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Showing posts with label quick meals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label quick meals. Show all posts

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Things to stock up for a quick meal

Tired of having Maggie or the Ready to eat stuff every other night. Craving for the comfort and satisfaction of a home-made meal but not finding time to prepare one from scratch everyday.

These are tried and tested tips for those who are constantly battling deadlines(AKA my life before my son was born) and for those harried moms of infants/toddlers who always find themselves running short on time (AKA my life as it is now).

For a hearty meal in a jiffy look no further than our mecca, or the refrigerator as we call it. Some strategic planning and preparation done in advance during the weekend will ensure that you sail through the weekdays without succumbing to the devil in disguise( READ 'Delivery boy' ). Not that i have a thing against those godsend messengers who feed hungry folks, its the 'unplanned calories' that i can do without.

Things i cannot do without:
1. Cooked rice (stays fresh upto 5 days)- Cuts down on your cooking time by 15 mins. Throw in a few ingredients and voila, you have a quick tomato rice/chicken fried rice/egg fried rice/vegetable pulao at hand.

2. Tomato gravy ( Stays fresh for 4-5 days ) - Made by frying and pureeing onions, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cardamom, red chillis and tomato. If you want a richer version add some cashew / watermelon seeds. This is the staple gravy for most dishes. Boil a little water, add some of this gravy and throw in some fried veggies/paneer/boiled egg/chicken, and you have a side dish ready in 5-10 minutes.

3. Spinach gravy (stays fresh for 1 week) - Made with blanched spinach, garlic, ginger and green chilli, this can be used with almost anything like chicken, cauliflower, paneer, peas and even pasta.

4. Chopped vegetables ( carrots, cauliflower, bell peppers, okra ) - If nothing else, it saves a few minutes.

5. Grilled chicken (Stays fresh for 3-4 days)- This is one of the most versatile non-veg dishes. One can rub some butter on it, sprinkle a few herbs , wrap in a foil an pop into the micro/oven for 2-3 mins. It is as good as fresh.
Fry some onions and combine with the gravy mentioned in either 2. or 3. and you have a butter chicken/palak chicken at hand. Shred some and throw in a wok with cooked rice, garlic, chillies and soy sauce, and you have a fried rice at hand.

6. Boiled yellow peas/ green peas ( stays fresh for 6 days )- from a quick chaat, ghuguni to a handful added to any curry, one can find many uses for it.

7. Boiled potatoes ( stays fresh for 3-4 days in their jackets )- Jeera aloo, chatpati aloo, aloo palak, aloo chaat, aloo parantha and the list goes on and on.

8. Eggs/Paneer or Chenna ( variable, check date mentione on carton)- From a quick bhurji, omlette to egg parantha, eggsmake for a wholesome and tasty adition to any meal. Similarly, paneer or chenna can be made into a bhurji, parantha or combined with gravy mentioned in 2. or 3. for a side dish.

9. Condensed milk/milk powder - This is for those with a sweet tooth. Cuts down on the cooking time for kheer ( rice/semolina/vermicelli) and gajar ka halwa.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hariyali Pasta ( Pasta with green sauce )

Preparation time - 15-20 mins

Ingredients - 1 cup paste, 1 cup chopped spinach ( palak, use only the tender leaves with stems chopped off ), 1 medium sized onion, 1 tsp ginger garlic paste, 1 green chilli, 2-3 garlic flakes, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/3 tsp chilli powder, 1/5 tsp garam masala (optional), 2-3 tsp tomato ketchup, 1 tsp oil, 1 small cube of butter, inch of turmeric, salt to taste.

Preparation: Bring water to boil in a pan. Add spinach to it for 3 mins. Drain off and fill with cold water.
Drain and squeeze out excess water from spinach. Also known as blanching, this step retains the green color of spinach.
Chop the onions into small pieces. Slit the garlic flakes along their length into thin slices.

For pasta - Heat sufficient water in a pan. When the bubbles start to come, add pasta and salt. Boil till the pasta is cooked yet firm. Drain all the water in a colander and give it a shake to prevent pasta from sticking to each other.

