September 09, 2007

Express Cooking Round Up Tips

One thing the express cooking event showed was that organization shall set you free. Maybe later I will make this a quarterly event but for now this is a one-off event. I do however still have a bunch of tips to share with everybody.

Its not fun to get organized and it won't happen in a day. To change from staring vacantly at the fridge and pantry to be organised enough to have labelled ready to use spice mixes, frozen pastes and gravies ready to be popped into the saute pan will take me awhile.

It looked daunting but now I am armed with the best tips from some of the industry experts...Meeta, Coffee, Jai n Bee, Bharathy, Manisha, Anita, RP etc.
So here are the links to their words of wisdom and lets look forward to more home cooked meals using all these suggestions. It has to make life a tiny bit easier, don't u think?

Jugalbandi took my express meal idea to heart and went one step further...they took time out to list their time saving tactics. Some of the pointers struck an echo in my mind.
"......We cannot live without our pressure cooker, microwave, and electric kettle. These are time savers and fuel savers.

If we make spice pastes for any dish, we try and double or triple the quantity and freeze the rest. Right now, in the freezer we have vegetable makhani paste, Thai green, red, yellow and massaman pastes, and caramelised onions. We freeze them in meal-sized portions so that we don’t have to thaw the entire batch when we want to use it.

Coconut milk powder is your friend. Add it to curries. 1/3 cup of coconut milk powder = 1 cup coconut milk. Use 1/2 cup if you want it really thick. You don’t need to add water to it if your curry already has liquid......"
Follow the link for the whole list.

My friend Meeta also suggested some great organizing tips for the cooking process.
Check them out here
..."Onions, garlic and ginger are very often used is Asian/Indian meals. To reduce my preparing time I normally make pastes of each of these ingredients. They are then filled in ice-cube trays. Once frozen I place them in freezer bags and label them...."
She also has a wonderful collection of ready sauces: Pesto alla Genovese,Aglio Olio,Arrabiata Sauce.

Spicy Chilly also listed her few tips for Quick Indian Cooking...."Plan the dinner menu before hand for the coming 7 days in advance,considering the family preferences and simple nutritional facts.Plan your shopping list accordingly. See to it that you include cereals, salads, vegetables, milk and yoghurt, all over.This might seem a 'burden' to start with, but sets you going automatically the whole week."

Another tip I found on Indian Food Rocks..
Optimising a can of tomato paste."...All you have to do now is use the quantity you need and then spoon the rest of the paste onto a plate in large blobs about an inch in diameter, if you can get them to be round!...."

Spice Cafe seems to have organized her kitchen well enough to create Al Lentilo Pulavo in just 15-20 minutes. We should take a page out of her recipe file and make a large batch of Spice Cafe's Frozen Gravy. It would definitely save time on a weekday or a lazy day.

RP has listed a multitude of options with leftovers to make express meals.

To get you started a well stocked pantry is essential. If you set about pounding spices when the lentils are cooking ,there goes another half hour! So here are some recipes for the most common spice mixes. If you feel there are some other spice mixes already blogged that should be added here, drop me a comment and the link and I will add it.
Spice Cafe's Garam Masala
Anita's Goda Masala
Jugalbandi's Kashmiri Garam Masala
Indosungod's Sambhar Masala
Kerala Sambhar Powder
Tamil Sambhar Masala

My only tip is to cook extra and freeze whatever won't be consumed in two days. All kinds of lentils (Dals) freeze well as do any kind of meat dish.
I am not a big fan of frozen veggies but I do end up with huge pieces of pumpkin or other vegetables which then proceed to die in the fridge. So such extra vegetables (such as ash gourd, pumpkin) could be chopped and boiled and then frozen for an instant curry or side dish (olan/pulissery etc).

Cooked Biryani meat masala if extra should be frozen in a glass container and then when you need it, defrost, make fresh ghee rice(which only takes 10 minutes) and layer and microwave together for biryani. Use the microwave for nuking the potato for curries and cutlets and you save gas and time.

45 comments:

Sig said...

Hey Shaheen, I missed the round ups, but just checked out both the posts ... bookmarking, these are going to come handy for sure...

bee said...

this is one of the best ideas for a series i have come across. do make it a regular feature if you can. and thanks fo all the effort, shaheen.

Rajitha said...

you are right about freezing the left-overs that will not be eaten in 2 days.. i do this often..as it gets boring to eat back to back..but after a couple of days.. u do not mind it ;)

Asha said...

Hi Shaheen, great tips!:)
I just spent half of the Saturday organizing my RCI K entries.Of course, you know I am a multi tasker and a crazy woman!:D
I thought it was on going event.Good that you will make this to quarterly event,it was fun!:))

Namratha said...

Awesome tips Shaheen and I'm surely looking forward to more such events, we learn a lot and get to share ideas and important information :)

Jyothsna said...

This is your best post ever! Thanks for the tip on freezing boiled pumpkin, I always have huge chunks with which I don't know what to do!!!

Raaga said...

Thank you for this round up of tips... very useful.

A kitchen scientist & a white rat hubby!!! said...

hi there,
am new to you, but had been silently going thru the express meal event for quite sometime now...the number of entries, and youe efforts to organise, it..great work, gal!!...three cheers to you...it wud be really unfair if i keep back from appreciating your efforts..
sona

Mallugirl said...

sig, no prob.. the round up is there for u even after ur mom leaves..:)

bee, quarterly maybe..u are the best encouragement for it.

