It has taken me years to organise myself in the kitchen. It was a place I faffed around in, as they say here. A place to relax and produce something of note in a leisurely way, once in a while.
Organisation was for my work. There every detail was worked out in the mind ahead of time. No computer needed thank you. My training in film was more like disaster management and it came in handy for daily work where nothing could be taken for granted.
Then, on the home front, it became necessary to come up with something edible twice a day. What had changed ? Additions to the family, whose hungry cries brooked no delay in coming up with the goods.
Suddenly I needed to make something that was quick, simple and tasty. Or we could be sitting there at the table till kingdom come, waiting for a couple of morsels to be swallowed. Have you encountered mutiny of this kind? Gandhian in a way. Very non-violent but oh so silent and stubborn. Small jaws clenched and stuck out in defiance. No food would enter that mouth !
New strategies had to be thought of immediately. I had to regroup my forces. My house needed to be put in order.
This required some of the lengthy processes of Indian cooking to be cut down. Obligatory ingredients had to be at hand and prepared for use. Ginger, Garlic, Chillies and Coriander. Essential and impossible to stock fresh every day. Their keeping qualities were limited and preparation required the patience of an elephant.
I was not willing to give up taste and quality in the need for speed. So- no ready made bottled ginger garlic paste. Uncompromising you might say.
As a result the following shorthand measures, taught to me by more practical friends , came to my rescue. You can cut at least five minutes of preparation time by having this in your freezer.
Buy ginger by the pound. Peel it roughly, chop into large bits and pop it in the blender. Blend till it becomes a rough paste.
Now spoon it into ice cube trays, with a lid if possible, and freeze. You are now set -to add a cube of ginger to dal instantly or to any other dish that requires it and you'd have saved yourself much washing up as well. Even if its hairy ginger, like this lot, it will still taste good and definitely better than the ginger paste you get bottled which tastes of....nothing.