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September 26, 2016

Cooking Tips For Working Women – Indian Cooking Ideas

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Cooking tips for working women
Friends, this post is all about useful cooking tips for Indian working women, beginners in cooking, bachelors, stay at home moms with babies in hand and for house wives who wish to finish the morning chores quickly and easily without any tension .These pre-preparation ideas would help you feel relaxed and manage to do quick and easy cooking during the busy, hectic weekdays. Recent days I have been getting mails to share some simple lunch menu ideas for busy weekdays by spending less time in kitchen. Very soon I will start a lunch menu series suggesting some easy and healthy Indian lunch recipes for daily cooking. Before that, I wanted to make a post about useful cooking tips & pre preparations to make the job easier. As I have worked for an year after marriage, I have seen & heard from my colleagues about the difficulties in managing home and career.Time management plays a major role here. For me, there was no problem at all as I was in a joint family. My in-laws did all the household chores and supported us very well.In this present day nuclear family setup, many people does not get the luxury of moral & physical support of elders to share cooking and other household responsibilities. So it would be really tiresome and stressful if we don’t plan things ahead. I hope these simple, handy tips and tricks would  be helpful to make the kitchen chores easier and stress free. Don’t worry, these pre-preparations won’t eat your weekend’s relaxing hours. You may need to spend just 2-3 hours to finish all these works or you can get the help of your servant maid to finish this job quickly. This will save lot of time during busy weekdays. Before going to this post, I must thank my friend Shalini for helping me to frame these points as she is regularly following these things.Love you lots dear . She also shared some pictures from her kitchen. I have made them as a collage and given below. Friends, I hope this post would be useful to plan & manage things easier. Working women and bachelors, please share your valuable tips you follow in your daily cooking in the comments section. It would be of great help for the people who read this post. Thanks in advance. Ok, now lets see some smart cooking tips and secrets to be a super wife and mom.This post is with more & more of stories and essays. Please bear with me.

DISCLAIMER : All the points I have shared below is based on the ideas I got from my working friends. I have also gone through some websites and magazines for more tips. Please modify or skip the suggestions as per your wish & need. You need to have a refrigerator, pressure cooker and some good air tight containers to make & store the dishes.

Cooking tips for working women Indian


According to me a 2 burner gas stove, 3 small pressure cookers, few ladles, mixing bowl and a mixer grinder is enough to cook even for 10 people. Pressure cooker is my biggest strength. It helps to cook any food quickly and easily. I have shared the pictures of  my cookers above for your reference.I use 3 Hawkins small sized pressure cookers ( 1.5 liters and 2 liters) and one 5 liter cooker. I use 2 of them for lunch preparation and 1 for cooking breakfast. I use the big sized cooker only for my guest. I will share how I use these cookers for quick cooking in my upcoming lunch menu series.

Cooking tips for working women - Indian
Pic courtesy – My friend Shalini

Make a weekly timetable for the menu according to your family's preferences. Keep a list of all the dishes you want to cook in the following week and write down all the required ingredients so that you can purchase all the groceries and vegetables as per the list.If you don’t like to spend time in grocery shopping, go for a monthly purchase. Refer my “Monthly Grocery list” post for the idea. You can buy vegetables once in 10 days and store them in refrigerator.  I follow this every month to save my time spent in shopping.


This point is especially for people who rely on Idli dosa recipes. Grind Idli dosa batter, Appam batter, Adai batter during weekend and store it for a week. You can even make millet idli, dosa batter and store it for one day. Idli, dosa batter is a real savior in Indian cooking. You can make idli, dosa, uthappam, Paniyaram for breakfast and dinner as well. Similarly you can also grind and keep batter for dosa varieties like Set dosa, sponge dosa, poha dosa etc. It will help you for sure. My friend Shalini's maid helps her to grind varieties of idli and dosa batters during every Sunday for the whole week's use. Even though I am a house wife, I too grind all the batters during weekends and use it mainly for the week's breakfast because I don't want to hit my head thinking about breakfast recipes during busy morning hours. Generally I make Instant dosa varieties, Instant idli varieties like oats idli, rava idli, upma recipes like wheat rava upma, vegetable rava kichdi, millet recipes, Ragi roti, Phulka or stuffed paratha varieties for my dinner. I try to avoid consuming rice at night.

