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.


April 30, 2011

Hawa Hawaii Pooris

Whenever we have a craving to eat chole curry, we love eating it with pooris. *Pooris are another type of Indian flat breads which are made with wheat flour. If you have perfected or at least practiced the technique of making dough for chappati or roti, then making dough for pooris is a cinch. The following videos are broken down into easy-to-follow steps from making the dough to frying the pooris. We love eating pooris on cool and breezy nights when we want to eat some warm comfort food. Now with summer around the corner, pooris can also be enjoyed with mango pulp or puree.

Step 1: In a mixing bowl, mix together (3) cups of wheat flour, (1.5) tablespoons of oil, and less than 1 cup of water.
Once you are finished making the dough, you can make the dough balls. These will be rolled out and fried in the hot oil. 
Now you are ready to roll out the poori dough balls and fry in the hot oil. Hint: You can drop a tiny ball of dough in the oil to see if it's hot enough to fry the pooris. You will know it's hot enough when the tiny ball comes up to the top and you see bubbles. 

Just look at those fluffy pooris floating in the hot oil! Don't let the poori sit in the oil too long; otherwise it will soak up the oil and it will taste oily and heavy. You just have to flip it once or twice until it puffs up and is ready to be whisked out of the pan and into the drying bowl. Then just add it to the pile of hot pooris in your serving dish.

***Quick Tip: 
- For fluffy pooris add a little bit of milk when making the dough. 
- We used Deep Foods Whole wheat flour to make these fluffy pooris. This multi-purpose flour can be used to make dough for chappati, roti, poori and paratha.

Fun Fact: The title for this post was inspired by one of my favorite songs from a Bollywood movie called Mr. India and the song's name is "Hawa Hawaii".

April 24, 2011

~Instant Custard Gratification~

In the spirit of Earth Day, my parents and I spent the sunny part of today re-potting the vegetable seedlings into bigger pots and sowing more seeds in our vegetable garden. It's officially Spring and I love it. The air was filled with aromatic fragrances from the cherry blossoms and it was breezy but not cold. Sayonara Winter and Hello sunny days! After all the hard work, I decided to treat myself to a quick sweet treat...custard. Along with its thick and creamy consistency, I love the various flavors that are available. When we were in India, my mom used to make it for us all the time with these powder packets manufactured by Brown and Polson and Rafhan.
They had a variety of flavors to choose from: good ol' vanilla, raspberry, pineapple, banana, and mango. I used to eagerly watch while my mom made it. She heated up the milk, stirred in the powder slowly and then let it set in the fridge. I'm sure the whole process was all of 30 minutes but for a kid, that could seem like a decade. Since those custard packets are not readily available, I made custard-like dessert with the Jell-O Instant pudding packets.
Did you know Jell-O Instant pudding is available in Vanilla, Banana Cream, Lemon, Flan and Pistachio flavors? Pistachio was the biggest surprise for me. The next surprise was how much time it took to make it...5 minutes. No wonder, it says instant on the label. The ones from India required you to store the warm custard in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving it. With Jell-O pudding, it's ready when you want it. And if you want to make it more interesting, add some fruits. I recommend adding apple, banana, orange and mango pieces. Yum!
Nothing like settling down with a bowl of custard after a long day of gardening!

***Quick Tip - For a more aromatic and tasty custard:
- Add powdered cardamom to a tablespoon of milk, heat it in the microwave for about 30 seconds and add the mixture to the cold milk before mixing the pudding powder to it. This infuses the cardamom flavor and makes the dessert even more tasty.

April 7, 2011

Halwa In A Hurry

You've planned this lavish dinner for your guests and every thing's ready and then it hits you. You totally forgot about dessert. Instead of rushing to the super market for a cake or pie, try something new. I know what you're thinking. I can read minds, you know! How will you manage to make something in such a short time. Well, don't you fret...we have the perfect dessert for you.
Mouth-watering Carrot Halwa
I know you're dying to learn how to make it. It's so easy and I bet, you already have the ingredients at home:
1 lb Grated Carrots
½ cup of Condensed Milk
5-6 Sliced Cashews or Almonds
5-6 Raisins
1-2 Cardamom/Elaichi seeds (powdered)
3 tbsp Butter

The best part about making this dessert is that it can be done all in the MICROWAVE. How awesome is that? Now that we have your attention, here are the directions:
1) Melt butter in a large microwaveable container/bowl (for 30-40 seconds).
2) Add grated carrots, mix well and microwave for 8-10 minutes mixing after 5 minutes of cooking. (Hint: Use a lid to cover the container.)
3) Add condensed milk and cook for another 5-8 minutes until the mixture is cooked well and it all comes together. Add the powdered cardamom and mix well. Then transfer into a serving dish.
4) In a small pan, heat ½ tsp of butter and toast the nuts. Then add the raisins and remove from stove. Garnish the halwa with the toasted nuts and raisins.

***Quick Tip: Our procedure was done with an 1100 watt powered microwave. (Please adjust the timing per your microwave wattage)

April 6, 2011

April Specials!

Our Motto is and always will be: Making authentic, unique, new Indian vegetarian dishes EASIER for everyone to try! 

Over the past year, it's been a fun and good learning experience for us to create and post about all our cooking stories with you. We try to think outside the box and post recipes that would not only attract our readers but also encourage them to re-create them at their homes. Since our motto's focus is about making cooking easier, the month of April has been dedicated to dishes where cooking time is cut and ingredients are more accessible which will make everyone happy.

~Don't worry, these dishes were tested and Mother, Approved~

April 4, 2011

A Meaningful New Year

We would like to wish all the South Indians, Khara Ugadi Shubhakanshalu and to all the Maharashtrians, Gudi padvyachya hardik shbhechcha. In plain English, Happy New Year*! Our New Year is determined by the lunisolar calendar. It is similar to the calendars followed by the Chinese, Buddhists, Mongolian, Hellenic and Koreans.

Last year, I remember we posted about some of the dishes that are made on this holiday and forgot to mention the most important one: a special mixture called Ugadi Pachadi (in Telugu) or New Year Chutney (direct English translation).

The ingredients from left to right are ripened bananas, tamarind juice (made from soaking dry tamarind in warm water and squeezing the juice out), coconut, dried neem flowers, brown sugar and unripened mango. I heard that people add green chilies and salt too.

After these ingredients are combined, we drink it. The significance of these ingredients is that they represent the various experiences we face in the year ahead in equal doses. I didn't realize there was a philosophical meaning...I thought it was a just recipe that was passed down from generation to generation. What a revelation!
There are several dishes that are prepared on this holiday. In Andhra Pradesh (my birth state) and Karnataka, people make puran poli, which looks like chappati or roti stuffed with sweet lentil. It is served hot with butter brushed over it. It sounds mouth watering but it's not that healthy. Most temples serve pulihora or tamarind rice on this day. Last year, we went the traditional route and made pulihora and sooji halwa.

This year, we kicked it up a notch and made a different kind of pulihora. The main ingredient is an unripened mango which is a bit tangy and a tad sweet. Ooh, I saved the best for last. We also made gajar (carrot) the microwave...can you believe it? It came out really well actually.

April 2, 2011

Chak De India!

I'm not a big sports buff but when I heard the Indian Cricket Team made it to the Finals for the ICC Cricket World Cup, I was jumping up for joy. The team beat out Pakistan in the Semi Finals for this chance. They will be playing against Sri Lanka in just a few hours. To show our support  for the team, we made orange/red bell pepper, feta and broccoli (Indian Flag colors) paninis with onion naan for dinner tonight. They came out all gooey and delicious. I will post pictures soon.