Sunday, 1 February 2015

Indian freezer cooking menu plan-1( Dal makhani, Green peas kurma, Rajma paalak)

I have adapted 3 of my regular recipes for once a week/ month cooking menu. These are useful when you want to cook in bulk and freeze for later use. As pulses and leafy vegetables freeze well, I cook them into gravies and freeze them. Shift them from the freezer to the refrigerator shelf,  6-8 hrs before you need it.
1. Cook them in your weekend and use them for week day dinners. Or
2. Sometimes I prepare 3 gravies in the weekdays so that I can get the much needed leisure or finish other errands on weekends.

Following this menu plan is easier if you pre-prep your vegetables after the trip to the grocers. Stock up the ingredients and use your food processor to cook this. Wash and cut leafy vegetables, ginger, garlic and freeze in small portions. Also have some boxes of grated coconut, tomato-onion masala and mint-coriander chutney in your freezer. Just by adding these in your preparations you can create a completely new serving.

Cook the beans in the pressure cooker or use canned precooked kidney beans. Make 1 batch of tomato-onion gravy and use 1/3 of it for each of the 3 gravy. You could give a special touch to each gravy by adding a special ingredient at the time of cooking or reheating.
   I have adapted Tomato green peas kurma and Rajma palak from chef Sanjay Tumma's Vahrehvah video's in Youtube. If you want independent recipes for the above gravies then you can watch his videos.

Things you need to keep ready

 1. Soak 200ml rajma/kidney beans for 6-8 hrs drain out the water and rinse in fresh water. Pressure cook with 4 cups of water and 1.5 tsp salt till soft. Drain the liquid and do not discard it.You can use the liquid in which you had cooked to make the gravy. Under cooked beans are harmful so take care to cook the kidney beans until they are soft.
If you do not have a pressure cooker, use canned, drained (because it has more salt) and rinsed beans.

2. Soak ½ cup(100ml) split lentils for 2-3 hrs. Then sieve and rinse in fresh water by keeping the sieve under running water. Pressure cook with 2 cups water.

3. Soak 200ml dried green peas for 6-8 hrs drain out the water and rinse in fresh water. Add 3 cups of water add Pressure cook for 1 whistle and then cook uncovered till peas are soft. If you pressure cook it for more than 1 whistle, the peas will become mushy. Using dried green peas gives you a thick creamier gravy but you can use frozen or fresh green peas too.


Dal makhani or dal maharani
  • 1.5 cup cooked rajma/kidney beans + 1 cup water/water in which it was cooked
  • 1 cup split urad beans with skin- chilkawali urad dal (for dal makhani) or split chick pea- chana dal (for dal maharani)
  • 1/3 recipe of tomato onion masala (about 200 ml)
Special touch-
  • ½ tsp garam masala pd
  • 1 tsp aniseed (saunf/ badishep) toasted and crushed
  • 100ml milk or fresh cream
  • Tempering of ½ tsp mustard, ½ tsp  cumin,1/4 tsp asafoetida in 2 tsp oil

Split lentil and kidney beans
Adding tomato-onion masala

roasted saunf/ aniseed

Dal makhani

Palak rajma

1.5 cups cooked rajma

200 ml cooked, chopped frozen spinach (you can put freshly chopped spinach leaves too)

1/3 recipe of tomato onion masala (about 200 ml)

Special touch-

100 ml yoghurt or homemade curd/dahi(optional. Add if you want a creamier gravy)

Tempering of ½ tsp cumin, chopped green chilli or ground green chilli paste

Tomato green peas kurma

1/2 of the cooked dry green peas (you can use fresh green peas too)

1/3 recipe of tomato onion masala (about 200 ml)

Special touch-

100 ml yoghurt or homemade curd/dahi

½ tsp sugar

100 ml chopped green part of spring onions/ scallions

Tempering of 10-12 curry leaves, 1 kalpasi (dagad phool- it’s a lichen used as a spice, or use 1/2 tsp  goda masala or pulav masala instead)

click on the picture to see kalpasi kept in the bowl on the right
spring onion/scallions added

Preparing individual gravy-
Heat oil and add the make a tempering by popping seeds, add any other ingredient given for each tempering. Fry for a few secs. Add the cooked beans along with its liquid, tomato onion masala, salt and cook for some time (about 20 mins on slow heat). When it is thoroughly heated and the beans absorbs all the flavor add beaten yoghurt or milk and mix well. Simmer for another 5 mins. Repeat the process for the other 2 gravy.

Transfer this lentil- dal into a shallow wide bowl and cool it completely. Shift into a freezer friendly container. You can refrigerate this for 2 days or freeze it for 3 months.

  1. If you are serving it for a party make a fresh cumin/jeera tadka/ tempering and pour it over the dal after reheating.
  2. Freeze left over cooked green peas and kidney beans in freezer . Use this for preparing rajma chawal- kidney beans and rice or rajma matar- kidney beans and green peas in your next menu plan.
  3. You can add water when reheating the thawed lentil curry if it is too thick.
  4.  Cooked beans and tomato onion masala contain salt so taste the gravy and add salt only if required.
  5.  Instead of cooking completely you can just cook beans, prepare tomato-onion masala  and save them in portions. Just mix them and reheat adding tempering and special ingredients on the day you need.

  This recipe is really useful. Share it with your friends who are interested in Indian inspired bulk cooking.
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