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.

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Showing posts with label protein enriched. Show all posts
Showing posts with label protein enriched. Show all posts

October 4, 2023

Indo-Chinese Bitter Melon and Egg Stir Fry




I'm a big fan of bitter melon? Can you tell? It's an acquired taste, but it's really good for you. Bitter melon is high in Vitamins A and C. There are 2 types of bitter melon - Chinese and Indian. I'm more familiar with the bitter melon from India which is called Karela. Karela is more narrow and has jagged spikes on the rind and pointed ends. 

On the other hand, the Chinese variety is long, pale green, and covered in bumps. The Chinese bitter melon pictured below was grown in my container garden. 

Homegrown Chinese Bitter Melon


I didn't know about the Chinese bitter melon until my mother-in-law gave me a few of them from her garden. She has a magic thumb when it comes to growing vegetables. Check out my Instagram post to see how big hers are compared to mine. I'm so jealous. 

We recently went over to my in-law's place for dinner and my mother-in-law served this Chinese dish made with bitter melon and eggs. Typically she stir-fries the bitter melon with meat. I think she made it with eggs because she knew I was coming.  I liked it so much that I decided to re-create it at home with Indian flare. Check out my recipe below and let me know if you try it. 


Ingredients

  • About 11.5 oz Chinese bitter melon (remove seeds, slice, and chop into 1" pieces)
  • 1-2 tsp Dry Garlic Chutney (depending on your spice level)
  • 2 eggs, whisked and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Salt as per taste
  • Crushed black pepper, as per taste
  • 1.5 Tbsp. Vegetable oil for frying
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

Procedure

1) Heat oil in a medium-sized sauté pan, and when you feel the heat on your palm, add the bitter melon and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover and cook on low-medium heat for about 10 minutes.



2) Remove the lid and test by breaking a piece with the spatula. If it breaks, the melon is cooked. If it doesn't, cook for another 5 minutes. Adjust the heat to make sure you don't burn the vegetable.  (Note: once the bitter melon is cooked, it will turn dull green. 

3) Once the bitter melon is cooked, remove it from the pan and aside in a bowl. Add half a tablespoon of oil to the hot pan and then add the whisked eggs. Keep mixing the eggs, until they become scrambled and lightly toasted. 




4) Next add the cooked bitter melon back to the pan. Add the dry garlic chutney powder and mix well.  Taste and adjust salt. Garnish with fresh cilantro. 



 The Bitter melon and egg stir fry is ready to be served and enjoyed with quinoa, rice, or roti.  


If you like Chinese bitter melon as much as I do check out the recipes below:

And if you crave more bitter vegetables, check out the Indian bitter melon recipes below:

December 27, 2019

For the Love of Podis - Putnala Podi

You know what I love about Indian cuisine, the fact that it's not just all curry. It's not tikka masala or some sauce-based cuisine. There's more to Indian cuisine because there are 29 provinces or states in India. We are all Indians but the dishes are as diverse as the people who live there.

I am originally from Andhra Pradesh which is in South India. We eat "curries" with rice. The curries can be dry or wet depending on our mood really. We also eat rice with pickles or podis.

Indian pickles are not pickled cucumbers. Pickles are vegetables or fruit which are cooked and cured/pickled in oil and spices. 

Podi is a Telugu word for powder. Powder sounds a bit odd because it's not like powder that you put on your face or even confectioner's sugar which is finely powdered sugar.  

Podi is a coarse powder. It is generally made with roasted lentils and whole spices which are then ground to perfection (consistency depends on you). 

Today, we're making Putnala podi or roasted chana dal powder. 





Ingredients

1 cup of chana dal (roasted chickpeas)
1 tsp jeera (cumin)
½ tsp chili powder
¾ tsp salt


Grind all of the above ingredients together in a blender until the chana dal is powdered. It is alright if
the jeera or whole cumin do not get powdered. Adjust the chili powder and salt quantities to your taste.

We like eating putnala podi with warm, white Basmati rice. Heat up some rice, add some ghee
(clarified butter) and mix in this podi. This mashup of rice and podi goes really well with vegetable fry
as well.

There are many podi varieties. Putnala podi is the well known amongst my family. There is also Peanut podi, Dry Garlic podi, Mint podi, Karvepaku (made with curry leaves) podi, Poppy seeds podi just to name a few. This post is first of many in a series about podis. Stay tuned for more.