Rajitha,eating the same thing over is so boring, especailly when u have a whole blogosphere to explore!

asha, i don't know how u do it..sorry couldn't participate but i am looking forward to ur round up too!!i would make it an ongoing event if i had the time!

Namrath,thanks..info shared is info doubled!

Jyo, that tip came from endless occassions of throwing away pumpkin!

raaga, thanks!u were a great participant!

sona, thanks for takig time out to let me know! appreciate it and loved ur photos!

Nags said...

ah, finally another post from you :) u shud do this event more often if you have the time. maybe make it themed next time so that we have a fixed idea in mind.

I have made your triangular parathas for MBP this month. Will post soon. Will let you know :)

Bharathy said...

Really appreciating your hard work,Shaheen!!
Come back soon with your yummy recipe posts!!

indosungod said...

Shaheen, those are useful tips and great ideas. You should keep the series going for sure.

Padma said...

Shaheen those are some good tips on time saving and even I had few to send your way, I didnt knew there was any such event on express tips...

Gini said...

Thanks for compiling those great tips. That was such a great event you thought of.

Nags said...

i have made ur triangular parathas for this month's mbp.. do check it out when you have time!

www.cookingandme.blogpspot.com

Mansi Desai said...

hi Shaheen, wonder how I didn't visit you before!! I missed the event, but looks like it was great!! all the tips on planning and organizing things is something everyone would want to know:)

congrats on a great event!

Mona said...

nice tips Shaheen.. :-)
And thanks for those !!

www.monaafzal.wordpress.com

Sumitha said...

Hi Shaheen Ramzan Kareem!Hope you all have a great festive season.

shilpa(Aayisrecipes) said...

Wow..those are great tips. I have seen few people using the small cookers where you cannot keep the vessels. So they use the cooker to cook daal, wash it, then cook vegetables, wash cook rice and so on. It takes so much of time and also consumes lot of gas. So I always make sure to buy big cookers with 3 vessels, so I can cook atleast 3-4 dishes at a time. This saves a lot of time. Also, when I buy green beans and other veggies, I wash & cut them into pieces and store in zip loc bags, refrigerate. They remain good for a long time and save lot of time while cooking.

Revathi said...

I am book-marking the round up for those crazy dinner nites !!

Did not even guess the wide variety for quick meals. good job !

Nags said...

where are you Shaheen? Full busy aano? :)

Nabeela said...

Assalamu-alaikum Shaheen,
Ramadan Mubarak! I'm sorry I haven't been checking on your blog lately....but as of now, I'm in "M" of my RSS feeds...so hopefully I'll get through all the blogs very soon..and keep track of blogs in real time(instead of two months late!!). You have been posting delicious recipes I see(that grilled chicken? to die for!!) and organising a very popular event. I'm sorry I missed it...but if you make it a quarterly one, I'll try not to(hint, hint!!) :)
And thanks for giving me the rocking girl blogger award. I only got to know about it now...so I'm sorry about you thanking you so late. Hope to see more delicious recipes from you!

Mandira said...

wonderful and great job shaheen. This is bound to be used quite often! Hey I hope you are sending an entry for JFI:Banana.;)

nosh n reh's mum said...

girl where are you?!! As you can see I check your blog everyday...looks like the last event left you breathlesss and panting! Anyway - Happy Ramzan (I know its almost half gone) but just wanted to say hi...!

Linda said...

Hi Shaheen, this is a really great set of helpful hints! Thanks for all your hard work compiling :)

starry nights said...

Thanks for all these time consuming tips.love your blog.you do an awesome job.

Bharathy said...

Does this mean you are on a Ramzan break?...Hope Umma is fine and still with you for the holy fasting...

A kitchen scientist & a white rat hubby!!! said...

no updates yet..Mallugirl???

sra said...

Hello, hello? Anyone there?

Shankari said...

misssss uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

Anonymous said...

assalamualikum shaeen..


i hope u r doing fine.
miss your post,especailly now in ramadan,as last year,your blog was really inspiring during it.
umm s

renuka said...

good tips i'll post some interesting podi varieties very soon

Seena said...

Eid Mubarak to you and family, Shaheen!

Sumitha said...

Eid MUbarak to you and your family

Anonymous said...

Hi Shaheen,


Eid Mubarak...what happened busy with Ramadaan.Not seen for quite sometime.


Bervin

Mona said...

Eid Mubarak ! Where r u?!?!

Linda said...

Hey neighbor -- missing your smiling face, hope all's well! :)

Chandrika said...

Knock! Knock! Anybody home? :-)

Shaheen, where are u?

renuramanath said...

hi shaheen,
what is this ? hope everything alright. miss you terrrrribly.

Mona said...

Shaheeeeeeeeenn!! Are you there!? Hope you are doing good and will be back to blogging asap ! Come back dear, missinf u and ur recipes a loooot :-(

www.monaafzal.wordpress.com

Nabeela said...

Assalamu-alaikum Shaheen....where are you? How are you doing? Is everything fine?

Anonymous said...

hey shaheen,
Hows everything?
regards
Nandu

Anonymous said...

Hey what happened? Why no new recipes? Hope eveything is ok at ur end ...

Shivapriya said...

Hey where did u vanish Shaheen. Hope everything is fine at ur end.

Nags said...

shaheen, what happened to you??!!