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.


Showing posts with label American Holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label American Holidays. Show all posts

February 14, 2013

~For My Sweet Valentine~

"It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends." I totally agree!

Happy Valentine's Day Mom and Dad!!
And to show my appreciation, here's a plate of Kalakand (also known as Milk Cake) in a shape of a heart just for you, mom and dad! Hope you like it; it's made with Ricotta cheese, so it's kind of healthy. 

What's everyone else up to this Valentine's Day? Feel free to chime in and share your "sweet" moments with us!

December 29, 2012

Masala Bread Pakora - A Hearty Winter Treat!

What do Mr. Potato Head, the Hot Potato game, and Fried Oreos & Twinkies have in common?


These are some things we grew up with and still enjoy today. I remember my first time eating a fried Oreo? It was at a street festival in Little Italy, New York City. It was an interesting experience to say the least, but I enjoyed it. I added it to the many food memories I accumulated through the years. 
The appetizer pictured below is from one of my mom's foodie memories. She had it at an eatery long ago in India and has been making it for us every since. It is actually one of my sister's favorite treats to eat when she comes home for the holidays.

It's called Masala Bread Pakora! And the best part is that the crust is made using a slice of white bread. No need to make it from scratch. Picture to be posted soon!!

Ingredients for Stuffing:
- 1 lb Potatoes
- 1 Medium Onion, diced
- 1 Medium Tomato, diced
½ cup Frozen Carrots and Peas
- 3 to 4 Green Chilies, chopped finely
¼ cup Fresh Coriander, chopped
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1 tsp Chat Masala
- 1 tbsp Lemon juice
½ tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Salt

Ingredients for Crust:
- 10 to 12 slices of Wonder White Bread (a few days old)
- 3 to 4 tbsp Vegetable oil

Cook potatoes in the microwave until soft (6 to 7 minutes) and peel off the skin. Then cut or mash roughly to 1 inch pieces and set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a saucepan and add the cumin and mustard seeds. When they splutter, add onions and sauté for one to two minutes. Now add turmeric and then toss in the tomatoes, allowing them to soften. Next add the green chilies and salt. Mix well. Add in the mashed potatoes and carrots and peas, mix and cook for 5 minutes under closed lid. Later add lemon juice, chat masala and mix well. Finally, add the chopped coriander after removing from stove and mix again. Cool the vegetable curry for 10 minutes. 
Take a bread slice and moisten it slightly with water and place a quarter cup or ladle of the curry on the bread in the center diagonally and cover it with bread by pressing with your fingers (as shown in the picture below).

Use wet fingers if necessary to moisten the bread. Heat oil in the frying pan and fry the stuffed bread until golden brown (for 3 to 4 minutes) by turning sides for even frying.

 Serve hot with coriander chutney (recipe below). 

Coriander Chutney - A Simple Dipping Sauce for Bread Pakora:
Finely chop a small bunch of coriander. Roast quarter cup of peanuts. In a blender, grind the peanuts into a fine powder, then add the chopped coriander, one clove of garlic (husked), 2 green chilies (chopped finely), 1 teaspoon of tamarind paste, half teaspoon of salt and some water. Blend to a smooth paste.

December 20, 2012

Christmas Is Almost Here!!

 I got a head start on my To Do list this year and already started checking things off. I'm nearly there even though timing is ticking away: 
  • Put up lights outside of home - Check
  • Decorate Christmas tree with lights and ornaments - Check
  • Make edible gifts (Pumpkin Spice Bread & Chocolate Mexican Wedding cookies) and hand out to friends - Check
  • Make Corn Flakes Mixture for big sis - Check
  • Wrap presents and put under the tree - Check

We would love to hear from you. What do you have planned for the holidays? What treats do you make around this time of year?  


A Merry Christmas To All!!

November 22, 2012

A Bright & Joyful Holiday Celebration!

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, our Diwali festival plans were postponed until Thanksgiving. What better to celebrate the Festival of Lights than with lots of food and family. The holiday themed dinner is a blend both 'American' and Indian ingredients and this year my mom handed the task of planning the dinner menu to me. Woohoo!!

