Short cuts to make your life easier

I love cooking, but food preparation is tedious.

And now that I no longer have a helper in the kitchen, there are tasks which I try to avoid.

For example, when I need shredded vegetables to make popiah, I use packets of ready-cut coleslaw as a base and, when it comes to peeling prawns - I confess, I buy frozen, peeled prawns.

My food processor is invaluable because it chops, shreds and blends.

However, I also resort to short cuts, even if they may alarm purists. This includes relying on frozen vegetables, such as peas.

I will open a packet to add a touch of green to soup, fried rice or stir-fried dishes.

Ditto for frozen corn kernels and edamame beans - ready-peeled, please, otherwise there is the bothersome task of removing the pods.

I also choose small vegetables, such as baby carrots and cherry tomatoes. And I rely on packets of ready-cut broccoli and cauliflower, either frozen or fresh.

Fruit such as grapes and cherries are selected as there is no need to peel and cut them.

As for leafy vegetables, I chop them, which is easier than plucking the leaves and breaking the stems into shorter lengths.

Otherwise, I buy short-stemmed vegetables, such as baby kai lan and bok choy.

Just cut off the woody ends and they are good to go. The leaves are small enough to cook as they are.

And I always freeze ginger, washed and cut into pieces. When needed, I reach for a piece and grate it into the pan.

How easy can that be?

This article was first published on June 4, 2015.
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