I hate wasting food. Right from my childhood both little sis B and I were taught that every bit of food we wasted, a child went hungry somewhere.
My Mother-in-law is so sensitive about this issue, that she freezes leftovers in little tupperware boxes, for days she doesn’t feel like cooking. Something I have learnt to do. But the convenience of having a hi-tech fridge can sometimes make one forget all about what’s in store.
I usually keep my leftovers right where I can see them in the fridge. Though I have been guilty of pushing little bowls and boxes of rice, chicken curry, salad, or even chopped fruits right to the wall of the fridge and never really eat them! Only one day they make way straight to the dustbin. But not this time. After riding high on the success of the prawn biryani and mishti pulao, I decided to expand my rice repertoire with what was left in the can of coconut milk – a close second cousin of a South Indian coconut rice. I also had half a cauliflower to play with. It was crying out loud to be cooked. I chose to end its misery the cauliflower sambar way! One shriveled up green bell pepper which probably had seen plumper days was my muse for an Indian Chili Chicken. These were the drumsticks I had stored in a freezer bag with some ginger-garlic paste from the pepper chicken I had made the night before.
Taking care of leftovers was never so easy. Actually, it all looked pretty gourmet in my biased opinion. So far, so good.
I would say I did not have a hard time finding the creativity to come up with something from scratch.
A quick check for spices to temper my Basmati rice which would obviously be cooked in the Thai coconut milk resulted in some great flavors like – mustard seeds, cumin, grated ginger and dry red chilies. Splutter-splutter, add the rice!
In goes the coconut milk and little water, before the rice gets cooked in the microwave for 20 minutes.
That 20-minute window was enough to churn out a quick Cauliflower Sambar (with pieces of carrots sneaked in), seasoned with an instant sambar masala and tangy tamarind pulp.
A little adjustment in the seasoning and this sambar was ready to be slurped.
Okay, just because I was feeling self-indulgent, not to mention a tad guilty for making this really con-dinner, does not mean you cannot make this Chili Chicken (sic). Drumsticks made into chili chicken looked very, very temptingly tall for a leftover quickie.
What do you think? Of the food, not the bad picture.
At the dinner table, watching P relish every bit of the meal made me realize that I had good reason to be proud, but not in a vain way. :-)