Curry in a Hurry, Part Two

As mentioned in my previous post, The Plenty Method helps you whip up sumptuous meals on a moment’s notice. I call these “quick plates”. The idea is to stock a pantry with a plentiful yet simple collection of scratch ingredients called “Master Ingredients.” Then, develop a repertoire of “un-recipe recipes” that reduce the time it takes to get food on the table. This way, you’ll always have great food on hand and you’ll know what to do with it. Which makes the question “what to eat” much easier to answer and the statement “there’s nothing to eat” non-existent.

Over the years I’ve developed some short cuts to expedite time spent in the kitchen. The curry described in the previous post is more flavorful with a little garlic and ginger added. But peeling and chopping those takes precious time, time you may not want to spend. Plus, you may not always have those ingredients on hand. What to do about this dilemma? Freeze it! Here’s how:

Start by buying a couple of pounds each of garlic and/or ginger. Then, peel and coarsely chop it and drop it in a blender or a food-processor. Blend until it becomes a smooth paste then add a little  vegetable oil so that it binds together and becomes spreadable. Using a spatula,  put the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze for a day or two. Then, thaw until the cubes are loose enough to be scooped out with a small knife (I find a butter knife with a rounded edge works best). Place them on a cookie sheet and re-freeze. Then place in a plastic container with an airtight lid. I cut the cubes in half and put waxed or parchment paper in between the layers. You don’t have to thaw these out before using. Just chop them up a bit and use them as if they were fresh.

You can do this with lemon juice, whipping cream or fresh herbs. Having these “flavor cubes” on hand gives you the ability to up-level your cooking from good to great with minimal effort. Easy “un-recipes” make cooking a lot more pleasurable, too!

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