This is another recipe for the fast-cheap-easy-healthy-good file. I wasn’t originally going to write about it—I mean, I was just using up some random half-bags of vegetables—until I started drooling while reheating my leftovers at work the next day. And while I do strive to have exciting leftovers, it’s rare that they’re quite this good.

Lunch is served. At my desk.

The recipe goes like this: saute aromatics. Add assorted contents of freezer. Voila, dinner. I’ll confess that my freezer probably has more random crap in it than most people’s—there are always assorted leftovers and half-bags of vegetables and seven kinds of whole-wheat flour and vodka and who knows what else in there—but this recipe makes a strong case for always having, at the very least, some frozen shrimp. With that and some veggies, the only perishable product this recipe calls for is yogurt, and honestly, you could probably skip it and be just fine. This might be the perfect pantry/freezer meal.

Freezer tikka masala
Adapted from Serious Eats and rebrought to my attention by The Skillet Takes

2 tablespoons neutral oil or clarified butter (ghee)
1 large onion, grated
2 tablespoons grated ginger
2 tablespoons grated garlic
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup water
20 medium-to-large shrimp
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup frozen green beans, thawed
1/4 cup plain yogurt
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooked rice or naan for serving

In a heavy pot such as a dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook gently until golden, about 15 minutes, then add the ginger, garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, and garam masala. Add a little oil if necessary to allow the ingredients to blend into a thick-yet-runny consistency, and cook until the flavors have begun to marry and are very fragrant, 3-4 minutes.

Add the water and stir until the mixture is smooth, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and vegetables and cook gently over medium heat until shrimp are just cooked through.

Remove from the heat and stir in the yogurt quickly. Serve immediately with rice [or, to continue the freezer theme, Trader Joe’s excellent frozen naan].

Serves 3-4.

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