Sunday 16 March 2014

My regular day in Kitchen

 I started off writing this post with title "Making yesterday's food tasty today" but as it turns out, it is more about how a working woman applies all the tips and tricks in the world to help ease her efforts in kitchen.

Keeping aside all the special recipes that I post on RainingFood, life is more about managing the regular menu that consists of simple things like dal, rice and roti on a daily basis. Fact is, it is more challenging to make these simple things on busy weekdays as compared to special recipes on leisurely weekends.

As a working woman who also manages kitchen, it is important that we not only cook but also retire to bed with a smile instead of cribbing about how tired we are managing work at home and office.

We do not want our whole lives to be a bag full complaints, do we!!?? Although this  problem/issue/concern is often sidelined, I feel, over a period of time we will only end up becoming more frustrated with our lives instead of enjoying each day! No matter how hard I try, there are always those days when I end up doing just that! But then, nobody's perfect!

I am going to share few things that I do to ease my efforts in kitchen and also make some yummy food that is well appreciated by everyone in the family. Tough task ehh??! :-)

While there are many who make enough food that lasts today and tomorrow, most of us try to make as less food as possible so as to avoid having it next day! Well, there is nothing wrong in both ways.

I think I fall somewhere in between.

I belong to a south Indian household which makes me an avid rice eater which makes things a little easier for me I guess...

On most week days when we are off to work, my regular menu consists of the following..

Breakfast - one of the following- Upma (Sooji, saviya, daliya, oats) , Idli chutney combo, dosa chutney combo, bread omelette, bread and egg bhurji, lemon rice and my favorite, egg roll.

For lunch I make rotis and sabzi, mostly veg and sometimes non veg.

For dinner, rice, dal, curd along with some sides like potato fry, raw banana fry, omelette, pickle, papad. Apart from these I make other rice items like biryani for dinner.

With practice and frequency of cooking, I have become quite efficient at cooking biryani and so must you be with some special dish which becomes a savior in the middle of the week when you are bored of your regular menu. If you do not have such a dish in mind then quickly think of one and it is time you perfect it.

I usually wake up at 7 in the morning, while my lemon tea is put to boil I knead the dough for rotis. Curry/subzi I make the night before, so all I do in the morning is make rotis, pack some salad and buttermilk along with curry from the night before. This plus something for breakfast.

I personally do not like eating the same curry for dinner and then for lunch next day, so the curry I cook is only for lunch and we do not have it for dinner. There are a few exceptions, example, chicken or meat! :-)

In the evening I do most cooking. Menu consists of dal, rice and mostly potato fry or omelette for dinner and I also make one curry for next day. It takes anywhere between 40 mins to 1 hour.

I store plain boiled dal(toor) sufficient for atleast 3 days in fridge.
Instead of making lots of tadke wali dal for more than 1 day which also tastes stale or less tasty than fresh tadka, one can store plain dal and give tadka when required. I make various vegetable dals, like cabbage dal, tomato dal, lauki dal, raw mango dal. While putting rice to boil, I also put some dal along with a finely chopped vegetable. Both are ready in matter of 5 whistles in cooker. All that is remaining is to put tadka.

How to store dal in fridge - Use very little water to boil, it remains fresh for long. After boil, there should not be any excess water in dal. Add salt. Store it in an air tight container.

As it takes some time for the pressure to come down in cooker, you fry potatoes or make an omelette in the meantime!

Ok, omelette is still possible but what about potato fry? well it is possible if you already have boiled potatoes in your fridge. Boiled potatoes will stay fresh when you store with the peel.

While the potatoes are getting fried, I start making some sabzi for morning. I pick up my vegetable depending on what time I return home ;-) If I am home by 7 (pretty early for me), I make vegetables like bhindi/ kundru/ beans that take some time to chop. If am very very late, I make veggies like cabbage or capsicum which are easy to chop and cook.

Some veggies that promise you little break sooner than you think are chana, chole and the likes, where you just have to fry some onions, tomatoes and ginger garlic and pressure cook pre-soaked chana/chole for 5 minutes.

On days when I make biryani, it becomes double convenient! I make enough for dinner and next day's lunch. So it is just one dish which is sufficient for two meals and liked by family and friends in office.
Same holds true with a chicken or mutton curry too.

For dinner, I make something other than rice in the middle of the week for a change. Easiest is stir fried vegetables and/or grilled chicken. All you do is rub all spices on veggies/ chicken and bake or grill chicken. Boiled and spiced sweet corn makes for a great side dish. There are lot of similar recipes that you can find on Rainingfood.

These are some of the things I do to make my life easy and fun in the kitchen. Do you have some more tips and tricks?? please share them, they are invaluable :-)

To end the post, I am sharing another such recipe which is super quick, has a surprise element and some innovation! Appreciation guaranteed!! p.s. you need some leftover pizza for that!! :-)

And finally some pictures that sum up my regular day in kitchen... tomato and onion dal, boiled and tempered potato.

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