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Foundation meals Indian

This is a basic Indian meal for lunch or dinner. With slight variations, this can be adapted to all kinds of occasions. We strongly suggest that all users of this site start from this recipe to understand the basic COOKING IN A JIFFY philosophy of sequencing. Quantities suggested should be enough for cooking for two or three persons.

Full Meal : Rice, Arhar Dal (split pigeon pea lentils), Keema Mattar ( lamb/chicken mince-peas) and Aloo Gobi (potato-cauliflower)

Cooking Time: 30 minutes (with proper planning and sequencing)
RICE

Rice

Ingredients
Rice-1 glass
Water-2 glasses (if using mature and flavourful old basmati rice, otherwise 1.5 glasses)
Tip: Use the same glass please! Otherwise, your rice will NOT turn out to be fluffy.
Method:
1. Wash the rice well (in a vessel 3-4 times, but don’t rub it lest the grains break) and let it naturally “dry”, on an inclined plate, for 15-20 minutes. This helps enhance the aroma.
2. In a pressure cooker (3-5 litre capacity) bring the water to a boil.
3. Add the rice to the boiling water.
4. Close the lid of the pressure cooker BUT remove the weight.
5. When steam starts escaping from the vent (don’t worry, you will hear that typical sound), reduce the heat to minimum. In other words, if cooking on gas, turn the knob to SIM(mer).
6. Wait for 10 minutes and switch off the gas. Take out the rice. Your hot fluffy rice is ready to be eaten.
 
Arhar Dal

Arhar Dal

(For variety, feel free to substitute with any other dal preparation from the “Dal Delights” category)

 

Ingredients
Arhar/Toor (split pigeon peas) Dal-1/2 Small cup
Water-4 small cups (same cup as above!)
Turmeric (Haldi) powder-1/2 tea spoon
Salt–1/2 tea spoon or to taste
Tomato–1
Cumin-whole (Jeera)– 1/2 tea spoon
Desi Ghee (clarified butter)-1 tea spoon
Fresh Coriander (optional)

 

Method:
1. Wash the Arhar Dal (same style as for rice) and put it in the pressure cooker with water, haldi, salt, and chopped tomato.
2. Close the lid with weight (unlike rice) and let it come to full pressure (i.e. when the weight lifts and there is a whistling sound).
3. Thereafter reduce the flame to minimum and let it cook for 5 minutes.
4. Turn the gas off and let the cooker cool down.
5. Take a tempering pan and add the desi ghee.
6. When it warms up, add the whole cumin till it splutters. Please ensure that the cumin doesn’t burn and only turns brown.
7. Add this to the dal. Your simple Arhar Dal is ready. If you want, you may add some chopped fresh coriander leaves to the same and serve.
 
Keema Mattar (mince-peas)
(For variety, feel free to substitute with any other curry preparation from the “Fish & Fowl” category)
 
Ingredients:
Chicken/Mutton mince–1/2 Kg (500 grams)
Green peas (shelled fresh are preferred) –200 grams
Medium size Onions–2
Garlic-4 pieces
Ginger-1 inch
Fresh tomato-2
Turmeric (Haldi)- 1/2 tea spoon
Dry crushed coriander-2 tea spoon
Garam Masala (mixture of common Indian spices) crushed- 1/2 tea spoon
Kashmiri Red Chilli powder–1/4 tea spoon (Recommended for colour, but if you like your dish to be really spicy, use any other red chilli powder)
Curd (Indian style yoghurt)-1 table spoon
Cumin whole-1/2 tea spoon
Salt-1 level tea spoon (or to taste)
Tomato Ketchup-1 table spoon
Cooking oil-1 table spoon
Desi Ghee (clarified butter)-1 tea spoon
Water-1 tea cup
 
Method:
1. Blend together (in a blender preferably!) the onions, garlic, ginger and tomatoes to a fine paste.
2. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker.
3. Add cumin to the oil and as it turns brown, add this paste and gently fry the same.
4. As the paste starts giving off a nice aroma, add the mince to it and sauté gently.
5. Add all the dry garam masala, salt and curd to this mixture and keep stirring on low flame (SIM) till it starts becoming dry.
6. Add the Ketchup and peas to the mixture and stir again.
7. At this juncture, add the desi ghee for a lovely taste.
8. Add the water, close the lid with weight and bring it to full pressure on high flame.
9. If the mince is chicken, Thereafter cook on low flame (SIM) for 3 minutes, if it is chicken mince. And if it is mutton mince, then cook it for a full 5 minutes. Let the cooker cool down on its own before opening it. Your Keema mattar is ready to be eaten.
 
Aloo Gobi (potato-cauliflower)

Aloo Gobi

(For variety, feel free to substitute with any other veggie preparation from the “Veggie Corner” category)
 
Ingredients
Potatoes-2
Cauliflower-1
Onion-1
Garlic-2
Ginger-1/2 inch
Turmeric (Haldi)-1/2 tea spoon
Garam Masala (mixture of common Indian spices) crushed- 1/2 tea spoon
Tomato-1
Salt-1/2 tea spoon (or to taste)
Cooking Oil-1 table spoon
 
Method
1. Cut the potatoes into small pieces and also separate the florets of the cauliflower.
2. Steam this for 5 minutes (in a microwave, use a microwave safe steamer for this).
3. Meanwhile, chop the onion, garlic, ginger and tomatoes.
4. In a Kadai (wok), heat the oil, and add the chopped onion, garlic and ginger.
5. When this mixture starts becoming translucent, add the tomatoes and let the tomatoes cook.
6. Add the steamed vegetables to this and sprinkle haldi, garam masala and salt. Let this all cook together for about 3 minutes. A table spoon or two water helps in blending all together. Your dry aloo gobi is ready.
N.B. Please note that if you don’t steam the veggies first, you can proceed to step 6. But you will then need triple the quantity of oil and will need to cook the vegetables for at least 15 minutes.
 
Sequencing
An important aspect of Ccooking In A Jiffy is proper planning and sequencing. In the above meal, you may do the following:
1. Collect all ingredients.
2. Measure and wash the rice and let it dry.
3. Wash the dal and put it in the cooker along with water, haldi, and salt. Light the gas and put the cooker on the same.
4. Cut the tomatoes, add to the dal. Close the lid and then let it cook.
5. While dal is cooking, cut the onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes for both the Keema mattar and the aloo gobi.
6. For Keema Mattar make the paste.
7. Now cook the Keema mattar (It helps to shell peas in advance and keep it in the freezer and use as much as is necessary) .
8. The dal may have cooked by now, so switch off the gas and let the cooker cool.
9. Put the potatoes and cauliflower for steaming in the microwave.
10. Put the rice to cook.
11. While rice is cooking, start cooking the Aloo Gobi dish.
12. Put tadka (temper) to the dal.
13. As each dish is cooked, transfer it to an insulated casserole. This helps keep the food warm and you can eat piping hot food (all four dishes together, and without any reheating) in the next two-three hours.
 
The whole activity, therefore, should not take you more than half an hour. So, bon appétit.
And do tell me if you could indeed manage this basic Indian meal in 30 minutes.
© Copyright Prasenjeet Kumar 2013

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4 Responses so far.

  1. It’s actually a nice and helpful piece of information.I’m glad that you shared this useful info with us.Please keep us informed like this.Thanks for sharing

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