Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cooking in a Jiffy - Green Beans Koottu

With cooking time reduced to an hour or less, I have started looking for innovative ways to cut down the cooking time. A friend of ours from Ames was visiting us and we had a mini get together talking about good old grad school days. As usual the talk veered towards cooking and we were reminiscing those simpler grad school days, living with room mates, taking turns to cook where one ended up cooking for just once or twice a week. Now that we have all moved on to the next phase in life, living with significant others or living all alone, working 8-10 hours a day, cooking on an everyday basis is getting harder. But I guess each one of us has tried out different things and have finally managed to devise our own ways to tackle this day-to-day problem.
Eating out is a very simple alternative but may not be good for health or for the wallet. Cooking 4 different dishes or so on Sundays, as one of my friends does eliminates the need to cook over most part of the week. Yet another way to minimize cooking time is to partially cook and freeze the dish for use over the week. And this is my way of saving cooking time on weekdays. In fact I try to make substantial amounts of masala for different dishes, portion control it and store in the freezer. This way, a major part of my cooking is taken care of and it hardly takes 15-20 to mix the masala with veggies or lentils to make an entire dish.

Heads up: Time saving tips

  • Grind coconut, jeera, peppercorn and green chillies ahead of time and pop the ground mixture in the freezer. This stays good for 2-3 weeks. Increase the amount of ingredients to four fold (or as per your need), grind it all at once, portion it into 4 different containers and use it on 4 different days.
  • Beans is just one of the veggies that I had on hand. Feel free to substitute it with cabbage, greens, carrot & peas or just about any vegetable.


2 cups chopped green beans (1/2" long pieces)

1 cup moong dal

1/4 cup toor dal

One large pinch of turmeric.

To grind: (This part can be done ahead of time and the masala stays good in the freezer for 3-4 weeks)

1/2 cup shredded coconut

2 tsp jeera

2 green chillies
5-7 peppercorns

For tadka:

2 tsp oil

1 tsp channa dal

2 tsp split urad dal

2 tsp jeera

1 tsp mustard

A few pinch hing

Few curry leaves

cilantro for garnish.

  1. Boil green beans and dal until well cooked, about 20 min.
  2. Soak all the ingredients listed under 'to grind" for 15 min and then grind well to a smooth paste.
  3. Add the ground mixture to boiled dal and beans.
  4. Let this mixture boil for 15 min.
  5. In a small kadai heat 3 tsp oil, add all the ingredients for tadka.
  6. Add the tadka to the boiling mixture and let it boil for 2 more min.
  7. Garnish with cilantro (optional).
  8. Goes well with rice or roti.
Isn't that simple....

And this is my entry to "WYF: Colour in Food" event hosted by Simple Indian Food blog.


easycrafts said...

Simple and tasty side dish...I too make beans kootu but with a different masala...thanks for participating

Rajee said...

Thanks EC !!

Usha said...

Very useful tip,I have rarely frozen the ground mixture for the koottu ahead of time. You have a very nice blog here,good variety of recipes.
Thanks for dropping by mine earlier today too :)

dolby said...

Ooops.. Believe me... Here in Finland in my bachelor paradise (rather den) the things we (I) did in shortest time were...

1, Parrupu urundai kolambu
2, Vadai
3, Raitha
4, Salad
5, Vengaya chutney
6, Rice
7, Thalichu kottina thayir satham

Now guess how time it would have taken!

Rajee said...

That looks like a yummy feast, Dolby :-) Worth the time.......

Kitchen Flavours said...

Wow something new for me to try out. First time here u have a nice blog.

Rajee said...

Thank you Kitchen Flavours...Do visit often :-)