6 Tips to Grow-Your-Own Food

Garlic Nation

There’s a certain romance in enjoying a rustic meal in a humble rural home in India. Whether it is a simple zunka bhakar on a damp, monsoon morning near Sinhgad fort in Pune or enjoying sarson ka saag – makke ki roti topped with homemade butter on a chilly February afternoon in Ajnala, in the suburbs of Amritsar.

No matter how hard we try, we are hardly able to achieve those smoky flavours of a bhatti or the pungency of the mustard in a similar meal which is cooked in the city. No matter how perfect the recipe was, and no matter how many times I tried to improve it with fancy techniques, I was almost never able to achieve the pure flavours of these classic dishes in the city.

Then one day, I stumbled upon the reason for my not-so-perfect cooking. I was in Ajnala, in the suburbs of Amritsar for some research for Masterchef India a few years ago. While chatting with the lady of the house, I just picked up some wild mustard leaves, growing near the hinge where the cows were tied, and chewed them just like that. To my surprise those leaves were tastier than any salad or sarson ka saag that I had every tasted. Fresh, flavourful, pungent and perfect!

This was a eureka moment for me. I had always wondered why mom’s aloo-gobhi so proudly exhibited the fragrance of cauliflower while my aloo gobhi tasted like masala on a bland floret. I only realised after this incident that my mother buys cauliflower from a local, farmer’s market that sells organic or “gawthi” produce, while I buy large, beautiful looking vegetables from the supermarket.

This made me wonder whether the next generation will recognise any flavours other than garlic! We are so used to masking the blandness of our vegetables with garlic, that garlic is all we know, garlic is all we can taste. If you don’t believe me, try making a clear vegetable soup or vegetable puree and you will realise that it tastes like nothing. No distinct smell of vegetables, no pungency and no fresh flavours.

When vegetables are genetically modified or injected with growth boosters for speedy growth and bigger size they don’t always develop the flavours completely. In rural areas on the other hand, people have the space and luxury of growing their own vegetables. They also have easy access to “gawthi” or organic produce growing nearby, which is also cheaper than GMO (genetically modified) vegetables due to lower investment on growth and size boosters. Hence, when you eat a meal in a rural home or a dhaba, they taste distinctly different, fresh and pronounced in flavours other than garlic.

In a city like Mumbai, it is a challenge to buy “gawthi” produce at affordable prices, let alone grow your own vegetables. There are a few tricks and tips however, that can help grow a few vegetables at your window.

6 Ways you can Grow-Your-Own Food

  1. You can easily grow smaller plants like chillies, tomatoes and even bell peppers at your window garden. You can simply dry and use the leftover seeds of these vegetables before they are refrigerated. These vegetables grow easily, and also fruit quickly.
  2. It is a good idea to plant any type of beans in the soil before planting any other kind of vegetable. Beans make the soil fertile and nitrogen-rich, which will aid in growing other vegetables better.
  3. Coriander, methi and mustard among other herbs are easy to plant. The fresh herbs are ready to use in just a couple of weeks. What’s more? Most Indian households store coriander seeds, methi seeds and mustard seeds in their spice box. As long as they are not roasted, they can simply be planted on damp cotton.
  4. When planting beans, it is good idea to soak them overnight, then tie the soaked beans in a damp cloth until they sprout. Once they sprout, they can be planted in damp cotton or directly in soil.
  5. Keep a larger pot with some soil aside at your window. Throw in fruit or vegetable peels, even egg shells in this pot. The soil should remain damp. In four to six weeks, this soil and other contents can be used as manure for your vegetable plants.
  6. I simply bury leftover fruit and vegetable peels in my full-grown vegetable plants. This nourishes the plant with no extra effort.

There is a strange sense of satisfaction in plucking a few fresh coriander leaves and tearing them into a freshly made, piping hot bowl of dal and teaming it up with a side salad of freshly picked homegrown heirloom tomatoes. It is a feeling that can hardly be described but only experienced. If you too feel that vegetables don’t taste the same any more and have ideas to make a difference in home cooking. Do share your views in the comments below.





















Handmade Pasta Over Round Chapatis: Is the Art of Cooking Dying in Our Mom’s Kitchen?

It was only last week when I was trying to make Punjabi kadhi that I realized I know nothing about my mom’s cooking. I had to call her to understand step by step how she goes about making that slightly tangy kadhi with a perfect balance of hing and chilli, and those light-as-air pakoris floating in it.


