THE GOODNESS of raw vegetables cannot be overlooked. They should be in included in one's diet as regular as possible, perhaps in every meal. The old adage of a white, a yellow and a green may be rarely taught these days, but it is a good reminder that the brightly coloured vegetables are the best source of vitamins. Most of the vitamin content lies just under the skin, so vegetables should be cooked and eaten with the skin as often as possible.
Try the following tips for no-fuss pantry planning.
If you store herbs and spices in alphabetical order, they are easily located and you can quickly see when they need replacing.
Growing a few herbs of your own such as coriander, basil, rosemary, mint, thyme and parsley means that you always have these on hand. These fresh herbs are often the secret to delicate flavours in the meals.
Place all staples, such as rice, sugar and flour together. Store sauces and condiments according to favourite cuisines; just a glance in the cupboard will give you great ideas.
Keep a good selection of frozen vegetables. Peas, beans, spinach and corn etc are great standbys and only take minutes to cook in the microwave.
Keep a variety of breads and rolls in the freezer and defrost in the microwave for delicious instant sandwiches.
Cooked rice and pasta also freeze well; reheat in minutes in the microwave and save time on busy days.
Evaporated milk, available as full cream or skimmed milk, is a terrific standby when there is no fresh cream. It can be used for puddings, desserts and sauces and it whips well when chilled. Store a few cans in the pantry for emergencies.
Enough about taking care of the vegetables and time, lets go for little cooking to whet the appetite:
Tomato juice- 1 cup thick
Salt and pepper to taste
Gram flour (besan)-1 cup
Chilli powder-1/2 tsp
Green Chillies (minced)-3
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
Small Onion (minced)-1
Chopped coriander-1 tbsp
Oil or any Veg. fat-1 tbsp
Grated cheese-1/2 cup
Make a batter by mixing all the ingredients (except the cheese and oil), you may add little water if the batter is too thick. Heat a non-stick pan. Pour in the oil and when hot, pour a ladleful of batter. Spread the batter into a round. Pour 1-2 tsp of oil all around the edge of the omelette and allow to cook till golden in colour. Turn it over and cook the other side as well. Sprinkle some cheese, fold the omelette and serve immediately.
(Chef V. Anil Kumar will write an occasional column on cookery in the Metro Plus. He can be contacted at email@example.com)
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