High Speed Recipes



First, a description of what it takes to qualify as a Speedy Recipe.

        A Speedy Recipe describes a meal or dish that can be slapped together quickly so that one can eat within 20 mins of staggering in through the front door.

        The recipe should be resilient to the unavailability of critical ingredients.  I mean, if I am forced to go grocery shopping before I can cook, I might as well take out from the local Chinese joint.

        The after-the-meal clean up should be minimal.  There should be an economy of utensils.  Who wants to wash dishes when one can be chatting on the phone instead.

        Lastly, the results should be somewhat exotic, so as to impress the occasional guest.  A word of caution, don't brag about your cooking if you invite a couple.  The male is easily impressed and tends to direct his spouse to learn the recipe, whereupon the female gets crabby and the evening goes downhill from there.

Rapid Rava Dosai

I get a kick out of reciting this recipe to my American friends.  It really grosses them out. It starts with Cream of Wheat, which many Americans hated eating for breakfast when they were kids.  Then, you tell them to throw in an onion.  Yeew.   By the time you get to the buttermilk, you have lost them (and your credibility and perhaps someone's lunch) for good.  Anyway, it goes over well with Desis.

1.     1 cup Cream of Wheat (COW).  AKA Rava.  Preferably the 2.5 min variety from a grocery store.

2.     1 yellow onion, chopped.

3.     1 tomato, chopped.

4.     ~ 4 little green chillies, destemmed, chopped.

5.     Chopped ginger, if you care.

6.     some chopped coriander leaves.

7.     1 cup salted buttermilk.

8.     a bit of oil, to pan fry.

Mix it all up in a bowl till you have a batter like consistency.  Add more buttermilk as necessary.  The COW will absorb buttermilk over time, so you will need to move fast.

Spread oil in a hot non-stick pan.  Spread out the batter to form a pancake about 3/8th inch thick.  Cover and cook for about 3 mins.  Scrape off and flip it over, and cook uncovered for another 3 mins.  (If you cook it covered it will become soggy.)  Cook it longer if you want it more crispy.

Fried Bananas

Try this.  Its really cool.  There is something in the chemistry of bananaite so that it completely changes taste when it is cooked.

1.     3 ripe but firm bananas.  Any more, and you get bored.  Any fewer, itís not quite enough.

2.     bit of butter or margarine

3.     1 tsp sugar

Peel the bananas.  Slice them lengthwise so that they are about 6mm thick and as long as possible.

Warm up a smooth, nonstick frying pan. Spread around some butter like substance.  I just take a hard stick of butter and quickly rub it on the hot pan.  Pan should be hot enough for the butter to sizzle.  Lay out the banana slices on the lubed pan.  Cook for about 3 mins. then turn it over to cook the other side.  Sprinkle a bit of sugar on the banana.  The sugar will caramelize in 3 mins.  Scrape off the stuff and serve.  Goes well with vanilla ice cream.

This recipe needs further development.  While the result tastes pretty good, the presentation sucks.  It doesn't look too good on the plate.  So, if someone has any ideas for improvement, please let me know.

Corriander Chutney

The secret ingredient here is the sugar.  It 'rounds out' the taste.  Bet your mom doesn't know of this trick.

1.     Handfuls of Coriander leaves.  Stems are acceptable, valuable source of roughage.

2.     20 - 30 little green chillies, destemmed.

3.     2 tsp of sugar

4.     2 tsp of salt

5.     Garlic, you need to find your own balance between good taste and bad smell.

6.     Peeled ginger, as much as you have.

7.     ~ 4 tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice

Throw everything into a blender and do it.   Add vinegar or lemon juice if more liquid is required for it to blend into a smooth ketchup-like consistency.  Don't let it get into your eyes.

Suggested usage: Make sandwiches out of white bread with mayonnaise and this chutney.  Goes well at picnics between volleyball games.   By the way, I prefer Hellmann's Light Mayonnaise.  Tastes great, less guilt.

Peanuts and Beer

I think this is a well-accepted North Indian staple at clubs.  But its new and exciting for us southies...

1.     bunch of salted peanuts, a can of Planters is recommended.

2.     1 yellow onion, finely chopped.  Yes, this is probably the only place where the onion needs to be chopped fine.

3.     ~ 4 small green chillies, also finely chopped.

4.     a squirt of lemon juice

5.     pinch of red chilli powder, for that extra kick.

Mix it all up in a bowl.  Goes fast with beer and TV.  But then, almost anything goes well with beer.

Rapid Rasam

This is one of the easier deals.

1.     3 tbsp of MTR Rasam MIX  (not to be confused with MTR Rasam Powder)

2.     Half a can of Stewed Tomatoes.  Italian or Cajun Style preferred.

3.     2 cups of water

4.     Half a tsp of butter or margarine

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and boil till you get through most of today's CNN news (about 15 mins).  If you want to impress someone special who is watching you, throw in a sprig of any leafy foliage you find in your refrigerator.  The leaves will disintegrate quickly and will not significantly affect the taste.  Then, if you want to make a bath out of it, dunk in the rice left over from yesterday's Chinese takeout.  Simmer for 5 more mins.  Ignore the bits of celery in the resulting Rasam.