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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August 12, 2018

Garden to Table - Fresh Gongura Chutney


Gardening is bliss! When we're not busy coming up with new dishes, my mom and I are tending to our garden.  

We love planting and watching them grow. Since moving away from home, I've started my own garden. This year, I planted cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, gongura, and various herbs. It's very relaxing and nurturing. 

One of the plants I'm very excited to see flourish is the gongura plant. We use the leaves to make a fresh chutney which we mix into rice and enjoy. 


Feast your eyes on this "fresh from the garden" pickle. 

Dishes made with Gongura leaves are popular in the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (southern states of India). There are two varieties of Gongura: red-stemmed leaf and green stemmed leaf.


Mature Gongura leaves, ready for picking

My mom and I grew the green stemmed variety which is not as sour as the other kind. We haven't tried growing this plant before because of the hot climate that is required for its sustenance. I'm happy that the plant is doing well and is growing in our warm climate. We've collected enough leaves to make this popular pickle from India. 

Below is the recipe for this fresh South Indian chutney:

Ingredients
125g (or 1/4 lb) Gongura leaves, chopped (should measure 3 cups packed)
1/4 cup whole coriander seeds
1/8 cup urad (black gram lentil in English)
1 tsp Fenugreek seeds
3 to 4 dry red chilies
A lump of tamarind (size of a lemon), soaked in little water
1 Tbsp sea salt (reduce measurement slightly if using regular variety)
1/4 cup Sesame or Vegetable oil, for frying and seasoning

For Taalimpu (seasoning):
1 tsp whole mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Fenugreek seeds
1 dry red chili, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 pinches of Hing (also known as Asaphoetida)


Procedure

1) Add one teaspoon of oil to a medium saucepan on low-medium heat. Next, add coriander seeds, black gram lentil, chilies, and Fenugreek seeds. Fry until lentil is golden brown. Then, transfer the mixture into a blender and grind it into powder and add half the amount of salt. 

2) Bring the saucepan back to the stove and on low-medium heat, add half teaspoon oil and then add the gongura leaves. Wilt the leaves until they turn dull green. Remove from the stove and allow the leaves to cool down. 

3) Add the wilted gongura leaves, soaked tamarind and remaining salt into the blender with the dry powder. Then, add 1/4 cup or less of water and some oil and grind everything until the leaves are coarsely ground and blended with the dry powder. Transfer the chutney into a mason jar with a lid. 

4) Heat the remaining oil for seasoning in the saucepan and add mustard seeds, Fenugreek seeds, and red chili. When the mustard seeds splutter, add 2 pinches of hing and then add this mixture to the chutney and mix well. 

5) The chutney is now ready to be served. We like to eat this chutney with warm plain white rice. You can also enjoy by spreading it on toast. 

Quick Tip: 
If you are using red-stemmed gongura leaves, adjust the tamarind as it is sourer than the green stemmed variety. If you prefer more gongura taste, reduce the coriander and black gram lentil quantities. 


June 25, 2018

I'm Nutty for Pea'Nutty Pakoda


For father's day, my mom made one of my dad's favorite snacks, peanut pakoda.

Why?

Because my father REALLY likes nuts and nutty snacks. He has a Costco sized nuts box at work and at home. I've gotten his routine down packed: After he gets home from work, he usually gets a handful of nuts and eats them while he enjoys a hot cup of tea or coffee. He also likes cookies with nuts.

I wish it was daughter's day...I couldn't stop eating these pakoda. They were so good. Don't take my word for it, try the recipe for yourself and let me know.
 



Ingredients
- 1 cup peanuts (soaked for 2 hours and drained)
- 1 cup besan/chickpea flour (sieved to remove lumps)
- 1/3 cup rice flour
- 1 Tbsp ginger-garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp crushed green chilies
- 1/4 tsp chili powder (as per taste)
- A pinch of hing (asafoetida powder)
- 1 tsp salt (as per taste)
- 1/3 cup fresh coriander, chopped
- 3 Tbsp oil (for forming dough)
- Water for forming dough, as needed

- 1 to 2 cups oil for frying (based on pan size)

Procedure

1) Using a medium size mixing bowl, mix together: besan, rice flour, chili powder, hing, and salt.  Warm the oil for dough (about 3 Tbsp) and add into the dry mixture and mix well.


2) Now add ginger-garlic paste, crushed green chilies, coriander, and drained peanuts. And mix well.



3) Add water little by little mixing the dough to bring it all together. The dough should hold all the ingredients and somewhat dry but not crumbly, like cookie dough. Taste a pinch of dough to adjust salt and chili powder to your liking. 


4) Heat oil for frying in a frying pan (or wok) on low to medium heat. When you feel the heat on the palm of your hand, test it by adding a small morsel of dough. If the bubbles start immediately and the dough floats to the top, the oil is ready for frying.




5)Take a lemon sized piece of the dough in your hand and bring small morsels of dough between your thumb, index and middle fingers and drop them into  the oil slowly. Make sure the peanuts are included in every bit. Add 10 to 15 morsels (pakodas) at a time and fry them on low heat until golden brown. Collect them with a holed ladle and drain excess oil. Next, transfer in to mixing bowl that has a paper towel in it to collect any extra oil.


6) Sprinkle some chat masala on the hot "peaNutty pakodas for a more chat-pata taste.




Allow these pakoda to cool down and enjoy with your favorite beverage like tea or coffee. The spicy and crunchy flavors also go well with cool drinks like beer.  I had to stop myself from eating too many of these since they were for my dad :(

Did you like this recipe? You'll go "nuts" for these other Indian snacks: Corn Flakes Mixture, Indian Trail Mix, Peanut poppers, Crunchy Cashews, Pappuchekkalu .