It is interesting to see how much pride we take in making that perfect handmade pasta when only a few of us can pull off that perfectly round roti for dinner. I realize that it is far easier to simply boil pasta and toss it in tomatoes but today I look forward to learning and saving my mother’s recipes.


If you have ever missed that warmth of mom’s cooking after you left from home for further studies. If you have ever searched for that crispy paratha or hot phulkas with aloo ki sabzi in a land far, far away from home then you know what I’m talking about.


I learnt how to grill, sauté and toss. I even learnt how to make a perfect lump-free white sauce and slicing 10 kg onions evenly in cooking school. Amusingly, what I forgot to learn in the process was how to make my mom’s matar paneer and chhole bhature! It is one of those things, which we assume that we already know how to make. Sometimes when it is easily available on every special occasion we start taking mom’s matar-paneer for granted. You see, karele ki sabzi and lauki that we frown upon is not exactly like the delectable selection that nearby restaurants have on offer but it is really an art to cook them right.


In fact my mother is keener on learning than I am. When I first worked in an Indian specialty restaurant I taught her all the restaurant-style gravies but I am still learning how she makes her Dal ki kachori. My mother knows less than my dadi and nani, and I don’t even have half the knowledge that she has. There were so many difficult skills that are mothers and grandmothers used to have. They had knowledge about nutrition, medicinal properties of our spices and herbs and also knew the importance of eating as per the season.


In this age of nutritionists, health experts and Google we take the longer route in understanding what to eat. Instead of learning from mom, we learn from our nutrition expert and do exactly what mom already recommended. Nutritionist says, “go for flour with more fibre”, mom said to always grind your wheat in a chakki for that coarse fibrous flour. Nutritionist says, “eat karela is good for you”, mom would always have all those boring “good” vegetables on the menu.


Not just in the nutrition department even our restaurant Chefs are learning from their mom’s and our moms. One of my mentor Chefs who is among the top Indian Chefs in the country still consults his mother when he wants to get a cooking experiment or a complex dosa batter proportion right. It is not only him but also so many other Chefs who are coached by their mothers for a skill like making the perfect handmade murrukkus.


You see, India has so much skill and so many interesting handmade delicacies that are slowly dying out as the generations pass because we don’t have the patience to learn at home. The culinary world searches for and invents techniques everyday to add variety and to introduce new dishes to the world. In a culinary world of rediscovery it is important to go back to our moms and acquire the skill to make a full-blown puri or a rice paper sheet or bamboo rice even before we attend that handmade pasta-making workshop, else soon these might become another lost art in our culinary manuscripts.

Reaching For The Michelin Star; How to Cook Like these 10 Michelin Starred Indian Restaurants

A decade ago, you and I had no idea what a Michelin starred restaurant was, and honestly I did not even care. We were happy with our good old Dal Makhani and Chicken Tikka Masala serving restaurants in the neighbourhood, and what Mrs. Sharma or Mrs. Verma said would decide the next weekends dinner plan. As a child I understood that eating at a restaurant in a luxury 5 star Hotel was, and has been a big deal, people would also get excited to eat in dimpled Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s restaurants in smaller towns across India. In Mumbai, Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra was among the first few Indian restaurants that were identified by the name of the Chef, until two years ago.

I think the first time my mother ever heard the word Michelin star must’ve been during the introduction of Chef Vikas Khanna in Masterchef India. He became a household name in India and after that other Chefs who have earned this honour slowly started becoming popular. Now Indian Chefs like Vikas Khanna or Vineet Bhatia have entered our living rooms & TV sets. We are now getting to know more about them and the concept of a Michelin Star restaurant.

So, What is a Michelin Star?

Michelin is in fact a tire company! The Michelin star was introduced over a hundred years ago as a guide to encourage road trips in France. At the time, one Michelin star meant that it was safe to eat in that place without having to take digestion pills, two Michelin stars meant it was a good place to eat at, if you were passing by and three Michelin stars meant that the place was so good, “it’s worth adding an 20 extra miles to your trip and take a diversion for it”.

Now, the Michelin Star inspectors and the criteria restaurants must fill is a big hush! Hush! Thing. Michelin Inspectors are the he-who-must-not-be-named people of the restaurant industry around the world, they have a set of rules and framework that they work within. There are few selected cities around the world that come under the Michelin radar, while Shanghai and HongKong are in the Michelin radar, restaurants in India are yet to make their place.

