Easy Cooking ideas for Singles
This is one of my first posts on the series of cooking ideas for singles. After all these years cooking just for myself, is becoming a chore
rather than a passion. These days more and more of us live alone, either through choice or circumstances. Solo cooking needs motivation especially after a long day at work and coming up with recipes for one person can seem like a chore, even if you are an expert cook.
I remember my childhood as one big happy family of 15 and food was always cooked in huge pots and pans. I learnt to cook in a large quantity and when I got married into a family of six too, the cooking was more or less the same. Once I had kids and moved out and cooking for four, I had to buy small cookware and cook small portions.
Once the kids left for school and husband to the office with their lunch-boxes, I would not feel like having lunch alone; but then got used to it. As the years went by, the kids grew up; my husband and son were total foodies and kept me busy in the kitchen. Once my son left for university, it was just the three of us. A couple of years later my husband left me for his heavenly abode.
My daughter,(a picky eater) and I were left and the cooking became quite simple indeed and once she left for Univ, it was a very difficult time for me. I love cooking and feeding my family but cooking for me is such a difficult task. I try to keep myself motivated in all other areas but I rarely end up cooking an exotic dish for myself. It seemed spending time making a dish that requires pots and pans is not worth it when you’re dining alone. It doesn’t have to mean heating up a can of soup or a packet of ready to cook either. Takeout, fast food, or sandwiches may be the easy option when you’re dining alone, but eating like this on a regular basis can lead to serious health issues. When you prepare your own meals, you can keep a tab on what’s going in them.
The best thing about cooking for one is you don’t have to please anyone but you, and you don’t have to share those yummy treats. This afternoon, I was a little rushed for time and it was already lunch time. I went into the kitchen, without a thought to what I was going to cook. I needed a wholesome meal as soon as possible. I opened the refrigerator and realised that there were hardly any vegetables. I forgot to mention that I am an Ovo-vegetarian. I saw some green peas and corn and decided to cook a vegetable pulao. Vegetable pulao is an Indian rice dish prepared by cooking rice with spices and vegetables. The ingredients may look daunting but the cooking is not.
1 Big Cup Normal Rice (Basmati if you want to)
4 green cardamoms
1” cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 spoon olive oil
1 onion thinly sliced
2 star anise
1 potato cubed
1 small cup green peas
1 small cup corn kernels
2 green chillies
Few leaves of fresh mint and coriander.
Salt to taste
1 tsp pepper powder
2 cups water
Wash the rice and soak it. Take a pan, add the olive oil (if you are not counting your calories then use ghee or butter) now add all the spices, saute and add the onions and green chillies. Once onions turn pink, add the potato cubes, peas and corn, sauté and add the mint and coriander leaves. Add salt to taste and a little black pepper powder. Add the soaked rice and sauté for a couple of minutes. Switch on the rice cooker and transfer the contents of the pan into it. Add 2 cups water and let it cook.
The uniqueness of this recipe lies in the blend of the colours of the peas, corn, bay leaves, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, fresh mint and coriander which give out an aromatic fragrance that has you salivating. After switching on the rice cooker, I went about making a “raita” which is a usual accompaniment to pulao along with pickle and papad. Raita is an Indian side dish – made with yoghurt together with raw or cooked vegetables or in the case of boondi raita which I made, with fried droplets of batter made from besan (chickpea flour). The raita is like a dip and has a cooling effect to counter spicy biryanis and curries which are main dishes in Indian cuisine.
2 tablespoons boondi soaked for 5 minutes
1 cup yoghurt
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves to garnish
Pinch of pepper, cumin seed powder, and black salt, salt and red chilli powder.
Beat the yoghurt with a fork, squeeze the water from the boondi and add to the beaten yoghurt. Add the salt and sugar. Sprinkle the pepper, cumin seed powder, and black salt, salt and red chilli powder, garnish with the fresh coriander leaves and serve with the heavenly smelling rice pulao.
Do let me know if you like my easy cooking idea for singles.