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.

.

March 4, 2020

Reflections on Our Travel to the Motherland

Who remembers this song from Pardes? My favorite part of the song is when Mahima Chaudhry (Indian actress) sings:

"Ye Duniya Ek Dulhan, 
Ye Duniya Ek Dulhan
Dulhan Ke Maathe Ki Bindiya
Ye Mera India
Ye Mera India
I Love My India
I Love My India"



That's how I felt when we landed at Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi last November. It had only been six years since I last visited the Motherland (India), yet it seemed like ages ago. It was also my husband's first time visiting India. 

We made meticulous plans before we left. Booked all of our tours with a Rajjas Tours and Travels, an Indian travel company my family used before. Our plans were made to a T. 




Our India tour included trips to Ajanta and Ellora Caves in Aurangabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and the Golden Triangle: Delhi to Agra to Jaipur, Udaipur and then back to Delhi. More posts to follow. 


Below are some tips we wanted to share with you based on our experience:

Do's 
  • MONUMENT TIMINGS/CLOSINGS - Make sure to look up and note down all the timings for the monuments - not all are open Monday through Sunday. You can plan your trip according to these timings so you don't miss out on the important sights.  
  • TICKET PRICING - The pricing is different for varies kinds of tourists: 
    • An Indian citizen with PAN card
    • NRIs / OCI cardholders - make sure to bring it with you when you visit the monuments so you don't have to pay foreigner fees. 
    • Non-Indian tourists or foreigners
  • PHONE/SIM CARD USE - Carrying an unlocked phone goes a long way when traveling abroad. We were able to swap out the US SIM for an Indian SIM card and use it over there. If you do not have an Indian SIM card, you can always buy it at the airports. It is much cheaper than getting an International Voice/Data plan from the US. 
  • BARGAIN, BARGAIN BARGAIN!!! Try your hand at negotiating when buying souvenirs, handicrafts, or fruits at street markets. If you are going to buy multiple items, there's more room for bargaining. It doesn't hurt and you can save some $$$
  • STAY HYDRATED - always carry bottled water with you when you go out on day trips. We actually bought a gallon water jug and refilled our bottles if we stayed in a hotel that didn't replenish the water bottles daily. 
  • Dress appropriately for the weather conditions. 
  • You can walk around where ever there are footpaths but be mindful that there's a lot of traffic in these metropolitan cities. Look both ways before crossing major roads during daytime and nighttime. 

Don'ts
  • FOOD ITEMS - Don't bring food inside monuments; be mindful and travel light
    • Places like Red Fort have security checkpoints where they will ask you to take out food items if you have any.
  • TICKETS/TOKENS - Don't lose your ticket token; keep it safe. You will have to pay a penalty if it is lost.
  • CURFEW - Don't stay out late or go to remote areas by yourself. Always travel with someone or in groups. 


Availability/Mode of transportation
  • METRO / SUBWAY - We took the metro a few times in Delhi for sightseeing and eating out. We rented a car and driver for full day travel or tours. 
  • UBER - Use the app for taxi service in various cities. 
    • We used the app to drop off to the airport in New Delhi and Hyderabad. We also used the app to pick up from the airport to our hotel in Bangalore.  
    •  You can use your credit card or pay with cash.
  • TAXI SERVICE - There is a taxi kiosk outside of the Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi where you can book a taxi to where ever you need to go. This worked out better for us because we heard that the Uber pick up area was really far from the other taxi spots. 
  • AUTOS or THREE WHEELERS - Only if Uber is not available. You can negotiate the rate by giving the auto driver the Uber rate so they don't rip you off. 
    • It's best to know the route ahead of time of getting into the Auto so they don't take you for a ride. 

Stay tuned as we explore more of what India had to offer through a series of upcoming posts, Reflections on Our Travel to the Motherland. 

February 2, 2020

Go to Flavor-town with these Game Day Snacks!


I have to be honest...I'm not an avid American football fan but every year, I'm ready to watch the Super Bowl. It's more than a game; it's an event filled with funny and inspiring commercials, halftime show, and fun with the family. Regardless of who your favorite football team is, everyone comes together to watch the BIG GAME on that auspicious Sunday in February. 

Even my parents get in on the action on Super Bowl Sunday. We're not carnivores, so Game Day doesn't include the usual wings, meaty chili, sliders, etc. We prefer spicy, crunchy munchies and hearty entrees such as the following:

Crackling, Crunchy Cashews
This past December, my husband and I actually bought a lot of crunchy and nutty snacks at Dadu's Sweet shop in Hyderabad, India. One of the snacks is called Cashew pakoda. It looks and tastes similar to the crackling, crunchy cashews on our blog.  The snack is made with besan flour (chickpea flour) and spices.


Picante peanuts
You can also make it with peanuts as shown in the picture above. Other snack ideas that go well with beer or wine for game day are corn flakes mixture or chivda. You can make enough for the whole game and more because we use corn flakes cereal to make the snack. 




Similarly, you can make another type of mixture with rice crispy cereal. As you can see, we like spicing things up with our breakfast cereals. The spices really kick it up a notch. We also spice things up with pancakes. We love our spices.


If you want to get really creative and try an authentic South Indian snack for game day, then you should try making Pappuchekkalu:

Pappuchekkalu (Rice and Lentil Crisps)
Good news for people with gluten allergies, these rice, and lentil crisps are gluten-free; they're made with a combination of rice flour, urad dal flour (white lentil flour) and soy flour. You have to give them a try. 

We also make various raitas or yogurt dips on game day. The most common dips are artichoke or spinach dip. However, our raitas are so much more flavorful than any old dip. 

We make our yogurt dips with all kinds of vegetables: beetroot, long squash, bell peppers, spinach, eggplant, cucumbers, and even tomatoes and onions. You can make raita with any vegetables. It's easy and delicious. 


Beetroot Raita served with corn tortilla chips

My favorite is beetroot raita. It's a little sweet but not like candy-sweet and goes well with tortilla chips, pita chips, potato chips or mini naan. 

It's a new year! New flavors and experiences. Check out the above recipes for yummy and kickass snacks for the Big Game in a few hours. We're serious about SNACKING!