September 26, 2019

Easy Dahi Vada aka Yogurt Doughnuts!


Dahi Vada garnished with Tamarind & Date chutney

Whenever we visit my parents, Michael puts his best foot forward...especially when it comes to eating. Of course, my mom loves that he wants to try everything. I'm not her favorite anymore...Grr! 

On our most recent visit, he asked my mom the following:
 
Michael: Aunty, "Do you have any more yogurt doughnuts?" 

My mom: "Yogurt Doughnuts? Oh, you mean Dahi vada. Yes, I made it knowing you and Jahnavi will be coming over."

Michael's response: "Thanks, aunty. I hope Jahnavi will learn to make this soon so we can enjoy at home too." He looks over to me and says with a smile, "Happy husband, a happy wife!"

Alas, he's right. It's a win, win for both of us. Dahi vada does make him happy and it doesn't have anything bad in it, so I'm happy to make it and enjoy it. 

Below is the "secret" way to make Dahi vada without actually making the wadas. Shhh! Don't tell anyone. 

Ingredients:
- 13 Frozen Medu Vadas (from Amma's Kitchen brand, 24 pack)
-  2.5 lb or 41 oz plain whole milk yogurt 
- 3 small green chilies, finely chopped
- 1" piece of ginger, finely chopped or grated
½ cup fresh coriander, finely chopped
½ Tbsp salt or per taste

For seasoning:
- 1 tsp urad dal (black gram lentil)
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp whole cumin
- a pinch of Hing
- a pinch of turmeric powder
- a pinch of salt
- 1 Tbsp Vegetable oil or Canola oil


Procedure (for preparing the yogurt or dahi):
1) Transfer the yogurt (or dahi) into a large Pyrex container with a lid. Churn the yogurt with a big spoon or a churner to make it smooth, adding ½ to ¾ cup water (use ½ cup for homemade dahi and 3/4th cup for Desi dahi brand of yogurt).

2) In a small pan, heat oil on medium heat for seasoning and add urad dal and mustard seeds. When mustard seeds splutter, add in whole cumin and then add hing.



Stir for few seconds and then add chopped chilies and ginger and a pinch of salt.



Stir for 30 seconds and add the seasoning into the yogurt. Next, add chopped coriander and mix well and set aside.


Procedure (for preparing of Vadas):



1) Transfer frozen vadas onto a microwavable plate and microwave for 3 minutes to defrost and warm the vadas (depending upon the wattage).


2) Remove the vadas from the microwave, and immediately using a fork pierce into the vadas at three or four locations and put them into the prepared yogurt mixture for soaking.



Continue this step with all the vadas and ensure they are completely immersed in the yogurt mixture. Soak the vadas in the yogurt mixture overnight or at least 4+ hours.

Procedure (for serving the Vadas):
Serve 1 to 2 vadas with some yogurt mixture into a bowl and garnish them with Tamarind & Date chutney, coriander chutney, some sev and enjoy!!



Product Review
We bought this Amma's Kitchen Medu vada packet twice and thought the vadas in the packet were good for the most part. We ate them on their own and also enjoyed them in the dahi vada recipe. They were very tasty and would recommend buying it. One thing to note:  Sometimes, you may find a couple of them that fall apart or not in good shape. This may occur if the packets at the store weren't stored properly. If you do not mind that they are perfectly round, then you can still enjoy them. Just make sure that if you are not using all 24 pieces in one recipe, that you store the packet properly in the freezer so the vadas do not go stale or fall apart. We purchased this medu vada packet at our local Indian grocer, Delight Bazaar (Parsippany, NJ) 

August 30, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Protein Packed Lentil Waffles

Still thinking about the pesarattu waffles my mom and I made last year with our waffle maker from Costco. Pesarattu is a type of dosa made with lentils. Instead of making it the traditional way, we kicked it up a notch and used the dosa dough to make WAFFLES!!!

Check out these crispy lentil waffles... 

Whole Moong waffles

Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole Moong (mung bean) and 1/8 cup rice soaked for 6 to 8 hours 
  • Onion, finely chopped
  • Cumin seeds
  • Salt for taste

Procedure
We used our stone grinder and ground the soaked moong dal and rice to a smooth consistency (consistency of dosa dough).  Once the dough is prepared, it's time to make the waffles.

