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 raitas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label raitas. Show all posts

April 14, 2020

Yogurt - A Probiotics Boost For Your Health!

What do Red Mango, Pinkberry, Yoplait GoGurt, General Mills Natural Valley Yogurt Bars, Chobani, Oiko, Fage have in common? 

All of the above are YOGURT based products. 

Here are some reasons why eating yogurt is good for you:

  • It is a good source of probiotic cultures, which are good microorganisms that benefit our digestive system, boost immunity and help the absorption of certain minerals like calcium into our system.
  • Yogurt is a good source of protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6, zinc, and vitamin B12.
  • If eating plain yogurt doesn't sound pleasing, then give the following recipes a try. They are all healthy and gluten-free: 

Eggplant Raita (yogurt dip)
Other raitas or yogurt dips to try are EggplantBeetrootLongSquashSpinachTomatoesTomato and OnionBell Peppers, or Cabbage

One of my favorite rice dishes to eat as a child was daddojanam or seasoned yogurt rice. When I was 2 or 3 years old, I used to give her a hard time at mealtime. She used to make this dish, make yogurt and rice balls and feed me while I was playing. She used to sneak some veggies too. I was hooked since then...

My husband loves Dahi Vada. I like it too; it is vada soaked in seasoned yogurt. It tastes so good topped with tamarind chutney, coriander chutney and sev. 

Dahi Vada

Buttermilk is a more liquid version of yogurt. We use buttermilk to make Spinach and Potato Kadhi. It's nice to eat on its own or mixed with rice. 

 Do not be afraid to try new things. Try to incorporate yogurt into your diet. It is better for you in the long run.

Let us know how you enjoy eating yogurt. We would love to hear from you. 

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!

February 2, 2018

Spinach Raita with Naan Dippers

Looking for game day appetizer ideas? Expecting company? 

Look no further! 

I love making vegetable raitas or yogurt dips for guests. There are so many varieties you can make. 

The picture above is spinach raita with naan dippers by StoneFire Naan. I LOVE StoneFire's naans. They have different sizes; these bite size naans are great for dipping into your favorite dip or sauce. I also the texture; they crunchy and the flavor is on point. 

My husband and I hosted our first game night at our place a couple of weeks ago. I was trying to figure what snacks I can make using the ingredients I had at home and ones that are healthy; not too fattening. 

I searched my fridge and found yogurt. I always have yogurt on hand because I love yogurt and it's healthy (good probiotic).  I decided to make spinach raita and serve it with the naan dippers. 

Below is an easy recipe to make Spinach raita (in the microwave/stove top):

1 box of frozen chopped spinach (10oz)
6 oz sour cream (regular or fat free)*
1 cup plain yogurt (any type as desired: fat free, regular or whole milk)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (optional)
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp whole cumin
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
5 to 6 curry leaves, fresh or dry (optional)
1/4 tsp salt or as per your taste

1) Break the spinach into pieces and transfer it into a microwavable container. Then add salt, chili powder, turmeric powder and microwave for 5 to 6 minutes or until the spinach is fully cooked.

2) Allow the vegetable mixture to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and then stir in the sour cream and yogurt.

3) In a small saute pan (or mini nonstick egg fry pan) heat one tablespoon of oil and add mustard and cumin seeds. When they start to splatter, add curry leaves, and mix well. Remove from heat and transfer the contents into the raita (spinach and yogurt mixture) and mix well. 

Finally transfer into your favorite serving dish. Raitas can be served with pulao, parathas, naan, or plain rice. They can also be used as a dipping sauce for some appetizers like nachos, tortilla or pita chips.

Quick Tips
- *If you want a thicker dip, add more sour cream and yogurt. (Keep in mind, if you use regular sour cream, that the raita will be thick and creamy. Use fat free if you want it to be less fattening.) 
- You can adjust the spice level as per your taste. 

Click on each vegetable to be routed to the recipe page for other raitas you can try:
beetroot, green bell peppertomato and onion, eggplant or cucumber. We have other yummy snacks that would be great for game day. Check out our recipes page for ideas. 

May 16, 2016

Cool Down with Eggplant Raita (Yogurt Dip)

GOT EGGPLANT?? My mom stopped by the farmers market the other day and bought this large and round eggplant. She couldn't help it; it was so beautiful. It called out to her, "bring me home and cook me". So she did. 

Eggplant is such a versatile ingredient. You can make anything with it: dips, curries, stew, or just throw it on a grill. I especially love eating eggplant with my grilled cheese sandwiches

Tonight, my mom decided to cook it another way to help us stay cool in this weather. She made eggplant raita (yogurt dip) to eat with rice and roti. Eggplant raita closely reminds of Baba Ganoush, a popular Middle Eastern dish. 

Eggplant raita dish has two of my favorite ingredients: eggplant and yogurt. Let's get cooking:

- 1 lb large and round size eggplant, peeled and chopped into small pieces
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp urad dal
- 1 tsp whole mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
- A pinch of turmeric powder
- 2 green chilies, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup Whole milk plain yogurt
- 1/2 tsp Salt (adjust to your taste)
- A few sprigs of fresh coriander, chopped finely (optional)

In a medium saucepan, heat oil on low-medium temperature. Once you feel the warmth on palm, add urad dal, mustard and cumin seeds. Then add green chilies and turmeric powder. Once the mustard cumin seeds start to splutter, add the chopped eggplant. Stir the mixture together and cover and cook under lid for 8 to 10 minutes. Lift the lid after that time and check to see if the eggplant is cooked. 
(Hint: take a flat wooden or silicon spatula and try to cut or split the eggplant to see if it's cooked. If it cuts easily, then it's cooked. If it doesn't then, cover with the lid and cook for a few more minutes.) Once the eggplant is cooked, add salt and transfer the mixture into a serving dish and let it cool. Once it cools, add the whole milk plain yogurt and mix thoroughly, Garnish it with coriander and voila!

