Ever since I started writing this express brunch series,I have been getting a handful of emails asking tips for quick Indian cooking.When I was first asked this question I promptly replied this way “please refer to my blog,most of the recipes are simple to make and there is also a special tag-quick fix.”,and I forgot that email too.Then I again rcevied quite a few number of emails asking the same question and then I noticed most of them were from my non Indian readers. Then it flashed in my mind-Indian cuisine,as much as it famous for its nutrition and taste is also famous for complexity,think the number of spices that goes into a curry!.One common thing in those questions was-is it even possible to cook an Indian meal on a rushed weeknight?Why not,afterall we have been doing that one day after another right,Though I love to cook a variety of dishes and try out new things in kitchen I simply hate sweltering in front of stove on day to day basis,for me if I spend more than 30 minutes in kitchen then it has be a special meal,but of course this is not easy for someone who is not cooking Indian food on a daily basis. One more request was from few working moms on how to cook healthy and tasty meals faster,also with varieties So here I have put together few tips and tricks that I feel might be useful for anyone who is interested in Indian cuisine as well as for working women pressed for time
Befriend a pressure cooker:
Indian cuisine , by and large comprises dal and rice.So investing in one or two ( I have 3) pressure cooker makes complete sense. Pressure cooker is an absolute bliss for quick cooking. It not only reduces the cooking time,it also allows to cook multiple ingredients for multiple dishes at the same time. For instance if you are making a south Indian meal-rice,sambar and a vegetable fry,by using a pressure cooker you can get all these done in 20 minutes flat!
1.Keep rice at the bottom,dal over it and your vegetable over the dal.Pressure cook for upto 3-4 whistles (hardly 15 minutes) and most of your cooking is done,can it get any simpler?
Simplify the recipe:
I personally feel,Indian cuisine is very much adaptable,while it is cent percent true that a methodically followed recipe will yield a wonderful dish,it definitely not hurts to simplify any recipe in a smart manner.I often do this like grinding onions and tomatoes together even if the recipe calls for grinding separately,dry roasting all the spices together,of course you need to decide based on the recipe,but these shortcuts are definite time savors.
Keep basic ingredients handy:
There are few ingredients that typically make an Indian meal and are considered indispensable,ingredients like tamarind,ginger,curry leaves,etc are needed for day to day Indian meals and just by stocking these in a proper way you can avoid hassles and cook without stress
here are few ingredients I try to stock
- Tamarind pulp(I make about 1 cup and refrigerate)
- Curry leaves-Store in paper bag with stem
- Cilantro/coriander leaves-store in airtight box and refrigerate
- Mint leaves
- Ginger-I prefer to crush or scrape as and when needed,you can also store ginger paste
- Garlic-Store in the pantry in an open surface
Need for speed-food processor or fast chopping
Indian cooking uses lots of veggies and fresh herb,so it is essential to develop the skill of chopping.Invest in a couple of knives and board you are comfortable with,which also should be safe.If you can afford to invest in a food processor by all means you can do that,I personally don’t have one
Plan and make ahead:
Planning your meal just before a day or at least few hours before will help in saving lots of time. I usually plan our lunch the day before and dinner during breakfast.One peek into the refrigerator and you can easily form a meal with whatever veggies you have in hand.This way you can also make a list of things you should purchase and stock them too.
Next step to planning is making ahead.This is something which has been discussed over and over,it is always great to chop veggies the day before,making chapathi dough etc.