Indian Restaurants Around The World That Have Earned a Michelin Star.

Restaurants in India might not have made a mark in the Michelin world yet but Indian restaurants studded across the globe certainly have. Here are 10 restaurants from around the world that have earned a Michelin star for their Indian Food.

United Kingdom


In 2001, under Chef Aul Kochhar Tamarind earned its first Michelin star. Tamarind has maintained its Michelin star, now under Chef Alfred Prasad who features traditional Moghul Cuisine and tandoor cooking along with contemporary creations.

Some specialities the Tamarind selection carries.


A fine Indian fine-dining restaurant since 2003, Benaras earned its Michelin star after four years in 2007. Chef Atul Kochhar’s Benaras restaurant features traditional preparations from his motherland with a modern twist. I’ve been to Benaras a few years ago for an interview I had conducted with Chef Atul Kochhar. I still have pictures and glimpses of that menu which featured venison and quail delicacies, otherwise unheard of on an Indian restaurant menu.

Here are few dishes they feature.


When it comes to Indian food, Chef Vineet Bhatia is Midas. Everything he touches turns to Michelin! Rasoi in Chelsea has held a Michelin star since 2009. The items that feature are Global Indian, such as a Stilton lamb tikki and goat cheese samosa.

Here are some Rasoi delicacies.


After nine years of hard work, Chef Sriram Aylur earned the first Michelin star for Quilon in 2008 which features western coastal food from Kerala and Goa.

Check out some great dishes


Is an Indian grill with Tapas-Style food by Chef Karunesh Khanna, it has held a Michelin star since 2006.

Have a look at what they serve!

Lobster at Amaya

Lobster at Amaya


This sister of the Mumbai seafood restaurant Trishna, that has patrons from around the world, earned its Michelin star under Chef Karam Sethi who was earlier working in Rasoi. The famous King crab among other delicacies are worth a mention.


Earned a Michelin star in 2001, when Vineet Bhatia was Head Chef here for producing dishes that changed the perception of Indian food globally.

New York


Chef Vikas Khanna’s restaurant Junoon earned a Michelin star for the third time in a row. While this Masterchef India’s adorable and humble judge (P.S. for him I would work on that show again for free!) needs no further introduction, he has won accolades for his books and research on Indian cuisine. He also earned the oppurtunity to prepare an Indian feast for US President Barack Obama.

Have a Look at what earns a Restaurant a Michelin Star


An Indian menu created by Chef Hemant Mathur features street food as well as Tandoori cooking. See what they serve.



You might have realised by now that every restayrat that is touched by Vineet Bhatia gets a Michelin star. Well, here is another feather in his hat. Rasoi in Geneva also earned its Michelin star soon after it opened it’s golden gate. Well, what should I say, some Chefs just know how to cook to impress!

How to Cook like a Michelin Starred Indian Restaurant? Changing the Perception

Know Where to Stop; Masala is not Master

There are Curry Houses across London and around the rest of the world that serve run-of-the-mill Indian food. Chef Atul Kochhar said in an interview I conducted few years ago, that people don’t understand the use of spices and flavours in Indian food. In a Chicken Tikka Masala they add tomato chutney and coconut milk, they don’t know where to stop. The flavour of the ingredient itself should not be masked by the loud masala which is heavily loaded with spices. The flavours should be clean and balanced.

Importance of Presentation

The pictures you have seen must have made it evident that the food presentation should adhere to global standards of food presentation.  Colours should be clean, the layout neat and the assembly creative.

Out of the Box Dishes & Ideas 

Creativity and imagination in adding that X-factor to the food is of utmost importance. Modern techniques are often used to re-create Indian classics. The different elements of flavours and texture come together on the plate and distinct flavour of the elements are well pronounced.

Food from Michelin Star Indian restaurants is inspiring. In an Exclusive ‘Q n A’ with Mr. Zorawar Kalra, Managing Director and Founder of Massive Restaurants, he talks about Indian Cuisine Version 2.0 and how he would like to earn a Michelin Star for his new brand Masala Library. Read on to know his aims and strategy as he journeys forward towards a Michelin Star. Will the food of Masala Library match up to Michelin Starred Indian restaurants around the world.

Zorawar Kalra

Zorawar Kalra


1)     Why did you decide to go with an unconventional way of presenting      Indian food?

