So you decided to splurge and treated yourself to a tasty takeaway. You deserved it. You were hungry, you didn’t really know what you wanted so you ordered a BIT too much. I mean when you’re hungry, (or anytime) 7 poppadoms does not seem enough right. But as you sit there fulfilled and bloated looking at the containers of food left, the guilt kicks in and its starting to ruin you food high. Fear not my friends the queen of reheating is here to save your lovely leftovers from wasteville!
**SAFETY FIRST** Nobody wants a sick stomach so it’s important to follow good guidelines for storing and reheating food. Always cover food and allow to cool completely then store in the fridge overnight until ready to reheat. As you don’t know EXACTLY when the food was prepped, and how long they had the ingredients before cooking, my rule of thumb is eat the next day or brown bin it. There is wiggle room with vegan dishes and some vegetarian but generally where dairy or meat is concerned use within a day or send to compost. A kitchen thermometer is a very handy tool, I have included a temperature chart HERE. But as a generalised rule leftovers should be heated to 74°C.
Starters or Sides
Things like skewers, balls (chicken or prawn), samosas, baji’s etc. In my opinion oven is always best for reheating these kinds of things as it prevents from going soggy.
- Place on an oven tray, sprinkle with a few drops of water (this prevents food drying out) and cook through in the center of a hot oven on 170°C until food reaches optimum temperature (see guide above). This will take 10-15 minutes depending on the oven, if it is fan or conventional, if it is correctly calibrated etc.
- You can also use a frying pan to reheat these. Put a teaspoon of oil into the pan (if its a non stick pan this is not needed), warm pan to medium heat, heat for 5-7 minutes turning occasionally until they reach correct temperature.
- If using a microwave either cover with clingfilm in a microwave proof dish, or head in paper bag they came in as per microwave instructions (Usually 1-2 minutes).
- Mains in metal trays, add a little water and mix if the sauce has thickened.
- Place all trays (mains, sides and accompanying dishes) into the centre tray of a hot oven and heat on 180° for approx 15 minutes, checking they’ve reached appropriate temperature before eating. You can also adjust temperature settings to warm them slower if needed. This is great because you can go off and do whatever you want and heat everything at once. I leave the cardboard lids on the containers but you can also cover with tinfoil instead.
- If heating in the microwave, mix with 2 tablespoons of water and cover dish with clingfilm, the microwave tends to dry out food, for the water and clingfilm will help with this.
- You can also reheat in a pot or frying pan. Again a a little water, and stir slowly until food begins to bubble continuously.
- Rice: egg fried, pilau, plain – doesn’t matter principles are the same. Did you know that rice is one of the biggest causes of food poisoning? So you NEED to ensure its cooled and stored correctly.
- Oven (in metal takeaway container) – Add about 50mls of water to the rice, recover and warm in the center of oven on 180 for approx 10-15 minutes. The water is absorbed by the rice and prevents it from drying out.
- If using a microwave make sure to use add water and cover with clingfilm.
- You can reheat rice in a pot if needed by adding water to the bottom and stirring continuously. Or, turn non egg fried rice into egg fried rice by adding some oil to a pan, whisking egg in a cup, make a well in the centre of the rice, stir in egg a little at a time to the well and mix through the rice before adding next batch, finish by adding a little soy or oyster sauce and top with some chopping scallion. You can turn leftover rice into a complete meal by also adding veg, fresh or frozen to the dish, meat, fish, tofu or any combination you choose.
- Chips: These are tricky little feckers! It really depends on the chips. Chipper chips just DO NOT reheat well (on their own). Generally if you have chips as a side from a Chinese or Indian for example, the best way to reheat them is to mix them with the leftovers and reheat in the one container. So example with chicken curry and chips, add your chips into the curry container when you’ve finished eating so the next day when reheating they’re already in the dish. They won’t be brilliant but if you do it this way they’re actually ok.