It’s no secret I love my desi food. In fact my ultimate comfort food is dal chawal (lentils and rice). I could eat that meal every day, and it is definitely my death bed choice – if I had to choose of course. However, with all the moving office business, and the crazy workload lately, Indian cooking has taken a back seat at my place for a few month. I’m pretty embarrassed to say how heavily we’ve been relying on drive-thru’s and grocery store deli’s to sustain us lately.

But enough is enough, so I’m getting serious and stocking my fridge and freezer this week. First up, a bulk tadka cooking session, and a few bags of these tadka cubes I used to use religiously.  This is a recipe I’m reviving from the archives, and is a life-saver for weeknight cooking.

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tadka cubes, punjabi tadka recipe{Two must haves for tadka making marathons; my Kitchenaid mini chopper, and ghee.}tadka cubes, punjabi tadka recipe

Before we get into the recipe specifics, a quick primer on tadka is in order. Tadka is basically a process of tempering certain spices and onions (among other things)  in a hot oil or ghee which then forms the basis of most Indian food. Different regions of India have different items they include in their tadka (also known as chaunk). What I’m sharing today is basically a Punjabi tadka with some of my own touches. If you’ve eaten any tomato based curries, this is probably the tempering that was used.

Having these tadka cubes on hand substantially reduces the amount of prep time it takes to cook Indian food. In a pinch, I just chop up whatever veggies I have the fridge and throw in a couple of these cubes for an Indian stir fry and serve over rice.

*Important note – do not use an ice cube tray that you plan to use for regular ice again for this recipe. By one exclusively for tadka use. 

Tadka Cubes – Recipe:

Ingredients:

2 tbs ghee (or a high heat oil)
1/2 tbs jeera
1 tsp salt (or too taste)
1 tsp turmeric (haldi)
2 tsp garam masala
1 extra large onion
4 garlic cloves
2 Roma tomatoes (with the juice squeezed out)
1 inch piece of ginger

Yield: 12 Ice Cubes
I sometimes make up to 3 batches of this recipe in one large pot and just adjust the ingredients accordingly

Directions: 

  • Chop all of your vegetables into a fine dice, either by hand or machine. Keep them separated for now.
  • Warm the ghee in a heavy bottomed pan. Add in the cumin seeds. Let them pop and sizzle for a minute or two and then add in the onions.
  • Sweat the onions out for 5-7 minutes on a medium high heat. Keep stirring them so they don’t stick to the bottom.
  • Add the ginger and tomatoes cook for 1 minute
  • Add the garlic and spices (keep stirring garlic will stick!)
  • Let the whole tadka come together on medium low heat for 8-10 minutes.
  • Take the pan off the stove and cool.
  • Once the mixture is cool enough to handle, you can scoop it into the individual ice cube trays and freeze until they hard. After that, I pop them into Ziploc bags.

quick indian cooking tadka cubes

The process of making the tadka is a bit tedious with all the chopping, and it stinks up the whole house, but it is so worth it. My mother says you can keep frozen tadka in the freezer for 4-6 months, but I usually use mine up within a month or two anyway!

Do you have any tips for speeding up your Indian meals – do share below in the comments.

 

 

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Here’s a strange thing you might not know about me – the last time I owned a microwave was in 2008. Yup it’s been 9 years since we had one in our house, and neither of our kids has ever known life with a microwave.pink-microwave[A pink microwave, this is too cute!]

To be honest, even before we got rid of the microwave I didn’t use it much. I’ve never been a fan of the way the texture of food changes when you heat it in a microwave, so I’ve generally avoided them.

We didn’t really make a conscious decision to live life sans microwaves, it just happened. During one of our many moves we decided to donate our rather large and clunky microwave and planned to get something smaller later, but we never felt the urge to buy a replacement. Since then we’ve heard a lot of different thoughts on how radiation effects food and I’ve become hesitant to bring a microwave back into our lives. However, I did think about it yesterday.

These days I do a lot more batch cooking, and we are often reheating meals for lunch. I’ve been thinking how having a microwave would make the process so much easier and quicker. A number of friends have told me that microwaves have come a long way, and the food quality is not affected so much in the newer models. I did a bit of research and also found that some of the more high-end models can also work on steam. 

So here I am considering the one kitchen appliance I was sure I didn’t need! What do you think, should I get a microwave? Does it make your life easier? Would love to hear your thoughts, leave me a comment and help me decide!

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Guys, (or more likely gals) I’m kind of excited today!! There are two firsts in this blog post – my first time using a spiralizer, and my first YouTube video of the year.

I’m going to tell you about the spiralizer in a sec, but I think I need to back up and tell you why this video business is so exciting. I’ve a had YouTube channel for a while, and have added random videos here and there, but this year I’ve committed to publishing one video a week. Every Monday. Whether I have an idea or not, whether I think the video is great or not. Historically I’m not very good at challenges like this, but I’m really excited to give this a try. I don’t have any particular subjects chosen, or any great plan, and that is why my first video is unboxing a spiralizer!

About that spiralizer….the awesome folks at Hamilton Beach sent me their 3 in 1 Spiralizer to try out, and I thought it would be fun to record my first attempt at using it. Sometimes kitchen gadgets can seem so simple to use and practical until I get them into my kitchen. I’ve had a number of fails with specialty gadgets in the last year so I wanted to be sure this is a good tool before I recommend it.

What was my first reaction, you can see in the video below:

The spiralizer is my first attempt at replacing foods my family already eats with healthier alternatives (you can read more about that here), and I’m sure you’ll be seeing more spiralizing on the blog soon!

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About five years ago I started getting serious about annual goal setting, and one of the areas I took into consideration was the food my family eats. I know it sounds kind of silly to set goals and intentions around grocery shopping and meal plans, but it’s so important. aloo bhartha[Aloo bhartha – takes 20 minutes to prepare and the kids love it!]

What we eat and the fuel we put into our bodies is vital, yet so many of us treat our meals like an afterthought, or a nuisance even. (I used to). We take the time to educate ourselves on new apps and computer software but don’t really understand the ingredients in our foods – see any red flags?

I shared my family’s food goals in 2015 and 2016, and I’ve made some progress on both those lists, and there are some areas that still need work, but I’m not giving up. Maybe this is the year I hit all my goals! View Post

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There are many things I’m passionate about, and artisan made products, good quality food, and travel are all pretty close to the top of my love list. So you can imagine how excited I was to visit the Sacramento Delta on my recent trip to California. This beautiful, lush, and fertile area of California is nothing like the California you might have seen on your drive down to San Francisco, Los Angeles, or San Diego. In fact, the miles and miles of agriculture reminded me of my first visit to Punjab in the 90s. DSC_2627PinkChai

We spotted everything from endive, olives, almonds, safflower, asparagus, tomatoes, and alfalfa sprouts on our tour of the Sacramento Delta, but I was most excited about the pears. Pears are my all-time favourite fruit, and pretty much the only fruit I eat as is. (I LOVE veggies and have a strange fruit aversion that I’ve been trying to get over lately).

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