The Working Cook: Masala Macaroni

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If I told you that I whip up amazingly gourmet meals at the drop of a hat for my everyday dinners, I’d have to be lying. Quite the contrary, I seldom ever cook something that would have me whisking away for hours on end. Except of course, when I have company coming! Now that’s a whole different story altogether. Even then, I’m not spending all those hours on one single dish, but instead, I’m actually going nuts fussing over a minimum of five main courses. Yes, I get like that while entertaining and unfortunately for Hubby  and Baby Dear it has only worsened over the years. But the diligent licking of everyone’s fingertips and perplexed weight-watching souls worrying over whether to go in for seconds (thirds, actually) more than makes up for all the effort.

When it comes to feeding my family, I like to go more easy on myself. It’s not that I don’t enjoy feeding loved ones with rich palate pleasing favourites, but I’d rather spend my time with them enjoying simple, yet equally delightful food made in minutes. A recent email from one of my readers posed a question I have been subjected to many a times. This compelled me to come all out talk about my regular at-home meals. She writes,

All your recipes appear as if they leaped out of glossy magazines. While many them are quite easy to follow, it’s hard to imagine myself cooking lavish meals every night. Do you really cook all these wonderful looking food on a daily basis, especially now that you have a baby at home?

Well, dear reader, all I can say is yes. Well, almost. You see, most of my recipes, no matter how elegantly sounding, are actually very simple and wholesome; and ones that I turn to on a weekly basis. While it may seem daunting to someone not so in tune with Indian cuisine, it’s not at all that hard. Most dishes can be made in a matter of minutes, whereas others, that seem to call for bucketfuls of spices, may just take a tad bit more time. But yes, sometimes even an adventurous cook like myself, wants to take a break and reach out to the nearest pack of instant noodles. And it’s often in times like these that I faithfully turn to my repertoire of quick fixes. And these, I assure you dear reader, can be whipped up real quick. Literally in minutes!

This recipe will prove my point exactly. It’s a definite crowd pleaser – appealing to adults and toddlers alike! I like to add in a huge salad and maybe some buttery garlic bread for a more rounded out meal. Try it, I’m sure it’ll end up in your book of favourites!

MASALA MACARONI
Prep time: 20 min | Cooking time: 15 min | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

2 tbsp light cooking oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 medium-sized tomato, finely chopped
1 cup frozen mixed veggies, thawed
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
2 cups whole wheat macaroni or any small shaped pasta (cooked according to package instructions, drained and set aside)
salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

Heat oil in a large wok and sauté cumin seeds, onions and garlic till lightly browned and fragrant. Add in spices and fry for a few seconds.

Add in the chopped tomatoes, and cook for a few minutes to combine well. Add in veggies, shredded chicken and pasta, and stir-fry to combine well with the spices. Season with salt and pepper.

NOTE: For a gluten-free version, simply opt of gluten-free pasta instead.

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