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    Cooking Hacks & Recipes: Limit The Use Of Your Grocery During The Lockdown Period

    The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the entire world to a standstill and the only way we can stop the spread of this disease is by staying at home and practising self-isolation. 

    The 21-day lockdown in India is a precautionary measure that will curb the coronavirus spread. While all the essential commodities are available in the market, it is not advisable to step out for grocery shopping too often. Hence, it is important to use your supplies judiciously. 

    The good news is, there are several ways in which you can make your supplies last longer. Moreover, there are plenty of easy-to-follow recipes during lockdown that you can prepare with limited ingredients.

    Here are a few kitchen hacks and recipes you can try out during the lockdown period. 

    10 Kitchen Hacks That Can Come Handy During The Lockdown

    1. Pickle And Store Extra Vegetables 

    Store Extra Vegetables During The Lockdown

    Vegetables that may fail to stand the test of time can be pickled and stored. You may use these savoury delights for spicing up dishes, especially daal. Almost all vegetables can be pickled. All you need is spices, salt and fried mustard powder! 

    2. Make Lemons Last Longer

    Make Lemons Last Longer By Storing Them In Refrigerator

    If you have bought a lot of lemons and fear that they may go bad, simply put them in a bowl of water and pop it in the refrigerator. The water will replenish the lost moisture and give the lemons a life-span of 3 to 4 months! 

    3. Storing Leafy Greens And Herbs 

    Store Leafy Vegetables And Herbs During Lockdown

    Storing leafy greens with a paper towel or a dishcloth will keep them fresh for at least a week by absorbing the excess moisture.

    To make herbs survive more than a week, cover their stems in water before keeping them in the fridge. You can also increase the lifespan of your herbs by covering them with plastic secured with a rubber band before refrigerating them. 

    4. Here’s How To Store Onions

    Dry & Store Onions During The Lockdown

    Put the onions in a pantyhose. Make sure to tie a knot between each onion. This way, your onions will last for months! 

    Green onions can be put in plastic bottles and frozen. However, you need to make sure that the onions are dry before storing them to avoid freezer burn. 

    5. Keeping Bananas Fresh For Longer

    Wrap The Bananas With A Plastic Cap To Make Them Last Longer

    Healthy, tasty and easy-to-consume, bananas can be your perfect mid-meal snack! Unfortunately, this fruit doesn’t keep fresh for long. In order to keep bananas good for longer, store them by wrapping their crown with a plastic wrap. Just take a few bananas and wrap them together and keep them on the counter, away from other fruits (since bananas produce more ethylene gas). 

    6. Storing Cheese

    How To Store Cheese

    The freshness of your cheese can be retained for longer by putting butter on its sliced surface or cut side. This will help keep it from drying out. 

    Alternatively, you can wrap the cheese in wax paper or cheese paper before placing it in a plastic bag. Keep the bag in the warmest part of your fridge (cheese or vegetable drawer). 

    7. Vinegar Bath To Keep Berries Fresh

    Store The Berries By Dipping Them In Vinegar

    A vinegar bath can help keep berries fresh for as long as 2 weeks. Here’s what you need to do; mix ¼ cup of vinegar in 1 ½ cups of water. Soak the berries in this mixture for 5 minutes, drain and rinse them with fresh water. Now place a paper towel inside a container and keep the berries in it. 

    8. Don’t Forget To Add Some Tadka

    Tadka is what gives most Indian dishes its unique flavour. It is a mix of tomatoes, onions and spices. 

    In case you do not have the traditional tadka ingredients, don’t worry! There is another way to spice up your favourite gravy! You can add pizza or pasta sauce to the dishes and enjoy almost the same flavours. Use water to dilute the intensity according to your taste. 

    If you want to enjoy some shahi gravy but do not have cream or milk, simply add grounded cashew to give your dish a royal taste and texture. If you do not have cashew, you may use a mixture of sesame seeds and groundnuts. 

    9. Replace Plastic Containers With Mason Jars

    Store The Food In Glass Containers To Increase Their Shelf Life

    In comparison with plastic containers, glass stores such as mason jars are a healthier way to store food. The latter will keep your food fresh for longer. 

    10. Storing Nuts

    Roast The Nuts And Store It In Refrigerator During The Lockdown

    To store nuts like almonds, cashew nuts, pistachios and walnuts for longer, roast and put them in the freezer. Other than keeping good for longer, roasted nuts also have more flavour. 

    5 Quick Recipes You Can Try During The Lockdown

    1. Besan Chilla

    Besan Chilla Recipe
    Picture Credit: Shwetainthekitchen.com

    Chilla is one of the simplest dishes that you can prepare using very few ingredients.

    Ingredients:

    The following recipe serves 2. 