Check out my Idli varieties post for varieties of idli,dosa batter. Check out my easy dosa batter recipe too ! For other options, you can make instant dosa varieties, upma varieties for breakfast or dinner.


Make roti dough well in advance and refrigerate it. The kneaded dough will remain fresh for at least 2-3 days. You can make use of this dough for making roti , poori and stuffed paratha. Remember to store in an air tight box. Take only the required quantity of dough from the box and immediately refrigerate the leftover dough.  But try to use it within 3 days.


When we have idli, dosa batter in our hand, we start to hit our head for making side dishes. That’s quite natural. So prepare some side dishes like tomato thokku without onion, tomato thokku with onion, onion tomato chutney, garlic chutney, Raw onion chutney, Idli Podi/Gun powdergreen chutney without coconut based on your preference and store in an air tight box. It will stay good for a week. You can use these chutneys as side dish for idli, dosa, appam and roti or use it as sandwich spread too. I usually make onion tomato chutney and stock it for my daughter’s breakfast and lunch box. For roti, you can prepare side dishes like capsicum-tomato curry, tomato thokku, pickles and even jam for your kids.  You can even cook Dal for making dal tadka or dal curry and refrigerate for 3 days. If you love to have pasta, you can make white sauce & pasta sauce ahead and store them.

Check out my 50 chutney recipes for more ideas.

For quick lunch, you can prepare and store Pulikachal paste/Puliyogare paste, Lemon rice paste, coriander thokku, thogayal varieties, Vathakuzhambu paste and podi/powder varieties like Dal powder/Paruppu podi, Dhania/coriander seeds powder, Angaya podi, Sundakkai podi, Poondu podi/Garlic powder, coconut podi etc.

Kuzhambu varieties like vatha kuzhambu, poondu kuzhambu, milagu kuzhambu, kara kuzhambu, tomato gravy, brinjal gravy stays good for even 2 -3 days with or without refrigeration. So you can make them once or twice in a week apart from sambar and rasam.

Check out my 30+ kuzhambu varieties post to get the links for the above recipes.


Roast rava and keep in bulk. It will help you to make upma quickly. You can also make Rava/sooji upma mix, Poha mix, pongal mix, rice upma mix in advance and store in the freezer. It helps you to make your breakfast or dinner quickly and easily. Always keep a packet of bread in stock for making quick sandwich or toast.


Vegetables like carrot, beans, peas, cauliflower, sweet corn, cluster beans, spinach, broad beans can be diced or chopped & frozen for a week.If you want to use the vegetable for the next day morning, you can simply refrigerate the chopped veggies. Do not freeze them. Usually I keep frozen peas and frozen corn always in stock. Grate 2 coconuts and store 3/4th of the quantity in a zip lock cover.Deep freeze it. Store the remaining coconut in refrigerator. Just thaw it for few minutes before use or use warm water to grind the coconut. Take the required quantity of coconut, refrigerate it and keep the remaining in freezer immediately. De-stem coriander, curry leaves and mint leaves and store in an air tight box. Mostly I use palak leaves during weekdays as it is easy for cleaning, chopping and cooking. During weekends, I buy other greens/Keerai varieties, clean them and store in a ziplock cover.Do not chop onions and store. It attracts more bacteria when its cut.

Apart from chopping veggies, you can make some lemon juice and store in a glass bottle, peel garlic cloves, Peel &finely chop ginger, peel small onions and keep them ready for usage. But remember to store the chopped vegetables in a clean zip lock cover and refrigerate.


Cook toor dal or moong dal in large quantity, refrigerate/freeze and store in a box for 2-3 days use. Take the required amount and make sambar instantly. Soak beans like rajma, dried peas and chana for 8 hours and refrigerate them for later use. You can easily cook a quick meal like pulao,  biryani or gravies & even make a healthy salad with it. Sprout green gram and other legumes based on your liking and keep them in the freezer. So whenever you want to have some salad, you can semi cook and have them ready.
Grind and keep tomato puree, homemade tamarind paste, ginger-garlic paste, onion paste, sauce varieties ready in hand. You can also keep some readymade seasoning, green chilli paste.Some people keep some sauteed, browned onions too. I have seen some of my friends making onion-tomato puree adding masala powders and keep the base ready for making North Indian gravies. If you have enough time in hand, you can even make two to three varieties of curries and refrigerate them.
Vegetables like potato, cauliflower, sweet corn and peas can be boiled in advance and refrigerated for later use. You can even cook pasta and store them in the fridge.

