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 appetizers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label appetizers. Show all posts

February 2, 2020

Go to Flavor-town with these Game Day Snacks!

I have to be honest...I'm not an avid American football fan but every year, I'm ready to watch the Super Bowl. It's more than a game; it's an event filled with funny and inspiring commercials, halftime show, and fun with the family. Regardless of who your favorite football team is, everyone comes together to watch the BIG GAME on that auspicious Sunday in February. 

Even my parents get in on the action on Super Bowl Sunday. We're not carnivores, so Game Day doesn't include the usual wings, meaty chili, sliders, etc. We prefer spicy, crunchy munchies and hearty entrees such as the following:

Crackling, Crunchy Cashews
This past December, my husband and I actually bought a lot of crunchy and nutty snacks at Dadu's Sweet shop in Hyderabad, India. One of the snacks is called Cashew pakoda. It looks and tastes similar to the crackling, crunchy cashews on our blog.  The snack is made with besan flour (chickpea flour) and spices.

Picante peanuts
You can also make it with peanuts as shown in the picture above. Other snack ideas that go well with beer or wine for game day are corn flakes mixture or chivda. You can make enough for the whole game and more because we use corn flakes cereal to make the snack. 

Similarly, you can make another type of mixture with rice crispy cereal. As you can see, we like spicing things up with our breakfast cereals. The spices really kick it up a notch. We also spice things up with pancakes. We love our spices.

If you want to get really creative and try an authentic South Indian snack for game day, then you should try making Pappuchekkalu:

Pappuchekkalu (Rice and Lentil Crisps)
Good news for people with gluten allergies, these rice, and lentil crisps are gluten-free; they're made with a combination of rice flour, urad dal flour (white lentil flour) and soy flour. You have to give them a try. 

We also make various raitas or yogurt dips on game day. The most common dips are artichoke or spinach dip. However, our raitas are so much more flavorful than any old dip. 

We make our yogurt dips with all kinds of vegetables: beetroot, long squash, bell peppers, spinach, eggplant, cucumbers, and even tomatoes and onions. You can make raita with any vegetables. It's easy and delicious. 

Beetroot Raita served with corn tortilla chips

My favorite is beetroot raita. It's a little sweet but not like candy-sweet and goes well with tortilla chips, pita chips, potato chips or mini naan. 

It's a new year! New flavors and experiences. Check out the above recipes for yummy and kickass snacks for the Big Game in a few hours. We're serious about SNACKING!

January 13, 2017

Pappuchekkalu - Rice and Lentil Crisps

Happy New Year Everyone!! It's a new year filled with new dishes and experiences. We're starting it off with one of our favorite snacks, Pappuchekkalu. We enjoy eating these savory lentil crisps on their own or with a hot beverage like tea. 

Although they are fried, Pappuchekkalu are gluten free and made with healthy ingredients. With so many benefits, they are hard to resist. Let's get to it then...  

To make the dough, you need
  • 4-1/2 cups Rice flour
  • 2-1/2 cups Urad dal flour (White lentil flour)
  • 1-1/2 cups Soy flour
  • 1/2 cup Moong dal, soaked and drained (also known as Mung bean)
  • 1 cup peanuts, soaked, drained and coarsely crushed
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 6 Tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 to 2-1/2 Tbsp Salt
You also need the following for frying
  • 3 to 4 cups Vegetable Oil

Here's what you need to do

Sieve together all the flours in a large bowl and set aside. In a 6 quart pan, combine water, moong dal, peanuts, chili powder, and sesame seeds. Bring it to a boil. Then, turn the heat down to simmer and stir in the flour mixture until the water is absorbed. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool down.

When the mixture has cooled down, mix it well to form into uniform dough. Take portions of the dough (size of walnut) and place it in between a small piece of wax paper (or greased plastic sheet) and press it flat into a circle. Watch the demo below for clarification.

Next, prepare the flat patties or chekkalu in batches and keep them covered so they do not dry out. Heat oil in a skillet or frying pan. Drop a tiny ball of dough (size of pea) to test the temperature. Please Note: When the tiny ball of dough bubbles and rises to the oil surface, the oil is ready for frying.

Now slowly add the patties into the oil and fry them until they turn golden brown; you need to flip them over one or two times to get that color (as shown above).  Transfer all the crackers or pappuchekkalu from the frying pan with a wire skimmer and allow the oil to continue to drain by holding it into a bowl. 

Later, put the crisps on a paper towel or tray to cool down. Store them in an air tight container so you can enjoy for 2 to 3 weeks. 

I love snacking on these between my breaks at work; I pack myself a few in a ziplock bag and take it with me.

If you have any questions about this recipe, please let us know. We love hearing from you. If you liked this recipe, check out other snack recipes on our blog: Picante Peanut Poppers, Crunchy Crackling Cashews, Corn Flakes Mixture (Chivda), and Karapappalu.

February 15, 2014

Cauliflower and Onion Pakora - A Hot Appetizer for Cold, Snowy Nights!

