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 besan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label besan. Show all posts

November 3, 2016

Sweet and Sour Bottle Gourd Curry (Sorakaya Antu Pulusu)

We're staying warm this Autumn with comforting food like the dish below. It's got a little bit of everything and lots of flavor. 

- About 10" long Bottle Gourd (also known as long squash), peeled and chopped into 1" cubes
- Size of big lemon of Tamarind
- 3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1/2 tsp green chili paste (or 1/4 tsp of chili powder)
- a pinch of Turmeric
- 1 tsp Salt or as per your taste
- 2 Tbsp Besan (Chickpea flour)
- 2 Tbsp Rice Flour

Ingredients for the seasoning:
- 2 Tbsp Vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
- A pinch of Hing (Asafotida)
- 6 to 8 Curry leaves (fresh or dry) - optional 
- A pinch of chili powder

Soak tamarind in half cup of warm water for 15 minutes. Squeeze the juice using additional water. Alternately add the soaked tamarind into a blender, add additional 3 cups of water and blend for one minute. Then strain the liquid and remove the tamarind fiber. In a small pressure cooker, add the chopped bottle gourd, tamarind juice, brown sugar, turmeric, chili paste, and salt. Pressure cook for 2 to 3 whistles. When the steam is released, open the cooker and boil the mixture on low-medium heat. 

Add the besan (Chickpea flour) and rice flour in half a cup of water to make a sauce like consistency. Mix this sauce into the bottle gourd mixture to thicken the tamarind sauce and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or until it thickens. Heat vegetable oil in a small pan, add mustard seeds and when they splutter, add cumin seeds and then hing and pinch of chili powder. Remove from heat and add curry leaves and then add to the bottle gourd mixture. 

Serve hot with rice and/or your favorite flatbread.  

October 6, 2016

Aloo Methi with Besan (Chickpea Flour)

When I'm making eggs or pasta, I love throwing some thyme or rosemary into my dish. It adds freshness and flavor. It's the same with Indian cooking. We love using mint, coriander, and methi in our dishes. The most common one is coriander; we chop up the leaves and sprinkle them on every one of our vegetable and rice dishes. 

Another one is methi also known as Fenugreek. This herb can be used fresh or dry and the seeds can be used as a spice. You can even use the fresh leaves or the sprouts as a vegetable in a dish. 

My sister's friend gave us a few bunches of this herb so we couldn't wait to make something with it. Better to use it while it's fresh! We decided to make Aloo Methi Besan which translates to Potato and Fenugreek leaves with Chickpea flour. Let's see how it's done below. 

Potato and Fenugreek Leaves with Chickpea Flour

Serving Size: 3-4
- 2 bunches of Methi (also known as Fenugreek) leaves, washed and chopped finely through soft stems
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed to 1cm size
- 4 to 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp chili powder (or per your taste)
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup Fine Besan flour (Chickpea flour) 
- 1/2 tsp whole mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
- Salt per your taste

Heat one tablespoon of vegetable oil (on low-medium heat) in a medium saucepan.  Next, add mustard and cumin seeds. When they start to splutter, add garlic and stir for 1 to 2 minutes or until they are golden brown. Now add the potatoes and sprinkle a pinch of salt and allow it cook under closed lid for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring intermittently. When the potatoes are soft, add methi leaves and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. 

Remove the lid and continue allowing it to cook more until the excess moisture evaporates and the oil comes out. Now add chili powder and stir for another minute. Next add Besan flour, a pinch of salt, and one more tablespoon of vegetable oil. Stir and fry for 2 to 3 minutes under closed lid. When you smell the fried Besan aroma, switch off the heat and remove from stove. 

Serve with your favorite rice, flatbread or enjoy on its own. I love eating this with yogurt rice and/or roti. How do you incorporate fresh herbs or spices in your cooking? Please share.  

Quick Tip
- If Methi or Fenugreek leaves are not readily available, any leafy green that does relaease too much water when cooked is fine. You can try fresh coriander or kale as well. They will have a different taste. 
- Besan (Chickpea flour) can be found in most Indian grocery stores. Some Whole Foods stores have it listed as Garbanzo bean flour. 

May 31, 2012

Turning Up The Heat with Chili Poppers!!

You know what I miss most about "my India". The street food. And I don't mean like lamb brains or anything weird, like what you see on the travel shows. I'm referring to snacks like bhel puri, aloo tikki chaat, aloo papadi chaat, samosa chaat, and one of my favorites: chili poppers also known as chili pakora.

