Patted myself on the back for three days straight ... knowing that I will be making a post again soon.
And then, before I know it ... whooosh ... a whole week flies by.
Not good; not good at all.
So, inspite of today being my masala making day, here I am, sitting since morning, editing pics and writing to you.
I think I have already written about the beautiful, beautiful weather we are having here right now.
So won't go into that ... but may I make a passing remark about how cold the mornings have become and how I am just loving that cup of hot, ginger tea and my balcony these days? And did I mention the cold breeze too? I did?! Really?!
And the greenery shining bright all around? That too?
Then I must move on to serious stuff now. No point in rubbing the salt in.
Here's wishing you rains and beautiful weather too in your part of the world.
Just a few days back, a reader, Barnana, requested to make a post on how I planned and cooked ahead.
And coincidentally this same topic came up in one of the groups I am in on FB.
I had given some pointers that I follow religiously in my kitchen and life.
So when I saw Barnana's request, I clicked some photos too.
There were, of course, a lot of yeses and nos, regarding cooking ahead.
But I know how big a help it is if you plan ahead ; and cook ahead too.
If you are single, or working, or both, or a housewife with a small baby, whether you are a family of two or ten, if you are ill and have difficulty spending long hours in the kitchen ...... planning ahead and cooking ahead is a huge help.
I will not go into purists' criticism of eating food from the fridge.
I believe if you have technology, make it your friend. Especially the refrigerator.
Believe me, it is much better than calling in food from the restaurant ... where food is much older and stale than you can imagine.
Know which is the coldest shelf and which has slightly higher temperature.
And store your things accordingly.
Do keep a track if your area is prone to power cuts and store accordingly.
We do not have power cuts ... so can store things for more than two or three days without a problem.
Cut and store vegetables like lauki, karela, drumsticks, pumpkin, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, etc.
Place a paper napkin on the top and make sure you store them in an airtight box.
Don't cut and store potatoes, beets, brinjals, etc. Basically stuff that oxidise fast should not be cut before hand.
Knead atta for two days. I would not suggest to store it for more than two days.
Make rice for two or more days.
It can also be used later in numerous ways , if you don't want it plain any more.
Soak legumes and store.
This is my batch today - Rajma, White matar for my no masala quick ghugni, green moong dal for cheelas / pesarattu and rice for idli or dosa or handvo.
All these can be done when you are sitting down ... like watching the tv.
Involve family members, if possible. It takes out the monotony of the task as well as allows for time to spend together.
Mummy (mil) brings out her bunch of leafy vegetables when we sit down with our evening tea. All of us join in and it soon turns into a happy get together. Everybody gets drawn to that room and join in with the cosy banter. As well as with the work at hand.
Boil milk and store in the coldest part of your fridge.
Make paneer ... you can make bhurji or parathas with it.
Boil potatoes and store , but not in airtight containers.
Make sprouts of green moong, kala chana, etc.
I always have a bowlful of fresh green sprouts in the fridge.
They make great salads, can add to muri or puffed rice for a snack or use in upmas, noodles or just make a stir fry when you run out of vegetables.
You can grind them up and make quick and healthy cheelas or pancakes too.
Soak rice and dal for idli batter.
I almost always make it in bulk and store in the fridge.
Other than the idli, you can make dosas, poda pitha, santlano pithe or the plain chakli pithe to eat with curries or bhajas.
Check out this link for a lot of other options.
Works great when you do not feel like making rotis or do not have kneaded atta.
Or when you have sudden guests.
Make dry masalas one day.
Keep a day of light cooking and use the time to make masalas. You can make a one pot meal on that day.
I make coriander powder, jeera powder, bhaja moshlas and some garam masalas at home.
Make in small batches and store in air tight bottles.
Make wet masals on another day.
I sometimes cook all of these together with turmeric + salt + chilli powder + a little garam masala ( kosha moshla) and store in ice trays. Just add a cube or two to vegetables or fish or chicken and you have a dish ready in minutes.
Grate coconut and refrigerate.
I cannot use a grater, so just cut into pieces and run in a mixer ... just one or two pulses will do.
Keep a paper and pen and you can jot down what you need to pick on your next grocery trip, or what to cook for the next day, etc. Menu planning is half the job done.
I have a slate to write down. Or sometimes write straight on the tiles. :)
Kitchen management is all about time management.
A little planning ahead will help you to great lengths.
And you will have enough time in your hands to follow your hobbies or finish other chores.
Do check out my next post on how to prepare and freeze things for later use.
Hope this helps.
I will keep updating this post as and when I come across anything new.
Now to today's recipe.
A quick, spicy Soya curry.
I have been trying to get some protein into B, a pure vegetarian.
Soya granules are a good option as he refuses to touch the chunks.
These granules can be cooked in numerous ways other than this curry ... ideas that I have come up with to mask them and make B eat without knowing .... posts coming up soon.
This resembles the non vegetarian kheema that we usually make with chicken or mutton.
Slightly on the richer side, this makes for a great dinner when paired with parathas or luchis/puris.
Of course, goes great with the good old roti too.
Soya granules - 1 cup ( I use Nutrela )
Garam masala powder - 1 tbsp
Vinegar - 1 tbsp
Onion paste - 1 tbsp
Ginger paste - 1 tsp
Garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Tomato paste - 2 tbsp
Whole garam masala - cloves+cinnamon+black cardamom+bay leaf
Dry red chillies - 2, broken
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tbsp
Coriander / Dhaniya powder - 1 tbsp
Cumin / Jeera powder - 1 tsp
Fresh coriander leaves - chopped
Salt - to taste
Sugar - to taste
Cooking oil - 2 tbsp ( I use mustard oil )
How to :
Soak the soya kheema in enough water for an hour.
Squeeze out the water well.
Take enough water in a big pan and add the soaked soya granules with water + salt + vinegar + 1 tsp of garam masala powder.
This gets rid of that typical smell that dry soya has.
Heat oil in a deep kadahi or pan.
Add the whole garam masala and the red chillies.
Next, add the onion paste and fry a little.
Now add the ginger paste, garlic paste and fry well.
Add the turmeric + red chilli powder + dhania powder + jeera powder + salt.
Fry till dryish.
Now add the tomato paste and fry well.
Add the boiled soya keema, garam masala powder, salt and sugar.
Add a little water if needed.
Cover and simmer for around 20 minutes.
Remove cover and check consistency of your choice. I make it very dryish.
Check for salt.
Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves and cover and let it stand for a few minutes.
This is great on the side with plain rice or with the polau too, if you are making a vegetarian feast.