I am sure just like me; you all have different means of using the left-over food. If not, then perhaps there are times you wish you had clues how to use the left-over dal, left-over sabzis or anything related to our daily Indian cooking.
I have inherited this trait of never wasting food in any possible way or form. Have seen my Ma and my MIL putting the left-over food as some sort of a treasure in refrigerator so that they can consume it next day without wasting the food or "Anna" in Bengali. May be in the due process I tried to imbibe this trait from them. Well, these are sort of trade secrets passed from one generation to other may be. And I am still trying to build up the other possible ways to use up our left-over food.
What do you think a trifle can possibly be? If you have any portion of chocolate cake left and nobody in your home is in great mood to have that final portion of cake anymore. How would you like to use it, if not thinking of eating it all by yourself? Make Chocolate trifles, layer of a cake slice, then a berry fruit filling (which is nothing special- chop up some seasonal berries and make it sweetened with dash of packed brown sugar) then a layer of whipping cream or home-made thick custard and then top it up with chocolate shavings and viola, you are ready with a home-made instant chocolate trifle in just 10 mints to please your family and your guest sweet taste bud.
But this was very western way of utilizing left-over food, when I do talk about left-over food; I mean to say our everyday recipes like a dal, rice, sabzi or chicken pieces, kababs and paneer pieces etc.
From this post onwards, I will try to include more these types of recipes where one can use the left-over food with new innovative ways. I would say this practice of saving starts from the very basic level, you save a penny and that makes a pound one day. So, don’t take things lightly when you can really whip up some great food with whatever you have in your pantry for that particular day. In these days of recession, uncertainties and slow economy anything which you are saving will definitely going to reap benefits someday in future.
There are many occasions when we have left-over rice and is still not used as part of our dinner menu – you can check a recipe utilizing left-over rice Here) I would then meticulously pack it and refrigerate it in the night, so that next day when I make rice again, I can add that portion when the rice is bubbling or ready to be sieved. And I still do cook the rice by sieve the starch/water method, this way more flavor and rice feels very light, except when we crave for pulaos which is a different game here-then the slow/simmer method of cooking.
But I find that there are some times where I don’t know how to use the left-over food in any possible way. I had some left over chicken kababs and a large bowl of cooked masoor dal.This recipe is the outcome of that serious urge never to waste food .This is an amalgamation of some left-over food from our weekend cooking. So, I end up making this dal chicken pulao, a one pot meal for our Monday lunch. I would say this pulao has its very unique flavor due to masoor dal and chicken kababs.
Dal Chicken Rice Pulao/ Pilaf with left -over food
About 1 cup of Tandoori Chicken Kabab or 1 breast fillet or left over portions from this Roasted Baby Chicken
about 1 cup or 1 and a half cup of rice
1 and half cup of cooked masoor dal
Vegetables of your choice- I used green capsicum
1 medium onion
2 large pods of garlic
½ inch of ginger chopped
1 small tomato
2-3 tbs of yogurt
½ tsp of turmeric powder
½ tsp of red pepper powder
1 tsp of garam masala
1 tsp of sugar
2-3 tbs of cooking oil
- (Marinate the chicken pieces with little bit of turmeric, red pepper powder and salt. Leave aside for 10-15 mints.) or you can refer this Roasted Baby Chicken recipe.Well I had made chicken pieces just like this the other day, so used the left-over portions.
- Meanwhile chop all the necessary vegetable for the dal chicken pulao.Clean the rice three-four times in clear water. Soak it up in water not more than 10 mints. Too much soaking in water can break the rice at frying time. Generally I like to soak up the rice at the initial most stage, meanwhile I prepare other things for pulao.It simply makes sufficient time for absorbing the water and then a last wash with water before adding rice for frying up.
- Chop onion, garlic and little bit of ginger.
- Add cooking oil, add in onions, garlic and ginger .Fry well for another 5-6 mints at high.
- Then add the vegetables you wish to add. I had green peas and green capsicum/bell pepper for a nice flavour.Then add in chopped tomato.
- Now add in soaked rice, fry well till the moisture dries up and rice turns out shining. Make sure you don’t break the rice grains while frying.Add in yogurt and all the seasonings.
- Add salt and sugar to adjust the taste.
- Now add 1 and half cup of cooked masoor dal.Here I have used the left-over masoor dal, left from yesterday night meal.
- Add the fried chicken pieces or use the left over kababs or portions left from roasted chicken pieces.You can use grilled portions of chicken breast pieces or paneer/tofu as well.
- Cover and cook at low till all the dal water is absorbed and rice is cooked well. Take off the pot over the flame.
- Let it sit for about 10-12 mints before you start serving. Serve along side some Raita and Salad. A perfect Monday lunch made in easy breezy way.
- Vegetarians can use Paneer/Tofu/ or other vegetables.
Happy Cooking Friends