As you will see in the video, we applied oil on the waffle grooves and then poured the lentil and rice batter. Make sure to evenly spread the batter in the waffle maker. (Please see video for details). 




The waffles can be enjoyed on their own or with your favorite chutney. 

How do you use your waffle maker? Do you make savory waffles too? Please share your comments with us. 

March 8, 2017

March Lentil Madness Continues with Chayote and Moong Dal


ARE YOU GETTING YOUR NUTRITION ON??

MARCH IS NATIONAL NUTRITION MONTH

This year's theme is "Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle" which focuses on fitness and making good food choices. 

We're definitely on board with not only the message but also doing our best to stay fit and eat better. We've already kick started our fitness by replacing rice at night with healthy salads and/or smoothies. We also incorporate lentils wherever we can so we can get our protein intake. 

Lentils such as chickpeas, black beans, masoor dal, moong dal, etc. are a good source of protein. This week we cooked chayote and moong dal. Moong dal has a high source of nutrients including manganese, potassium, magnesium, copper, and dietary fiber. 

Let's check out the Chayote and moong dal recipe:

Chayote and Moong Dal

Ingredients
- 2 Chayote, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
- 1/4 cup Moong dal (mung), soaked for 30 minutes to 1 hour
- 1/2 tsp crushed green chilies  or 2 chilies, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup dry shredded coconut
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp whole mustard
- 1/2 tsp whole cumin 
- 1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped (optional)
- 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp salt

Procedure
- Heat oil in a a two quart saucepan and season with whole mustard and cumin. When they splutter, add green chilies and turmeric. Stir for 30 seconds.
- Now add chopped chayote and drained moong dal. Next add salt and half cup of water. Cook on medium heat under closed lid mixing intermittently until he chayote and dal are soft. (Add more water if needed).
- Remove lid and stir until remaining water is dried. Then add dry coconut and stir for one minute. Remove from heat and garnish with fresh coriander and serve.

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Quick Tip: If chayote is not readily available, you can use spinach, carrots, long squash, or even kale. Try our other dishes with moong dal, such as Carrots and moong, South Indian Khichdi, and Pongali


February 15, 2017

Quinoa Medley on Eggplant Boats


We all need a break from the usual every once in a while. Today is one of those days. We spotted this beautiful Sicilian eggplant at our local grocer and couldn't go home without it. So purple and succulent! 

My mother picked it up and knew just what to do with it. Instead of chopping it up and making our usual curries, she decided to use it as a vessel or boat and stuff it with quinoa and vegetables. 

Don't you just love how her mind works? 

Check out this huge Sicilian Eggplant!

Ingredients
  • 1 Sicilian eggplant, cut into quarters
  • 1/2 cup Quinoa cooked 
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen cut spinach
  • 3 to 4 oz firm tofu (optional), cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 tsp ginger/garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp crushed chilies
  • 1 tsp dhanjeera powder (cumin and coriander powder)
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella (we used Cabot pepper jack cheese for lil kick)
  •  salt for taste
  • 1 Tbsp veg oil for seasoning
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

Procedure
Preheat oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit and start your prep work for the Sicilian Eggplant boats:

1) Cut the top flesh off each quarter of eggplant, leaving behind a 3/4" of it at the bottom. 

Sprinkle salt and rub into each eggplant quarter. Also brush it with oil, inside and outside. Cut the top flesh into small cubes and set aside.

2) Heat oil in a skillet and add cumin seeds. When it sizzles, add dhanjeera powder and a pinch of turmeric. Stir and add onions, ginger/garlic paste, and crushed chilies.

Stir fry until the onions are transparent. Add tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Allow them to cook under closed lid. After tomatoes are cooked, add eggplant and continue to cook under closed lid.

3) After the eggplant is soft, add frozen spinach and stir for a one to two minute and add salt and cooked quinoa. Mix well and continue to cook for two to three minutes until all are mixed well.


4) Spoon the cooked mixture into the eggplant quarters evenly. Then sprinkle the shredded cheese on top of all the stuffed quarters. Place the stuffed quarters in a small aluminum tray and add half a cup of water.
Cover the aluminum tray with foil, Then take a knife and pierce a couple of holes in the foil for the steam to escape. When it is ready, place the tray in the oven for 30 minutes. Add more water if needed.

