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 papdi chaat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label papdi chaat. Show all posts

August 11, 2010

My Hot Summer Day Treats!

It seems to me that as the years pass, the summers are just getting hotter and sometimes more humid. Well to beat the heat, I relax with some cool treats that are easy to make. It's just the matter of the ingredients you have around.  My favorite treats for hot days are Aloo Papdi Chaat and Roohafza Milkshake. You are probably wondering, what is she talking about? The best way to describe Aloo Papdi Chaat is that it is like potato salad (with some dry and wet ingredients).

This is what Aloo Papdi Chaat looks like:

Isn't it so colorful?

I know you are dying to know how to make this, so let's get started. Before we begin, let's just see if you can identify any of the ingredients in the picture below?

Here are the ingredients, if you haven't guessed already (from left to right): two medium sized boiled potatoes, coriander, chaat masala, Tamarind chutney, chopped onions, diluted plain yogurt, and papdi pieces. Once you have these, it's just a matter of mixing these together. I know you can't tell in the finished picture above, but the potatoes were chopped into 1/2-1 inch pieces.

Next up is Roohafza Milkshake...I'm getting cravings just thinking about it. It's so creamy and yummy. You know, as a kid I used to mix the Roohafza syrup in water and drink it with some ice. I think I also froze the juice in the ice cube trays and eat it like the Italian Ice back home.

As you can see, half the bottle has been finished because it is THAT GOOD!!

What is Roohafza? I used to think it was Sugary Rose Syrup. I mean it tasted like it so I never questioned its origin. I'm reading about it now and it's fascinating the ingredients that are found in this syrup. It is infused with essences of Rose, Coriander Seed, Watermelon and various other flowers, herbs and fruits.

The breakdown of ingredients in my milkshake:

One banana cut up into pieces, half cup to cup of milk, 2-3 tablespoons of Roohafza and as much crushed ice as you want. The only thing left to do is blending and taste testing. You can add more banana if you want it really thick but then you may add more Roohafza to sweeten it up. You have to play around with the ingredients to get Your Perfect Blend.

This blend will get you a little over a 8 fl oz serving. I poured the milkshake into a Scotch glass to feel fancy. Enjoy the drink however you like. It's cool and refreshing!!

Interesting Fact#1: Rooh Afza is traditionally made in preparation for breaking the fast during Ramzan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims. Happy Ramzan to all my friends!

May 24, 2010

A Hidden Jewel Amongst the Rocks

How many of you out there have tasted well prepared *Bhel Puri or **Papdi Chaat?

My family and I went out tonight to this Indian restaurant called Bombay Spice in Bridgewater, NJ. We usually go to places nearby but tonight it was my sister's treat so we let her pick the place. And she picked this place which was about 30-40 minutes away, but she said it received good reviews, and so we went for it.

At first, we were put off by the location and appearance of the place from our car as we made our way into the parking lot. It was hidden inside a strip mall which also had a cleaners, realty office, a bank and an ice cream shop. After making a round through the lot we saw the little restaurant in the corner and parked. We sat outside since it was nice and breezy. As we took our seats, the hostess brought out the menus, cutlery and these round steel plates which would be used to eat our appetizers. The feel of this place reminded me of our restaurant choices in Kerala, India. We ate at these small places where the decor was simple but the food was great. Everything was cleaned off the plates.

We ordered two appetizers which I haven't had in a long time: Papdi chaat and Bhel Puri. Now this restaurant claimed to have cuisine from East, West, North and South. The appetizers I just mentioned are from Northern India but most Indian restaurants offer them. The downside is that not all prepare them well. Usually, the puffed rice that is tossed with the potato pieces and tamrind sauce is soggy by the time the waiters bring it to the table and it's too sweet. I'm a harsh judge when it comes to my native food. If the appetizer is supposed to be served crispy, it should be like that when it reaches my table. Well, tonight I was so happy. Not only was the puffed rice still crispy but also tasty. The sauce wasn't too overpowering or sweet; it was tangy, just the way it should be.

The Papdi chaat was prepared really well and presented tastefully. It was brought out in this square plate that looked like antique silver with the edges slightly curved. The papdi was still crispy and as I was eating the chaat, it just made me feel like I was in Delhi and eating my favorites. I took a couple of spoonfuls before I realized I should keep some for my parents.

Also another notable entree is the Vegetable Kolhapuri. It is vegetables are cooked with roasted coconut and red chillies. We were told that the restaurant cooks in 4 spice modes: Mild, Medium, Spicy, and Indian spicy. We went for spicy just to be on the safe side. We ate this entree with rice pulao and naan. My parents are also pretty picky when it comes to Indian cuisine. A lot of restaurants in our area are North Indian and cater to Non-vegetarians. When they do have vegetarian options, it's usually worth it, so they don't dine out that much anymore. However, at this restaurant we ordered two entrees, the Kolhapuri I mentioned earlier and Saag Paneer. They were both really delicious and unique. My parents really liked them; now that's hard to come by. We found out at the end of our meal that the chefs do not use butter or cream to prepare the dishes like most other places we know now that what we ate was all healthy and not too fatty. In conclusion, if you are in the central Jersey neighborhood and are in the mood for some good ol' vegetarian cuisine, try your luck at this place, Bombay Spice. The owner and staff were polite and helpful and the food was good. <-- has coupons! I learned one more lesson tonight: Don't judge an Indian Restaurant by it's physical size and appearance. You might miss out on great cuisine.

*Bhel Puri is a puffed rice dish with potatoes and a tangy tamarind sauce.
**Papdi Chaat is made with papdi which are crispy fried dough wafers made from refined wheat flour and oil and they are are served with boiled potatoes, boiled chick peas, chilies, yogurt and tamarind sauce. Sometimes this is topped with chaat masala.