Stocking up on some essentials in coronavirus situation
Firstly, let me get the most important message out of the way. This post does not encourage hoarding in any manner. Its only aim is to help you stay stocked up with the essentials in case we face a lockdown.
In Bangalore (India), we are in the midst of a lockdown currently, but with total assurance that there will never be a non-supply of food, milk, vegetables and such essentials. My idea of keeping the pantry stocked up in such a situation is to minimise heading out to buy stuff (mantra is to stay indoors and socially distanced) and to minimise exposure by way of home deliveries. With all the anxiety and uncertainty in the current times, this is one thing taken care of. We can feel secure that no matter what, we are sorted on the food front for a month or so.
Indian cuisine has the advantage of being able to come up with hundreds of dishes using pantry stuff alone. Varieties of grains, dal, beans and flour mean there is no dearth of ingredients to cook with. Add to that some frozen ingredients, root vegetables, onions, garlic, ginger and tomato puree and you can cook up a full meal every day without having to shop for a thing.
I’m making a rather minimalistic list for you with ingredients that are versatile. I’m sharing approximate quantities here for a month, for a family of 3-4, but this totally depends on the quantities of food that you prepare for each meal.
Get the entire list in an image form that you can save to your phone/machine at the end of this post.
I am also sharing links to some simple recipes on my blog that you can make using these staples. In any recipes that have vegetables, feel free to substitute using whatever vegetables you have access to.
Read my post: Living through COVID19 in India
Rice (5kg) and tur dal (2-3 kg)
If I had to pick the most important things to buy, I would choose these. Tur dal can be prepared in at least a dozen different ways. Rice, eaten plain or made into its innumerable varieties is a staple we cannot do without. I would also choose rice over atta because it is the least effort to cook rice for a family of four, rather than making rotis or parathas when most of us are stretched thin with respect to energy and resources.
You can also stock up on other varieties of dal such as moong, masoor and chana, 1/2 kg each.
In Tamil cooking, we also end up using some amount of urad dal for all the tempering, so you can get 1/4 kg of split urad dal. If you plan to make idli and dosa batter then, of course, you will need a larger quantity of the whole skinned urad dal.
Here are some of the dishes you can make using rice and dal.
- Steamed rice to go with dal of any kind or sambar
- Lemon rice
- Sesame rice (uses only pantry ingredients)
- Sambar (make the perfect sambar, basic recipe)
- Alu Palak Biryani (use potatoes from the pantry, and spinach if available – <30 mins in the pressure cooker)
- Cabbage rice
- Puliyodharai (can be prepared using pantry ingredients)
- Turmeric rice
- Parsi Brown rice
- Leftover rice patties
- Kootu (can be made using mixed frozen vegetables)
- Dal Khichdi (use moong or tur dal)
- Pongal with rice and moong dal
- Bengali style khichdi (khichuri)
- Tomato and mint moong dal (can use tomato puree and dried mint)
- Ginger pumpkin dal
- Ridge gourd dal
- Methi Dal (use dried kasoori methi if fresh is not available)
Legumes (1 kg each)
Rajma and Kabuli Chana (Kidney beans and chickpeas)
Made into hearty curries to go with rice, all you need is some dry spices and tomato puree. Even if you don’t have onion and garlic, you can manage to make a tasty curry.
Both these legumes can also be used to make sundal, salads etc. but in these times, all I want to eat is hearty comfort food that brings joy, and I’m sure that will appeal to you as well.
For making chhole, I swear by Goldiee Chhole Masala. In dire circumstances, I have mixed well cooked kabuli chana with its cooking liquid along with tomato puree from a tetra pack and a couple of spoons of this masala to give the most amazing results.
- Chhole with greens (can also be made without the greens)
- Mangalorean Chickpeas Gassi
- Rajma Pulao
- Mexican Salad
Atta – Whole wheat flour (5kg)
After rice, rotis are the most basic food prepared in many Indian kitchens. Be it to make phulkas ( Video: how to make the perfect soft phulka), or parathas, or wheat flour dosas or to bake the occasional cake to cheer up the kids, it is a must have in the kitchen.
Here are some recipes you can make using atta.
- Aloo Paratha
- Gujarati Methi Thepla
- Instant dosa
- Cauliflower paratha
- Spinach mint roti
- Banana bread with whole wheat flour and oats
Besan 1 kg
Another super versatile flour, and highly nutritious too— can make a lot of breakfast dishes and snacks using bean.
Pasta (500 g x 2)
Stocking up on one kind of pasta such as penne allows you to cater to fussy kids. It also makes for an easy dinner. Toss cooked pasta in olive oil with garlic and chilli flakes and serve some steamed veggies on the side. Here are some easy pasta ideas.
- Broccoli pasta
- Pasta in vodka sauce (assuming you have some vodka stashed at home 🙂
- Make this pasta salad from any leftover pasta
- Turmeric powder
- Red Chilli Powder
- Coriander powder
- Cumin Powder
- Garam masala
- Sambar masala
- Chhole Masala
- Mustard seeds
- Cumin seeds
- Bay leaf
- Tomato Puree
- Coconut Milk
- Tamarind Paste
- Milk powder
- Bournvita / Complan (whatever your kids drink)
- Pet food (in case you have pets)
- Green Chillies
- Curry leaves
Stock up on potatoes and sweet potatoes that will last for weeks, and both are super versatile to cater to many meals.
Freezer / Fridge
- Frozen peas
- Frozen corn
- Frozen coconut
- Frozen mixed vegetables
- Cheese slices/cubes
- Let me reiterate once again that is definitely not a call to hoard stuff. Many of us buy weekly groceries and order stuff when it is almost over, so, in case of a lockdown or deliveries being stopped, it is good to have at least a month’s supply handy.
- Look out for the elderly people in your neighbourhood and community. They may not be comfortable with online ordering and it is not safe for them to go out and shop. Give them your number and ask them to call in case they need anything.
- Please see if you can stock up some supplies for your household help, driver etc. as they may not have the luxury of spare money to buy extra stuff.
- Cook a few community meals for your security guards. They are all away from their homes and doing their duty at the gates, while most of us have the privilege of working from home or being at home.
Read my post: Living through COVID19 in India
DOWNLOAD THIS LIST by saving the image below to your machine or phone