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Vikram

Impromptu Indian

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What really last minute Indian recipes do you know? Its not uncommon for friends of mine or the bf's to land up at home for a bite, at the last minute and too late to do shopping for fresh ingredients. Of course, ordering in is the easy option, but cooking something would be nicer (and cheaper) and here's where I often find myself at a loss for Indian recipes.

Maybe its just my lack of ingenuity or inability to improvise, but I find that most Indian recipes seem to require quite a lot of prep or cooking time and that can become boring when your friends are actually in the house. (Have you seen Sunil Vijaykar's '30 Minute Indian'? Nice book, lovely pictures, but the title should be '30 Minute Indian - If There's Someone To Do The Peeling And Chopping For You Or You Can Pick Up Most Of The Ingredient Ready To Cook').

If its not the prep work, then its the shopping? Vegetarian recipes usually require the fresh veggies which at that particular moment I never seem to have - on a regular basis I only have tomatoes, coriander, mint in the fridge, everything else I try and buy only if I'm sure I'm cooking them that day, I've had too many veggies go bad on me because I bought and then forgot about them. Meat can be kept in the freezer, but then that needs defrosting, and I'm talking situations where there's no time for that (and I don't have a microwave).

So what can you cook? Western dishes like pasta do seem simpler in such situations. Half the time I just end up just scrambling eggs (akoorie is the one Indian possibility here) or making an omelette, and in the other half my stand-by is Goa sausages. These can be kept outside the fridge, pickled in their vinegar and spices, and to cook them I just cut the meat out of its casing and put it in a pressure cooker. I add some tomatoes, potatoes (raw and you can keep the skins on if you like) and onions, throw in a dollop of palm vinegar and then pressure cook it for a fair amount of time. Not much effort on my part, house smells great and Goa sausage is invariably delicious.

Its also pretty unhealthy though (lets not go into the reasons why), and concern for my friends' health is making me look for alternatives. I discovered one the other day - Sri Lankan omelette curry. In one pan start frying onions, then add a green chilly, some ginger-garlic paste and after its all mushy, add coconut milk (made up from the powder, what would we do without it), some cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric and red chilly powder if you want it spicier.

Let this simmer while, in a large frying pan you're making the omelettes. Make these Indian style - fry onions (in ghee for the real Indian touch), add green chillies, chopped green coriander (or any other spice you like), then add the eggs, and cook till its quite firm, flipping it over if you like. Cut the omelette into pieces,. add to the coconut sauce, and simmer for a bit more and its done. Still not wonderful on the health scales - think of the cholesterol - but its delicious and everything to make it is usually at hand.

But more recipes would be nice. What do you do in such circumstances?

Vikram

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my last-minute standby is sundal;

made with canned chickpeas or black eyed peas;

or frozen peas.

this literally takes ~ 10 minutes to make.

2 cans chickpeas drained.

1 small onion coarsely chopped (optional)

2 tbsp grated coconut

if you have 1/2 cup chopped unripe mango, or even a ripe

one (ripe is not very traditional but tastes great); that's wonderful.

but this is optional.

salt, splash of lemon juice.

chopped cilantro

for tarka:

1 tbsp veg oil

pinch hing

1 tsp mustard seeds

3-4 dry red chillies, broken,

1 sprig curry leaves

heat oil, add hing, then mustard seeds, when they pop

add the red chillies and curry leaves.

then add the onion, stir fry swiftly. the onion should still

be semi crunchy.

add the chick peas, mix well, then turn off the heat.

add the salt, lemon juice, mango if using,

coconut. mix well.

garnish with cilantro.

this is best at room temp.

can eat it plain, or with curd-rice, or rotis.

kids love it.

milagai

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one thing that is really a favourite - a homegrown version of roti canai-flaky parathas scrambled with what is basically your bhujia mix -eggs,onion,tomato if you like,green chillis etc.and served with a good gravy.parathas don't take long to defrost and gravy can be flung on the heat too.i usually make some extra gravy when cooking a basic mutton curry for this but your sri lankan egg curry gravy would be good.it tastes quite like a frankie but with a nice crispness to it.needs to be eaten right away.

in real emergencies rava idlis are a standby here if there's enough yogurt otherwise upuma.and of course the can of beans!

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one thing that is really a favourite - a homegrown version of roti canai-flaky parathas scrambled with what is basically your bhujia mix -eggs,onion,tomato if you like,green chillis etc.and served with a good gravy.parathas don't take long to defrost and gravy can be flung on the heat too.i usually make some extra gravy when cooking a basic mutton curry for this but your sri lankan egg curry gravy would be good.it tastes quite like a frankie but with a nice crispness to it.needs to be eaten right away.

Oh yes, you're right, thanks, this is a good one. I've eaten it in Madras, where some roadside stalls fry up shredded parottas with onions, eggs and chillies and its heavy but totally delicious. And frozen parottas are now quite easily available here in Bombay. Will be trying out definitely,

Vikram

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I always like to make some aloo poha or upma when impromptu guests turn up. Also, coming from a south indian upbringing, I almost always have idli or dosa batter lying around in the refrigerator. I just steam some idlis and nowadays my friends have learnt to eat em with milaga podhi (powdered lentils + dried red chillies) and dont demand the usual coconut chutney which saves me even more time.

I also keep some coriander chutney in the fridge and make bombay sandwichwalla style sandwiches with butter and coriander chutney, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and boiled potatoes and a dash of salt n pepper. Somehow, given that people hardly get to eat this here in the US, most people seem to relish it immensely.

If I need something heavier, I am partial to an egg curry.

