Fake it Til You Make it

I love so many things about Indian food from the flavors to the nostalgia. As I bite into aloo gobi or saag paneer, I am instantly comforted and reminded of my childhood. I was lucky enough to grow up eating home cooked Indian food on a somewhat regular basis and while I didn’t always appreciate smelling like curry the next day at school, I now can see that I was blessed. The problem that I face now is that ordering Indian food isn’t a healthy option (unknown amounts of oil and butter) and it’s not an easy task to take on in my own kitchen.  So instead, I go without but find myself longing for it.

I’ve always been intimidated to cook Indian food myself. When I ask the secrets from  “Aunties”, they tell me, oh you just do this and then you just do this, as if its an easy task. ** No recipes are ever actually discussed. And I refuse to watch Rachel Ray and learn to make raita (that she wrongly pronounces Ra-eeeta).  But this predicament changed when I learned about the wonders of pre-mixed, packaged spices. Yes, I am telling you that I use pre-packaged something, when normally I am telling you to make your own.  If you live in New York and you are remotely interested, go to the “curry hill” (Lexington Ave and high 20s) and walk into a grocery store. You will soon be amazed at how many short cuts there are out there to help make fresh healthy Indian food with much less steps and much less time.  Keep in mind that I am still using fresh vegetables.

Here is the recipe that I concocted with a combination of the ingredients on the Chana Masala box (picture below) and some trial and error.


1 onion, chopped

1 cauliflower, chopped

2 medium sized tomatoes, diced

1 can low sodium chick peas, rinsed

1 tablespoon Chana Masala mix

1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking spray to coat pan

- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil or coat saute pan with cooking spray

-Add one chopped onion and cook until golden brown

-Add two diced tomatoes

-Add 1 tablespoon of Chana Masala and mix all ingredients

-Add cauliflower

-Add can of low sodium chick peas

-Cover and cook until cauliflower seems soft enough to your liking, checking it often.

Voila. It’s done.  Do not expect to be making something you will get at an Indian restaurant or my mom’s house but it’s homemade, healthy, quick and delicious.

Serve with brown rice if you would like.

**Aunties will shake their heads at this recipe.


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Posted on September 7, 2014 and filed under Recipe.