The chili poppers are made with long green chili peppers, which are usually stuffed with masala and batter fried.
As a kid, I used to love eating the fried batter part since the peppers were too spicy for me. But now I'm all grown up and I love eating every bit of the popper including the pepper. Woohoo, I've matured and figured out the best part of this snack. Either that or my mom figured out a way to get me to eat the peppers with her winning recipe. Isn't my mom the bestest!! For my recent birthday, she made these chili poppers and I ate like 10 of them in one sitting. They were that good!

Heat Seekers, come thither and try these spicy chili poppers...if you have what it takes!!

- 10 Long Green Chilies (fresh, firm and straight)
- 2 cups of Vegetable Oil (for frying only)
  For the stuffing:
  - ¼ cup of Dry Coconut Powder
  - 1 ½ tsp of Dhan-Jeera powder
  - 1 tsp of Tamarind paste
  - ¼ tsp Salt (adjust to your taste)
  For the batter:
  - 1 ½ cups of Ladu Besan (flour)
  - ½ cup of Fine Besan (flour)
  - ¼ cup of Rice flour
  - 1 tsp of Ajwain seeds (also known as carom seeds, similar to thyme)
  - ¼ tsp of Red chili powder
  - ½ tsp of Salt (adjust to taste)
  - ¼ tsp of Soda Bicarbonate powder (cooking soda)

Make a slit into the green chilies length wise and carefully remove all the seeds. (Making sure not to cut till the very end.) Boil water in a big pot sufficient enough for you to dip the chilies into the water and remove from heat. Close the pot with a lid and allow it to stand for 10 minutes. Drain the chilies, making sure to remove all water. In a microwaveable bowl, measure out the dry coconut powder, add some water to moisten it and heat it with closed lid for 30-40 seconds. Remove from microwave and then mix it together with dhanjeera powder, tamarind paste and salt.


Take a teaspoon full of the mixture and stuff it into the chilies.

Click here to see video on how to stuff the peppers
Make sure not to over stuff them. (Hint: You should be able to close the slit once stuffed with masala.) In a medium sized bowl, mix all the dry ingredients for the batter and add water to make it into a pancake mix like consistency. Allow the batter to soak for at least 10-15 minutes. Heat oil in a frying pan. When you feel the heat from the oil on your palm from above the pan, you are ready for frying. Take each stuffed chili pepper, dip into the batter and coat it completely. Then slowly drop each one into the hot oil. Fry them until golden brown by turning each one over for even frying.

You are now ready to enjoy these spicy poppers. Kick it up a notch by slitting them open and stuffing them with finely chopped onions and a few drops of lime juice. They are sure to hit any one's spicy spot! Enjoy with a nice cold one!!

***Quick Tips:
- For all you Serious Heat Seekers, go ahead and leave the seeds in for a spicier kick.

February 6, 2011

Crunchy Crackling Cashews

For cashews lovers across the globe, this one's for you! Enjoy!!

While we were making the Picante Peanut Poppers, we thought why not mix it up a bit and try the recipe with other nuts. We decided on cashews since they are my dad's favorite. The recipe for making crunchy cashews is almost the same as the peanuts one except for the type of nuts and ginger-garlic paste. We substituted chat masala with ginger-garlic paste because it brings the flavor out more.

  • ½ cup Raw Cashews, split into halves
  • ¼ cup Fine Gram flour, (also known as Besan)
  • ½ tsp Chili powder, (adjust to your spice level)
  • ½ tsp Ginger-Garlic paste
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp Salt 
  • A pinch of Soda Bicarbonate 
  • ¾ tbsp Vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp Whole Cumin seeds
Soak cashew halves in a cup of water for 10-12 minutes. Sieve flour along with chili powder, salt, turmeric,  and soda to mix well. Add sieved mixture into a mixing bowl and mix in jeera, oil and ginger-garlic paste. Into the above flour mixture, add drained cashews and mix well so that they are coated well with the flour mixture. If the mixture seems dry and powdery, sprinkle a teaspoon or less of water and mix. Spray/rub some oil onto a microwavable plate (or dinner plate) and spread the cashews on it in a single layer. Microwave for 5-6 minutes based on the wattage of the microwave. If it is a high powered one, try using at 80% power until the cashews are well roasted. (Hint: you can smell the roasted aroma) Also halfway through, take the plate out and separate the cashews so they roast evenly.

February 4, 2011

Picante Peanut Poppers

We transformed the nuts we love to eat into a new snack that would bring smiles to everyone. These "pop in your mouth" bits are a great addition to any party or get together. We've made a bunch of batches for the big game tomorrow.