According to my dad, on a day like this, which was pretty much everyday in the past week

nothing warms the heart like hot and spicy vegetable pakora made with chopped cauliflower and sliced onions. I forgot to mention that this is also his specialty. My dad usually cooks on a whim and doesn't follow recipes so below is a brief synopsis of the ingredients he used and how he made the appetizer. I will somehow drag the recipe out of him and share with you. 

He took a medium sized onion and sliced it up in thin circles and chopped the cauliflower into 2 inch florets. In a medium sized mixing bowl, he mixed together 3/4 cup of fine channa dal flour (besan) and 1/4 cup rice flour, chili powder and salt for taste and a teaspoon of ajwain or carom seeds (this is optional). Finally he mixed all these ingredients with about 1 cup of water to make a sauce like consistency so it's easily coats the vegetables. He then added oil for frying into the a wok set on high. Next he carefully dropped the besan covered vegetables one by one into the wok. (Hint: Take care not to splatter any hot oil on yourself.)

Here you see him frying the vegetables, making sure they fry evenly. You should take them out when they are golden in color. It's a good idea, to take one out and cut it with a knife to see if the vegetable cooked well. He scooped out the golden pakora with a metal spatula and transferred them into a meshed colander that was placed on a plate covered with paper towel (the towel helps to soak up the oil).
Once the oil was soaked up, we ate the hot pakora with sweet tamarind chutney, shown above. The onion pakora were the best. 

And don't worry, you haven't seen the last of my dad's cooking either. He'll be back soon. He makes a mean cauliflower curry that brings everyone to the table. 

If you liked this recipe, you are sure to enjoy some of our other fritter and popper recipes, such as Chili Poppers,Veggie Pops, Masala Bread Pakora, Onion Drop Fritters and/or Picante Peanut Poppers.  

August 30, 2012

It's All About The Peppers!

Liz Applegate Ph.D., (author of "Hot Stuff!" article in Runner's World), put it perfectly when she wrote "richly colored chilies are packed with a range of antioxidants, including vitamin A and vitamin C. These nutrients may aid in recovery and help prevent ailments such as Alzheimer's disease and cancer". She went on to point out that chilies also aid in weight loss, alleviate muscle pain, and reduce the risk of getting Diabetes. I don't know about you, but those are some good reasons to start consuming chilies. I like the idea of eating my vegetables to stay ahead of the curve...and staying away from medicines until I have no choice.

Peppers are an integral part of our cuisine's spice mix. One of my favorite dishes where peppers play an important role is Chili Poppers. It closely resembles an appetizer called Jalapeno poppers, which is most commonly found in many American restaurant menus. Another dish that is on the list is Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers, that we eat with rice because it is definitely on the hot end of the scale.
On the subject of peppers, this next dish is peppers on a new scale...a more sweeter scale that is. We love cooking with sweet peppers. They're so flavorful and "sweet" like cherry tomatoes...and who doesn't love cherry tomatoes. 

I love the orange and red ones!
And since it was Hot and Spicy Food Day recently, we increased the "heat" of these peppers by stuffing them with Falafel. The sweetness from the peppers was a good combination with the Mediterranean spices and flavors. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

  • 1 cup Tarazi Falafel mix
  • 20 to 22 Sweet Peppers
  • 1 medium Onion, chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • ¼ tsp Salt (adjust as per your taste)
Make the falafel mixture as per instructions on the box and allow it to soak for 30 to 45 minutes. Then add the chopped onions into the mixture. Make a slit into the peppers without cutting them in half. Scoop about a tablespoon of the mixture and stuff it inside each of the peppers. In a shallow non-stick pan, heat oil, add all the peppers and sprinkle salt. Shallow fry the peppers under closed lid, turning them over in between for even frying. Remove from heat and serve hot!

***Quick Tip: 
- The Tarazi Falafel Mix is the traditional Mediterranean vegetarian recipe made with ground chickpeas, fava beans and spices. It is also gluten free, dairy free and wheat free. Each serving size which is 2 oz has 12g of protein. That's a winner in our book. We found this product at our local Indian store.  

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.   

June 17, 2011

Veggie Boats

Click on Image for larger view

After movies like Super Size Me were released, there seems a lot of chatter on the Internet and news about the increase in junk food consumption and obesity. There is also an increase in healthy eating food shows and the importance of educating the public about this matter like Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. Well, we wanted to add our ideas to the pot too and introduce some healthy snacks that are flavorful and help maintain a healthy diet. Veggie boats to the rescue! These are the perfect snack that will excite both kids and adults. They are fun to make and eat. The filling combinations in this snack are not only tasty but also comprised of the major food groups: vegetables, protein (lentils and beans) and carbohydrates. The boats are mini pita pockets cut in half and the fillings consist of carrots and moong dal, chickpeas, spinach and garlic. Here are a few more suggestions to help you get started: leftover vegetables and/or scrambled eggs, and diced and sliced up vegetables used in salad like carrots, lettuce, cucumber topped with feta cheese. These are great for backyard parties, cookouts, picnics or even for an afternoon snack.