Creativity is easy, especially when you’re cooking…The best part about this whole process is that it doesn’t require any sort of cooking expertise. I mean, you can cook if you want, but the basic idea is to take the spices and foods you have in your cabinet and make simple recipes that everyone will love. What’s not to love about an easy recipe that can be customized to fit your family’s tastes?
Trying out new recipes and mixing up the flavors can be fun, but it can also lead to a lot of waste. Especially if you get stuck with a recipe that wasn’t all that good in the first place. And who wants to spend time and money on a bunch of ingredients only to have it go straight into the trash?
The whole point of these recipes is to use up the things you already have so that nothing goes to waste. You know what they say – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
And because these are simple recipes made with basic ingredients, you don’t have to worry about making some kind of fancy meal that requires hours of prep time. You just need a few minutes and some creativity…
And what’s more, each of the recipes on the site is super easy to make. You know how it is, you’ve gone to the trouble to find and buy all the ingredients for a particular recipe, and then, when you get back home, you realize that you don’t have a necessary ingredient or two.
Well, with these recipes, you can still make some pretty mouth-watering dishes. The author of this blog simply suggests that you use what you do have in your spice rack. For example, she makes a tasty Indian-style dish using only turmeric:
“I first learned this recipe from my friend Anjali’s mom in college. She would often make it after coming back from an Indian grocery store–it was her way of using up all of those hard-to-pronounce spices! This recipe is so simple and delicious–the perfect addition to any weeknight dinner.”
Her blog also has a lot of variations on curries as well as other ethnic food recipes. Try out some of them for yourself!
A new year is a time to reflect on the past and plan for the future. If you’re anything like me your resolution list probably isn’t too long, but one thing that I always like to add is “learn how to cook.”
I often find myself thinking about what I can make for dinner that night, or what I might want to take to a potluck, but my mind goes blank when I’m looking at all of the spices in my cabinet. It’s not that there aren’t some really great recipes out there, it’s just hard to know what combinations of spices will work best.
To help you with your New Year’s resolution (or any other time you’re in need of a new recipe) we’ve put together a list of simple and delicious recipes for you to try. Each recipe uses 3 ingredients or less, so it’s a great way to get started in the kitchen if you’re intimidated by all of your spices!
Shelf stable ingredients are used in these recipes because they are readily available and easy to store. They also reduce waste by not requiring perishable ingredients or frequent trips to the grocery store. Of course, these dishes would be even better if made with fresh local ingredients when possible!
Curry powder, a blend of five or more spices and herbs, is the most common Indian seasoning. It’s the “curry” that’s added to the many varieties of “curry.”
At its most basic, a curry is a dish flavored with one or more curries, served with rice. However, there are also dry curries (without any liquid) and wet curries (with a sauce).
You can find curry powder in any supermarket near the other spices. It comes in two basic forms: either as a ground powder or as small whole seeds (often called “paprika”). It has become so popular that many supermarkets also carry ready-to-use curry mixes (packaged in jars), which contain many of the same ingredients as curry powder but often in different proportions.
When the British arrived in India, they discovered a cuisine and culture that was already ancient. The Mughals had been ruling for nearly 300 years, and their cuisine reflected their rich, diverse empire. This is evident today in the classic dishes like kebabs and pilafs, which combine meat from the north and rice from the south. But there are also some rarer recipes that are only found in this part of India. These dishes have been passed down through families for generations, and have changed little over time. A classic example of this is Lemon Pickle or Nimbu ka Achaar – a simple mix of lemon, salt, dahi (yogurt), chili powder, black salt, mustard oil and asafoetida (hing).
A few years ago I came across a recipe I’d never heard of before – kachumber. It’s a simple dish of chopped vegetables with spices and lime juice; it’s served as a condiment with meals. It can be eaten with hot food to cut down on spiciness or with cold food to add some life to it. Both ways are delicious! Kachumber is also called raita – another popular cucumber based dish eaten with meals in India. Kachumber has many variations
1. Spinach and Mustard Seed Dhal
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in cumin, mustard seeds, and turmeric; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add vegetables; cook until tender-crisp, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Stir in dal; cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.
2. Mustard Seeds and Coconut Curry
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in curry leaves and asafoetida; cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in coconut milk, chiles, and curry powder; bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened slightly, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes (or longer if using canned coconut milk). Season with salt and pepper; serve topped with cilantro.
There’s a reason why the best food blogs are often written by women. They typically have the most free time, and they’re the ones who do most of the cooking in a family. When I lived in France, my local market had a special section for people to get their groceries for dinner that night. The line was always longer than all the other lines combined because it was mostly women.
We have no idea what our mothers did before the invention of convenience foods, because convenience foods had not yet been invented. My mother grew up on a farm during the Great Depression. One of her jobs was to slaughter the chickens, which she did by grabbing them by their feet and whacking their heads against the cement floor until they were dead. She made her own clothes, sewed them herself and ironed them with an actual iron heated with coals from the furnace. And she did all of this while simultaneously taking care of three kids under age 6 and her husband, who was dying of cancer.
Now that seems like a lot to ask of one person, but back then it wasn’t at all unusual for women to do that kind of thing. People didn’t need anything to make life easier because nothing made life easier — it just made it different.