What’s in my pantry? ~ Menu Planning!

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OK, this post must be the most impromptu of all! I must have gone nuts you think, well I am not sure. You see I posted my Menu Planner, et al but even when I did plan, I never came around posting it. I actually think hard every Sunday to ensure I have a menu planned so that I don’t’ get up all worried. Sunday nights are always long, infact the days are so long!

So having something clear in mind helps a lot. And of course I have endless list of recipes that I still have to prepare. Saturdays are mostly saved for the book, though I have hardly worked on them for the past 3 weeks. I should surely write on the progress, at least to make myself get to it more clearly. The other day, I had a reader call me to ask when the book was going to be ready. I was really so touched by her concern.

Today being the 3rd, I am still up not ready with my monthly groceries. So I thought I might as well plan on something that I can make and clean up my pantry. Though there are certain items that get really over by end of the month, there are few other which never seem to get over. We normally stock rice, but other flours I get every month.

Our monthly grocery includes, wheat flour, APF, Millet flour, Lentils and legumes. plus the many spices. For a change I thought I would raid the freezer and see what I have up there!

The freezer is really an amazing space, everything gets dumped in there and forgotten!

Whenever I think of the fridge, I remember Daddy saying that Amma actually tests the Shelf life of things by storing them in the fridge and happily forgetting it! And for all I know about her, she never stores cooked food.

So when I peeped into my freezer, I found the following:

Kabuli Chana (garbanzo bean) – 1 kg
Black Chana – 1 & 1/2 kg
Sabut Dal – 1/2 kg
Wheat Rava – 3/4 kg
Bansi Rava – 1/4 kg
Whole Moong dal – 1 & 1/2 kg
Almonds – 1/2 kg
Cashew nuts – 250 gms
Amul Milk powder – 1 kg (god knows why I got this, I actually wanted to make chocolates!!)
Grated Coconuts about 4 whole
Dry ginger powder – 250 gms
Cashew + almond powder – 1 bottle
Masoor dal – 1/2 kg
Dried peas – 1/2 kg
Milk – 4 litres!
Jackfruit seeds – 10

Masala powders like Amchur, Pepper chicken masala (that I never used) and an array of few more, which I don’t want to look at right now!

Custard powder, Icing powder (I hardly ever bake, but always wanted to have these handy), Jelly mix, Condensed milk.

I started freezing milk as I found it really tough making Paneer at drop of the hat. Konda has this habit of asking for paneer as and when she likes. So freezing them was the best option. The moment she asks, I can make paneer and give her. But to still have 4 liters left is just too much.

And veggies –
1 kg of beans
quarter kg of fresh carrots and some 100 gms of carrot from a two weeks ago shopping
1 quarter kg of fresh cabbage, that hubby dear got a week ago (obviously it may not be so fresh now)
2 Radish
2 drumstick
and many more….

In my kitchen shelf’s..

quarter kg of Soya beans, yeah even after that Soya bean korma we still had something left!
Beaten Rice – 1 + quarter kg
Plus many more which I find hard to take notes

The list was astounding! Gosh do I really need all these things. And I hardly peep into the freezer most of the time.

Apart from these, I normally have ingredients handy near the kitchen. Those includes the things that are used everyday. Maybe I will have to replace some of it.

But the menu for this month will surely include ingredients from the above list! My grocery list is surely not going to include any of these.

Now comes the second part. I will have to “discover” new recipes that include these, can I have some suggestions? Would surely love to try new ones.

I just remembered about the milk! I had planned to make paneer tonight, hoping to prepare the long forgotten Paneer Butter Masala, but Athamma beat me to it. She had made a dish with it, knowing that its becoming very hard for me to prepare dinner with the kids becoming so very naughty!

She made a new dish, she called it the Paneer Korma. Hubby dear is against converting traditional things into unconventional dishes. But if you guys want it, shall post it. Of course it was just too delicious, since yours truly tasted it!

Now coming back to the original thought, if you guys have experienced similar raids to the freezer would love to hear the story. And if you are up to sharing what you found in it, are welcome to leave a trail in this post!

A post without a picture is not something I like, so I leave with our Sunday breakfast. It was supposed to have been our Saturday dinner. But something came up, so postponed to breakfast. Again something else came up, so finally had it for lunch. But I made it for the kids for their breakfast!

It was Kal Dosa with Arachiveta Sambar, and Amma’s Podi nothing can beat this!



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  1. A typo..
    "So when I peeped into my freezer, I found the following"
    but anyway.. u should have posted a photo too for our sake.:)

  2. Sri, This post of yours reminded me of my mother. She too keeps everything in the fridge, and to tell you the truth you can even find some notes and coins in the egg tray :).

  3. ive been using a menu planner for about 2 months now and it has made my life a lot more easier and also theres so much less wastage from the pantry/refrigerator. I only wish i do it every week and not get lazy ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. How big is ur fridge, Valli ? ๐Ÿ™‚ For the same reason, I don't stock lentils/pulses in the fridge. And I always buy 1/2kg or 1 kg pkts and try to finish it off.

    But I do need to take stock of the things else they will land in the trash.

  5. I think most of us have the same problem – too many odds and ends of things we have completely forgotten about! Unfortunately, I am so disorganized that I'm sure that menu planning will never work for me.

  6. Hi
    Been following your blog for sometime now and I must say it has been really helpful(have written to you earlier too ๐Ÿ™‚ not sure if you remember). With all the cooking melas and new dishes, your blog is one happening place. One place to lookup when you are clueless on what to cook! Thanks for your efforts.

    One thought, any plans for quick healthy dishes or diet plans for pregnant working women ?

  7. You know what was the first thing that struck me – you have a huge freezer! ๐Ÿ™‚
    But yes I can understand, its the same here, though I dont keep these things in the freezer but the stocks keep piling up as I always pick up whatever looks interesting to me in the store. I have started to actively use them nowadays…

  8. ..hehehe…well its not a very big fridge but only that I have dumped loads of stuff into it!..:)..thanks for comments friends..will click a picture of it when I come around it

  9. Hmm..and I thought only my fridge was over loaded..;)

    Why do you keep rava in the freezer,a small tip-Dry roast the rava till they turn light brown in colour and store them in an air tight container in room temperature,they wont get spoiled.
    Milk 4 litres..thats quite something..:)

  10. Srivalli I found this post by accident today! I often wonder how it would be to run an Indian kitchen without storing so many items? If I did not have so many items, many, many cupboards in our kitchen would be empty- not just the lentils, flours, rice, spices and food stuffs, but the food storage containers, pots, pans, electric gadgets, blenders, utensils that simply aren't required for American cooking!

  11. Can you please post a picture of your fridge – cause inside my head, I am able to fit all these only into a full sized godrej almarah :-)). My freezer is full of ziplock covers! Don't ask – I don't know why I keep them there! And you are making me aware of the need to take out the ziplocks and see what else is there in the freezer.

  12. Jennifer, Not sure how I missed responding to this thread. Sorry..you are right. I will be lost for sure..:)..you know even if on most weeks when I don't cook potatoes, I always find my potato basket full..just for the emergenies is what I always felt. My colleagues tease me, saying if they ever in a position not finding something, they can easily find it at my place. Well I know they are teasing still I often wonder if I require all that..but then again, I end up having late night binges with cakes..so you know..:)

    Rajani I will be most embrassed to show my freezer! but you are hilarious..:)..But full of ziplock covers do sound interesting..maybe we can exchange the pictures offline. But yes do check out and update what surprising thing you find out..:)

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