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Batchwork Pals

Updated: May 10, 2022

I was talking to a single mum over the weekend and she got me thinking about cooking in batches.


I really love cooking every day. Luckily, one of the many joys about plant-based cooking is that actual 'stove-time' is tiny. I reckon I've got my 5 curries per evening down to 30mins. That being said, there are days when I wished I just had a little go-to stash in the freezer that I could help myself to. I'm not going to lie, my own supply of Short Eats containers (which are reserved for my baby, 1 and daughter, 7) have been consumed by me and my husband when we've had a particularly long day!


But one day, I stumbled on a great idea. I had actually put too much garlic in a batch of dhal. I put it into the fridge and then mixed it into a plain batch of dhal that I cooked the next day. The flavour was incredible! I had just found a shortcut that I knew I could use time and time again.


MAKE YOUR OWN FLAVOUR CUBES:


Ingredients

Dhal

1 cup red lentils

1/2 whole onion

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 garlic clove

1 tsp turmeric

3 tbsps tomato paste

1 can of coconut milk


Tarka

1/2 whole onion

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 garlic clove

1 tsp mustard seeds

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 sprig of curry leaves


Method:

  1. Wash your red lentils until the water runs clear. Add 2 cups of water and boil with 1/2 onion, 1 sliced garlic clove, turmeric, 1 tsp cumin, curry powder, tomato paste and coconut milk

  2. After 15mins the dhal should be softened. Add more water if you need to and let it simmer for another 5mins or until the dhal has broken down completely. Switch off.

  3. In a separate pan, add a tablespoon of oil and all of the Tarka ingredients. Once golden brown. turn off and add to the dhal.


The beauty about this batch of dhal is that you're looking for maximum flavours. Too much is almost not enough. My friend who got me thinking about batch-cooking was talking about the fact that she added too much coconut milk to her dhal. The 400g can of coconut milk could not be used for anything else, and instead of wasting it, she just added the whole thing in. Perfect. If you have any other rouge spice to add to your Tarka- coriander seeds, peppercorns etc, throw them in- your Flavour Cube will be all the better for it.


WHAT TO DO WITH IT:

  1. FOR YOUR BABIES Add 1 Flavour cube to boiled vegetables to add a little depth of flavour, protein punch and explorative spicing. Blend down accordingly.

  2. FOR YOUR TODDLERS Add 2/3 Flavour cubes to a soup or stew. Or accompanied with a side of grilled fish or couscous.

  3. FOR YOU OK, so the trick to this Flavour Cube is that it can be added to any curry thereafter. Because you threw every culinary trick at it, by adding two or three cubes to your 'Future' Dhal, Prawn Curry, Chana curry, the light, fresh curry will take on all the hidden layers of your Dhal blend. Also, bonus, because the Dhal as a pulse is soft, it will eventually dissolve and essentially take the form of the new dish.

Let us know how you get in and what you add to your FLAVOUR CUBE. Share the recipes and share the fun!








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