5) Make sure the eggplant is soft and cooked, remove the foil and broil until the cheese turns golden brown. Remove from tray and serve hot.

This dish had everything a foodie like me would enjoy; eggplant, cheese and lots of flavor. The fact that it was healthy didn't even cross my mind. :)

I hope someday, I can hold a vegetable in my hand and know it's future...all the endless possibilities of dishes I can make with it.  OH, THE JOY!! 

Until then, I will learn all that I can from my foodie mentor and guru, my mother, and share with you all. 

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If you liked this eggplant dish, then you are sure to love our Eggplant Raita (yogurt dip), Gourmet Grilled Cheese with Eggplant Bharta and/or Stuffed Eggplant dishes. 


February 11, 2017

Comfort Food Series: Waffles to the Rescue!

Idli Waffles with hot sambhar and creamy coconut chutney 

Winter snowstorm Niko plowed us in for the day, so we took the day off and experimented in the kitchen. We got out our nifty Cuisinart waffle maker and made Idli Waffles. These crispy and savory waffles are a real crowd pleaser. 

Bon Appetit!!  

February 9, 2017

Comfort Food Series: Jeera Rice with Palak Paneer

Jeera Rice with Palak Paneer

This Valentine's Day impress your date or loved ones with a homemade meal that is rich in taste but easy to make. It all starts with a simple rice dish like jeera rice and then you step it up a notch by making a vegetable gravy curry for the rice. 

Here are a few vegetable gravy curries that pair well with jeera rice: Palak Paneer, Easy Dal MakhaniMethi Malai Mutter CurryCauliflower and Paneer Curry and Indian Chili. You can also enjoy jeera rice with raitas; my favorite is cucumber raita. It's light and easy to make. The picture above showcases Jeera rice with Palak Paneer 

We decided to use a shortcut and bought Rasoi Magic's Palak Paneer spice mix packet. We followed the simple instructions on the packet and were able to make this curry in just 15 minutes. Please note that paneer and spinach are not included; you have to buy those separately. 

Below is the recipe for making the jeera rice. 

Ingredients
  • 1 cup Basmati rice 
  • 1-1/2 tsp whole cumin
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Procedure
Wash the rice and then drain the water (use a microwaveable container). Add oil and whole cumin to washed rice and microwave for 3 to 4 minutes (mix the rice after every minute to avoid rice grains sticking together).  Transfer the contents into the electric rice cooker. Add 2 cups of water and salt and cool until done. Serve the jeera rice with any type of gravy curries. 

Quick Tips
- For added taste, stir in 1 teaspoon of butter when rice is hot. You can also garnish rice with toasted almond slices or cashews.
- The Rasoi Magic Palak Paneer spice mix is available at most Indian grocers such as Patel Brothers, Subji Mandi, and/or Delight Bazaar. The instructions were easy to follow and cut cooking time in half versus making everything from scratch; really saved on cooking time.



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.

December 21, 2016

Comfort Food Series: Spinach and Tofu Rice


Although today was the official first day of winter, we've been having winter weather for the past month or more. The temperatures have been fluctuating between 20 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit everyday so it's only natural to want to make and eat comfort food. 

Our go to comfort food is some kind of rice dish. It should have vegetables and protein so you are not just "carbing" it up. Below is a recipe for easy Spinach and Tofu rice.  




Ingredients
- 2 cups Basmati Rice, cooked with slightly less water
- 1 large bunch of fresh Spinach, chopped finely 
- 4 oz tofu*, cut into 1/2" cubes
- 1/2 tsp crushed green chilies paste (or 1 green chili, finely chopped)
-  1 tsp Garam Masala
- 1 Tbsp ginger-garlic paste
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 Tbsp whole cumin
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- Salt, per your taste
- Fried onions (optional)

Procedure
In a large skillet, heat oil and add whole cumin. When it starts to sizzle, add turmeric powder, crushed chilies, and ginger-garlic paste. Stir for few seconds. Then add spinach, sprinkle some salt and stir the mixture until the spinach leaves are wilted (cook for about 3 to 4 minutes). Next add garam masala and mixture well. Then add cooked rice, tofu and salt as per your taste. Mix well until the spinach is evenly mixed into the rice. When it's ready to be served, top with fried onions. 

This dish can be enjoyed on its own or eaten with cucumber raita (yogurt dip). It's comfort food for the soul.  


