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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May 24, 2020

Pappuchekkalu - Gluten Free Indian Crisps

Boo to all those who think of celebrating one's birthday all month long is wrong! It's not wrong at all. 

This year, I've been lucky enough to be with my parents for my birthday and boy am I enjoying myself. It was much needed TLC. We've bonded over cocktails, wine, and yummy Indian food. 

Every year, my mom asks me what I would like to eat for my birthday and she makes those dishes. So far, I've enjoyed Sarvapindi, Double Ka Meetha (also known as Shahi Tukra), Onion Rava Masala dosa with Chutney Powder, sweet roti, and Pappuchekkalu. 



Pappuchekkalu are gluten-free crisps that are made with rice flour, lentils, and spices. They are fun, crackling, and crunchy...once I crunch into one, I can't stop crunching away. So addictive. I don't feel so guilty about eating 4 or 5 at a time because they are made with healthy ingredients. 

Aren't you dying to find out how they are made? I'm munching on some while typing up this post. MMMM, Pappuchekkalu! Me wants more! 

Ingredients for making the dough
- 4 cups Rice Flour                        
- 1 cup Roasted Chana dal (putnalu), finely powdered                         
- ½ cup  Chana dal, soaked in water for 3 hours                                            
- ½ cup peanuts, soaked for 3-4 hours and de-skinned                                                     
- ¼ cup Sesame seeds                                   
- 3 tsp Chili powder (or as needed)
- 5 tsp Salt (or to taste)                                               
- 15-20 Curry leaves, finely chopped (optional)                                                       
- 4 Tbsp Vegetable oil,  heat oil to lukewarm temperature to mix into the dough
- approx. 450ml (or 2 cups) of water

Ingredients for frying the Pappuchekkalu (or crisps)
2 to 3 cups of Vegetable oil for frying in a wok


Procedure
  • Drain and de-skin the peanuts, coarse crush them in a food processor. If you do not have a food processor, you can finely chop them on a cutting board running the knife over them carefully. Drain the soaked Chana dal too.
  • Add rice flour into a wide mixing bowl and the dry ingredients for the crisps (from the pappuchekkalu ingredients list). Mix well and adjust the salt and chili powder, by tasting a pinch of the mixture.
Ingredients for Pappuchekkalu

  • Now add the remaining items, peanuts, chana dal, curry leaves, and mix well. 
Dough for Pappuchekkalu
Add the warm oil into the mixture and mix again. Slowly add water to the flour until it forms into a lump, soft and tight but not sticky.


 Take a handful of the dough and make a log and pinch off a lime size and make round balls.



  • Place 8" by 10" size wax paper on the counter and spread a few drops of oil on it (can also use unfolded cereal bag). Fold the wax paper in half and place a dough ball on one half of the wax paper and cover it with the other half and press the ball to make a thin, round disk.   
  •  Place these disks on a wide tray (as shown above) and cover it with a towel until you have made 20 or so to fry.


  •  Heat the oil for frying in the wok at medium to high heat. Place your palm over the wok at a safe height to feel the heat. Test the heat by dropping a small ball of dough into the oil. If the ball sizzles and surfaces to top, then the oil is ready for frying the flattened dough disks. Slowly, insert 10 – 12 dough disks into the oil and fry them until they are golden brown, turning them over in between for uniform frying. Remove them from oil using a slotted ladle into a mesh strainer for the oil to drain further. Later transfer into a container.
A bowl full of Pappuchekkalu
  •   Cool them for 10 – 15 minutes to attain the proper crunchiness to serve. Store them in a tight lid container after they have cooled for 1 hour. This recipe makes 65 crisps of 3” size. They can be stored and enjoyed for 15 -20 days. 
Have you tried this snack before? I love snacking on these pappuchekkalu or crisps because they are made with good wholesome ingredients. Happy Snacking! 

What snacks have you been enjoying during this current COVID-19 situation? We would love to hear from you. 

May 1, 2020

For the Love of Podis - Chutney Powder

It's been a month since my ammamma (maternal grandmother) passed away.  The last time I visited her in India, I could already tell her health had deteriorated. She was barely able to move around and was mostly in her wheelchair or in bed. Although I am sad that she is longer with us, I know she is at peace now.  

My ammamma was a storyteller, a grandmother, a mother, and a daughter.  Although she was a housewife, she was very knowledgeable about the world, very sociable, and a philanthropist.  

I will miss her stories, our conversations about cooking and recipes, and our Telugu/English lessons. 



I found the video above of my ammamma cooking while I was looking through all of my photos and videos. This is how I want to remember her. She enjoyed cooking and helped my mom in the kitchen whenever she had time. In the video above, my ammamma is roasting spices and lentils together to make chutney powder. 


Chutney powder is a mixture of various spices and dal (lentil) that are roasted and then coarsely powdered. We use chutney powder as a condiment for idli, uttapam and dosa. It is also one of the ingredients for making the stuffing for Gutti Vankaya (stuffed eggplant)




You can also add it as a seasoning when making vegetable curries. I sometimes add this spice mix when I'm making baked penne pasta with vegetables. It adds more flavor to the pasta dish.

So you see, chutney powder is one of the essential podis found in a South Indian kitchen. Below are the ingredients that we need to make this podi (or spice mix):

Left to Right: Urad dal (black lentil), Coriander seeds, Channa dal (Indian chickpea), black peppercorn, dry Tamarind, dried red chilies and in the center are cumin seeds

Ingredients
- 2 cups coriander seeds
- 1.5 cups urad dal (black lentil)
- 2 cups channa dal
- 1/4 cup Cumin seeds (Jeera)
- 12 dry red chilies
- 1 Tbsp black peppercorn
- small lime size of dry Tamarind
- a handful of curry leaves (optional)
- 2 Tbsp salt (or per your taste)
- 1.5 Tbsp brown sugar (optional)
- 2 Tbsp oil (or per your taste)


Procedure
  • The dal (lentils) and spices have to be roasted in a particular order. 



After you roast the channa dal (Indian chickpea) and then ural dal (black lentil), you have to roast the spices in the following order:

Now add coriander seeds, dried red chilies, tamarind (see the quick tip), cumin, and lastly black peppercorn. 
  • Roast the spices and lentils for about 15 to 20 minutes on low-medium heat.


  • When you start to smell the aroma of roasted lentils and spices, turn off the heat, and let the mixture cool down. After it cools down, grind it coarsely with salt and brown sugar. Adjust the salt and sugar accordingly to your taste. 
  • The chutney powder is now ready to be used any way you like. The ingredient quantities above are enough to make 940 grams or about 2 pounds. If this quantity seems like a lot, just reduce the measurements by half for your comfort level. We make it in large quantities and store it so we can use it whenever needed. 

Quick Tips:
Sometimes you will find fiber strings in the tamarind. It is best to remove these before using them.