It's a megatrend these days to prepare meals on Sundays. The day before Monday, busy moms and bodybuilder dads would head to the kitchen to prepare a week's worth of food.
The advantages are numerous, ranging from economic savings (purchasing ingredients in bulk, eating out less) to better time management during the weekdays by staying out of the kitchen.
As South Asians, though, many of us are accustomed to eating our traditional meals with chapatis or pulao. So, how can we gain the benefits of meal preparation while appeasing our desi taste buds?
Here are some healthy desi meal prep dishes that you can make in bulk on your day off! Serve it with a side of brown basmati rice or quinoa, and portion it out into individual containers for each meal of the day.
Remember to modify the ingredients to the number of servings you'll be making for the week. Let's get started!
Spicy Kale and Chickpeas
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-1 1/2 pound kale, coarsely chopped (ribs removed)
- 1 cup chicken broth (reduced sodium) or veggie broth
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt,
- 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 rinsed 15-ounce can chickpeas
How to prepare
In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook, constantly stirring, for 30 seconds, or until garlic is aromatic. Cook for 1 minute, tossing with two large spoons until kale is a vibrant green.
Combine the broth, coriander, cumin, garam masala, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cover and cook, simmer gently, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the kale is tender.
Homemade Spinach Dal is nutritious, wholesome, vegan, and delicious. For a total comfort dinner, serve it with steamed rice.
- 1/2 cup split pigeon peas lentil
- 1/4 cup moong dal dhuli (split mung bean)
- 2.5 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 large garlic cloves chopped
- 1 large tomato chopped
- 1 green chili chopped
- 1.25 cups finely chopped spinach
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
- salt to taste
- 1-2 teaspoon lemon juice
How to prepare
Add the washed lentils, 2.5 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder to a pressure cooker. Simmer for 2 whistles on high, reduce heat to low, cook for another 7-8 minutes, or until lentils are fully cooked. Allow the pressure in the cooker to naturally release and set it aside for a while. If you don't have a pressure cooker, cook the lentils in a pan until they are done.
In a medium-sized pan, heat the oil. When the oil is heated, toss in the cumin and mustard seeds. Wait until the cumin seeds crackle and the mustard seeds begin to explode.
Add the chopped garlic and green chilies once the seeds have started to crackle. Sauté for a minute, or until the garlic begins to become golden brown.
Cook for 2 minutes after adding the chopped tomatoes and salt. We don't want the tomatoes to become too soft.
Mix in the chopped spinach. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until no raw tomato or spinach scent remains.
Bring everything to a boil in the pan, including the cooked dal. Reduce the heat to low, add extra water if necessary, and let the dal boil for 5 minutes. Taste for salt and adjust as needed. Remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle garam masala on the top.
Serve spinach dal with any bread or steaming rice after squeezing in some fresh lemon juice!
- 2 large eggplants, cut into uniform pieces
- 2 big sliced tomatoes
- 1 big coarsely chopped red onion
- 2 garlic cloves, fresh ginger minced 4 cm/1.5 inches finely (or 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder)
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp whole cumin seed
- 1/4 teaspoon of mustard seeds
- curry leaves (two)
- 1 tbsp Garam Masala
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp oil (vegetable)
How to prepare
Heat the oil in a big pan, add the onions, chile, and ginger and simmer until the onion is softened. After that, add all of the spices and simmer for another 3 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid scorching. After that, add the tomatoes and eggplant and stir until the eggplant is well soaked in spices.
Cover the lid and cook over low heat until the eggplant is thoroughly cooked, soft, and the liquid has evaporated, forming a thick mixture. Add the salt and spices according to your preference.
Grilled Tandoori Chicken
Tandoori chicken is a dish that is marinated in yogurt and spices and cooked in a cylindrical clay oven called a tandoor. You can prepare this recipe at home by grilling it outside like BBQ or baking it in the oven.
Following are required for marination.
- Black cardamom
- Lime juice
- Jalapeno pepper
- Black pepper
- Olive oil
- Aniseed powder
- Cinnamon powder
- Ginger fresh
How to prepare
All of the ingredients should be gathered and prepared. Blend kiwi, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno in a mini food processor until a creamy texture is formed. Set aside for a while. Combine the remaining ingredients (except the chicken) in a large mixing bowl.
Mix the kiwi and spice-yogurt mixture in a mixing bowl. Toss in the chicken until all of the pieces are evenly coated. Refrigerate the mixture to marinate overnight. Finally, preheat the barbecue and cook the chicken.
This grilled tandoori chicken has a great depth of flavor, thanks to the combination of jalapeno, garlic, ginger, lime juice, and kiwi.
When you're used to eating fresh, home-cooked meals, everything falls to pieces when you have to travel overseas for business or study. There is no one to cook for you, and you are strapped for a time after working long hours, commuting, and keeping up with your children's extracurricular activities. That makes eating fresh, handmade food every day seem like a far-fetched fantasy.
Having gone through the same ordeal, our amazing desi recipes for meal prep will get you very near to eating fresh homemade food each day without having to get up at the crack of dawn. Don't forget to visit our website and follow our Instagram account for more weekly updates.
Author: Sara Kamran