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 Ready To Eat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ready To Eat. Show all posts

August 19, 2012

Embrace The "Heat" & Celebrate!

It seems like there's a food festival every other day. Many of them are a bit too much for my taste. However, there are some that are worth celebrating like the Hot and Spicy Food Day, which was today. This festival brings lovers of fiery recipes together to enjoy heat-filled foods. Although the exact origin of the day is unknown, archaeologists believe that humans have been eating spicy foods for 6,000 years!
We celebrated the festival by cooking up some of our home grown peppers and enjoyed the hot flavors. Cooking with peppers can sometimes be tricky so it's nice to have ready made entrees handy. One of the brands we tried and liked are entrees by Tandoor Chef. Their dishes have all the right spices for heat-loving palates! Also, the spices bring extra flavor to foods, health benefits and fun!

Below are some good tips about spicy foods from Tandoor Chef:
  • Sweat it Out: Ever wonder why cultures in hot climates eat spicy food the most? Spicy food raises your body temperature to match the level outside, which causes you to sweat. The sweat evaporates and you cool off. So by eating hotter foods, people in these cultures stay cooler! 
  • Add a Healthy Kick: Spicy foods don't just help you sweat; they are actually good for you! Adding a natural kick from peppers and jalapenos can add flavor without increasing sodium or fat content of recipes. Chili peppers can also lower your risk for heart disease by reducing the effect of bad cholesterol. The spiciness can even help you battle a cold by clearing sinuses. Woohoo for health! 
  • Nutrients Galore: Chili peppers are also high in Vitamins A and C, beta-carotene and Capsaicin, which can help relieve pain and inflammation. 
  • Ease your Palate: Drink cold milk or yogurt when eating fiery foods. Dairy products can help neutralize the spices in your mouth while water or other beverages may simply move the heat around in your mouth. 
Whether for the health benefits, the thrill or just for fun, give spicy foods a try!! Tandoor Chef entrees and appetizers offer both vegetarian and vegan meals that will bring your taste buds alive. 

How did you embrace the "heat" and celebrate Hot and Spicy Food Day? We would love to hear from you!   

July 9, 2012

MTR's Diet Delite Spiced Cereals With Vegetables

Sometimes it's tough to eat a well balanced meal when you're too busy working and catching up with life. That's why it's nice to have "Ready To Eat" entrees handy. You just heat them up and enjoy. Which leaves more time for other stuff like RELAXATION. These days it's easy to find these types of meals; they're available everywhere. They're becoming quite popular even in India where now lots of people are turning to Quick and Easy products to make cooking easier and faster. There's also a variety of brands to choose from at our local Indian store: Deep Foods, Tandoor Chef, MTR, Gits, Rasoi Magic and etc. Some are tasty and some are just BLAH!
The last time we went grocery shopping, we picked up some. One of them was MTR's Diet Delite: Spiced Cereals with Vegetables.

Here's why we were drawn to this product:
- Whole wheat and lentils cooked with aromatic spices
- Low on fat, high on fiber and taste
- Made with 100% Natural Ingredients
- Suitable for vegetarians and mildly spicy

Everything stated above was clearly a win-win for us and so we bought it. I was delighted to see some of my favorite Indian dishes made even easier to eat since all you have to do is heat it up. I was excited to try a different kind of Pongal.

This does not look like the picture on box.
All my excitement went down the drain when I emptied the contents into a microwaveable bowl and heated it up. It was just a bowl of mush with some signs of vegetables and spices. It wasn't very aromatic and it surely wasn't tasty. We ended up cooking something to make up for the bad taste in our mouths.

We do not recommend buying this product. It's not worth it.

As the famous proverb goes: There are plenty of other "Ready To Eat" vegetarian meals on the market and we're sure we will find them.

January 29, 2012

Udupi's Frozen Mendu Vadas

Dahi Vada is an Indian chaat that is prepared with vada (donut-like shaped crispy lentil fritters) and yogurt. The vadas are made from urad dal and some spices for added flavor. Making vadas from scratch is a laborious process:
1) Soak the dal in water for at least 5 hours and blend it to a smooth consistency.
2) Mix in salt and other spices, press small portions of the dough into donut like shapes on your palm and fry them to golden brown color.
3) Soak the fried vadas in seasoned yogurt for couple of hours until they are ready to be served.

Although I was able to describe the process in a few steps, it typically takes about half a day to make this snack from scratch. And if you are pressed for time but still want to enjoy this delicious snack, then there is a solution. 

The solution is Udupi's Frozen Mendu Vadas. Udupi is another brand under the Deep Foods' Company.

On the Upside
- The vadas are fried and packaged, so there's no need to re-fry them.
- The vadas were moist and not oily. They were very flavorful and light.
- They also do not contain onion or garlic as it is noted on the package.
- The packet contains 8 pieces and costs about 2 USD; so it's reasonably priced. 

Currently available at Indian Grocers.

