Tell me what you eat!

11 Aug

I mentioned I am in some sort of a cooking rut and here is what I am dealing with.
I enjoy cooking and I am a fairly decent cook but my main issue is that I cook extremely laborious meals.
For instance, in the last week – all weekdays ,I have cooked pizza from scratch – dough, 2 types of sauces etc, Pad Thai which requires work to make the sauce and other prep work and Ragda Pattice with 2 chutnies from scratch. So there you have it. This is in addition to Bandar’s separate meals as she really doesn’t eat what we eat all the time and other kitchen work like baking strawberry quinoa muffins for snacks for us all and freshly ground ginger, garlic pastes,chili paste , flax seeds milling, Greek yogurt and regular yogurt setting every 2 days and of course daily kitchen cleaning.
You see, I spend a fair amount of time each week scanning food blogs and reading,planning recipes. The husbadoo loves most of the stuff I make and I love trying to replicate restaurant meals we love and enjoy. 
All these cooking sprees apart from being fairly time consuming , make me quite tired on weekday nights. I keep going off on spells of laziness between elaborate meals and we order in/go out.
Also , though I cook with minimal oil ( I usually spray to barely coat the pan) , and use natural sweeteners where I can, I feel our meals are heavy. Example : I make kofta biryani with oat and spinach koftas( pan roasted) and loads of veggies and brown rice. But even a small helping is really filling. Same goes for pad thai – we eat a double restaurant serving each and yoagine the sheer amount of peanuts in there .We stuff ourselves with seconds and thirds. This I think is unhealthy.
I also have lots of leftovers that become a tad boring on day 3-4. I cook in large amounts as hello , all this effort shouldn’t be wasted on one meal.
But it is in so much excess sometimes that we often throw food away( ashamed to admit this) or forget about rotting leftovers in the fridge . I jump onto the next exciting thing to cook ignoring what we have already.
I also feel we spend quite a lot on groceries. I love having a well stocked larder and chances are you can find a lot of unexpected stuff on my small pantry shelves.
I think back to what I grew up eating and weekday dinners though we have had a cook to help mom out for the longest time, have been rptis with a subji or south Indian kottu ( deal and veggies). If there was a dry subji , there was always an extra dal dish wet. We did rice only on weekends. The husbadoo’s meals too were rotis, dal, subji and rice. My mother in law has an interesting list of specific dals for specific days of the week – example black eyed peas for Mondays and moong for Wednesdays etc.  And she had house help as well to execute these meals for the family.I don’t follow these at all. For one, I really can’t make rotis . I can maybe start . We eat wheat tortillas which I buy and I know have preservatives. Also rice everyday is not something I am very comfy with for health reasons. We will maybe have to alternate with quinoa, brown and white rice.
Any way, the reason I am blogging about this is I need some help. I want to change to cooking 1 elaborate meal a week ( Fridays or weekends) . We have a tendency to eat out on Fridays and this excitement of a fun meal will keep us in.
I need some ideas for easy weekday vegetarian meals. Healthy would be best or I am a pro at healthifying stuff anyway so I  can do it even if the recipe you give me isn’t . I am really curious to see what other people eat on a daily basis at home and I am eager to read comments.


34 Responses to “Tell me what you eat!”

  1. princessbutter August 11, 2014 at 9:54 pm #

    Ooh, interesting… I am an expert at one pot meals… I follow this website
    I make aloo rassa, spinach khichdi or pulav, dudhi, dhansak(mix toor dal and any veggie you can lay your hands on). I make egg curries, egg rolls, sandwiches with aloo filling/ shredded cabbage/ non toasted with veggies. Sometimes soy chunks with rice or in curry. Hakka noodles, easy peasy milk sauce pasta. I am lazy and i just have to cook for one person. So i prefer things that cool fast.

    • popgoesthebiscuit August 11, 2014 at 10:24 pm #

      I am going to check out this website… What is milk sauce pasta?? I use atta, olive oil in a roux and add milk as it thickens. Is that it??
      Or something else ?

      • princessbutter August 11, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

        Errr, what is a roux? I half- boil pasta n keep it aside. Add vegetables to heated oil n milk n let it reduce n become creamy and then i add pasta to it. So its a very creamy sauce w/o maida or cheese.

      • popgoesthebiscuit August 12, 2014 at 7:41 am #

        Ahhh got it..roux is white sauce ka base ya..flour and butter etc..but I helathified with EVOO and atta. Yours seems great with just milk..surprised it thickens actually . This will be tested soon

      • princessbutter August 12, 2014 at 7:43 am #

        It thickens much better after you dunk pasta in it. Dont put a whole lot, just to submerge the veggies. Add as you feel later.

