Quick meals were never a part of my agenda. I love making complicated recipes, and any recipe that mentions using a premade sauce, I skip. I always had the impression that food made from scratch always tasted better. But that was back in the days when I had all the time in the world. As I worked only 3 days a week, the rest 4 days were spent doing hardly anything and I had time to shell out to all those detailed cooking projects. But since I am back at school, time is scarce. I have never in my life planned a week’s meals or even frozen any food I made. I totally lack these skills that can help you survive through these rough patches in your life.
Eating out as often as before is not an option either as I have to save some money to pay for my tuition. I remember the first time we looked at our dining out expenses and we refused to believe it. But alas it was true, and we are now taking drastic measures to bring it down. So I decided to be a realist and take shortcuts. I bookmark simple recipes from other bloggers. I have added a small section in my blog called ‘Today’s Menu’ where I can highlight some of the simple recipes that I am using ( I hope to update it often).
These recipes were picked after I came home after class and there wasn’t anything to eat for lunch. The food was done in a jiffy and I had my lunch ready in about 30mins.
Indira’s Eggplant ( Original recipe here)
The eggplants for this recipe came from my own garden. Eating the produce from your land can make a dish seem extra special and I am glad I used them for this great recipe.
Ingredients and Method
Eggplants, ginger, green chilies, few sprigs of cilantro.
Oil, mustard seeds, urad dal,cumin seeds,dried red chilies, salt and turmeric.
In a blender, grind ginger ( 1 inch piece),green chillies(4)and some cilantro.
I used 4 long eggplants for this. Split the eggplant into two lenthwise and chop into small pieces. Since they were really tender, I didnot put them into saltwater as mentioned in the original recipe.
In a pan, heat the oil. Add mustard seeds, urad dal and cumin ( I used a pinch of each), and a couple of dried red chillies cut into 2 pieces each.
When the seeds start popping, add the eggplant, ginger garlic paste and half a teaspoon of turmeric and salt to taste. Cook covered. Stir once or twice in between to ensure that they don’t stick to the pan. The purple of the brinjal will turn a green hue, and it becomes soft. Serve warm.
Priya’s Tomato Dal ( Original recipe here)
This dal was simple and delicious. I ate a bowl of the dal all by itself- it was that good.
A time saving trick is to get the dal on the stove in the pressure cooker, and while that cooks make the other curry.
Toor dal- 1 cup, water 1.5-2 cups, tomato-2, green chilies-4, turmeric-1/2 tsp., salt.
Oil, mustard seeds( a pinch), cumin seeds( a pinch), curry leaves,dried red chilies(2), a pinch of asafoetida powder, garlic( 1) and some cilantro.
In a pressure cooker, add a cup of toor dal with about 1.5-2 cups water. Add chopped green chilies, diced tomato, salt and turmeric powder. Cook for about 2-3 whistles.
In a small pan, add oil. To the hot oil add the mustard seeds and cumin. When they start to splutter, add the curry leaves, dried red chillies, asafoetida, garlic and cilantro.
Add this to the pressure cooked dal and combine well.
Serve with rice or as is.