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.
Few things compare to the taste and smell of just-fried onions. What’s usually an embellishment to pulao or a minor ingredient in curries plays starring role in this recipe.
Spiced onion strips – a mélange of fried onions with an aromatic spice mix. Try it!
A quick-cooking curry with kachcha kela (raw bananas or plantain) that’s easy enough to make for beginners – no intricate slicing, no artful pounding/grinding, no watchfulness needed while the dish is on the heat. Everything chopped or grated "roughly", all spice measurements open to personalization.
The only detail to take care of is to avoid the blackening of plantain when it is peeled and sliced – there’s a simple tip below to prevent that happening, which doubles up as a way to keep the stickiness of the plantain at bay.
The tart sweetness of roasted cherry tomatoes and the freshness of coriander leaves come together in this lovely chutney.
Garlic and dry red chilies give it that extra zing.
Palak toor dal (spinach with yellow pigeon pea lentils) has everything your nutritionist would give the nod to – and your palate would agree. Proteins, minerals, iron, and great taste!