I also keep some data+tamarind chutney frozen for emergencies. Boil a few potatoes, chop up some onion and I have bhel puri and sev batata puri ready to serve.

I also sometimes make a misal using moong beans (since they're easier to cook without soaking overnight I think and I always have them on hand). I guess this is just a variant of sundal.

-w@w


Edited by worm@work (log)

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A lot of our friends are single and usually end up at our place for beer and "Ghar ka khana" (home cooked food). We end up doing something once a week at the least so I have learned to be prepared...

I usually have the following things stocked up to facilitate easy entertaining...

Freezer

Paneer (cut into cubes, drizzle with lemon juice sprinnkle salt and pepper or chilli powder and fresh herbs (mint or corriander) and serve. OR saute in (a smidgen only!!) of ghee sprinkle Kitchen ing and lemon juice and serve.

Sweet Corn (Preassure cook and toss in A. butter chilli powder and salt/ B. flavoured olive oil.) side dish or starter..

Green peas (Makes aloo muttar or muttar pulav possible)

Sausages and cold cuts (not so indian but works with beer cut into chunks and saute in a little olive oil till done, cool. In a bowl combine mayonaise and mustard to taste, add chopped green herbs that are at hand or finely chop 1 small onion and mix into the dressing add the meat/s adjust seasonings and serve with a few toothpicks)

Kitchen shelf

tetra packs of Tomato Puree (Instant cream of tomato soup), Fresh cream (to add dimension to any dish) and Coconut Cream (Thai curry, goan curry or Episures Malabar curry).

Cans of Sweet corn Cream style and baked beans Saute with diced onions add cheese and use to fill canapes or top biscuits/ toast.)

Packet soups - Aside from the obvious these are great to use a a base for gravys for chinese or Italian dishes. (Tomato for tomato pasta sauce make a past of the soup powder with a bit of water and add to onion sauted in olive oil. Add cheese adjust flavours and seasoning etc and serve. Similarly use the chinese soups for a sauce for chilly chicken or sweet sour vegetqbles...)

Another thing I always have is some of these or others of the ilk - black bean sauce (recently acquired), stir fry sauce and thai chilli sauce Schezwan sauce (Schezwan paneer or potatoes). When necessity is the mother of invention these come handy.

For mains

Gujerati Kadhi and garlic aloo with rice is an option since dahi should be easy to source and besan can be stocked. The garlic in the aloo complements the kadhi very well. (For the garlic potatoes saute pre boiled or raw potatoes in required amount of ghee, while they are cooking in a blender process a whole head of garlic to a coarse texture with whatever fresh hrbs are at hand or just the garlic and add it into the potatoes when they are almost done. Wait a bit till you can smell that the garlic is cooked and take of flame.) Let me know if you anyone wants the recipe for Gujju Kadhi...

Egg Curry and rice. I am very partial to the egg curry recipe in the Calcutta cookbook. It calls for breaking the eggs into the curry when it is boiling. Ever since I did them that way I always break the eggs into the curry whatever type of Egg curry I am making.

I plan my menus in advance around the weekend and when I am on moms side of town (South Bombay) I usually pick up Pita Breads that freeze very well for upto a month. These can be served with all sorts of things. Just toast them on a tava and cut into sticks. (In fact you could try freezing other breads too).

When I am prepping for the week ahead on Weekends, I usually use up leftover potatoes by boiling them and keeping them in the fridge to toss into anything salads subzis etc. I also keep cooked chickpeas (the white ones) for the same purpose.

The other thing I usually do is a spicy chutney or a dip or something to use through the week. THis work two ways since aside for a fall back as a dip it also serves to spice up my meals since I use almost no chillies in my cooking (my husband ansd son both do not go for this. Once or twice a month I designate meals where we finish up stuff that has not gotten used up or just use that as an excuse and invite the hungry hordes to dinner.

Wow that has been a long post... hope it all makes sense...

Rushina

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Rushina, you reminded me of my quickfix to be served with drinks:

In a wok/kadhai with a tbsp of oil, fry some whole peanuts and whole red chillis.

Remove with a slotted spoon to a grinder and add hand torn cabbage into the wok and stir fry very briefly with a little garlic and a little masala(any of the mixes will do).

Grind/Pulse the peanuts and red chillis coarsely, add to the cabbage and serve immediately. Milagai will vouch for it, unless she was just hungry. :smile:

I suppose it could be called a warm salad too.

Variations are endless.


I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

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Goa sausages. These can be kept outside the fridge, pickled in their vinegar and spices, and to cook them I just cut the meat out of its casing and put it in a pressure cooker. I add some tomatoes, potatoes (raw and you can keep the skins on if you like) and onions, throw in a dollop of palm vinegar and then pressure cook

same treatment ,more or less for meat/fish pickles-home made preferably and so a known'devil'.good hostel standby!

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I use peanuts to make a starter. Just roast raw peanuts, cool and toss with lemon juice, chopped onions, corriander, salt and chillies.

Episure you are forgetting the famous sindhi "sel dabal"...

Some gujju things done in my house...

take leftover namkeens, combine in a bowl, toss with diced onion, tomato, chilli and fresh corriander and serve.

Also a dich the maharaj in my house used to make was bhujia in the usual onion tomato pcurry paste yummmm.

Rushina

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Episure you are forgetting the famous sindhi "sel dabal"...

Leftover bread, preferably Pav made into a bhaji.

Lots of onions, green chillis, garlic, coriander, mint, lime/tamarind juice.

The trick is to get the right consistency by using the right quantity of gravy and the right volume of bread.

Three rights in a row will get you there.

Rushina, you have been mixing around with some serious Sindhis.


I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

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