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.


June 8, 2011

Rose Spritzer

Back in my college days, I used to enjoy the hot summer days at this Asian tea house called Babo's. They had a variety of hot and cold teas, but my favorite was Bubble Tea. For those of you who are not familiar with this drink, it is a milk based sweetly flavored tea beverage with tapioca balls or rice pearls at the bottom of your drink. Sometimes I used to take my books to the cafe and study while I sipped the drink. It was cool and very refreshing. After a while though, I didn't care for the tapioca balls' taste in my mouth and tried something else. 
Coincidentally, a few weeks ago, my mom brought out this spritzer for one of our family parties and it was an instant hit. Usually, we have fruit juice and soda for the kids and wine & beer for the adults. However, this drink was so popular that by the end of the party, many of the guests requested us to divulge the recipe.

This unique drink has a bit of everything: sweetness, flare, fizz, fun, and cool taste. The fun part is from making the drink and enjoying it on hot summer days or just any day really. Oh, did I mention that it totally replaced my Bubble Tea craving. I don't have to worry about the taste of the tapioca balls either. It's a Win, Win Baby!

Here's what you need to get started; oh and these measurements are enough for 4-6 servings: 
- 1/3 cup of Roohafza or Rose syrup*
- 3 cups of Seltzer water
- 3 cups of Sprite (soda)
- 1 tbsp of Basil Seeds (Tukmaria), soak in half cup of hot water until they bubble up

Mix all the ingredients together in a water jug or pitcher and add crushed ice before serving! Voila! A perfect spritzer for kids of all ages...even adults.

***Quick Tips: 
- The drink can be enhanced with 1 tbsp of finely chopped Mint leaves or a slice of lime.
- Other flavor combinations are Orange-Mango Juice, Mango-Pineapple juice, Mango. Which ever juice you choose, mix it with Seltzer or Sprite not both. 

Hot Breads Bakery - More than Just Bread!!

I'm always on the lookout for cute little places to spend some of my down time...maybe to read a book while I enjoy a treat or catch up with friends on my lappy (laptop). I know there's an array of places like coffeehouses and eateries but I really dislike coffee and I don't like noisy places. Furthermore since I moved back to my hometown, I've been exploring more places around my town. One day as I was running a couple of errands for my mom, I passed by this place. It's one of those places where you could easily miss it unless you were on a mission. Anyways, I walked inside and right away I got a whiff of whatever was baking in the oven at the other end of the bakery. At most bakeries I've been to, the menu items consist of the usual baked goods such as breads and more breads and specialty pastries. At Hot Breads, aside from the usual, as you can understand from my title, they have a variety of items to choose from. Here's a short list of some items I do remember from my visit: curry puffs (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian), snacks like bhel puri, chaat, samosas, and more filling meals like pizzas, paninis and vada pav sandwiches. It was like a One stop shop.
It took me a few good minutes to decide what I wanted to order. I'm not sure if you can tell from my illustration above but the order counter was placed between two shelves adorned with mouth watering and appetizing pastries of all flavors and colors. Savory ones on the left and sweets on the right. You might think weird of me but for as long as I can remember, dessert came before dinner, lunch or whatever. I have a sweet tooth that just doesn't rest until it's satisfied. So, I settled on a few curry puffs that were alright because I was so engrossed with the pleasing view of the sweets before me. Each and everyone of them were calling my name, waiting desperately to be spooned into my mouth. After the puffs, I returned to the counter once more, ordered a chocolate mousse cake and brought it back to my cafe style dining area.
Little did I know that my choice wasn't the most popular pastry. I enjoyed it nonetheless since it was nice, creamy and sweet (my unofficial middle name). I heard from one of the staff members that the Black Forest Cake is delicious I will keep that in mind for my next visit. Now I'm not the PR spokeswoman for this delightful place but I gotta tell ya...their pizzas and paninis must be popular. While I was enjoying every last bite of my cake, I saw one the skilled staff making 5 vegetable paninis in one go and man can he move! My short visit became an extended stay filled with good eats, information and company from the staff in between their orders. I finally made my exit and made a note of the items I will try next time I'm in the area. 

If you're in the neighborhood, stop in and try some of their goodies. And if you're in a hurry or on the run, you can always place an order over the phone. Maybe I'll see you there sometime...