Be it an unexpected guest or a quick whip-up for my family, I’ve always loved to feed hungry people. A few kitchen tricks I’ve learned along the way help to reduce the time required for cooking. At most, I save an hour or so every fortnight to zip-zap-zoom simple ingredients to form these lovely sauces, pastes, chutneys and marinades.
Lets just say this is Part I
1. BASIC ONION MASALA (PASTE)
This is handy when I’m dealing with the often loved Indian curries. You can simply fry one portion of this masala and store it in the fridge. The other portion could be kept in the freezer and quickly thawed whenever required.
- Red Onions (cut into quarters) 1/2 kg
- Garlic (peeled) 100 gms
- Ginger (cut roughly) 50 gms
- Tomatoes (cut roughly) 1/2 kg
- Green or Red chillies (fresh) 2-3
- Oil 4 tbsps
- Bay leaves (large) 2
- Combine red onions, ginger, garlic, tomatoes and chillies in a blender.
- Make it into a fine paste and divide it into 2 portions.
- Take the first portion in a wok, put 2 tbsps of oil and heat till the oil starts smoking.
- Add this hot oil immediately to the paste and mix evenly.
- Store this portion in the freezer.
- Now take the remaining oil in a deep non-stick pan and heat it.
- Add the bay leaves and the paste. Cover and fry on low heat.
- Remove the lid and stir to check whether it is cooked.
- Keep frying until oil separates in the corners of the pan.
- Once cooled, store in a dry container and keep in refrigerator.
Note: Not freezer this time! The fried one makes your cooking faster than if you used the other portion.
2. GARLIC, GINGER AND GREEN CHILLI PASTE
This is an extremely handy kitchen essential that speeds up your work remarkably. This paste can be used to marinate many items from Indian to Chinese and Continental to Thai and has many variations. This is my special paste.
- Garlic (peeled, roughly chopped) 200 gms
- Ginger (cut into small pieces) 100 gms
- Green chillies 2
- Oil 3 tbsps
- Put garlic, ginger and green chillies in the blender and blend till you get a fine and smooth paste.
- Empty it into a dry bowl.
- Now heat oil in a wok till it starts smoking.
- Now add it to the paste and stir.
- Store in an air tight container.
- I like to divide this paste into 2 portions and store lesser quantity in the fridge, where it is easily accessible
- The larger portion is kept in my freezer and I take it out little by little to refill the portion in the fridge.
- I also add green chillies to the paste to avoid the overpowering smell of garlic when it is stored for too long.
- Adding smoked oil (Refer Procedure point 3.) keeps the paste fresh for longer.
As always, I would be delighted to hear your views and suggestions. Just leave a comment at the end of this post or drop in a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay tuned for more!