Tag Archives: student budget

Idli-Dosa, garam Samosa ( I mean, Vadai)

27 Apr

If I was given a choice between eating North Indian food for 1 year versus South Indian food for 1 year, I would, without batting an eyelid, choose South Indian food. That’s just the way it is. Seriously, who can resist those perky idlis? And those crisp fragrant dosas that sometimes have a sense of humour( Read: “top hat” dosa) and those tongue-tingling chutneys and of course the gun powder (podi) that makes you feel like chaddi-pals with Rajnikanth.

To add to all that, its cheap. Hypothetically, for example, if I was to order one idli-wada plate and then 2 chettinad dosas and then a drink and then a biriyani, it would still come under 10 pounds!

I swear, I could go anywhere for South Indian. Even if its Birmingham.

Even if I have to trudge through the Bull Ring (where Jamie Oliver has opened a hee-uuge restaurant that I can’t wait to try)…

…And take a round through Starbucks…

…Its all worthwhile for South Indian food…

There’s an important notice you have to keep in mind, though 😛 :


Bang Bang Bangers

23 Apr

Recently released from my vegetarian restrictions, I am now prowling the streets looking for my next meaty fix. And what better way to start than bangers or sausages! This new place that I discovered not far away from my Uni is a pub that’s called The Sozzled Sausage and its got an amazing menu to suit both the palate and the pocket.

The decor is really funky, and they sell their product like they love it. Check out these cute sausages-on-wings 🙂

All sausages are served with mashed potato and onion gravy. I had for myself a Moroccan Lamb Merguez and a Thai Lime, Chicken and Coriander sausage . My friends were bowled over by the Venison, Redcurrant and Red Wine (that should tell you about extent of the variety that they serve).

They were so happy with their meal, I got them to fake-laugh for me.

We finished our meal in true style with Chocolate and Coffee Mouse and Red Berry Cheesecake for dessert. And all this for under 10 pounds!

So satisfying.

Stuffed Mushrooms with Cheddar

24 Mar

For the second installment in the ‘meal for friends’ series, I give you….Stuffed Mushrooms with Cheddar cheese!

Benefits: You can kill someone with this dish.

It’s seriously rich. But seriously easy, and is made from Mushrooms! You know how much I love those!

What’s more, its a great  for parties and gathering when you have loads of people coming and you don’t want to spend too much. So here goes.

What you need:

15 large open mushrooms

Garlic Mayonnaise, 200 gm

5 medium sized Chicken salami cuts, cut into tiny bits

5 medium sized Pork salami, cut into tiny bits

Dill, finely chopped

Pepper to taste

Salt to taste

Grated cheddar cheese (as much as you like!)

What to do:

Preheat the oven for 10 minutes.

Combine the dill, pepper, salt, the chicken and pork salami and keep aside. This is your stuffing.

Remove the stems of the mushrooms, and place them cap side down in a baking dish, and spoon the stuffing into them.

before topping it with cheddar cheese

Top them with cheddar cheese, and put the dish in the oven for 10 minutes on 250 degrees (or more if you like the burnt cheese taste)

After topping it with cheese

And you’re done! Keep the defibrillator ready!





How I made a break from Instant Noodles

12 Mar

I have these moments all the time when I dont want to cook. I’m sure you’ve had them too. Except, all these days I dealt with it by diving into a cup-o-noodles. Yes, they’re hot and tasty blah blah. But lets be honest. They’re tantalising,deceiving strings of deathly dough.

Not good, my friends.

So I have decided to mend my ways and my food passages. I have replaced them with Flat Bread, Reduced Fat (aha. you see?) Onion and Garlic Dip, and a Fruit Medley.

No mess. No running to the kitchen for hot water. Only yummy, healthy ready-made meal in seconds, that is also MOBILE! Beat that! ( no, don’t say you can carry the piping hot plastic noodle bowl, just so you’ll have something to say)

Good Intentions, Great Expectations

23 Feb

I recently had some foodspiration and decided to experiment with whatever ingredients I had in my fridge and cupboard at the time. Turns out, I managed to make some pretty excellent fried chicken! Of course by the time my friends ate it, it was cold and so not half as good as would have tasted when it was hot. But the important thing was I experimented without a set a recipe and it was Fun!

an experiment gone well

So here’s me sharing my easy 20 min fried chicken recipe. To make things easier, I’ve put an ‘E’ in front of all the essential ingredients. The rest you can add or subtract depending on how you want your experiment to go. Feel free to add anything extra as well (I even contemplated putting vanilla essence into the thing). Enjoy!