Keep curd, buttermilk, paneer, cheese and other essential milk products ready in hand so that you can use it for raita, buttermilk/ Chaas, lassi, gravies and sandwich.

I have summarized the above points and shared a TO-DO list for weekend. Do this according to your preference and time in hand.
  1. Grind idli, dosa batter and other batters if grinding.
  2. Make chapathi/ roti dough.
  3. Soak pulses & lentils like rajma, chana/ kabuli, peas.
  4. Chop all the required vegetables. Make frozen peas and sweet corn.
  5. De stem green leaves/Spinach, coriander leaves, mint leaves and curry leaves.
  6. Cook toor dal and moong dal in large quantity for making sambar & dal for roti.
  7. Make Tamarind paste, Tomato puree, Puliyogare paste, Tomato thokku, homemade powders like dal powder, curry leaves powder, coriander leaves thokku, thogayal varieties, Lemon rice mix, Chutney varieties according to your choice. ( I have shared the links in the above sections. please check it)
  8. Make white sauce and pasta sauce for cooking pasta recipes.
  9. Prepare rava/sooji upma mix, poha mix, dosa mix, pongal mix.
  10. Make onion tomato base for North Indian gravies.
  11. Purchase week’s grocery and vegetables.
  12. House cleaning if needed.
Friends,I  hope this post will be helpful to you. Thanks for visiting this page !!

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  1. Really useful for stay at home moms too.. Thank you

  2. Really useful for stay at home moms too.. Thank you

  3. very useful tips. thanks for sharing.

  4. you will need to avoid cooking the food or having it in the home because that can lead to an allergic reaction. Es-zone

  5. Great info! Thanks for compiling this.

  6. Hi mam what are the vegetables that can be stored in refridgerator and not the freezer and how many days we can store them.

    1. You can store almost all the vegetables in refrigerator. You can keep them upto one week not more than that. But greens / keerai cannot be kept for long time. Similarly bitter gourd, cut capsicum don't stay long. If you like you can freeze onions, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, and corn. Leafy greens such as spinach, chard and kale can also be frozen.

  7. Is there any nutritional loss in chopped vegetables which are kept in refrigerator or freezer?

    1. Yes, there will be slight loss in nutrition in chopped vegetables and fruits even with or without refrigeration.

    2. What about in freezer mam?

    3. What about in freezer mam?

    4. Yes Once you cut the veggies its lost. But you can freeze whole vegetables without losing the nutrients.

    5. Sorry that I am still having doubt..can u please say me weather Chopped vegetables stored in freezer gets it's nutrition value decreased day by day further in nutrition even in such a coldest temperature?

    6. That's ok. What I read from Google is, once if the vegetable is cut, no matter you keep in refrigerator or freezer, its nutrition get reduced. coldest temperature just helps to avoid rotting of vegetables and fruits.

  8. Storing cooked lentils in the fridge for 2-3 days. Would that work for the humid Indian weather conditions? It is still okay if you are eating it at home. But when it is taken out to the work place/school, won't it go bad? Even rice that is cooked at night goes bad by lunchtime the next day. Secondly, is it healthy to feed children such deep frozen stuff?

    1. Yes, it works well if we boil the gravy nicely after adding the dal. It won't go bad. Also if the cooked rice is refrigerated and then heated, it won't go bad I feel. Keeping it outside overnight without adding water is not recommended. I have seen many of my friends doing it. Yes, refrigerating things is not at all healthy when compared with freshly cooked food. But these ideas are only for people who have less time to cook. Its all compromise finally. As per our Hindu tradition, food cooked after 2 to 3 hours is considered to be tamasic, are we following it ?

  9. Great Chitra Mam. Excellent ideas. Your recipes are very useful and delicious

  10. Really useful for me. Thank you so much chithu dear

  11. Sambar pdr and some kulambu I make using your blog is comes out very well. Especially vazhaipoo kuzhambu once again thank you so much

  12. Really useful for me. Thank you so much chithu dear

  13. Man, how much days can we store in frodge and freeze cooked dry peas?

    1. Store in freezer in a ziplock cover. Do not keep in refrigerator.
      You can keep for a month too.


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