Do you find cooking Indian food needs a lot of time and preparation? What if you had hacks to make Indian food more easily?
Well, I wanted to write this blog post with just that…
It’s pretty simple, too, because all it takes is a bit of organisation, pre-preparation and, not to overthink it! Before that sounds annoying though hear me out…
When seeing Mum and Dad co-run a family shop business for 30 years that took up a lot of hours in the day, I still remember Mum making fresh and delicious meals for us kids. This ranged from cooking first thing in the morning (so we can heat up food after school/college), or coming home during the day to whip something up.
But when I learnt to cook from her, I realised she also had a few hacks and tricks up her sleeve to make this even easier for herself, and cost-effective where possible.
So here are those hacks I’d like to share with you, and hopefully they’ll help you cook Indian food with more ease and confidence…
Hack 1: Pre-made spice pastes
Hate spending time peeling and chopping garlic, ginger and chilli every time you cook?
Yeah, we do too…
So Mum and I keep tubs of all 3, separately made into pastes, ready to use when needed. Using garlic as an example, all you need is the following:
– 200g garlic (skin removed – which can be done by running a slice at the back and taking off the skin like a jacket, then left whole)
– 1tsp turmeric
– 1/4tsp salt
– Oil (I use rapeseed)
Blitz everything up with enough oil to make it into a smooth paste. The turmeric and salt is what essentially preserves them, and they can either be frozen, or placed in the fridge to last a good month – just be sure to keep the pastes topped up with oil to cover it (this prevents mould growing on the top).
The oils from these can also be used separately, as they’re infused with the flavours!
Hack 2: Buy whole spices and grind yourself
Buying small bottles of grounded up spices may be convenient, but they tend to lack flavour after a few weeks from being grounded – and they’re always more expensive when bought this way!
A cheaper solution is to buy big bags of whole spices – which last for years if stored properly away from sunlight – then grind them every couple of months or so.
This helps using spices whilst they’re still fragrant, and without having to grind them on such a regular basis.
Hack 3: Batch-cook – either on the hob or in the oven
Probably something you’ve heard already, but there’s a reason for that! Batch cooking, or making a bigger portion of dinner, and then freezing them into portions makes ALL the difference.
You can simply grab a portion from the freezer before work, and come home to something you only need to make some rice, chapatti or salad to go with.
This saves time, energy, and the need to think about it… ultimate win win.
Hack 4: Stock up on bulk amounts of dried goods
Having a big stack of rice, lentils, chapatti flour and oil are essential to buy in bulk for us – for these things last a long time and are needed for practically all Indian meals!
A cute thing my parents do that may help: have a group of friends, where each of them discover deals going in the stores you all like, share the deals with one another (like it’s the latest gossip), then buy them in bulk for yourselves or splitting them between each other!
Hack 5: Store accompaniments to go with your meals
Indian meals, particularly Gujarati meals, are never complete with at least some yogurt, chutney, pickles or poppadum.
This could be a spicy or sweet chutney or pickle to go alongside a rice and dal, some crunchy poppadum for scooping up, or yogurt to cool down and bring a tang to the meal.
Maybe even all the above if you’re going all out! But you can serve which ever you fancy and think would taste nice with whatever you’ve made.
So there you are… you’re on your way to making Indian food at home with more ease!
Starting here, or doing some of them at least, will ensure you can easily put together dishes for your weeknight meals and weekend batch cooking, without as much thinking or stress to do so.
I hope that helps! Get in touch if you have more ideas to add to this list, or would like to hear more about the methods mentioned in this post.