If you are new to the idea of preparing meals in advance and freezing them for later; you might wonder what’s the use of cooking ahead. Most of us like to eat fresh instead of frozen meals. But, with kids, unexpected guests, and random schedules, getting dinner on the table every day can be a daunting task. If you don’t have the time to cook, it is easier to freeze ingredients or specific meals in advance to save time and energy.
Cook fresh foods in bulk and freeze them together until you are ready to make a meal. Prepping time decreases when you freeze items and store them instead of preparing every meal from scratch. Here are the top 10 things to freeze for making easy Indian meals,
Vegetables and Fruits
Blanch broccoli, sweet corn, green peas, carrot, beans, and cauliflower in hot water. Cooldown and freeze in separate zip-lock bags. These stay crisp for a month. You can use them to make salads, curries, and rice items. Freeze banana, mango, peach, grapes, and pineapple in zip-lock bags to make delicious smoothies.
Freeze onion tomato curry, marinara sauce, and other everyday curries such as tamarind rice paste. Make a big batch of these sauces for a month and freeze them in separate zip-lock bags or containers. Use them in required quantities.
Boil potato, broccoli, and green peas and make paratha stuffing in bulk. You can store the stuffing in separate containers and use it as needed. These stay good for a week in the fridge or a month in the freezer. Do not store stuffing with raw vegetables, it will not stay good.
Freeze chapati to store them for a longer time. You can thaw them before use. Frozen bread stays fresh and thaws well. Having a few packets of bread in the freezer will always come in handy. You can make wraps, sandwiches with frozen bread and chapati.
Make big batches of croquettes, fritters, and kebabs mixture and store them in the freezer. You can shape the dough, roll it in breadcrumbs and freeze too. You can just deep fry them without thawing. They will turn out soft and crispy. You can freeze both vegetable and meat patties.
Freeze grated coconut for making stews, chutneys, and gravies. Make coconut into a powder by adding aniseed, whole spices such as cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and a few cashew nuts. This is an instant coconut powder for making coconut-based curries. This will stay good for a month in the freezer. If you love making coconut-based rice or stews, you can make coconut, green chilies, cumin seeds, and tomatoes into a paste. Freeze these into ice cubes and add them to any vegetable of your choice to make lentil and coconut-based dishes.
Indian cooking depends on cooking lentils for a variety of dishes. Freezing cooked lentils in zip-lock bags can minimize the time in making elaborate curries. You can freeze portions of dal separately for a week. I prefer not to keep the lentils for over a week.
You can soak legumes such as chickpeas, green gram, black beans, and other beans overnight. Drain these beans, dry them for 30 minutes and freeze them in separate zip-lock bags. Soaked legumes stay good for a month in the freezer. You can boil these legumes as required. If you’re freezing boiled legumes, drain the excess water, pat them dry and freeze them. But use them within a week as they can change their texture.
You can freeze fresh herbs such as parsley, oregano, basil, mint, coriander, and parsley by adding oil. Freeze the herbs in oil in an ice cube tray and use them as required. Make a paste of mint leaves, coriander leaves, ginger, garlic, green chilies, lemon juice and freeze this paste in a zip-lock bag. You can add this paste to make rice and chat items too.
Sprouts are nutritious add-ons to salads, chat items, and curries in Indian cooking. Make a batch of sprouts using mung beans, horse gram, chickpeas and freeze them. You can store the sprouts in zip-lock covers in the fridge for a week.