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.


December 18, 2011

The Wonders of India - Jaipur & Ranthambore

We left the evening of the seventh and arrived in Jaipur on the morning of the ninth. After a long flight all we wanted to do was to sleep off the jet lag. However, it was tough to sleep with all the excitement in the air. Did you know that Jaipur is also known as the Pink City of Rajasthan? In 1876, the city was painted pink to welcome Prince Albert and Queen Elizabeth II and since then the nickname remained. The city is full of rich culture, food and magnificent architecture (such as palaces, forts, and lush gardens).

It's easy to work up an appetite after all the sightseeing and exploration of a new city. We asked around and received some suggestions for quality restaurants that serve tasty Rajasthani cuisine without pinching the pockets too much. The cuisine is rich and simple. During the few days we spent in the city, we enjoyed freshly made breads such as naan and parathas with rich vegetable curries.

Aloo Paratha with dahi

Paneer Bhurji with Garlic Naan

The best part of Jaipur for me was Choki Dhani. It is a re-creation of an authentic Rajasthani village filled with entertainment for the whole family, crafts & trinkets shops, and an unique dining experience.

Words are not enough to describe the food we ate that night. Inside this large clay built hall, there were men dressed in Rajasthani garb serving everyone various types of appetizers, breads, curries, and sweets.

The enthusiasm was building up as we headed to the next stop which was the Ranthambore National Park & Tiger Reserve. We stayed in town for two days while we explored the park and all its treasures. Our accommodations were at this hotel called Vatika Resort; it was a short distance from the reserve. It has eight cottages with comfortable beds, bathrooms and flat screen TVs. There was no need to worry about the quality of the food because all meals were prepared fresh each day of our stay. Also, we made all our bookings through a trusted travel agent who we used in the past. They booked two safaris (evening and morning), increasing the odds of us spotting the tigers.

Our evening safari was the best one out of the two and to top it all off, we actually saw one of the biggest male Bengal tigers on the reserve. How lucky were we!!!

We left Ranthambore with great delight and headed for our next adventure in the Agra and Delhi!

***Quick Tips: 
- There are eight zones or trails around the park where the safari guides are allowed to take passengers. Before planning your trip, we recommend calling the park or your booking agent ahead of time to secure a seat and to inquire about the best zones where more wildlife was sighted so you can try to avoid disappointment. Also if you are going on multiple safaris, make sure that the zones aren't repeated if one of them had no action. 
- Depending on when you plan to go to Rajasthan, here are other cities to explore: Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaiselmer, and Bikaner. Also look into going to the Pushkar Camel Fair.  

December 10, 2011

There's No Place Like "Home"

I love the movie, The Wizard of Oz. It's filled with colorful characters and imagery that makes it enjoyable for anyone. That's exactly how I feel whenever we take a trip to India. It's a place full of wonder and beautiful people. It is also where I spent the first few years of my childhood. It is my connection to my roots and a place I call home. So it is only natural that whenever I'm "homesick", I feel like clicking my heels and waking up in my grandma's place in India. Well, this past November I didn't exactly click my heels to get there, but I might as well have. One of my cousins was getting married and we took the opportunity to go for the occasion, and of course we extended the trip a little to include some sightseeing.
Our trip began in the North and concluded in the South. Then we returned to the States with beautiful memories of sights, smells, sounds, and tastings. My fondest memories were mostly of the tastings. You know, I'm all about the FOOD.  Before we left, I made a note of all my cravings and kept it close by so I could take full advantage while I was there. This time, I even managed to take some pictures, so I could look back and indulge.