Though lots of Indian dishes can be prepared quickly, there’s never enough time in the lives of working and always tired parents. Nothing is quick enough.
I’ve found a very good way to save some extra minutes/hours by freezing food. Sometimes nothing can cheer me up better than a bag of onions I’ve chopped up weeks ago and defrosted the previous night, along with some other veggies. When I get home from work, it takes me only 15 minutes to whip up a very tasty Indian dinner, and feel good about myself for not giving in to pizza on my way home.
It sounds easy when a practiced frozen food user says it, but let me tell you, I’ve learned most things by making mistakes.
7 DON’Ts When Freezing Indian Food
The following DON’Ts are not ordered by importance, because they are all a must when it comes to freezing food.
- Don’t keep frozen food at temps higher than 0° F.
- Don’t keep unlabeled frozen food.
- Don’t cheat when wrapping food; if any air enters the packaging, it might spoil it.
- Don’t defrost food at room temp.
- Don’t refreeze food once defrosted.
- Don’t store large chunks of food in one packaging.
- Don’t freeze veggies and fruits that contain a lot of water.
All of these things can lead to your food decaying, or tasting really bad, even if not spoiled. Unlabeled food often gets forgotten and sits in the freezer way past its “use by” date. Food packagings should always contain info about the freezing date or “use by” date.
7 DO’s in Your Freezer
- Freeze and label veggies, fruits, spices, herbs and meat in secure freezer packages. Each package should contain one serving size of food.
- Prepare veggies in advance; first blanche them and them chop them up, ground them or make sauces or purees – however you like to use them.
- Wrap food very tightly to avoid freezer burns.
- Always let the food cool down before freezing it; otherwise you might spoil the food that’s already inside.
- Try to keep your freezer full, as it doesn’t freeze items as well when it contains only a few bags/containers.
- Freeze small pieces of fruit separately, on a flat dish, and then put them into a bag or container, so that they wouldn’t stick together.
- Try to always thaw food in the fridge, a day in advance. Once thawed, the ingredients should be cooked right away.
Some of the Mostly Used Frozen Ingredients in Indian Meals
Here are a few examples of what cooks really well after being frozen:
- tomato puree or cut tomatoes
- cooked rice
- cooked or chopped up onions
- all kinds of herbs
- mashed potatoes
- peppers (better chopped up)
- and meals like spinach kootu, sambar, vegetable curry, pyaz pakora, idlis, chutneys, lentil soups, tomato soups, etc.