Cook faster and smarter this August

The major thought that gnaws away at time is the ‘decision’ of what to cook. The hardest part of cooking a meal in not the making but the deciding! Don’t you agree? So let’s take these four steps, a little thought provoking perhaps!

1. Plan the menu! Make a list of meals for the week keeping in mind that the whole family has to be pleased. You want to feed the family healthy meals and make the most of the rupees too.
2. Shop. And shop going by the list. Pick up provisions for extra mouths to feed in case there are unexpected guests. If not used, they can always be incorporated in the following week’s meals.
3. Take a hour or two on an off day or weekend to prepare the masalas, grind the gravies, scrape the coconut, boil the stock, boil the dals, prepare dosa/idli batters etc. and then freeze them in portions. We have no dearth of readymade ginger garlic pastes, tomato purees etc. that can be made use of. We can also make use of precut vegetables once in a while when time is really short. Blanch spinach and keep. The colour is retained and all you have to do is puree it. Some even like to freeze makhni gravy or onion-tomato masala that can be the base for many recipes. I recommend freezing paranthas, tikkis etc. for those absolutely rushed moments.
4. Keep measuring cups in every bin. If you have the cup to measure rice for one family meal kept in the rice bin, keep an appropriate one in the dal tin, and flour bin etc. It helps to cook in the correct quantities and in case you do plan to cook for two meals (so that one can be frozen) then the measurements can be increased proportionately.

This August there is a lot on The piece on how to make your counter clutter free is winning many hearts…so are the tips on how to throw a diet friendly party! Do read and send in your inputs! Enjoy the Bread Festival and the Kashmiri recipes…and as for this week’s menu planning, posting three recipes that use fresh seasonal vegetables…

Besanwali Bhindi
Lauki Manpasand
Kachci Makai Dhingri

Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor.

A year wiser

I move on one more year in my life today. Alyona has planned a quiet relaxed birthday for me as we have had a hectic time at the shoot. My girls are away in Delhi with Mom already enjoying their long vacation. Joining them on Tuesday as there is a wedding to attend. In this context, Alyona has also planned a shopping spree for herself during the weekend.

We will have Jyotsna, Mayur and Manit over for lunch and then maybe, in the evening attend a launch party. The plans are fluid. So are the plans fluid for the annual family trip! Now that the young ladies have determined minds, we have to come to a mutual agreement while deciding the place. I have Bangkok or Portugal in mind at the moment.

Also to be telecast on Times Now, April 10, a short sketch on me. Time is 4.30 pm and repeat on April 11 at 1.30 and 9.30 pm.

So while we all look forward to a great weekend, here are some simple recipes that can make cooking less tedious for you – Anda Parantha, Sev Boondi Bhel, Jelly Belly Icecream

Happy Cooking

Sanjeev Kapoor.

Happy Lohri, Trip to Pune, Prepare for the Run

Happy Lohri ! Most Punjabis today in the North would be lighting a bonfire at sunset and toss khajur, rewaris, til, phulian as offerings in it. Lohri marks the end of winter! I think it would be a relief for them as the temperatures had gone unnaturally down this last fortnight.
For us here it was a drive down early yesterday morning to Pune via Navi Mumbai. Accompanied by our COO Rajeev Matta and Mr Vivek Shetty, had a chance to see the world class DY Patil Stadium Nerul from inside. There was a cricket match in progress and guess who we met? Balwinder Singh Sandhu, who was in the 1983 Indian cricket team that brought home the World Cup. He was there coaching the cricket team.
Started the drive down to Pune and stopped at the Food Mall for hot coffee, idli and upma. People stopped by to say hello and take the autograph. Our destination was Sharad Pawar International School in a secluded area beyond Pune airport. The facilities are impressive we were there just to explore for future possibilities. Had a good lunch in the school.
Finished and dropped in at my in-laws home for a quick cup of tea. Driving back stopped at Inorbit Mall at Vashi to study the food trends and peoples’ preferences and browse through the latest kitchen gadgets. Bought a few things! Sampled some hot green tea. Everything was fine and day seemed to be on clockwork till the design of the Mall hit us! The exit was diagonally opposite the entry and we took a long time looking for the car park, lugging the packages along!
Looking forward for Pongal celebrations this evening at Banana Leaf in Juhu-Versova link road, organised by my friend Mr. Vivek Shetty. As the 17th comes closer, I suggest the serious marathoners ( and they would have too!) start the carb loading diet. Have a pasta party on Saturday night! And till then enjoy bread, cereals, potatoes but go slow on oil and fat! Some recipes for you here.
Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor.