The major thought that gnaws away at time is the decision of what to cook. The hardest part of cooking a meal is not the making of it but the deciding. Here it is - a simple (a little thought provoking!) weekly task:
Planning: Plan the menu! Make a list of meals for the week keeping in mind that the whole family has to be pleased. You want to feed the family healthy meals and make the most of the rupees too.
Shop: Shop going by the list. Pick up provisions for extra mouths to feed in case there are unexpected guests. If not used, they can always be incorporated in the following week’s meals.
Take an hour or two on an off day or weekend to prepare the masalas, grind the gravies, scrape the coconut, boil the stock, boil the dals, prepare dosa/idli batters etc. and then freeze them in portions.
We have no dearth of readymade ginger garlic pastes, tomato purees etc. that can be made use of.
We can also make use of precut vegetables once in a while when time is really short.
Blanch spinach and keep. The colour is retained and all you have to do is puree it.
Some even like to freeze makhni gravy or onion-tomato masala that can be the base for many recipes.
We recommend freezing paranthas, tikkis etc. for those absolutely rushed moments.
Keep measuring cups in every tin. If you have the cup to measure rice for one family meal kept in the rice tin, keep an appropriate one in the dal tin, and flour tin etc. It helps to cook in the correct quantities and in case you do plan to cook for two meals (so that one can be frozen) then the measurements can be increased proportionately.
Techniques of cooking fast
All that cooks needs a flame. Or, well, the oven or the microwave! We highly recommend prudent use of the pressure cooker. It is versatile and a real blessing. If you have a large one, use the containers to cook dal, rice and potatoes together. Three things in semi preparation in twenty five minutes! While it is whistling, the chapatis can be made. If you have a microwave, let the rice be done in it while you use the gas flame for the vegetables, dal or curry.
Another de-stresser in the kitchen is innovation. If you are cooking by the book and some ingredient falls short, do not waste time in rejecting the recipe…rather go ahead and innovate, use something else! If you know the working of an ingredient then you are in total control.
Here are some recipes that can be made within minutes!