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 dishes.

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May 1, 2010

Spinach Nuggets...Beyond Appetizers!!

Remember Tater Tots from your high school lunches? What about spinach nuggets from fast food restaurants with some spicy dipping sauce. Did you ever think you could make an Indian curry out of them? Here's what my mom had to say. The following is our conversation between mother (M) and I, the daughter (D):

M: Traditionally, Koftas (dumplings) are made using the following method: you first grate vegetables like potatoes, long squash, plantains or even Paneer (Indian Cheese). Then mix the grated vegetable with bread crumbs or gram flour, and then make them into balls. Next you fry these balls and add them to the gravy which you also have to make.

D: What?? All this sounds like a long process. Isn't there a way to shorten this recipe and still eat healthy.

M: I'm glad you asked because there's a way out. You can use tater tots or spinach nuggets as the dry koftas. No more grating or mixing and making balls. All you have to make is the gravy, which is not that difficult.

D: Okay, how do you make it? Oh, maybe we can make this for our guests tonight.

M: That's a good idea. It makes 3-4 servings, so we will have enough.

Here's what you will need:

Ingredients for koftas:
  • 1 Packet Veggie Patch Spinach Nuggets - (12 pieces total)
Ingredients for the gravy:
  • 2 tbsp Cooking oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, finely chopped
  • ½ tbsp Ginger-garlic paste
  • ½ tbsp Garam Masala
  • ½ cup Red Pack Crushed Tomato puree
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tbsp Cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp Regular Sour Cream
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Coriander, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
***It's a good thing we have our Chaunk box (spice box) for some of the ingredients. It makes it easier to store them for cooking.

Procedure:
1) Bake the koftas in a toaster oven at 350°C for 20 minutes, alternately they can be toasted mildly on both sides in a non-stick pan.
2) Heat oil in a saucepan and sauté crushed onions until light golden brown. Add ginger garlic paste and sauté for 1-2 min. Then add turmeric, chili and garam masala powder and mix well.
3) Stir in crushed tomato / puree and mix well, add cream cheese & sour cream and mix it into the tomato mixture.
4) Next, add water to make the gravy to a soup like consistency and salt & boil the sauce. Evaporated milk (small can) can be used instead of cream cheese and sour cream to make the gravy.

5) Drop the nuggets into the sauce and continue to heat the curry to boil and remove and transfer into a serving dish.
6) Garnish with fresh coriander and serve the vegetable with rice or any type of bread.




***Quick Tip:
- To avoid koftas /nuggets from breaking, arrange them in the serving dish and pour hot gravy over them. Microwave for 3-5 minutes if needed.
- Fat-free or non-fat ingredients could be used to make a low-calorie dish.
- Mushroom and broccoli nuggets, Tater tots, or Ashoka's Hara Bhara Kebabs can also be substituted for spinach nuggets.

April 26, 2010

Everything Stew with an Indian Touch!

You've heard of the Everything Bagel, right?

It has different kinds of seeds, onions, salt and other ingredients on it. Well, we have something in the same line but it's a stew. It's called the Everything Stew! It's like a Minestrone Soup. 

It has all the vegetables that were in our vegetable drawer plus beans, grains, different kinds of spices and sauces.
I always believe that the best recipes are the ones that you make up on a whim. Everything Stew is just that. My mom started making the stew this way when we were running out of ideas for lunch and needed to make something healthy and hearty. At first, I was not excited about it, I was like, stew? Come on mom.

But you know what, as usual I was wrong. I think my mom knows I'll change my mind once I taste it (I'm the Official Taste Tester in the family). Kind of like how back in the Kings and Queens era, they had peons and servants taste their food before they ate it. It was to ensure that the food was not poisoned or spoiled. In my case, I tell her whether the food requires more or less of a certain ingredient.

I know, it might seem like I'm being biased to my mom's cooking. Everyone would say their mom's cooking is the best. You just have to try it. I would recommend making this when you want to spice up cooking regime. I like to eat it with potato chips, toasted bread or pita chips.

This recipe makes 6-8 servings and you know what....in just 4 steps you have The Everything Stew!!

Click image to enlarge
Ingredients:
- 1 cup or 1 packet of Brown rice/ Uncle Ben’s rice (cooked)
- 1 bunch of Celery, finely chopped
- 1 medium Onion, chopped
- 1 can (14.75oz/418g) of Sweet Corn, regular or cream style
- 1 medium size can of Beans (any variety), wash and drain well
- 1½ cup of Crushed Tomato
- 2 tsp of Ginger garlic paste
- 1 tsp of Red chili pd / paste
- 2 Red/green/yellow peppers, cut into ½” pieces
- 1 tbsp of Smoked barbeque sauce (optional)
- 2 tbsp of Olive oil or any cooking oil
- 1 tsp of Marjoram (Italian spice)
- ½ tbsp of Salt

Procedure:
1) In a heavy bottomed pan (casserole), preferably of 4 Qtz size heat oil and sauté onions and ginger garlic paste. (Indian Touch)

2) Add celery and peppers until celery is soft and firm. When celery is cooked, add chili paste and tomato pulp for 1-2min.

3) Then add corn, beans, cooked rice, marjoram and salt & cook well (add water to bring the stew to a thick soup consistency).

4) Serve it in a bowl along with veggie sticks or garlic bread or toast. It makes a very satisfying healthy lunch. Can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-week.


Quick Tips: 
- Barley/ Cracked wheat (dalia) or regular rice can be substituted for brown rice. Any variety of vegetables like carrots, zucchini, cabbage, cauliflower, beans or spinach can be used.
- If available, frozen mixed vegetable packets are convenient and save time in chopping and cooking.