Quick Tip
- If using 2% or 1% milk plain yogurt, please add 1/4 cup of sour cream to the dish to make it thicker. 

July 26, 2012

Cool Down with Summer "Beets"

Attending a wedding in Atlanta in the peak of summer is tough, especially when it's outdoors. I sweat as though I was working out for 2 hours. What a feeling! Nevertheless, it was my friend's wedding and I wanted to be there for him. I bore the heat in good spirits and returned home to Jersey where the weather was a bit cooler. Since I've been back, the weather has been temperamental; hot one day and rainy the next day.
Don't get me wrong, I like sunny weather, but not when it's humid and/or sticky. What better way to cool down in the summer than with dishes made from yogurt like raitas. With so many varieties to choose from, sometimes it's tough to pick just one. One of my favorites is with beetroot. The creamy, slightly sweet flavor of the beetroot raita goes well with seasoned rice, Indian flatbreads and/or chips. All this talk of food is making me hungry. Well, let's start's the recipe.

Interesting Fact: Beet root is also used as a dye.

  • 1 Medium Beet root, peeled and grated
  • 1 cup Plain Yogurt
  • ½ cup Low Fat Sour Cream
  • 2 to 3 Green Chilies, cut lengthwise
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp Whole Cumin seeds 
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 7 Curry leaves, optional

In a microwaveable bowl, add grated beet root and mix in salt. Then sprinkle a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Microwave it for 5 minutes or until cooked and then set aside. Add yogurt and sour cream to the cooked beet root and mix well. In a small saucepan, heat one tablespoon of oil. Once you feel the heat on your palm, add mustard and cumin seeds, curry leaves. When the mustard and cumin start to splutter, turn off the heat and transfer the contents into the beet root and yogurt mixture. Mix well. The beet root raita is now ready to be served. Enjoy!!

***Quick Tips:
Also check out Seasoned Beet root rice with carrots and peas. It's very tasty. We even added French's fried onions for a crunchy texture. 

September 29, 2010

Watch Out Salsa, Here Comes Raita!

Have ever tried Tzatziki (Greek cucumber yogurt sauce) which is served in most Mediterranean restaurants? Then you're sure to love raitas as well. They are made with yogurt, various vegetables, and some spices.

Below are some of the vegetables we use to make raitas (yogurt based sauces).
Long Squash

Frozen Chopped Spinach, 
Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Cabbage

So the next time you're having people over, instead of serving cheesy nachos or potato chips, try something new. Arrange a plate of pita pieces with any of these raitas as a dipping sauce. Your guests will love you and you will love yourself for eating healthier.

Use any one of the following vegetables:
- Spinach................................................................... ½ box frozen
- Green Bell pepper.................................................... 3 medium size chopped finely
- Cabbage.................................................................. 2 cups chopped finely
- Long squash............................................................. small size, grated (use larger grate)
-Tomatoes..................................................................4 med, cut into small pieces
- Sour cream (Reg / fat-free)....................................... 6oz
- Yogurt (any type as desired, lite / Reg)...................... 1 cup
- Green chilies............................................................ 2, chopped finely or cut into halves for milder taste
- Mustard & Cumin seeds............................................1 tsp each for seasoning
- Vegetable oil............................................................ 1 tbsp
- Curry leaves (optional)............................................. 5-6 leaves
- Salt.......................................................................... 1 tsp or as needed (varies with vegetable)


1) Add the vegetable into a microwavable container (for squash remove any water), add salt and green chilies and microwave for 5-6 min or until they are firm and cooked.

Illustration: Spinach Raita
2) Allow the vegetable to cool for 10 – 15 min and then mix in the sour cream and yogurt.

3) In a small dish heat 1 tbsp of oil and add mustard and cumin seeds. When they splatter add curry leaves, mix well and transfer the contents into the raita.

Illustration: Spinach Raita

4) Raitas can be served with pulao, parathas, rotis or plain rice. They can also be used as a dipping sauce for some appetizers like nachos, tortilla or pita chips.

September 17, 2010

It's September - Time To Spice Up Condiments

If you have ever been to an Indian restaurant, one thing everyone can count on is the different kinds of chutneys (sauces) that are served with the food. The last time I went to this restaurant called Dosa Hut, the waiter brought over my Masala Dosa order with 3 chutneys. I tried all of them and in end stuck with the coconut one which wasn't too spicy.

In 2008, my family and I went back to my native country (India) for vacation and had the time of our lives. Since we haven't been back in a while, a lot has changed; especially the restaurants scene. A lot of new places popped up and enticed customers with their unique dishes. I couldn't believe my eyes when our relatives took us to this restaurant in Himayatnagar (suburb in Hyderabad) for lunch.  The restaurant's name is Chutney's. Hmm, I wonder what they are famous for? Below is a picture of the chutneys that were already placed on our table before we ordered our entrees. More chutneys accompanied our dishes so we had a loads to choose from. It was fun trying different chutneys or sauces with our dishes. I will definitely go back to this place when I visit again.

So in light of our trip to Chutney's, we've decided to dedicate the month of September to chutneys and raitas.  

In the US, most people know of  chutneys as sauces that are served with food like condiments (mustard sauce and ketchup). And for the most part, they are right. Tamarind and coriander chutneys are used like condiments on top of snacks like chaat, samosas, tikkis, and other such foods. However, in South Indian cooking, there are other types of chutneys that we prepare which are eaten with rice and/or naan. These chutneys are more like curries that are more hearty and flavorful. Below are a few that we whip up often for their nutritious value and taste:


Raitas (Yogurt based)