The dinner menu includes Asparagus Twists, Masala Bread Pakora, Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, Orange and Mango Spritzer, Bombay Style Mixed Vegetable Biryani served with Tomato & Onion Raita, Creamy Cauliflower & Paneer Curry, Pumpkin Spiced Bread and Mixed Berry Cobbler.


February 14, 2012

~Chocolate and Coffee Lovers Unite~

~Happy Valentine's Day~
Decadent Chocolate Espresso Bean Cookies
It's nice to try different things to spice up one's life. I love cooking Indian dishes with my mom because I feel it brings us closer together. However, lately I've been going on a baking binge...from gingerbread cookies, banana and walnut muffins to seasoned potatoes and carrots. I get inspiration from lots of places including what I see on TV and what I think would go well together. I think some of my mom's cooking skill rubbed off on me (in a good way)! Whenever an idea pops in my head, I have to follow through so I don't fuss over it too long.
Recently my mom brought home a bag of chocolate covered espresso beans that she received from one of her friends. My mom wasn't a coffee lover, but she knew my dad might like them. To her surprise, he didn't care too much about them either. So now we were stuck with a bag full of chocolate bitter beans.

What shall we do with them? I immediately Googled espresso beans and found my next baking adventure, thanks to 101cookbooks. I tweaked the recipe a bit by substituting some of their ingredients with the ones we had in our pantry. Below is the list of ingredients I used for my version. 

- 2½ cups All-Purpose Flour
- 2 tbsp Coffee powder, freshly ground
- ¾ tsp Baking Soda
- ¾ tsp Baking Powder
- ¾ tsp Salt
- ½ cup Cocoa Powder
- 1 cup Unsalted Butter
- 1½ cups Light Brown Sugar and ½ cup Dark Brown Sugar
- 2 Large Eggs
- 3 tsp Vanilla Extract
- ¾ cup Chocolate covered Almonds, chopped
- 6.75oz Chocolate covered espresso beans
- 1.25oz Chocolate covered candied ginger

Preheat oven at 375 degrees. Makes 2-3 dozen chunky, medium cookies.

The procedure is similar to what is listed on 101cookbooks. For your convenience, it's listed below:
1) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, coffee powder and cocoa powder. Set aside.
2) In a large bowl or electric mixer, beat the butter until it is fluffy and lightens a bit in color. Then beat in the sugar - it should have a thick frosting-like consistency. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, making sure the first egg gets incorporated before adding the next. Next add the vanilla and mix well.
3) Add the dry ingredients to the wet mix in about four waves. Stir a bit between each addition until the flour is incorporated well. At this point, you should have a moist brown dough that is uniform in color. Stir in the espresso beans, chocolate covered almonds and candied ginger by hand and mix only until they are evenly distributed through the dough. 
4) Use roughly one heaped tablespoonful for each cookie and place it onto the baking sheets. Don't worry about them being perfect.

I wasn't quite sure how the addition of the candied ginger would work in this recipe, but to my surprise, it was perfect. With each bite of this decadent cookie, you get a different taste: bitterness, spiciness, and sweetness; without overpowering either of those flavors. We are resisting the temptation of eating more than just one...however, we are still trying.

What are you doing for Valentine's Day? Staying in and cooking or dining out? Feel free to share your experiences with us.

February 16, 2011

A Lovely Valentine!

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Sugar is sweet 
And so are You
Will you be my Valentine?

Do you remember writing poems like the one above, when you were younger? I used to buy Valentine cards that have such sayings and give them out to my classmates in elementary and middle school.For my close friends, I included heart candies in the envelopes. It was easy to please your Valentine at that age. Now older and wiser, Valentine's Day is a bit more elaborate; it's all about wining and dining your date. How can you outdo the previous year's experience? I chose to lay low this year and had dinner with a friend over the weekend. We had a wonderful dinner followed by a couple of desserts. The first was carrot halwa which he made from scratch and didn't follow a recipe. It was pretty good for his first try. The second were cupcakes from Magnolia's Bakery from NYC. So many sweet celebrations! However, my Valentine's dining did not end there.  
Since I am now living with my parents, I wanted them to have a pleasant Valentine's too. At first I thought of sending the both off to a nice restaurant but Valentine's fell on a Monday and they both had to work the next day. So I hurried home after work, and prepped for an evening of cooking by none other than myself. Don't worry, I didn't poison them. I've had years of experience cooking for my sister when we were living together and she's never complained. I can cook a mean Chinese fried rice, mushroom risotto and curry puffs.
Anyways, I decided to keep it simple and make something right from our blog. Even though my parents love trying new cuisines, they always yearn for good ol' Indian cooking much much more.
I went the whole nine yards and made Aloo Parathas from scratch and we ate them with raita. My dad chipped in and helped me roll out the parathas and toast them on the pan. For dessert, I made chocolate covered strawberries which were served with dessert wine. Oh by the way, I forgot to mention that my dad surprised my mom with a exquisite Japanese Ikebana flower arrangement. 
Quite stunning and intricate, I must say!
 Overall, the evening turned out well and my parents enjoyed themselves. Dinner Accomplished, woohoo!