  2. princessbutter August 11, 2014 at 9:54 pm #


  3. perspectivesandprejudices August 11, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

    I frequently make mixed vegetable curries (sometimes with gravy and sometimes without) – goes well with both rice and chapathis. I also make stuffed parathas quite often these days – add whatever veggies I have, little bit of salt, garam masala and mix it up with atta. Another frequent dish is roasted veggies – just roast whatever veggies I have in the oven with a little bit of seasoning and have a big plateful – it makes a complete meal.

    Will be following the comments here to see what everyone else says πŸ™‚

    • perspectivesandprejudices August 11, 2014 at 10:11 pm #

      Oh, but I make enough for dinner and lunch the next day. I need variety and usually don’t like having something for more than two meals. You could also try making rajma/channa – its super quick, esp if you use the canned rajma/channa.

    • popgoesthebiscuit August 11, 2014 at 10:22 pm #

      Stuffed parathas..I need to really..really been years since I made an attempt. Bandar might like it too..rajma , chole also might work well for us.. Thanks!!

  4. Bhakti August 11, 2014 at 10:59 pm #

    I don’t cook everyday but I eat πŸ˜› But here is what mom usually makes in a week:
    For lunch we usually have dry veggies like tomato cooked with chivda ( sev tomato to be precise),any variation of potato sabzi,capsicum,moong dal,sprouts. That covers up for a 5 day week. For dinners,we usually go for rice and dal,kadhi-khichdi or dal dhokli. When we are bored with all of the above,mom makes pav bhaji (use rotis instead of pav) or handvo ( . Requires a little time)
    When we have leftovers,mom mixes the veggies along with the roti ka dough ( while kneading it) so it kind of becomes thepla..
    As perspective said,rajma and chole are a great change!
    At my place,elaborate meals happen only when dad comes to Pune,which is like once in a month πŸ˜›
    Hope it helps you πŸ™‚

    • popgoesthebiscuit August 12, 2014 at 7:39 am #

      Oh man..I miss those days of living at home and just eat ..our moms made things seem easy! Thanks for the ideas..I need to make alu and moong more often. I have had handvo ..the married to a gujju part ensures that..I love it. Will try making it soon.. Thanks

      • Bhakti August 12, 2014 at 8:31 am #

        πŸ˜€ yeah. It seems easy πŸ™‚

      • popgoesthebiscuit August 12, 2014 at 8:40 am #

        Cherish these years at home…you never realize how good you have it till you leave./at least I didn’t . It hits you hard when you have to cook your own meals as a poor grad student before final exams !

      • princessbutter August 13, 2014 at 4:33 am #


      • Bhakti August 13, 2014 at 8:06 am #


  5. Zarine Mohideen August 12, 2014 at 8:02 am #

    I try to cook for at least two meals, dinner and lunch the next day. My weekly routine mostly consists of south Indian food – dosa and sambar, or channa masala which we have for lunch and dinner the next week, palak dal and poriyal, paneer, kadhi and rice, egg curry. I’ve only started making rotis over the past few months, and trust me, its soo much better than those readymade tortillas which I used to eat. It takes a bit of effort and I can’t exactly make round chapathis, but it helps. And if I’m feeling indulgent then aloo paratas.
    I mix up Indian food with either hakka noodles or fried rice, pasta. I never use packaged pasta sauce. I cannot stand the taste.
    We used to have quite a bit of non-vegetarian options. Husband would like to have meat everyday but I’m trying to cut it down to once or twice a week.

    Also, I second princessbutter – vegrecipesofindia, I love that website.

    • popgoesthebiscuit August 12, 2014 at 8:39 am #

      You have a grinder?? For the dosa? Palak dal has not been made in ages here so will be done pronto. If nothing else these comments are inspiring me to make Rotis. Packaged tortillas are bad every day I know and I feed poor Bandar those as well:(
      Ohh no store bought pasta sauce here either – its so much better when made at home. Though I have had my fair share of store bought pasta sauce meals as a grad student!

      • Zarine Mohideen August 12, 2014 at 8:35 pm #

        I don’t know about New York, but here in California Indian stores carry dosa batter. I buy that if I’m pressed for time. I’ve also made dosa batter at home with my trusty Preethi mixie. If proportions are all okay it comes out pretty well. Try for the instructions.