  1.      Indian food has been represented the same way for decades now. When you      visit any Indian restaurant across the country or even most of the renowned addresses internationally, you expect to see the food served exactly the same way like it has been for years now.
  2. Our intent with Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra is to take Indian cuisine to the next level, which we have termed as Indian Cuisine – Version 2.0 and showcase it in a more international manner, while retaining the traditional flavours and method of preparation, yet adding a sense of surprise for the diner into the fray.

2)     How do you plan on taking this concept further.

  1. After launching Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra in Mumbai last week, we plan to have one in Delhi as well.

    Our aim is to get a Michelin star and hence would be looking at some international locations in the coming year.

3)     Do you think it will be well received by Indians who have developed a comfort zone with the way their food is presented?

  1. Like I said earlier, Indian food has been represented the same way for decades and it is time for us to take it to the next level. It is our cuisine, which has a rich heritage, and we are extremely proud of it. It is up to us to present it in the right manner to the rest of the world including our own patrons; no outsider is going to come to do that.

It’s just been a few days since the launch and we have received extraordinary feedback from all, the guests, media, food enthusiasts and connoisseurs, and we are absolutely confident that this is going to continue for a long time.

4)     What is the one dish your Chef is most confident about in your menu?

  1. We have spent over 8 months in working on the nuances of every single dish listed on the menu at Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra. It will be very difficult to pick out one dish from the menu. We are extremely confident that all the dishes on offer are going to bring in a unique culinary experience for our guests.

5)     Could you please mail me a copy of your menu card and the list of dishes that were featured yesterday?

  1. The list of the dishes served at the Indian Food Bloggers Awards 2013 preview party last week is listed below. (Find at the Bottom of this Article).

6)     Also, I wanted to check with you if some of these dishes like the duck or lamb are also available in larger portions, and if they are then are they are always served like a canapé?

  1. The dishes served at the Indian Food Bloggers Awards 2013 preview party were all specifically done as bite size portions for the evening. In actuality, all the dishes are served in larger portions, including the Duck and Lamb, however in case of the Lamb, we serve Lamb shanks instead of Lamb boti which was served during the course of the evening. We also have Lamb boti served with the Galawat Kebab

Although there are other grading systems for restaurants around the world, such as Hatted restaurants in Australia, since Indian food has earned a name in the Michelin world, diners tend to identify more with the pride that comes from earning a Michelin. It is believed that Michelin inspectors are only a handful  and Indian cities have still not come in the radar. There has been a little progress with the Mumbai based seafood restaurant Trishna earning a Michelin star for its London based counterpart but there is still a long way to go for Indian Restaurants. I’m just going to keep my fingers crossed, hoping that one of our favourite restaurants manages to catch the attention of the star watchers real soon!


Masala Library Canapé menu


Indian Food Bloggers Awards 2013 Preview Party


maska bun

pesto kabab, tandoori tomato, parmesan papad

yogurt spheres, papdi chaat

chole kulcha, chukki mirch, carrot pickle

sarson ka saag quesadilla, butter milk cream

kadhai paneer tarts, san marzano makhni

papad sampler

corn and fenugreek kulcha, sunflower seeds

guchchi naan, truffle oil

Non vegetarian

duck khurchan, chilli hoisin tarts

chettinad prawns, roasted coconut flakes

chicken tikka, hickory wood smoke, habanero raita

boti kabab tacos, blue cheese cream

soft shell crab 65, cherry tomato chutney

anda kulcha

prawn balchao kulcha, ‘xo’ butter


jalebi caviar, saffron glaze, pistachio rabri

ghewar mithai cheesecake

masala library lollipops – mishti doi

paan pasand candy floss



Interesting Reads on Michelin Star Restaurants

What Does it Take to Earn a Michelin Star? – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/quora/what-does-it-take-to-earn_b_2204599.html

How To Get a Michelin Star – http://www.hindustantimes.com/Entertainment/Food/How-to-get-a-Michelin-star/Article1-494741.aspx

Missing Michelin in India – http://www.financialexpress.com/news/missing-michelin-in-india/746577

Rasoi, Vineet Bhatia, London – http://www.viamichelin.com/web/Gastronomy-magazine/London-_-Rasoi_Vineet_Bhatia_London-b2a05ca46fb8c8b84b0ffaa9e7a6b31b-155291

Indian Michelin Star Chefs – http://www.greatbritishchefs.com/articles/restaurant-guides/indian-michelin-star-chefs