December 26, 2010

HO HO HO Holiday Rice With Beets!!


Have we got a treat for you! We decided to spread some holiday cheer by cooking up this colorful and healthy rice dish for everyone to enjoy during the holidays. We call it HO HO HO Holiday Rice. We prepared it just in time for even Santa can have a taste.  I figured he's so used to eating cookies that he might like to try something new.

Main Ingredients
You can make 6-8 servings by using the ingredients listed below:
  • 1 large Beet Root, peeled and grated
  • 1½ cups Rice (prefer Basmati), washed and cooked
  • ½ cup Carrots & Peas (frozen)
  • 4 Green chilies, split lengthwise
  • 1" piece Ginger, chopped finely
  • 1/8 cup Fried onions
  • 1½ tbsp MTR Vangibhath powder
  • 4-5 leaves Curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 tsp each Whole Mustard and Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Black Gram Dal (optional)
  • 3-4 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • Salt, as needed
1) Cook rice with little less water than normal so that it separates individual grains. After the rice is done, separate it with a wooden spatula and add a tbsp oil to avoid sticking.
2) Heat oil in a saucepan, add mustard and cumin seeds, when they splutter, add the gram dal and stir until it is golden brown (1-2 min). Add green chilies and ginger and stir for 1min and add grated beetroot and ½ tsp salt mix well and place the lid and cook for 4-5 min.

3) Add another tsp of salt and cooked rice in portions mixing it with season until it is uniform. Mix in fried onions, frozen carrots & peas and vangibath powder, stir well and cook for 3-4 minutes.

4) Serve it hot garnished with fresh coriander.

December 9, 2010

No Turkey, No Problem!

Growing up in the United States, I learned quite a bit about all the holidays and their importance. My favorite holidays are Thanksgiving (lots of eating) and Christmas (lots of presents). Although we are not Christians, we still take part in the festivities. Every other year, we go over to my Uncle's place to spend the holiday with them and enjoy their arrangement of  Thanksgiving: Turkey, stuffing, baked sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and some kind of pie. We bring a couple of vegetarian dishes like green bean casserole and biryani to spice up the dinner variety.
This year my family decided to host the big dinner at our new house and invited a lot of family over for the weekend. Some stayed for the weekend since they were travelling from abroad. And boy, did we have our work cut out for us! My mom and I prepared the holiday weekend menu a week in advance so we could finish the grocery shopping and cooking in time for the bid day. Furthermore, Our Thanksgiving Dinner was moved to Friday to accommodate all the holiday guests.  Even though the holidays always seem to be the most stressful time of year...I love the feasting and stuffing our faces part.

Our Big Thanksgiving Dinner comprised of many dishes such as the ones illustrated above (starting from left to right): Chili bhajji, Cranberry chutney, Lavish Lilva beans, Pumpkin pulusu, Vegetable lo mein, Dahi vada, and Asparagus twists. These dishes were served with warm jeera rice and rotis.

Although, I thought I was in a food coma after dinner, I made sure I secured enough room for dessert. Some of our guests were kind enough to bring desserts and so we had a lot to choose from: Almond and cranberry Biscotti, apple pie with ice cream and rasmalai. We made rasmalai at home and it didn't take as long as I thought it would.

Over the next few days, we will be posting recipes for many of these mouth watering dishes for you to try at home.

Hey even though there was no turkey served for dinner, we all managed to burn off a few calories afterwards with the Turkey Dance!!