*Quick Tips
- We freeze tofu for 3 to 4 hours to keep it firm and thaw it for a bit when we need to use it. This way it doesn't crumble when we cut portions of it. 
- Try our other rice dishes made with beets, coconut, and/or lentils

October 31, 2016

Egg Curry with Bell Pepper and Tomatoes


Cooking is more than a hobby for me; it's a way of life. This blog started out as my portable cookbook that contained recipes of dishes that my sister and I grew up eating. I've learned so much over the years, cooking alongside my mother; teaching me the ways of Indian cooking. 

However, as I grew up my tastes changed a bit. I was vegetarian when I first moved here. I slowly started trying new dishes and cuisines and now I'm half vegetarian. I eat eggs, chicken and fish every so often. However, I still stay away from meats like pork and beef. 

One of the dishes I really like is egg curry but my mom doesn't eat eggs so it's up to me to figure it out. I've watched YouTube videos and looked for recipes online. I've tested a few but didn't like the taste so much. A few months, I found a recipe at Archana's Kitchen called Quick and Simple Egg Curry Recipe. I did find her recipe to be simple enough and kind of quick. 

I made a couple changes for my taste, such as adding more vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms or spinach to the recipe. Check out the recipe below:



Yields: Serves 6 (2 egg halves and gravy per serving)

Ingredients
- 6 eggs (boiled, peeled, and cut into half vertically)
- 3 vine tomatoes, pureed
- 1 large green bell pepper, chopped into 1/2" pieces and microwave for 2 to 3 minutes
- 12 oz baby Bella mushrooms, chopped into 1/2" pieces (optional)
- 1 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder (or Dhanjeera powder)
- 1 tsp Garam Masala powder
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder or cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt (adjust as per your taste)
- a small bunch of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Ingredients to be ground to a paste
- 1 large onion, chopped 
- 1 (1-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 green chilies (or 1/2 tsp of chili paste)

Procedure
Heat oil in a medium saucepan on low-medium heat. Add the paste made with onion, ginger, garlic, and chilies to the pan. Saute for a few minutes or until the onion mixture turns translucent in color. Next add turmeric powder, sugar, garam masala powder, coriander powder, and red chili powder. Mix until combined well. I added mushrooms next and let them cook a little before I added bell pepper.  Cook for a few minutes while stirring intermittently. Next, add the tomato puree, salt, and eggs. Cover the saucepan with a lid and simmer the egg and vegetable mixture for 10 to 15 minutes. 

Lift the cover and check the salt and spice levels; adjust them to your taste. If you want the gravy to be a bit thinner, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water. Turn off the stove and sprinkle fresh coriander on the curry and serve with your meal. 

This curry goes well with plain white or brown rice, jeera rice, quinoa, or your favorite flatbread. Whenever I make this curry, I make two halves and some gravy and a couple of roti for lunch. It's healthy and filling. I would definitely recommend this recipe to anyone who likes eating eggs and wants to try something different. 

Quick Tips
- If wine or plum tomatoes are not readily available, you can buy a crushed tomatoes can. 
- Other vegetables you can add are yellow or orange bell peppers
- You can add evaporated milk for a creamier taste. 


August 17, 2016

Silky Broccoli Parmesan Soup

Recently, my grandma had to go to the hospital for some testing. In preparation for the test, the hospital emailed us a detailed list of all the food she had to avoid for 24 hours but maintain a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. My mom and I were trying to figure what that means and what to make for dinner that evening.  

You see, non-vegetarians can manage with boiled/steamed chicken or fish and vegetables. My grandmother is a pure vegetarian and has certain diet restrictions. After browsing through our pantry and refrigerator, we settled on soup. Everyone loves soup. 

Below is our version of a "creamy" and silky Broccoli Parmesan soup that is both high in protein and low in fat. 



Ingredients
- 3/4 lb Broccoli floret
- 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp chili paste
- 1-1/2 cups milk
- 2 Tbsp milk powder
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- fried onions or croutons, for garnish
- 1/2 tsp salt or as needed
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Procedure
Cut the broccoli floret into 1/2 inch pieces including the stalk. Make sure to peel the stalk before cutting it into pieces and transfer the broccoli pieces into a microwaveable container. Next, add ginger-garlic paste, chili paste, milk powder, and drizzle with olive oil. Microwave with covered lid for three minutes. Transfer the steamed broccoli into a blender and add milk and 1/3 cup of water and blend it to a smooth consistency. Transfer the soup into a saucepan and add Parmesan cheese and bring it to a boil. If it is very thick, add additional water or milk. Serve the soup hot, garnishing with fried onions or croutons. 

