Sunday, May 15, 2011

Back to Basics # 1 : Life without a Microwave; and Healthy Spicy Potatoes

Sometime there are certain things we are so use to of that we take them for granted. In today's lifestyle Microwave is one such thing, in our house I won't say that we are were dependent on microwave but it sure had its importance.....its use was really limited to heating the leftovers but in the morning rush hours it always acted like an extra hand...warm the milk, quickly make the oats without baby sitting the pot on the gas stove. Other times when I felt like baking & needed butter at room temp., it was nuke it for few seconds. One thing if I really cooked in it was instant masala potatoes not that it's hard to make otherwise but as I said it's just the convenience.....couple of buttons & magic is done.

Why I'm writing all this, from last so many years we have been using MW for all the above things most of the time the apartment I lived in had a MW in it & once I had an apartment without one and after living 3 yrs. in that without MW I decided to buy one & again moving into one with MW I gave away the MW I had. Now after long time I'm back to MW free situation and I have decided it be like that, it's been more than 3 months and I would say I'm managing it quite good. Last time when I was MW free I was packing only one lunch & I was a Stay At Home Mom of a very obedient toddler, now it's two lunches(one adult & one for 3rd grader). I'm still a SAHM to a toddler but this time to not so obedient one instead the one who thinks blowing on the gas stove is just like blowing b'day candles(means two front burners are of no use to me now a days) & a 3rd grader who's first reaction was what will U do now????? how U gonna warm the milk??????  what about popcorns?????? and what not.

To answer her questions, I'm back to basics, putting my pots & pans to good use & I've always used my toaster oven for lot of stuff and now it's doing good job of warming dry curries(sukhi sabjis) also. It does take little extra time but I think it's O.k specially when we really wanted to get that MW style of living out of our house, few extra minutes & couple of extra pots to wash doesn't matter that much. Now some of you might be wondering what does she have against MW, it makes life so easy but when it's on the cost of your health it's a choice, it's not one article or one T.V program which made me decide this(that's why no links here)'s just the simple awareness(or call me old fashioned) about the things we use, and this decision of NO MW was due from so's just the convenience I was going with, as I said's there I'll use I'm using the technique of out of sight out of mind. And my daughter did declared that the stove top popcorns are the best she has ever tasted. We will keep the stove top popcorns for some other day but for today it's gonna be Spicy Baked Potatoes.

It's hit in my house not only my kids but even their friends also enjoy these, goes well in the lunch box too also they are healthy as on the name of fat all I use is couple of teaspoons of oil. Rather than calling it a recipe I would call it a procedure because you can easily substitute the spices as per your taste. Here's what I do:

What I used :
  • 2 medium size potatoes
  • 2 tsp. EVOO(extra virgin olive oil)
  • salt as per your taste
  • 1/8 tsp.(a small pinch) turmeric/haldi
  • 1 tsp. coriander/dhania powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin/jeera powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika (it's not hot if U like hot, instead of papriks U can use red chili powder)
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. carom seeds/ajwain
  • 1/4 tsp. kasuri methi /dry fenugreek leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. garam masala

What I did :
  1. Peel, wash and pat dry the potatoes. Cut them into bite size cubes.
  2. Put them into Oven proof dish big enough to hold all the pieces in one layer.
  3. Add all the ingredients to it and using your fingers or spoon mix them nicely so each & every potato cube is coated with spice mix. Arrange them so that all the pieces are touching the dish base i.e they are in one layer, which will not only ensure the even cooking but also crispy edges.
  4. Bake them in pre heated oven at around 400 degree F for around 30 minutes. Stir them once, around halfway to ensure even browning.
  5. When edges start to look like crispy & brown and fork easily goes in, means they are done.
  6. Don't be tempted to put them into your mouth they are really hot. They taste good as is but my kids like to eat them with ketchup.
Notes :
  • I usually make these in my toaster oven & it has potato setting in which it takes anywhere between 25 to 30 minutes.
  • If U want to use Microwave cover the dish with plastic wrap & cook for 4-5 minutes.
  • Don't over cook them as they will turn hard.
  • Increase or decrease the level of spices as per your taste. The specifications I have given are as per my kids taste buds.