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Quick Weeknight Dinners with 3 Make-Ahead Food Parts

31 Aug

Weekdays are busy times for many of us who come back from work late evening and then fix a meal. We want weeknight dinners to be easy to put together, taking little time to move from kitchen to plate. [Not counting the blessed few like Rohit's boss with the gusto to whip up a fancy meal at that hour ;-)]

One could cook loads on Sunday and freeze for the week. But that’s not so exciting, is it? So how does one reach that elusive balance between easy+quick (pre-cooked) and tasty+interesting (freshly cooked)?

Here’s a middle ground.

Make-ahead food parts. Mix and match. Embellish.

Use the Pareto Principle to your advantage: identify the steps in cooking that consume a majority time and labor, and do them beforehand. The chopping of greens. The slow-frying of spices. The boiling of dal. When the time comes to make your weeknight dinner, all that remains to be done is the remaining 20% of cooking that produces 80% of the result.

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Tomato Peanut Chutney

5 Dec

A hot and sour tomato peanut chutney (pachadi), the making of which a friend from Andhra demoed to me in my kitchen last evening. Tomato peanut chutney is a great side dish with boiled rice, especially on days when you don’t have another curry to accompany your mail.

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Sweet and Sour Ginger Chutney

6 Feb

Ginger lovers: this one is for you.

A spicy sweet and sour chutney, with ginger as its star. (more…)

Osaman: Moong Bean Stock with Curry Leaves, Ginger and Garam Masala Tadka

25 Jun

Osaman is Gujarat’s answer to rasam: a light broth with ‘dal water’ as base. It gets its kick from the high-power tempering – salt, sweet, sour and hot all at once.

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Moong Dal Cheela: Savory Lentil Pancakes

26 Nov

We normally make cheela – a savory pancake popular as breakfast food in India – with besan (gram flour),  but my taste buds prefer the more delicate flavors of moong dal cheela. Moong dal has the added edge of being less taxing to the tummy than gram flour.

On to the recipe…and a bonus: I’ve managed to get step-by-step pictures this time!

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Tomato Ginger Chutney with Roasted Peanuts

16 Nov

A chunky, nutty tomato ginger chutney with a sprinkling of roasted peanuts. Like the sound of it?

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Tomato Toor Dal

10 Nov

Of all the types of dals, split toor dal (also called arhar dal) is the one I cook most often. I don’t always put a tadka with it, sometimes just plain boiled dal with salt and a few drops of lime juice tastes great when the rest of the dishes on my place are spicy.

On other "tadka" days, tomato toor dal is one of my most-loved ways of having toor dal.

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