We're giving you a head-start on how to save money and still have enjoyable meals.
This is the year of rising prices, apparently. Go on any social media site and you'd see people talk about how this is expensive, that is costly and whatnot. There is talk that some sacrifices need to be made, or some concessions that have to be done to our lifestyles.
And of course, us food lovers are feeling the pinch too. It could be that we need to start eating out less or spending less on food, or really, really start scrutinizing the stuff we buy from the markets. Maybe it is time to cut down on those lavish buffets or restaurant foods.
But chill; look on the bright side. Spending less doesn't mean crappy foods, and now is the time to get your butts back to the kitchen and start cooking. Think about it: you have complete control over the stuff you buy and cook, it improves your domestic skills, makes you more self sufficient... macam-macamlah the goodness of cooking on your own.
And the big plus: YOU SAVE MONEY.
Honestly, you'd be surprised as to how much you can stretch your ringgit and still enjoy good food. Have you any idea how much RM15 can buy at your local grocers? Well wonder no more because we did exactly that, and here we are. We cooked FIVE meals that each cost RM10 or less to make at home.
And yes, they're all tasty!
Now before we go ahead, we're assuming that you've already got some pantry staples. But just for the fun of it, here's some suggestions to have ready at home, always, just in case you need to get-a-cooking.
- Rice, potatoes and pasta is a must as our main staple
- Good quality salt, pepper, sugar
- Cooking oil; a general purpose quality cooking oil will cover a range of cooking techniques
- Onions and garlic are cheap as chips and is a cornerstone of flavour building
- Dried herbs and spices: chili flakes/powder, oregano, parsley and whatever you fancy
- Condiments such as oyster sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, etcetera are instant go-tos to add some life to your regular dishes
So let's get cooking, and fill up your tummies on the cheap!
Spicy Sausage Hash with Toast and Eggs
This recipe makes an excellent, filling meal especially for breakfast. Serves 2.
2 sausages, cut into chunks
1 potato, cut into medium dice and par-boiled (half cooked)
1 onion, diced
Chilli flakes, to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
4 pieces bread, toasted
2 eggs, fried sunny side up... or done however you want
1. Heat about 4 tablespoons of oil in a pan and saute the onions for 3 minutes.
2. Add in the sausages and potatoes, and cook until the edges of the sausage and potatoes turn brown and crisp up, about 5 minutes.
3. Season to taste with chilli flakes, salt and pepper.
4. Serve with the toast and fried egg.
Costs: 1 potato (RM0.90), 2 sausages (RM3.00), 1 onion (RM0.10), 2 eggs (RM0.60), 4 pieces toast (RM1.00)
Fettucine with Sausages in Tomato Sauce
A simple twist to the regular bolognese.. and a much quicker cooking one! Serves 2 - 3.
1 small can tomato puree
2 sausages, diced
1/2 onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried basil
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste
1. Cook the pasta, drain and set aside.
2. In a hot pan with oil, saute the onions and garlic until fragrant, about 4 minutes.
3. Add in the sausages and cook another 5 minutes.
4. Add in the tomato puree, and lighten with a dash of water. Cook for 10 minutes. If it's too dry, add more water.
5. Season to taste with salt, pepper and sugar. The sugar helps cut down the acidity.
6. Serve the sauce over the pasta. Add grated cheese if you like.
Cost: 200g fettucine (RM2.00), 1 small can tomato puree (RM2.50), 2 sausages (RM3.00), 1/2 onion (RM0.05), garlic (RM0.03), dried herbs (RM0.02)
Rice with Stir Fried Cucumber and Ikan Goreng
A classic lunch dish.. economy rice that is simple and really economical. Serves 2.
250g white rice, cooked
2 ikan kembong, marinated in turmeric and salt
1 Japanese cucumber, de-seeded and sliced
2 chili padi, pounded
1/2 onion, sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tbsp oyster sauce
A bit of water
Salt and pepper to taste
1.Fry the fish in hot oil until cooked through and golden brown, about 3 minutes each side. Set aside.
2. In a wok, heat 1 tablespoon oil until smoking. Saute the onions, garlic and chili padi for 2 minutes.
3. Add in the cucumbers and oyster sauce. Stir 2 minutes.
4. Add in a dash of water, stir for 1 minute. Season to taste.
5. Serve with rice and the ikan goreng. Enjoy!
Cost: 250g rice (RM1.25), 2 ikan kembong (RM3.00), 1 Japanese cucumber (RM0.80), 1/2 onion (RM0.05), garlic (RM0.03), oyster sauce (RM0.01)
So you see? A good, tasty meal need not be costly and fickle to make. We've just shown you recipes that cost less than RM10 to purchase the ingredients for, super simple to make and are delicious to boot. And here are two more for you to try! We have a gorgeous Kimchi Fried Rice with Seared Beef and Fried Egg and a hearty Congee with Tuna in Spicy Soy Sauce. They sound exotic, but they too, cost less than RM10!
We hope this article gives you some idea as to the thing you can do and how to stretch your ringgit. Who would've thought that in these pressing and costly times, that good food is actually still within reach? It's in your kitchen all this while, so get on moving, and keep on cooking!