Below is how we prepared the Dahi Vada from the Frozen vada packet:
- 1 box Udupi Frozen Mendu Vada packet
- 16-20 oz of Yogurt
For seasoning:
- ½ tsp Whole Cumin seeds (jeera)
- ½ tsp Mustard seeds
- 2 Green chilies, finely chopped
- ½ inch piece of Ginger, grated
- 1tbsp Vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp Coriander leaves, finely chopped
- ¼ tsp Salt or as needed
Tamarind & Date Chutney for garnish

1) Whisk the yogurt and set aside. Heat oil in a small seasoning pan and add mustard and cumin seeds. When they start spluttering, add chilies and ginger along with a pinch of salt. Transfer the seasoning into the yogurt and mix well. 
2) Transfer the vadas from the packet into a microwaveable dish. Microwave them for 2-3 minutes with closed lid. Immerse each vada one at a time into a bowl of water. Remove it immediately from the water and squeeze the water out by pressing it between your palms. Then add each one into the seasoned yogurt. (Please Note: Make sure all vadas are in the yogurt and allow them to soak for at least 30 min. - 1 hour. 
3) Garnish them with chopped coriander. Serve each vada along with some yogurt in a small bowl and top it with a tbsp of chutney. 

Enjoy the coolness with tangy sweet taste!
***Quick Tip: If you prefer a less spicy taste, skip seasoning the yogurt.

Our conclusion: We would definitely recommend this product. The pros out way the cons. It's the perfect size for your family or get together. It saves time and lets you enjoy the rest of your day.

August 5, 2011

Tandoor Chef Frozen Entrees

Sometimes it's tough to prepare meals for the work week when your schedule doesn't allow it; even on the weekends. It's nice to be able to grab frozen meals like Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine, and SmartOnes from time to time to enjoy a day off from cooking. However, a lot of these choices are more appealing for non-vegetarians and we feel that there aren't a lot of variety for vegetarians. That's why we were delighted to find that Tandoor Chef had a variety of meals for us that were healthy and tasty. YAY!!
Among the box of goodies we received from Deep Foods (such as frozen samosas and vegetarian patties), there were also four frozen entrees by Tandoor Chef (one of their brands).

Kofta Curry with Channa Masala & Spinach Basmati Pilaf 
Vegetable Korma with Dal Rajasthani & Cumin-Infused Basmati Rice
At first when we read through the list of the nutrition facts, we noticed that sodium count seemed a bit on the higher side. However, when we tasted the meals, we didn't feel that it was salty. On a positive note, these meals have a good amount of protein (10g), fiber (8-9g) low fat, made with olive oil, and they are a well balanced meal for a vegetarian diet as compared to the original recipes (made with lots of ghee or oil). 

Palak Paneer with Dal Makhani & Turmeric-Infused  Basmati Rice
Mutter Paneer with Dal Palak & Cumin-Infused Basmati Rice
I felt that the above two meals were more satisfying in terms of nutrition (Paneer - Indian cheese). They have almost twice as much protein with 17g each and they are packed with 8g of fiber (same as the first two). The only drawback is that these two meals have a bit more sodium in them and I think it's because of the paneer. It's hard to flavor the dense cheese without adding more spices. They were all pretty flavorful except the kofta curry which was a bit spicy. 

Overall, we enjoyed trying out these meals for our lunches and found that they were a good replacement for a meal here and there. I liked the fact that the pictures on the box aren't misleading. A lot of times, I find that the other frozen meals' pictures show ample portions of vegetables/meat, but when I open up the box, it's quite disappointing. However, with the Indian entrees, what you see is what you get. You do not feel cheated about anything. An important fact to point out is that although these are Indian meals, they were produced in the USA from fresh ingredients (as per label on the box). 

Now whenever you want to take a breather from cooking during the work week, try one of these meals. You can feel happy you're eating the REAL DEAL!!

July 8, 2011

Tandoor Chef's Samosas

The one thing I've learned since watching my mom cook is that sometimes, shortcuts are necessary to cut cooking time. That's why whenever we have company over, we love serving snacks that don't require a lot of assembling or heating time. Recently Deep Foods, leading manufacturers of Indian food contacted us to review some of their products and we were happy to provide our feedback. 
So today we will be sharing our thoughts on snacks, specifically samosas made by Tandoor Chef, one of Deep Foods' brands. Three varieties of samosas are available: Palak paneer samosas, jumbo samosas with coriander chutney, and tandoori chicken samosas. We tried the Palak paneer samosas and the jumbo samosas (pictured above).

Click image to enlarge
Samosas contain no artificial flavors and made with 100% natural ingredients. We liked the fact that chutney (dipping sauce) was included but the consistency was watery. We added some ketchup to make it more thicker and bring out the tangy flavor which fit well with the spicy filling. In terms of appetite pleasing, better to grab a samosa than a candy full.

Next up, Palak Paneer samosas:

Click image to enlarge
The flavor test: good taste, medium spicy, and well cooked filling. We liked the crunchy crust and crispy texture after baking them (as per the cooking instructions on the box). Another winning point is that they weren't too oily and are the perfect size for a snack. The spicy taste of these samosas go great with a "cold one" or hot beverages such as Chai or tea. The only con for this snack is that no sauce was included in the box.   

Now I will attempt to read your mind...wait for it...You're wondering where you can get some samosas. Currently, these snacks are available at your local Indian grocery store.