deepavali which translates into row of lamps; specifically oil lamps made with clay called Diyas. These lamps are then placed outside every one's homes to light the night. They signify the triumph of good over evil.  It has a nice ring to it, don't you think. Every holiday has its own traditions that make it meaningful and fun. Another tradition is that everyone wears new clothes and shares sweets with all their friends and family.  So, of course I put on my best Indian clothes and prepared for the day's events.

This year we decided to have a potluck dinner and invited a few people over to celebrate the holiday. The day started with decorating the front porch with rangoli.
We do this on all holidays, as you might have remembered reading on my post about Ganesh Chaturthi. Rangoli is the traditional decorative folk art of India. There are competitions that are held to see who can come up with the most intricate and unique designs. If you don't take my word for it, just check out this website:

As night approached, we lit diyas as well. We would usually place them outside but it was a particularly windy day so we arranged them inside to be enjoyed by all.

Colorful Diyas
Another tradition is eating Pheni (fried vermicelli) with sugar and hot milk. It is the first thing everyone eats on Diwali as a way of breaking fast.  I love it because it's so simple and once you mix the ingredients together, it tastes like payasm (kheer)

Pheni with sugar
As for all parties, my mom and I pre-plan the dinner menu so we can shop for the ingredients and prepare for the big day. This year we made most of the dishes except for a couple so we had time to do other things. Phew!

We made the green mango and spinach dal, tangy tomato curry, daddojanam (yogurt rice) and green beans. My aunt made the vegetable biryani and the mixed veg raita. We also had a variety of sweets to choose from at the party (including the ones some guests brought). Along with the boxed sweets, we also served gulab jamun that we made from scratch.

The Diwali Dinner turned out great and everyone raved about the food. The best part about holiday parties are the leftovers.  

***Quick Tips:
- Pheni is available at most Indian grocers during the Diwali festival time. 
- An easy and non  alcoholic beverage for holiday parties is Cranberry Spritzer. All you need to do is combine (1) part cranberry juice and (1) part Sprite. It has a refreshing taste.