Greedy-licious Eating In & Eating Out for Less than Hundred Rupees; Budget Weekend

It is easy to find food for a hundred rupees in India. Just scout the roads, get right in the middle of the hustle bustle of the city. You will find everything from kebabs, biryanis, Baida Rolls (Egg Rolls), Pav Bhaji, Idlis & Dosas to Rasta Chinese, all in hundred bucks. Now, it is slowly getting tougher to find food for hundred bucks. This is an expensive time and quality of food for a hundred bucks is not always a surety, especially non-vegetarian food. Here are some recipes you can try with the hygiene standards maintained at home. There are also a few place in Mumbai and Pune that have built trust in terms of quality of food and its affordability. Having said that, it is better to choose wisely when buying in a tight budget, it is often smart to buy vegetarian or pay more and go for good quality non-veggie food. After all in try to cut cost you don’t want to fall sick, right?


Eating In for Under 100


Chicken Fried Rice = Boneless Chicken Cubes + chopped Spring Onion + Garlic + Ginger + undercooked Rice, kept in the freezer for 20 minutes #Foodmantra + Dried Prawns + salt + pepper + Herb Oil


‪#Under100 Dessert Ravioli = Flour + Water + grated Pumpkin + Cinnamon = filling Star Anise flavoured honey syrup for the sauce.


‪#Under100 Lemon Ravioli = Flour + water + Lemon Rind + Homemade Paneer + salt filling in Sage + Browned Butter Sauce


‪#Under100 Dum Aloo = Small Potatoes + Red Chili Paste + Ginger + Tejpatta + Jeera + Saunf + Badi Elaichi + Cloves + Hung Curd + Cinnamon + salt


‪#Under100 PavBhaji = Pav + potato + tomato + cauliflower + capsicum + peas + Red Chili + Pav Bhaji Masala + Garam Masala + 1/2 ‪#Onion 😀


‪#Under100 Chicken Masala = Chicken + garlic + ginger + Green Chili + Whole Garam Masala + Dried Coconut + coriander leaves +1 ‪#onion (Expensive Onion!) with rice


Chicken Curry

Chicken Curry

‪#Under100 Gnocchi = potato + flour + salt. For Asian Pesto Sauce you need basil + garlic + cheese + cream + peanuts See process here for Gnocchi. ‪https://foodmantras.wordpress.com/2011/07/07/a-box-full-of-leftover-basil-and-the-moving-tale-of-two-old-potatoes/ …


‪#Under100 Stir Fried Noodles = Noodles + salt + green Garlic + mushrooms + Sponge Gourd + Broad Beans + Red Chili / Chili Paste + Terphal


‪#Under100 Meal, a delectable dish is Sarson Saag and Makki Roti or any saag that you can prepare with spinach, dill, bathua, onion & garlic greens at this time of the year. See recipe here, ‪https://foodmantras.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/makke-ki-roti-sarson-ka-saag-winters-just-got-better/ …


Sarson Ka Saag Makki Ki Roti

Sarson Ka Saag Makki Ki Roti

‪#Under100 Gatte Ki Sabzi = Gram Flour + Water + Turmeric + salt for making the gatta. Bay Leaf + Cumin + Chili + Curd + coriander powder + turmeric for ‪the #curry ‪https://foodmantras.wordpress.com/2011/07/15/rajasthani-thali/ …


Many ‪#Rajasthani Dishes like papad ki sabzi, kadhi, gatte ki sabzi & dal can be made for ‪#Under100 meals.

Rajasthai Thali

Rajasthai Thali

Eating Out for Under 100


Other ‪#under100 meals Make-At-Home or at a thela at midnight ‪#BhurjiPav (I can literally picture myself sitting on the bonnet  of the car on an empty road at midnight having bhurjee pav) or even Pav Bhaji is my favourite!


‪#Under100 meals are available in ‪#Mumbai or ‪#Pune Irani Restaurants. My personal is favourite drool worthy, salivate like a dog ‪#KeemaPav Spicy food ki kasam!


‪#Under100 Meals at Aswad ‪in Dadar, Mumbai include Thalipeeth, Sabudana wadas, khichadi, Pithla-Bhakar for the ‪Marathi Food patron.


For the Love of Food you must go for ‪#Under100 Meals at Goodluck Cafe in ‪Pune. Try their Mutton ‪keema , Egg Biryani or Egg Curry with Rumali Roti. Lip smackingly, greedylicious food.