You can either eat them on their own or enjoy them with any cocktail (alcoholic or not). The chili powder adds a bit of a kick to every bite. I've been popping these into my mouth all afternoon...I just love them. It's hard to stop once you get started.

  • ½ cup Raw Peanuts
  • ¼ cup Fine Gram flour,  also known as Besan
  • ½ tsp Chili powder, (adjust to your spice level)
  • ½ tsp Chaat masala
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • A pinch of Soda Bicarbonate
  • ¾ tbsp Vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp Whole Cumin seeds 

Let's get cracking:
1) Soak peanuts in a cup of water for 10-12 minutes.
2) Sieve flour along with chili pd, salt, turmeric, chat masala and soda to mix well.
3) Add sieved mixture into a mixing bowl and mix in jeera and oil.

4) Into the above flour mixture, add drained peanuts and mix well so that all the peanuts are coated with flour. If the mixture seems dry and powdery, sprinkle a teaspoon or less of water and mix. 

5) Spray/rub some oil onto a microwavable plate (dinner plate) and spread the peanuts on it in a single layer.

6) Microwave for 5-6 minutes based on the wattage of the microwave. If it is a high power one, try using at 80% power until the peanuts are well roasted. (Hint: you can smell the roasted aroma) Also halfway through, take out the plate and separate out the peanuts so they roast evenly.

***Quick Tip: For a different taste, replace the chat masala with amchoor powder.

April 4, 2010

Boring Soup No More - South Indian Kadhi

Ever since we went to Vatan for dinner last month, I have been craving Buttermilk and Spinach Soup or Kadhi (The Lazy Man's Buffet). This 'soup' is famous all over India and can be made in different ways. I love the way my mom makes it because it can be eaten by itself or with plain rice and papad, plus it is healthy. I'm always trying to eat better but without subtracting the Taste. If you are like me, you don't have to worry about it with this recipe. It has plenty of taste.

My dad and I are going to make this dish tonight. It will be ready by the time my mom arrives from the airport. I have the recipe that she left me in case I wanted to make it. If you want to try this at home, please keep in mind this recipe makes 6 servings (1 cup/serving).

Ingredients for Buttermilk and Spinach Soup (South Indian Kadhi):

Buttermilk - 1 quart / 32 fl oz / 945 ml
Frozen chopped Spinach - 2 cups
*Gram flour (Besan) - 1/4 cup (see quick tips)
Potatoes - 2 medium
fresh Ginger - 1 tbsp, grated
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp

Seasoning (Taalimpu):

Vegetable Oil - 2 tbsp
Whole Cumin Seeds (Jeera) - 1 tsp
Mustard Seeds (Rye) - 1 tsp

Asafoetida (Hing) - a pinch 
Garlic cloves - 6 finely chopped
Curry leaves - 8-10 leaves
Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp (or as per taste)


1) In a 3 Qt multi-pot or casserole, mix gram flour and half cup of water until it becomes to a smooth liquid without any lumps

2) Add buttermilk and mix well.

3) Microwave the potatoes for 5-6 minutes until cooked and soak them in water to stop cooking. Remove the peel, cut into 1-inch cubes, and set aside.

4) To the mixture add spinach, potato cubes, ginger, turmeric powder, and chili powder and then mix again.

5) Bring the soup to a boil on Medium-Low Heat and continue mixing intermittently. Next reduce to low/medium heat and then boil it for another 4-5 minutes.

6) Remove from stove, add salt, and again mix well. Please put aside for now.

7) To make the seasoning, add oil in a small sauce pan, and heat it on medium. When heat is felt to the palm held over the pan, add mustard and cumin seeds, and then allow them to splutter. Immediately, add garlic and fry for 2 minutes or until golden. Remove from stove and add Hing powder and curry leaves.

Mix it well and pour it over the soup.

8) Serve 1 cup hot soup over 1/2 cup cooked plain rice and enjoy it with crunchy papad or even potato chips. For added taste, add a teaspoon of ghee (melted butter) to the serving. Papad can be toasted in the microwave for 30-40 seconds depending on size.

***Quick Tips
- Please note this soup can be made with either spinach or potato or both of them. Use 2-1/2 cups of spinach or 4 to 5 medium potatoes for 6 servings when used individually.
- You can use whole milk yogurt instead of buttermilk as well. 
- If you want to eat the South Indian Kadhi like soup use 1/3 cup besan; otherwise use 1/4 cup if you want to eat with rice.