It's tough to run a kitchen. That's not an opinion, that’s a fact. What's tougher to do then? Tougher is running a kitchen while keeping cost, taste, and well-being all 3 in mind.
Let's run through 9 hacks that help you make more interesting choices while taking up less time overall.
1. Stock up on staples - Busy days shouldn’t give you the green light to overspend on outside food delivery. You may even be busy today, so let’s jump straight to the point - always keep 5 staple vegetables on hand! Onions, tomatoes, capsicums, carrots, and beans are more valuable than you can imagine. Whip up delicious and nutritious dishes such as stir fry, poha, uttapam, and more in under 10 minutes.
2. Prepare a pre-made snack list - Mindless eating, what a slippery slope! The best tip to prevent that slip is to have quality snacks at home. Quality also means snacks you enjoy eating to increase the chances of feeling satiated. Make a list of these foods and store them in containers. This ensures you always have ‘pre-packaged’ foods on hand to scratch your snacking itch.
3. Fruits are your friends - The easiest way to incorporate healthy habits is simply: by keeping your fruit basket full. You’ll always have something to look forward to when you mindlessly open your fridge door! Stock up on seasonal fruits and some of your personal favourites to ensure that ice cream isn’t the only cold and sweet snack you have on hand.
Fun Fact: Cucumber is a fruit! It’s usually considered a vegetable because of how it’s used in the culinary world, but on a technical basis, cucumbers have seeds and are grown from flowers, botanically making them a fruit! Don’t leave out cucumbers from your fruit basket.
4. Homemade is healthier - Homemade foods will always be healthier than their 'take-out' alternative because you know what exactly goes in! Why waste money on preservative-filled pastes and batters when you could make them yourself? Borosil's Fortuner Mixer-Grinder will save you time in the kitchen with its powerful 1000W motor. Easily prepare healthy pastes, masalas, or batters for less than half their prices in the market!
5. Smart and efficient storage - You may want to wash and store all the fresh produce you bought, but doing so can be harmful to some of it. Don't wash your leafy greens beforehand. Why? They rot faster and promote bacterial growth. Instead, you can dry clean and store them for later, and only wash them right before cooking.
6. Ginger can be gruelling - As a root vegetable, ginger has a lot of dirt on its surface and is pretty hard to store. Wash and dry your ginger pieces and store them in the fridge. Storing them outside can make them spoil quicker. The best way to store them would be in a napkin-lined storage container in a not-so-cool area of your fridge. Make sure not to peel the skin!
7. Optimize your space for utility - A cluttered space is the sign of a cluttered mind, and a cluttered countertop slows down the pace of your cooking. Set designated spaces on your counter for prepping, chopping, and cooking to streamline your cooking process!
8. Reverse meal planning - Eating the same dals and sabzis on repeat can get very boring very quickly, urging you to order from outside. A creative way to hack your boredom is to note down everything you eat, whether homecooked food or takeout, over a month. Then, you can start recreating all those foods at home in the same order for the next month. Who knows, you may even come out a better-experienced chef in the process!
9. Mindful multitasking - The Oxford Dictionary definition for 'multitask' is to "deal with more than one task at the same time". But what's the point if the tasks are not dealt with efficiently? The best way to multitask in the kitchen is to clean as you go. Sounds simple in concept but it can be quite hard to execute. Here's how you can do it. Set out all ingredients needed for your dish on the counter, so you aren't haphazardly grabbing for ingredients at the last second. Move on to adding all your ingredients to your cooking utensil. Now that your dish is cooking, you have ample time to clean used containers or a cabinet in your kitchen, giving future-you some much-needed free time. Mindful multitasking > blindly multitasking.
These 9 tips will redefine how you function in the kitchen. Happy cooking!