 Other Posts in the Budget Series

Cutting the #Onion out in 10 Curry Recipes, Onion Jokes and More http://wp.me/p2IYlK-g8  Experiment and enjoy!! #onionfreecurry #currys

All tips & tricks on #BudgetKitchen I tweeted on #MantraAt3 last few days are on this post for you. #Rupee #economy https://foodmantras.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/with-9-guidelines-for-an-indian-budget-kitchen-get-unlimited-laughter-free/ …

With 9 Guidelines for an Indian Budget Kitchen, Get Unlimited Laughter Free

Don’t you wish salaries were increasing at the same speed at which the ‪Rupee is falling? I bet you are facing the same problem that I am facing, cutting down on the amount we spend in the kitchen every month. If you have been reading my tweets on #MantraAt3 everyday at 3pm then you must have read the tips I’ve been sharing. You’ll be surprised how smart buying, storage & smart cooking can effectively cut cost without pinching your great taste. Don’t get intimidated reading about the price hike in the newspaper everyday. Put on your thinking cap and pull out these Budget Kitchen tricks. It will become a fun game, I promise.

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Now the real big question is, will ‪Rupee jokes take over from ‪Rajnikant and ‪CID jokes? Some of the jokes on twitter are really giving Rajnikant competition take a look.

@papacj: Disneyland is opening a new ride in which you free fall from a great height in just a few seconds. They’re calling the ride ‘The Indian Rupee’!

‪@fakingnews :BREAKING: Prime Minister’s US trip cancelled as there are not enough dollars

‪@coolfunnytshirt: Next episode of Crime Patrol may show How UPA forced ‪#Rupee to commit suicide.

@coolfunnytshirt: Agle janam mohe dollar he kijjo – Rupee

Ramesh Srivats on Twitter: Everyday a new record. Truly the Sergei Bubka of currencies.


Budget Buying

Guideline no. 1 – Choose local

1) Choose local, grown fresh seasonal fruits and veggies in place of bottled preserves for  a ‪BudgetKitchen.

2) Go for Local Brands such as TATA or ITC for food products in the kitchen shelf over foreign brands.

3) Use Sponge Gourd / Taroi in place of expensive veggies like ‪zucchini, with similar flavour & texture it is available at a lower price.

4) Drop that imported ‘Branded’, expensive apple & instead buy organic, local fruits from our orchards. ‪@ShopforChange

5) Go local this season, buy local Apples, Pomegranate, Jamun and Bananas instead of Rambutan n Kiwis from the shelf.

6) Drop that high priced arborio rice packect & cook up barley ‪#risotto instead. Barley is grown in India, easily available & cheaper. ‪#BudgetKitchen ‪#MantraAt3

7) You’ll be surprised how easy it is to replace fancy & expensive ingredients with cheaper substitutes in International Cooking.

8) Pricey polenta in this plate can be replaced with sooji /rawa / Semolina flavoured with herbs.  ‪#BudgetKitchen

Polenta Dish

Polenta Dish

9) No need to sell my kidney to buy Couscous here. Replace it with coarse makke-ka-atta/ cornmeal or even wheat daliya.

10) Basa, competitior of Indian fish & is more expensive than Bekti. It belongs to the same family as Pangashis from ‪#Bengal sold whole, which you can opt for instead of Basa.

11) Indian farmed Basa is also pricey, so why not experiment with the wide variety of Indian fresh water fish like Rohu & other seafood varieties?

Guideline No. 2 – Grow Your Own

12) Plant the stalk with the seeds next time you cut a fresh red bell pepper. Grow it in pots at home or at your windowsill instead of buying it.

13) Freeze in ‪Olive Oil or grow your own but there’s no point wasting that pack of parsley or sage or oregano which you’ve bought & used only once.

Guideline No. 3 – Make Your Own

‪14)  Thai ‪Curry paste or other imported ready pastes are more in price & less in freshness. Make these pastes it over a weekend ‪in the BudgetKitchen.

Green Thai Curry

Green Thai Curry

Here’s ‪#HowtoMake your own ‪Thai Curry paste at home on a weekend ‪https://foodmantras.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/love-green-thai-curry-kaeng-kheiyw-hwan-thiy-making-the-paste-at-home/ …

15) Find your nearest chakki & get that wheat, jowar or bajra freshly ground at a lower cost. This flour is also more fibrous.

