The coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing “new normal” have taught us many skills. Even if working from home saves you the time you earlier spent in travelling, chances are you are also cooking, cleaning and juggling multiple other things at the same time—be it attending office phone calls while doing the dishes or mapping your next work project in your head while sweeping the house.
One of the skills we have come away with is turning leftover food that no one is enthusiastic about into quick yummy meals. This not only helps empty your fridge and curb food wastage, it also helps you save time.
Here are HuffPost India’s favourite recipes to whip up superfast using leftovers.
Roti egg roll
If you’re looking for something to munch on while you write up a report, or do background reading for an interview, the leftover roti egg roll makes for an easy, and incredibly tasty lunch.
You crack an egg (or two, depending on how hungry you are), chuck in some chopped green chillies, a little salt and chilli powder (if you like more heat). Now heat oil or butter in a pan, chuck the egg in. While it is still wet, press a chapati down on it so that it sticks to the egg. Let it fry in low heat for a bit. Flip it over and let it fry for a few seconds. Take it off the pan.
Now if you are feeling up to it, you can shred some leftover chicken, or kheema or mutton or paneer (actually try not to) and heap it at the centre of the roll. Depending on how lazy you feel, sprinkle chopped onions, more chillies, a squeeze of lemon and a dash of crushed pepper on the chapati and roll it up. Else just splash some ketchup and chilli sauce on it, roll up and devour.
A variation of this is, heat a little oil or ghee in a tawa. Put a roti on it and heat till slightly crisp. Now take whatever leftover subzi you have in your fridge (hopefully not lauki and kaddu) and spread it over the roti. Now put another roti on it and press it down with a spatula. Flip it over carefully, so that both rotis are mildly fried. Switch off the gas and leave it on the pan so that it crisps up a bit. Take it off, cut it into 4 slices, out achaar, dahi or ketchup and demolish.
If you have dal left over, just saute it in a pan, maybe chuck in some chillies and onions, till it dries up. Follow the same process.
— Piyasree Dasgupta
This is my go-to recipe when we have leftover rice and dal in the fridge. It’s so easy it’s almost embarrassing to recount the steps, but here goes:
Heat some ghee, add a diced onion and green chilly, saute for 2 minutes.
Add a finely chopped tomato, repeat.
Add the dal and heat the mixture well. If the dal is too watery, let it dry up a little.
Then add the rice and mix well. Scoop into a bowl and enjoy some piping hot comfort food!
— Sharanya Hrishikesh
Leftover chicken fry
This is something my mother would make for me all the time when I was a kid, and it takes very little time. If you have leftover chicken curry that you don’t feel like eating anymore, this is a perfect way make use of it.
Take out the chicken pieces from the curry, separate the meat from the bones and shred it. Dip it in a bowl of warm water to get rid of all traces of the curry, and take it out immediately.
Chop an onion, one green chilly and a bit of capsicum if you have it.
Heat some oil in a pan and saute the onion, green chili and capsicum till they are cooked through, add in the shredded chicken. Add a teaspoon of soya sauce and a teaspoon of vinegar. Fry it on medium heat till everything cooks.
— Rohini Chatterji
Dal ki roti
If you have leftover dal, you can make dal ki roti and enjoy it with pickle or curd.
Mash your leftover dal a bit. Take a bowl of wheat flour and add the mashed dal to it. Add spices — salt, coriander and chilli powder — according to taste. The dal already has all these spices so make sure you don’t add a lot. Grate a carrot and some paneer into this. Knead all this together into a dough. Add water if needed while kneading. You can make rotis from this dough and relish it with pickle/curd.
— Akshita Jain
This recipe of phodnicha bhat, shared by a Maharashtrian friend, has become our go-to for leftover rice at home and for easy work night dinners. It serves 2-3 people.
Heat mustard oil and then add mustard/jeera. After it splutters, add one chopped green chilly and a few curry leaves. Stir for a minute or two.
Add two small chopped onions. Once the onions turn translucent, add 1/4 teaspoon each of turmeric and chilli powder. Stir for a minute or two. Add two chopped tomatoes. Stir well, till the tomatoes are half done. Add a pinch of sugar and then add in the leftover rice. Stir for another 2-3 minutes till everything is mixed well together.
You can garnish with peanuts and lemon. Serve with curd/raita and pickle.
— Meryl Sebastian