Thursday, May 24, 2007

Cook for a crowd

Cooking for a crowd

Following a few simple steps you can create a meal for may people in under 10 minutes

Step 1: Keep the base cooked and ready.( Rice, pasta, bread or noodles).

Step 2 : For all south Indian dishes, have the boiled tamarind water and boiled tuvaram paruppu ready .

Step 3 : Keep some milk and fresh fruits ready. In a crunch you can atleast serve milkshakes / fresh fruits.

Step 1 :

The base is rice, pasta, noodles or bread. Have it cooked and ready. These can be refrigerated for up to a week. If you are particular about steaming hot rice, just sprinkle some water on rice and microwave it for a minute.

Keep cooked pasta / Noodles ready. You can cook them to a south Indian taste by the following steps.

1. Heat oil. Add some kadugu, ulutham paruppu, vara milagai, perungauam, karuveppilai, onions. Stir fry for a while and mix with pasta or noodles to get a pasta uppuma. Tastes great.

Or if you want them served with a sauce, cook any of the sauces below

1. Add a handful of coconut , seerakam and green chilies. Grind to a paste. Add curd and mix. Add this to pasta.

2. Take any of the readymade soup powders. Mix with water and make a thick soup. Just add to pasta and serve.

Once the base is ready, most of your work is done. Whether it is for 5 people or for 50, just keep the base ready and you are safe. in a crunch, you can serve raw pasta or rice and yogurt.

Step 2 : Cooking Sambar / Rasam /Kulambu

For all south Indian dishes, have the following ready

1. Boiled Tamarind water.

Make a large batch of tamarind water, boil it for 10-15 minutes. refrigerate. Will last for a month.

2. Boiled Tuvaram paruppu

Take a cup or two of Tuvaram paruppu, pressure cook it for 2 whistles with a bit of turmeric and refrigerate. Will last for a week.

Once these are ready in your fridge, you can create dozens of kulambus, sambars or rasams in under five minutes.

Take 6 cups. Put one chopped vegetable into each cup - say Mullangi, Vendakkai, Kudai milagai, Small onions, Brinjal, Pavakkai. Sprinkle some water and microwave everything together for 4 minutes.

Take six more cups.

In cup 1 add some tamarind water, mix a bit of vellam and sambar podi. Add the cooked onions. Microwave for 4 minutes. Venkaya puli kulambu is ready.

In cup 2 add some tamarind water, mix a bit of vellam and sambar podi. Add the cooked kudai milagai. Microwave for 4 minutes. Kudai milagai puli kulambu is ready.

In cup 3 add some tamarind water, add some boiled tuvaram paruppu and sambar podi. Add the cooked brinjal. Microwave for 4 minutes. Brinjal puli sambar is ready.

In cup 4 add add some boiled tuvaram paruppu and sambar podi. Add the cooked brinjal. Microwave for 4 minutes. Brinjal paruppu sambar is ready.

In cup 5 add some boiled tuvaram paruppu and mix it with water to get a thin paruppu thanir. Add a pinch of sambar podi. Add a handful of chopped tomatoes and Microwave for 4 minutes. Add the juice of half a lemon. Lemon rasam is ready.

In cup 6 add some tamarind water, add some boiled tuvaram paruppu and mix with water to get the consistency of rasam. Add a pinch of sambar powder and a pinch of pepper. Microwave for 4 minutes. Milagu rasam is ready.

You can first make six cups and microwave all these together. So in just 5 minutes you have two kulambus, two sambars and two rasams ready. For all these you can use the same garnish. Heat a spoon of oil, add a pinch of kadugu, perungayam, red chillies and karuveppilai. Add to all six cups. Add some fresh kothamalli to all cups and serve.

There you go - 6 dishes in under 10 minutes. Easy ain't it ?

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"It is extraordinary to me that the idea of creating thousands of recipes by mixing building blocks takes immediately to people or it doesn’t take at all. .... If it doesn’t grab a person right away, ... you can talk to him for years and show him demos, and it doesn’t make any difference. They just don’t seem able to grasp the concept, simple as it is". ( Thanks Warren Buffett !)

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Okay, let me start from the very beginning. 1500 crore years ago, with a Big Bang, the Universe is born. It expands dramatically. Hydrogen forms, contracts under gravity and lights up, forming stars. Some stars explode, dusting space with the building blocks of life. These condense into planets, one of which is Earth. Over time, self replicating molecules appear, multiply and become more complex. They create elaborate survival machines (cells, plants, animals). A variety of lifeforms evolve. Soon, humans arise, discover fire, invent language, agriculture and religion. Civilisations rise and fall. Alexander marches into India. Moguls establish an empire. Britain follows. Independence. Partition. Bloodshed. The license raj is in full sway. I'm born. India struggles to find its place. Liberalisation. The Internet arrives! I move from Tirupur to Chennai. Start a company. Expand into Malaysia, Singapore and the Middle East. Poof! Dot com bust. Funding dries up. Struggle. Retire. Discover the joy of cooking, giving, friendships and the pleasures of a simple life. Life seems less complicated. Pizza Republic, Pita Bite and Bhojan Express bloom !

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