    • 1 cup of besan
    • 1 cup of water
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • ½ onion (sliced)
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon ajwain
    • 1 green chilli
    • ½ cup of finely chopped methi leaves
    • 4 teaspoons oil

    Method:

    1. Mix the ingredients (except oil) by gradually adding water to form a thick pouring consistency.
    2. Let the batter rest for 15-20 minutes.
    3. Heat about one tablespoon of oil in a pan. Pour the oil into a container. 
    4. Pour some batter on the pan. Spread it out. 
    5. Lower the flame. Let the chilla cook till the edges are brown. 
    6. Drop some oil around the chilla and turn the pan so that it reaches under. 
    7. Flip the chilla and let it cool slightly.
    8. Enjoy your besan chilla with a spicy green chutney. 

    2. Muffin In A Mug

    Easy To Make Muffin Recipe That You Must Try
    Picture Credit: Mccormick.com

    This simple dessert will take less than 5 minutes to prepare!

    Ingredients:

    • ¼ cup of all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
    • ⅕ teaspoon baking powder
    • 2-3 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • ⅛ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ cup of milk
    • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips or chocolate spread

    Method:

    1. Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. 
    2. Add in milk and oil and mix well. Make sure there are no clumps. 
    3. Pour the cake batter in a microwave-safe mug. Make sure there is enough space for the cake to rise. 
    4. Drop the chocolate spread/ choco chips in the middle of the batter. 
    5. Put the mug in the microwave and bake for 1-2 minutes. 
    6. Remove the mug from the microwave. 
    7. Your mug cake is ready!

    3. Veggie And Rice Muffins

    Vegetable And Rice Muffin Recipe
    Picture Credit: Everylastbite.com

    Tired of the same old rice recipes? How about some freshly baked rice muffins! 

    Ingredients:

    This recipe serves 4.

    • 3 cups of cooked rice
    • 1 grated carrot
    • 3 chopped shallots
    • 1 chopped large mushroom
    • ½ cup of cooked peas
    • A few spinach leaves
    • 1.3 cups of grated cheese
    • 3 eggs
    • Parmesan cheese to sprinkle

    Method:

    1. Mix the ingredients in a bowl. 
    2. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and Spray the muffin trays. 
    3. Put in the mixture into the trays. Exert slight pressure to make sure that the muffins stick together. 
    4. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on the top of the muffins. 
    5. Bake for 15 minutes. 
    6. Your muffins are ready to serve! 

    4. Oats And Banana Pancake

    Super Healthy Oats And Banana Pancake Recipe
    Picture Credit: Meaningfuleats.com

    Bananas and oat pancakes make the perfect breakfast for the entire family.

    Ingredients: 

     The following recipe will make 6 pancakes. 

    • 1 cup of oats flour
    • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
    • 1 large egg
    • ½ cup of buttermilk
    • 1 large overripe banana
    • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons melted butter melted
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder

    Method:

    1. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and keep it aside.
    2. In another bowl, mash the banana. Add the egg, melted butter and buttermilk. Mix the ingredients.
    3. Now mix the dry and the wet ingredients together. 
    4. Brush your tawa and heat it. Take a sufficient amount of batter and drop it on the hot tawa. The batter will spread by itself, If not, add some milk to the rest of the batter to get the right consistency. 
    5. Flip the pancake when you see bubbles forming on the top. Cook till it is slightly brown.
    6. Your pancakes are ready! You can serve this dish with jam or honey. 

    Note: In case you don’t have oats flour, grind lightly roasted oats in a mixer. You may replace the egg with 2 tablespoons of curd

    5. Potato Chowder

    Potato Chowder Recipe
    Picture Credit: Cookingclassy.com

    Your search for an easy-to-prepare evening snack ends here.

    Ingredients:

     The following recipe serves 4. 

    • 2 potatoes
    • 2 onions
    • 1 carrot
    • 2 cups of veg stock or plain water
    • 2 bay leaves
    • Salt 
    • Black pepper
    • 2 teaspoons of all-purpose flour
    • ½ cup milk
    • 2 teaspoons olive oil

    Method:

    1. Peel and cut the potatoes and carrot into small cubes. Cut the onion into thin slices.
    2. Heat the olive oil in a pan, put in the onions and saute until translucent. 
    3. Add in the carrot, potatoes, and bay leaves and saute.
    4. Add the vegetable stock or plain water. Bring to a boil.
    5. Add in the mixture of flour and milk to the pan. Bring to a boil. Stir the ingredients well.
    6. Cover and cook the ingredients until the vegetables are cooked completely. 
    7. Now remove the pan from heat and let it cool. 
    8. Take out half the quantity from the pan and put it in a blender to make a puree. Make sure to remove the bay leaves before pureeing the mixture. 
    9. Add the puree to the pan. Add in a little water or vegetable stock if you think the consistency is not right. 
    10. Season and serve the soup. 

    You do not have to be a great cook to ace these simple recipes! Just follow the instructions and you will not go wrong. You may give these dishes a personal touch by tweaking the recipes according to your taste and preferences. Make your kitchen a fun place to be during the quarantine!

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