What you need: (serves 2)

2 chicken breast fillets——E

3-4 cloves of garlic chopped

1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped

1 raw egg—-E

2 tbsp flour—–E

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp red chilli powder

Oil for frying—–E

salt to taste—–E

What to do:

So here’s the thing. The recipe has got to be made with a certain I-care-a-hoot attitude, but just enough to keep you relaxed. Otherwise you wont end up experimenting and enjoying the results when they turn out right.

Defrost the chicken breasts and mix it up with the garlic, ginger and pepper. Leave it aside while you prepare the batter.

fillets with seasoning

For the batter, mix the flour, egg, salt, cumin seeds and red chilli powder.

flour and egg

spices in the batter

In a shallow pan, heat up the oil.

the mystery cook in the oil 😛

Dip the chicken fillets in the batter and fry until golden brown. Done!

You can always eat it plain, but just for fun, I served it with some salad and a bun!

all packed up for my friends

Chicken with Yogurt, scented with aromatic whole spices

26 Jan

I was reading this article in the Guardian recently, and I thought to myself, “Hmm…I cook meat in yoghurt all the time.” So I thought it fit that I should share my recipe too.  In its current form, its more a curry and not a Bake, but it very well could be.


Spices are essential to this dish. No being miserly with these.

I have to give my Mum the credit for the recipe, though the one below is more of a quick-fix, student budget solution. Again, full points for versatility ( you can even take just the chicken pieces from the ready dish and put them in your sandwich).

What you need:

For Marination:

4 chicken breast fillets cut into square-inch pieces

150 gm plain yogurt

1 tsp  turmeric

1 tsp red chilly powder (you can put in less depending on how hot you want it)

1 tsp ground coriander seed powder

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Mix all the above ingredients and leave aside.

Note: They say the longer you marinate the chicken the better, so even if you’re doing it in a hurry, try and marinate it at least for an hour before you start making your dish.


Marinate the Chicken. Dont be afraid to mix with your hands!

For the dish

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp ground coriander seed powder

2-3 petals of garlic, chopped

1 inch ginger, chopped

2 Bay leaves

3-4 cloves

3-4 cardamom

1 inch Cinnamon

2-3 medium sized onions-chopped fine

2 potatoes – chopped into 2 pieces each

2 tbsp tomato puree

5-6 tbsp oil

1 cup water

salt to taste

What to do:

In a deep vessel heat the oil on a high flame. Once the oil is heated add the bay leaves, cloves, cardamoms cinnamon, tumeric powder, coriander seed powder and fry for a minute.


Smells awesome already...slurrp!

Add the chopped garlic and ginger and fry for one more minute. Keep moving the mixture around constantly to prevent it from burning.

Now add the finely chopped onion into the oil and fry over medium heat. Once onions are soft brown add 2-3 spoon of water and let the onions melt (cook for about 10-15 mins). Now add the tomato puree and stir.

Then add the marinated chicken and the potato, add half a cup of  water, mix them well and let the chicken cook over medium heat. Incase you need to add  more water add warm water only.


Frothing in the pot. Almost there...

Its done!

Enjoy it with rice, bread, roti or just by itself. I gobbled it up with Roti.


Mmm...so warm and comforting.

Mushrooms: Spreading the joy

14 Jan

[This post is dedicated to my good friend Nattu, who sent me a really pretty card (she herself made) all the way from India. See that  lovely Radha-Krishna stamp?

Despite my sickness and state-of-mind, it instantly cheered me up 🙂 Nothing quite compares to physical letters and cards, wouldn’t you say?]

Easy Mushroom Paste and why it spreads so much joy

The reason it spreads joy is because,

  1. Its very easy to prepare
  2. Its versatile (I’ll explain how later)
  3. Its cheap and does very well for a student budget
  4. It lasts really long, so it works well for student schedules too

What you need:

(Nb: the following ingredients are in proportion to 250gms of Button mushrooms. Double it if you want to use 500 gm mushrooms)

250 gm Button Mushrooms

2tbsp slightly salted butter

1 tbsp ground black pepper

salt to taste

What to do:

Wash and chop mushrooms into squarish pieces as finely as possible. The finer you chop, the smoother your paste.

In a medium sized pot, put the mushrooms and the butter and heat on medium flame. The mushrooms will start releasing water.

So you’ll probably start with something like this…


Then go on to something like this…


And then this.

The whole process will take a good 20 minutes or so, so have patience. The trick is to let all the water evaporate so in the end you have this luscious thing that’s swimming in butter (i never said it would be healthy!)

Once all the water has evaporated, turn off the gas and set aside to cool. Once cooled, add salt and pepper.

Its done.

Now comes the fun part. