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Saturday, June 16, 2007

10 minute Lunch

How much do you cook on weekdays if you are working full time?

Yeah, I do but really it's more of a way to feed my hunger than trying out new things. After working for long hours I most of the time don't have the energy to cook. Do you take lunch along or take it as an oppurtunity to find out new places and cuisines to eat during lunch hours?

As for me I brown bag my lunch, days that I dont I look for some eats outside. The positive sit that you dont end up over eating and adding calories you dont need. I make my lunch early morning, which means it's a relatively short process. Last week was mostly burrito- it works great. To do that better I get some sauces or salsa prepared during the weekend and I refrigerate it. It definitely adds flavor, doesnt have preservatives and is all healthy.

So, today here are some recipes of sauces and my 10 minute burrito that kept me going for lunch last week. First, a cilantro sauce and second a salsa and third hummus.

Cilantro Sauce-All you need is a food processor.
  • Add one entire bunch of cilantro
  • 3/4 cloves of garlic
  • green chillies
  • salt
  • pepper

Thats it, pulse it till it's done and you can keep it in the refreigerator for the rest of the week to use in sandwich, pita bread, burrito or even grill chicken with.

Tomatoe salsa- A food processor is needed.

  • tomatoes
  • green chilli
  • chopped onions-1
  • garlic- 3/4 cloves
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • cilantro

Put everything together in the processor except the onion and cilnatro and just pulse it, till its done. Once it gets the consistency, transfer it to air tight containers to be refrigerated. Add the choppped onions and a handful of cilantro and if you have a squeeze of lemon. To give it a twist roast the tomatoe and the garlic, it brings out the flavor more.

Also, if you keep tomatoes in the refigerator for a longer period of time it kind of gets mushy, so this is a better way to store it longer and not having to throw it away.


  • garbanzo beans-2 cans
  • garlic-3/4
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • roasted sesame seeds

Rinse the canned beans well and add the rest in the food processor and pulse it. You are all done. you can use it as a dip with fruits or chips or in burrito.

Now that you are all prepped up all you need is just 1o minutes in the monring to get your lunch all together.

10 minute Burrito

  • warm up your skillet while you make your morning coffee
  • warm the burrito in the skillet
  • add olive oil and toss in some mushroom, or some mixed vegies (i use the frozen packet- saves time)
  • if you have some left over chicken/fish/eggs/bacon you can chop it to or just use vegies.
  • place the burrito on a flat place and add the vegies and whatever you want to include
  • add your choice of sauce from above- cilnatro/hummus/tomatoe salsa and wrap it up carefully
  • place the inner contents in the middle of the burrito and then fold it horizontally first and then veritically.
  • wrap it up in paper and finally in a foil.
  • even if you dont have time to warm it up at lunch, it will taste wonderful.

I hope you like it. Next week is my all sandwich week and may be some salads. So, I got some French bread, fruits, chives and my sauces ready today.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Biryani- well almost

Last weekend was fabulous I visited my newly found friends in Elgin and had a wonderful time. To top it off, they took me out for dinner and lunch (the next day) and we chatted till I had a sore throat. It was great, very relaxing and their wonderful house is picture perfect. The next evening she had invited a few of their close friends for dinner and I stayed back before driving all the way to the city.

Working women and kitchen have not always been best friends but I disagree. While it is easier to order out and save the hassle to cook and then clean which no one enjoys after a hectic day at work, some perform it graciously. The party was a hit, people enjoyed and sipped their drinks and talked about the difference between the working and stay at home women/wife. My friend with her high profile full time job had managed to cook for all her friends a complete seven course meal. The meal was perfect and yet people pondered if she had actually cooked. It was weird as if women with degrees and a job are not supposed to be good cooks. I drove back later with food all packed in by her to keep me going for the rest of the week.

I have enjoyed her hospitality and the food. So, while am still seated in my couch with Doris Lessing’s “Golden Notebook” and jotting down pointers to be included in my next column, I’ m thinking about dinner and the fact that I love to cook.

Here is one of my recipes that work best if you have left over rice and want a good meal and yet don’t want to spend your entire Friday in the kitchen. Biryani or Chicken fried rice is fast and yummy. Don’t take it as the authentic recipe for Biryani, because it is not. It’s the fast way out to enjoy some traditional cooking.

Left over chicken/fresh chicken/lamb
Left over rice
Biryani spice mix (in Indian grocery/multi-ethnic grocery stores)
Salt & pepper
Ginger and garlic paste
Yogurt (if you have in refrigerator)
Chili powder/flakes (optional)

Add the ginger and garlic paste, salt, pepper, half chopped onion, chili powder, one tablespoon of yogurt to the chicken and marinate. Make sure it’s all mixed well. If you have planned it early marinate for 3-5 hours, if not as long as you can. Half an hour would be fine.

To Do
Heat a skillet in high flame
Add oil
Lightly toss and turn the chicken don’t have to fry it completely (if you are watching your calories).
Keep the skillet covered so that the chicken gets cooked. If you don’t want to fry it all the way, add ½ cup water to it and let it simmer.
Remove the chicken and keep it aside.
In the same skillet add oil, then the rest of the chopped onion and fry until light brown
Add garlic and pepper and 1-2 tablespoon of the biryani mix powder, according to the amount of rice used.
Once mixed together and lightly fried, add the rice and mix it well. Stir it for 2-3 minutes.
Add the chicken to the rice in the skillet and cover it with the lid and let it cook for a minute before you serve.
Serve with a garden salad and enjoy!

(Pic: Courtesy Google images)