Quick Tip
We recommend using a high powered blender like the Vitamix blender or Magic Bullet for blending the ingredients together. 


March 24, 2016

March Lentil Madness Continues with Yellow Cucumber Dal


There are a variety of dishes that can be made with different kinds of dal. In South India, when we make dal, we usually cook it with vegetables and spices and eat with rice. One of my favorite dishes is with Dosakaya.  

Dosakaya dal mixed with rice and garnished with sesame and potato vadiyalu (fritters)


Dosakaya is a type of cucumber; which is yellow in color (pictured below). We use this vegetable when making this dish as well as when making pickle. Pickle means vegetables and spices that are cured in oil (like kimchi). 

It's time to get cookin'. Below are the ingredients for making the Dosakaya dal:




2 medium firm Dosakaya (yellow cucumber, pictured above)
1 cup Toor dal
1 tsp chili powder or as per taste
1 tsp Tamarind paste (or lime size tamarind can be used)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Salt, as per taste
Ingredients for seasoning
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1-1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1-1/2 tsp cumin seeds
10 to 12 curry leaves (fresh or dried)
1/8 tsp Hing (Asafoetida)

We like using our pressure cooker when cooking dal. It's easy and cooks the dal fast. Let's begin: 

Peel and chop dosakaya into 1" pieces. (Please note: we don't discard the seeds; it's as per your taste.)




Add toor dal to the pressure cooker and wash dal. Then add water to the cooker so that the water reaches 1" above the dal. Next add dosakaya, turmeric powder, chili powder, and salt. 




Pressure cook the dal and dosakaya for 12 to 15 minutes until done. After the pressure is released, open the lid and mix in the tamarind. (Please note: if using tamarind, soak it in hot water and squeeze out the juice to add to the cooked dal mixture. If using tamarind paste, just measure out the amount and add it). Mix lightly to not mash the dosakaya pieces. 




In a small saucepan, heat oil over a low-medium flame for the seasoning. Next add mustard and cumin seeds. When they splutter, add hing (asafoetida), and curry leaves. Turn off the stove, and add the seasoning with oil into the dal and serve hot.  




Bon Appetit! 



March 21, 2016

March Lentil Madness - Spinach and Mango Dal


HAPPY NATIONAL NUTRITION MONTH!!!

As college basketball season gains momentum, so should our focus on eating better and putting the Spring back into our step. We're celebrating National Nutrition month with dal or lentils. Dal dishes can be prepared and enjoyed in many ways.

Spinach and Green Mango Dal

Ingredients
1 medium green (unripened) mango, peel and chop into 1" cubes
10 oz (or 250g) frozen chopped spinach
1 cup Toor dal (also known as pigeon peas)
1-1/2 tsp red chili powder (or 3 green chilies, chopped)
1/2 tsp fenugreek powder (also known methi powder)
1/2 tsp Turneric powder
1-1/2 tsp salt or as needed
Ingredients for seasoning
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp (a pinch) Hing


Procedure
We used a pressure cooker for this recipe but a heavy bottomed saucepan or Dutch Oven can be used as well.


Cook toor dal, mango, green chilies, fenugreek powder, and turmeric with sufficient water in a pressure cooker until dal is cooked well. Then set aside. Next, heat oil in a medium saucepan and add mustard and cumin seeds. When they start to splutter, add hing and garlic. Stir for one minute and add the frozen spinach. Mix well and cook under closed lid for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and add the cooked dal and mango mixture. You may add additional water until it's to your desired consistency. Finally, add salt and cook under covered lid for additional 5 to 6 minutes on medium heat.

The spinach and green mango dal is now ready to be served and enjoyed with your favorite grains, whether it be rice or roti.  

We received an honorable mention on 2016 National Nutrition Month Blogroll - Savor the Flavor of Eating Right for this post. We're so excited!! 

February 10, 2016

Gluten Free Valentine's Sweets for Your Sweetheart


This Valentine's Day surprise your "sweetie" with sweets that don't break their diets!

