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.


May 15, 2011

Hester Street Fair

It's that time of the year again...the start of the street fairs season. I love it! It gives me a chance to get outside, stretch my legs, and support the local talent. The day before Mother's Day, I attended the Hester Street Fair's grand opening day in New York City. I made an excuse to go to the fair just so I could get something for the two special ladies in my life, my mom and grandmother. My friend and I took our time strolling through the fair; taking in all the sights, sounds and smells. I even found some things for the ladies so I wouldn't go home empty-handed. Here are just a few of the highlights:

As we walked into the fair grounds, we that the first stall was adorned with these beautiful mini garden creations, which are custom designed by Ms. Vashali Maria. They are perfect for all kinds of spaces and gardeners-at-heart, whether you live in a small city apartment or have a greenhouse. I love this idea of bringing inside "a piece of nature" into your home and enjoying it all year around.
Next up are the simple and colorful Indian wooden block print designs on clothing, accessories, and home furnishings by Juli Raja. I found some great gift items for my friends' kids (cute lil dresses and shirts for boys).
While we visited a few more of the stalls, we heard some weird sounds coming from nearby and realized they were from our own stomachs...we were really hungry from all the walking.
We came across a stall called  La Sonrisa where they were frying empanadas and so we tried one that was filled with coconut curry chicken. It was pretty good. The outside texture and crunchiness of the snack reminded me of these sweets from India called Kajjikayalu or Gujiya which are usually filled with coconut and jaggery. We also had the opportunity to sample some watermelon sorbet where the chefs used nitrogen liquid as the freezing agent as we have seen often on shows like Iron Chef America.
After we sampled more savory treats like cheddar and jalapeno topped pretzels from Sigmund Pretzels and soft tacos from Brooklyn Taco Co., we headed over to Melt Bakery for some dessert. We decided ahead of time we would buy one item from each of the stalls, so we could try more. So at the Melt Bakery, we chose the peach ice cream and brown butter burbon shortbread cookie sandwich. The sweetness of the shortbread cookies complemented the tangy flavor of the ice cream (the one on the far left). It was a winner in my book.
On our way out of the fair, I saw Roni-Sue Chocolates and became super excited. I sampled their chocolate creations at the 2009 Chocolate Show and so I knew how delicious their chocolates were. They didn't have my favorite chocolate and so we went to their store located inside the Essex Market.
I bought a dozen box of truffles for Mother's Day and my friend bought a couple of nickel bags of bacon chocolate for himself and his friends. The next day, I surprised the ladies with a special breakfast and lots of "sweet" love.

Overall, I had a great time at the fair. The food prices were reasonable and fun to learn about the various cuisines and sweet treats. The business owners were really friendly and informative. So, you haven't checked it out yet, go for it. The Hester Street Fair is open every Saturday from 10am-6pm until October. It is located between Hester and Essex streets in Lower East Side, NY. 

May 10, 2011

Mother In Mind...

Although, mothers should be remembered all the time, I feel that sometimes people remember them even more on Mother’s Day. It almost becomes compulsory to do something extra ordinary on that day. Of course, I am guilty of that as well. Every year, my sister and I pitch in and order my mom flowers. However this year, we went a different route and ordered her an Azalea Bonsai plant to add to her newly sowed garden in our new place. Ever since we moved from our old house, my mom has been reminiscing about her flower garden and how much effort she put into it to bring it to its handsome beauty. And now she has to do it all over again. We thought the bonsai would help her to cope with the loss of the garden and encourage her to add to her collection in the new place. We also ordered Spring Tulips for my grandmother since she is staying with us for a while. They both loved the floral arrangements which are now proudly being displayed in our house. YAY!! I also prepared a healthier version of IHOP’s Belgian Waffle Combo for the two special ladies. I served them a plate of toasted waffles with fresh cut strawberries and bananas. A small gourmet cookie platter with their favorite nutty cookies and more fresh fruit was also served with breakfast.
Since it’s also been a few years since my grandmother came to visit us around this time, my mom made her favorite dish, vada and sambhar*. She soaked the lentils overnight and made the do-nut shaped vadas after her relaxing breakfast.
Oh, what a sight!!
They were both busy for the rest of day since many of our relatives and friends called to wish them for the occasion…just the way it should be.

***The vada and sambhar are very popular in Southern India. Vada is a savory fritter served as a snack but it can be eaten as a meal when dipped in sambhar (spicy lentil and vegetable soup).