      • popgoesthebiscuit August 12, 2014 at 11:47 pm #

        Ahh yes.. We don’t have access to a Indian store close by for that..done blender a few times but fairly messy

  6. Pepper August 12, 2014 at 11:28 pm #

    This comment of mine can change your life. Haha, seriously. Do consider it.

    Go and get yourself an Indian roti maker. Not to be confused with a tortilla press. You get proper desi roti makers from Indian stores. Atleast we did in California. India Cash and Carry had one for around $ 40. The roti maker was the best thing that happened to us. Totally worth every dollar we spent.

    Making rotis regularly can open up a whole new world of food. With the roti maker, they will be done super fast. Whip up a light, quick fix curry alongside and you’re through. Also, the meals will be light and easy to digest.

    Beware though, cooking/heating the rotis in the roti maker will give you chewy rotis. We didn’t much like them. So we used the roti maker only to press/flatten the dough. Once we had the perfectly flattened round rotis, we tossed them onto the tava and flipped em for a minute to cook them.

    Basically, we used the roti maker only because we didn’t want to roll the dough ourselves. Both Mint and I found that to be the most cumbersome part. We could knead the dough in 5 minutes, but rolling the chapatis is what put us off them completely. So the roti maker was god sent. Moreover, the rotis that we made (flattened in the roti maker and cooked on the tava) turned out to be super soft. It was a win win.

    Please go buy it. It comes highly recommended.

    Also, for other meals, don’t you get ready idli/ dosa batter? Shasta and Ganesh were our two go to brands in California. They were good. I am sure you’ll have equivalents. Once you have the maavu, you can fix a meal in minutes.

    This has been a long comment already. And I need to run. So I will come back with other DIY quick fix meal ideas in a bit.

    • popgoesthebiscuit August 12, 2014 at 11:47 pm #

      Hey never heard of this…surprised..I will be making an NJ Indian store visit soon.
      Let me look around.
      Yes, rolling out the Rotis is a pain. I also need a wire mesh for making them on my electric stove anyways, so will be looking for that at the store too.
      Rotis at home will seriously change our eating pattern.

      Regarding readymade maavu , its not easily available near our place. Its abundantly available in NJ , of course. I am sure the few overpriced Indian stores in downtown Manhattan will carry it at double the price , but honestly not worth it to take the train down and buy anything there from uptown , on a regular weekly- biweekly basis. So I have to do without fresh batter unless I soak and make it myself in the blender..which is of course doable but messy and painful with blending in small amounts and fermenting etc etc..
      Thanks a ton and more ideas are welcomed when you get a chance

    • princessbutter August 13, 2014 at 4:49 am #

      I have contemplated getting it, but i still hate the kneading n tawa-bhajoing part. Moo, my friend would make rotis in Atlanta daily :-O She would take 20 min. I am supremely lazy. The worst part is for 2 rotis i will have to sit washing 5 vessels.
      Has anyone contemplated getting that rotimatic from singapore? $600 is way too much!! If it was $200, I would buy it in a heartbeat!

      • popgoesthebiscuit August 13, 2014 at 8:45 am #

        I don’t mind kneading though I have a feeling my atta is not perfect in consistency which leads to lousy Rotis.Tawa Bhajoing ain’t so hard for me either that word..he he!
        Regarding the fancy rotimatic I am not ready to make that kind of investment . But I am in several Desi mom groups online and people are buying them in hoards. 200 is what I would pay too and would expect free shipping! These guys are charging $600 and another $50 for shipping. Ridic!

    • perspectivesandprejudices August 13, 2014 at 8:28 am #

      I’m going to look into this roti maker too. Thanks pepper! Although I dislike the kneading more than the rolling out of chapattis. :P. Anyone having ideas to reduce the kneading work?

      • popgoesthebiscuit August 13, 2014 at 10:09 am #

        A stand mixer with a dough hook will help with the kneading… But the pain of washing the whole thing….Plus a stand mixer is expensive too and something I view as necessary for only serious bakers. I rather knead by hand and be done with it:)

  7. celestialrays August 13, 2014 at 12:37 am #

    I soak whole beans and lentils and pressure cook them with the sauce/ masala in the pressure cooker. Works with whole moong, masoor, matki and black eyed beans. Less effort, protein rich.

    Different versions of tehari. Cannot go wrong with those.

    Different types of daal as AB loves daal. A dry roasted veggie with it.

    My favourite – microwave palak paneer.

    Pita pockets – pita bread toasted and stuffed with hummus, grilled halloumi cheese, mixed peppers, onions, spinach and rocket leaves. Perfect summer meal!

    Paninis and toasted sandwiches… Yum.