Ragi Laddus


Go the distance and make something healthy for your loved ones. Ragi Laddus made with Indira Foods Ragi Huri Hittu Special are rich in calcium, iron, protein, fiber and gluten free. These laddus or balls can be enjoyed as a dessert or for breakfast.


The mix contains popped ragi (finger millet) powder, sugar, dried coconut, cashew nut, milk powder, cardamom and nutmeg. 

It is very easy to make these laddus with this mix. For every cup of the mix, you add 1/2 cup of milk and mix into a dough like consistency. Then you roll into lime size round balls. 

Quick Tips
Indira Foods Ragi Huri Hittu Special can be purchased at most Indian grocery stores; we bought ours from Patel Brothers. 


  
For other gluten free dessert ideas, please check out Ricotta Kalakand (milk sweet) and Mango Rice Pudding. Wishing you and yours a Happy Valentine's Day!!

August 6, 2015

Celebrating Flavors with Tandoori Tofu and Coriander Chutney Sandwiches


Congratulations to Swathi for sharing her re-creation of one our recipes with us. 

Recently, one of my relatives reached out and asked us for some protein enriched recipes to make for her family. One of the recipes that came to mind instantly was the Tandoori Tofu curry. It's easy to make, healthy and high on the protein list. She tried the recipe and shared her experience with us. We love it when people make our recipes their own. 

Check out the Tandoori Tofu and Coriander Chutney Sandwiches above. Don't they look so tasty and inviting. I just want to take a bite into one right now. 

She modified the recipe so she could stuff the curry into the bread rolls to make sandwiches. She spread coriander chutney on one side and Tandoori Tofu curry on the other side. She also added cucumber and onions slices and sprinkled a little lemon juice to add more flavor. 

Mama Mia! My mouth is watering just thinking about all these flavors. Great job Swathi! 



QUICK TIP:
- Shred or grate the tofu before making the curry so it won't be clumpy in the sandwich. 
- The bread rolls can be substituted with any other kind of rolls if you are allergic to gluten like potato rolls. This curry goes well with jeera rice. 


FEEDBACK FROM OUR READERS:
 What do you think of this sandwich idea? Have you tried our Tandoori Tofu recipe? Please share your thoughts with us. 

October 17, 2012

Creamy Tofu and Karela Curry

This is for all vegetarians and healthy conscious people alike. A well balanced meal includes carbs, protein, fats and oils. When it comes to choosing the right ingredients to add the proper nutrients to our meals, one that comes mind is TOFU.

What's so great about Tofu? 
- Low in sodium and cholesterol  
- Low glycemic index
- Good source of protein, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, selenium, calcium, and manganese. 

With all these positive attributes, what's not to love. We like using a couple different varieties of Tofu: Firm, Extra Firm and Tofu Steak (available in Cajun, Garlic & Pepper, Grilled). These add extra flavor to our dishes.

One of the many ways we use Tofu is adding it to our vegetable gravy curries that are eaten with Indian flatbreads (such as roti, chappati, naan, paratha), and/or brown/white rice. This week's tofu recipe includes Karela (also known as Bitter Melon or gourd), another healthy and nutritious ingredient. So let's start cooking!

Creamy Tofu and Karela curry served w/ Brown Rice & Roti

Ingredients:
- 1 lb Karela, chopped into 1" cubes
- 1 medium Onion, finely chopped
- 7.25oz Firm Tofu, drained and cut into 1" cubes
- 3/4 cup Salsa (Mild, Medium or Hot)
- 2 to 3 tbsp Ranch dip*
- 1 tsp Mustard and Cumin seeds
- 1 tsp Turmeric (Haldi)
- 2 to 3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 tbsp Salt (or as needed)

Procedure:
In a large saucepan, heat oil and add mustard and cumin seeds for seasoning. When they start spluttering, add onion and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add karela, turmeric, and salt. Mix well and cover pan with tight lid. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until karela is cooked. (Hint: Test it by piercing a knife or fork through a piece of karela and it should go in easily.) Next add tofu pieces, salsa and dip. Mix well and cook for another 5 minutes.

***Quick Tips: 
- If ranch dip is not readily available, add sour cream. 
- Add a tablespoon of brown sugar to reduce the bitter taste of Karela.  
- Check out other yummy Tofu recipes: Tandoori Tofu, Potato & Tofu with Spiced Tomato Sauce