16) Drink the ‪whey ‪protein in the liquid after making paneer & save yourself the trouble of buying protein shakes.

17) Make Ricotta cheese at home, instead of buying the expensive pack. I think ‪@caramelwings has a recipe for that.

Guideline No. 4 – Smart Buys

18) Go to the bakery after 9pm. Before closing time most bakeries go on a half off policy. Goods are still fresh, but cheaper.

19) Us women have a third eye for SALE. Pick up only what you need & store in airtight boxes. Plan a menu around those sale items.

20) Go for loose ‪eggs or desi anda over branded. Desi anda is equally good or even better at times & cheaper always.

21) Buy in bulk and stock up longer shelf life items like flour, salt for two months.  Draw a weekly budget, plan a menu & shop only what you need, accordingly.

22) Shop small quantity of perishable items often. When it comes to dairy, green leafy etc, you can avoid wastage if you don’t happen to use them.

23) It is ‪oil not ‪diamond honey! Expensive is not always better. Buy the cheaper variety of items like olive oil or canola oil. ‪ Bikaner is now coming up with Indian manufactures Olive Oil which will turn out to be cheaper than imported olive oils.


Budget Cooking

Guideline No. 5 – Avoid Wastage

24) Complete all Mis en place that is pre-prep before you start cooking to save fuel & that extra ‪gas cylinder cost.

25) Use veggies with high yield & low wastage, such as variety of green beans, cabbage, and potatoes.

26) My nutritionist tells me that the green part of cauliflower, which we usually discard, is rich in Vitamin C & dietary fibres. Use it in cooking, either add it to the cauliflower preparation or add mix with mashed potato for a patty.

27) Don’t throw away stale bread instead use it for crumbing & frying. Grind the bread & store in an air-tight container in the freezer.

Guideline No. 6 – Using Leftovers

28) Reduce leftover vegetable curry with spices like bhuna jeera, chili & meat masalas mix it with mashed potato for delicious vegetable Seekh Kebabs.

29) My ex-boss, a ‪#Sindhi couldn’t stop praising the Sel Masala Roti made with leftover chapattis. Have you tried it? Here is a recipe to use leftover roti in a snack.

To make Sel Roti ; Garlic + onion + tomato + rotis + green chili + coriander powder + chili powder + garam masala + salt + coriander leaves + Amchur

To give ‪#Sindhi SelRoti a little twist squeeze lemon juice instead of Amchur & add in crushed papad for crunch.

30) Make lunchbox sandwiches with last night’s leftover salad. Mix the salad with flavoured hung curd to hold it as a filling.

Guideline No. 7 – Cooking Local

31) Ragi cooked in milk, sattu or wheat daliya are few desi breakfast preparations that can replace your packaged cornflakes in a ‪BudgetKitchen.

32) Get creative, use Indian local veggies like brinjals, taroi, corn, along with locally made mozzarella for your pizza in ‪#BudgetKitchen.

33) Go for Mexican/Italian/Spanish cuisines you can make with Indian grocery ingredients over Japanese / Scandanavian.

34) Dedicate ‪Rupee low time to Indian Food. Indian recipes like dal, curry & veggie preparations save cost. Add a creative twist with herbs.

Indian Food

Indian Food

Guideline No. 8 – Cook Smart

35) Guests at home? Go for Dum Aloo instead of Matar Paneer. maida naan over Puris for a good tasting & a low budget meal.

36) Cook for large portions this festive season. Choose cheaper ingredients for bulk like potato, cauliflower then play with masalas. Add flavor with spices, they are used meagerly but lend great taste to the food.

37) Kaam-choriness, thanks to Ready Cut Veggies, Browned Onions available in the market. Let’s not catch rust in front of the TV. Brush-up your skills and do the cutting, chopping at home. This also retains the nutrition in veggies.



Proper Storage

Guideline No. 9 – Store Right, Reduce Spoilage

38) Invest in Air-Tight Containers and zip-lock bags to increase the shelf life of food items.

39) Cling Wrap is God-sent when it comes to preventing food spoilage and wastage. Use cling wrap keep dough soft and the odour of strong smelling foods catching on to other stuff in the fridge.

40) Another Ande ka Funda is to use old ‪eggs for cakes & store new eggs in the fridge to keep them fresh longer.


Useful News: Tehelka ‏‪@Tehelka

10 ways the ‪#Rupee fall affects you | ‪http://bit.ly/15gfALg