Sunday, April 16, 2023

Cooking Cycles 1 - Asian - Oriental style

Being economical is not just a matter of buying cheaper, but also being smart about using ingredients and establishing a cooking cycle over several days. This includes an understanding of what you can refrigerate or freeze.

Here is one example:

I make a bowl of soba noodles with collard greens according to this recipe:

Basic Soba Noodles, but I add a roll of collard greens (leaves without the stem), which I slice thin, like about 1/4" width.

Now I simply cut up the stems in 1/4" chunks and I freeze them in a quart bag. I keep adding to this from kale or collard greens until the bag is fairly full.

Then one day, I may be making some kind of Dal. This weekend I made Kala Chana Dal, but I added in a bag of cut-up stems from the kale and collard greens. It cooks long enough to get soft, and it adds a delicious aroma.

I also still had some cooked bitter melon ( just sliced lengthwise, pitted and then cut up in 1/4" slices), I cook them in some water with finely cutup garlic, and maybe a splash of Yondu.

The end result is a very healthy meal, and I usually end up freezing part of the dal, as I cook a large pot of it.

Of course, brown rice you can cook for a few days at a time. I prefer brown basmati, and I always buy rice from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh, as it has lower arsenic content.

I parboil the rice for 5 minutes and drain the cooking water, that minimizes the arsenic levels even more. There's a great video on this from Dr. Michael Greger
So in this case I had the rice pre-cooked, and I had already cooked the dal, so all I had to do was to thaw the dal, pour it over the rice. I cooked the bitter melon and put it on the side to warm it up together. The reason for putting the bitter melon in with the rice and dal is because some of the liquid will prevent the rice from sticking.

The upshot is, this is just one example of sharing ingredients between very different dishes, and creating a cycle of cooking that works.