    South indian rice varieties – lemon rice or coconut rice or curd rice.

    Phew! That is all of the veg dishes I can think of!

    • celestialrays August 13, 2014 at 12:38 am #

      Adai – it is a superhit here, how can I forget it! The easiest, healthiest, tastiest option ever! Make the batter and use it for 2 days easily

    • popgoesthebiscuit August 13, 2014 at 12:47 am #

      We used to do a lot of dal but have recently fallen off..not sure why. Will be incorporating these into our diet soon.
      Adai – yes! Is something we all like ..and with brown rice I feel less guilty.
      Sandwiches and wraps we do a fair amount off…several weeks filled with these and several weeks of very few.. Think balance is what I really need to get right here.

      • Satori August 13, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

        First time commenting here. Have a daughter a month younger than your Bandar!! I too struggle on a daily basis what with having to cook separately for the little one. I mostly make koottu, sambhar, rasam, and other South Indian stuff simply because it’s easiest to cook rice and eat with it! Just wanted to say that you can make adai with dalia too instead of rice..It’s definitely healthier! And maybe you can try making dosa with urad dal flour and rice flour.. Fermenting still has to be done but no grinding.. My daughter LOVES dosa! You can add Ragi or wheat to the batter too. By the way, can you write some recipes with quinoa? I want to start cooking with quinoa but don’t know where to start. Also I saw you mention amaranth grain .. How do you cook that?
        Long comment already! Following the other comments closely..

      • popgoesthebiscuit August 13, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

        Hello! Welcome here and nice to hear your daughter is around the same age. Dalia in adai is an awesome idea. Will try for sure. Is your little one a good eater? Mine is very poor and it’s a struggle to get her to eat. Dosas sometimes she is okay with ..still better than other foods.
        Regarding quinoa the easiest thing would be to eat it in place of rice. I do it all the time and it keeps you full for a while. Maybe you can do half rice half quinoa till you get used to it. Its nutty and really no taste of its own. I am eating it with sambhar for lunch today! Also we make a really yummy salad of cut onions, tomatoes, cilantro, mint, chillies, avacado, something sweet like raisins or cut apple and lots of quinoa! Lemon juice as a dressing. Super filling and yummy. Quinoa soaked with green moong soaked dosas too work great..add some red chillies while blending for us . I make a quinoa stir fried for Bandar frequently with cherry tomatoes, spinach in butter. Quinoa in baking too works well
        Hope these ideas help!
        Regarding amaranth I make just one thing – a breakfast porridge. I make in bulk and store in the fridge to eat with some extra milk every day. Soak amaranth over night and wash and drain well. Cook with water , dates, other dry fruits, jaggery and milk over stove top. It will congeal and get thicker. Make sure you don’t burn it. Let it cool and eat immediately with some more milk or store in the fridge for everyday use. I haven’t made anything else with this super grain yet.

  8. Satori August 15, 2014 at 10:03 am #

    Wow, thanks a lot for all those recipes! Definitely going to start with quinoa soon. Also planning to try buckwheat, amaranth and millets as part of healthy eating! I found a nice website it’s got some real healthy indian recipes!
    My daughter eats well, touch wood, but has problems drinking milk, eating yoghurt and cheese. She isn’t intolerant or anything– just doesn’t seem to like the taste. I disguise milk in most dishes I make for her as otherwise it’s really difficult to get the required calcium into her!!
    By the way, my husband is an academic too– I was one too in my pre-daughter avatar but now a stay-at-home mom!

    • popgoesthebiscuit August 15, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

      Buckwheat and Millet is something I want to add to our diets too. Think they all make good so was..soaked and blended into a batter. I have tried this website a few times but not visited in a while.
      Nice to know another academician wife!

      • Uma August 18, 2014 at 8:00 am #

        First time commenting here. I make a lot of easy fix salads. Uf u take the dressing in a small box for lunch, salads will still be gresh. is a website I frequent for salad/ dressing inspirations.

        I have been also making burrito bowls without the burrito with left over brown basmati rice and you can whip up lunch or dinner in 5 to 10 mins. Options are endless depending on veggies u have. I generally saute onions, capsicum, mushroom, add some tofu, cooked rice, frozen corn and little bit of chilli powder and the salad is ready

        If u r pressed for time, sweet potato curry is very easy and a healthy option. Just microwave for 2 to 3 mins, peel. saute and season it and u are done.

      • popgoesthebiscuit August 18, 2014 at 8:21 am #

        Hey welcome here! Will check this site and thanks so much for these healthy options:)
        We love burrito bowls, just not made them at home.

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