Quick Cooking

The Hindu was its typical pointless self in yesterday's MetroPlus, an article half a page long with 3 superfluous tips at the end. I rarely bother with the main newspaper anymore  (if I want sensation, Jerry Springer or Daytime soaps offer a much more interesting alternative).  I skimmed through this article on the way to Calvin and Hobbes. 
Popped Mustard in the fridge?  Popping it in a vaakana karandi would take about as long as it would take you to open the fridge pull out the stored, popped mustard and pour required quantity with a spoon  And as for the tamarind, wouldn't it be just as simple to cook the tamarind with the daal every time (in a small separate container preferably)?  My marathi friend would add the tamarind to the moong / masoor directly, the only dishes where she insisted on tamarind.  She would pick out the tamarind piece when she was adding the masala at the end. Now, that is a shortcut worth remembering, even blogging about.
Where did the "writer"  hear Thani Kootu is cooked like a Halwa?  Thani Kootu is an excellent, innovative shortcut.  It is called thani kootu because it is prepared without any vegetables.  Both festive occasions and days of mourning dictate menu with 3 - 5 different kootus. The dishes mainly differ in vegetables chosen.  The genius of traditional cooks is making one gravy and simply dividing it into as many parts as dishes being prepared!
And btw, the most important instruction in storing roti dough in the fridge is air tight storage.  I guess the Hindu hasn't heard of editing , testing or even googling. 
 I am going to maintain a running list of useful, quick cooking tips in this blog;  Feel free to send your own.

Today's Quick Cooking tips:  
  1. Combine tadka for multiple dishes whenever possible:  I made sambhar, rasam and podalangai poriyal.  I started off the podalangai poriyal with a tadka of mustard, jeera, split urad, chana dal red chillies, curry leaves and hing.  I made twice the required tadka and poured out 1/4th into the sambhar, 1/4th into the rasam before adding the vegetables to the remaining tadka.
  2. When you boil water to make tea/coffee decoction, boil half a cup more than needed. Soak the tamarind needed for lunch in the extra water.  Cool and soft by the time you finish your morning coffee/tea and get started on lunch.
  3. This is a tip from the nutitionist who visited Harishree Vidyalayam:  Wash the beans (Mung/Peas/Karamani/Mot) well before soaking and sprouting.  Don't wash the sprouts afterwards, apparently this washes away some of the essential nutrients also.
  4. If you must cook the sprouts (like me, I hate raw), keep them dry and covered below the dal in the pressure cooker when you cook the days dal;  The steam cooks the sprouts perfectly, leaving just a bit of a bite.

Todays menu:
Breakfast and Lunch

Idlis
Lauki Thepla
Murugakkai Sambhar
Methi - Podalangai poriyal
Mung sprout salad with olive oil - lemon dressing
Garlic Rasam
Yogurt
Rice

Sambhar doubled as side dish for breakfast idlis.  The lauki thepla dough was leftover from Sunday, so, rotis also for lunch or breakfast as my hordes choose.  I took just 90 minutes end to end, including making and drinking coffee.

I think the lunch menu is fairly well balanced.

Sprouted Mung Salad

1/2 cup green whole mung
1 carrot diced
1 cucumber diced
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp olive oil (EVOO)
Mint/Coariander/Both to garnish

Was the mung in 3 changes of water.  Soak overnight.  Next morning tie in a wet muslin cloth (or veshti/dhoti bit) and place in a collander.  Wet the cloth when you come in for evening tea/dinner.  The second morning untie the well sprouted mung.  Steam it either separately or as above or eat raw.
Add the diced vegetables, chili powder, salt to taste, seeds, lemon juice and olive oil.
Stir thoroughly.  garnish with fresh herbs and/or chaat masala.
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