For the sauce - Heat oil in a wok. Add cumin seeds and allow to splutter. Add chopped onions and saute them for 2 mins. Put in the ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell is gone ( 2-3 mins ). Add the chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala and blanched spinach. Cook for 3 mins.
Allow to cool down. Transfer to a grinder along with a green chilli and 3-4 tbs of water/vegetable stock. Make a smooth paste.

Heat the butter in a wok so that it just melts. Throw in the garlic slices and stir them so that they give off their smell. Toss in the pasta and saute for 1-2 mins. Add the sauce along with the ketchup. Allow the sauce to coat all the pasta.

Garnish with chilli flakes or crumbled ricotta cheese if desired.Serve hot .

Note: Cook the pasta a few degrees softer when preparing for kids. Also reduce the chilli content and cut up the cooked pasta into bite size portions. Sending this to

Guru's Cooking Giveaway Kids Special 2013

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy New Year and a Product Review: Sundrop 10 min Yummeals

Happy New Year to all of you!!!! (I know its a bit late for the wishes but this happens to be my first post for 2012)

Having been busy for the past few months, i happened to realize that the Indian customers do not have many options when it comes to the Ready-to-eat
department. A quick and economical 'heat and eat' meal is indisposable for most of the hard pressed for time folks whose tribe happens to be increasing by the day. Staying away from family, 15-16 hour work schedules and a harrowing commute to work are turning home-cooked meals into something of a luxury.

Most of the brands available on the shelves are expensive and lack the 'Ghar-ka-khana' touch. Not many of us would prefer having Chicken Hyderabadi/Moghlai Chicken/Dal Bukhara ( the usual fare provided by Kitchens of India/MTR/Gits ) for dinner/lunch everyday. Also most of these brands have only the curries/dal stuff. One would still need to prepare the rotis/rice to go with them.

Given these drawbacks, I would rather consider the home delivery/ take away option provided by most restaurants as they are more pocket-friendly and eliminate the hassles of heating the meals.

Sundrop has launched the '10 min Yummeals' to bridge this gap. Each of these packets is a complete meal, consisting of rice and a curry/dal. There are 6 variants available:

Dal Tadka and Rice,
Chana Masala and Rice,
Aloo Mutter and Rice,
Palak Paneer and Rice,
Kadhi Pakoda and Rice,
Methi Malai Mutter and Rice.

Each packet is very economically priced at Rs 30/- and serves one. Eliminates the need to store the extra/unused portion. Good for bachelors who would ideally wolf down a packet or two of Maggie for dinner.

The rice needs to be cooked in a open pan/ pressure cooker/ microwave while the curry only needs to be heated. Both can be done well within 10 minutes.

Pros -
1. Economical - A complete meal for a family of 4 would cost 120/- (30/- X 4) rupees. Students can easily afford it.
2. Serving size - Each packet serves one, so elimintes the need to store leftovers.
3. Complete meal - Includes rice and curry. Add a bit of pickle/papad and one is all
4. Less oily/spicy as compared to other brands.
5. Takes less than 10 minutes to prepare a meal.
6. The variety provided is what one ideally consumes in a home-cooked dinner.
7. No cholesterol/ trans-fat/ preservaties.
8. Indication of the spice content on the outer covering. ( Yeah just like one would
find on restaurant menus, example Pizza hut )

Cons -
1. One needs to have a gas stove/ induction cooker/ microwave to prepare the meal.
2. Taste - None of the packaged stuff ever comes close to the 'home-cooked' flavour.
3. No South indian varieties on the menu.
4. The rice does not turn out to be too fluffy when prepared in a pan/pressure cooker.
5. The serving size is a little less for any adult ( especially for guys ).

This is how the prepared meal looks like:

Kahdi Pakoda and Rice

Dal Tadka and Rice ( the pickle is my own addition )

Overall the product is a good one and makes life easier for lots of working folks. This

is how i would rate it:
Taste - 3/5.
Quantity - 3.5/5
Pricing - 4.5/5.

I hope they add more variety to the menu.

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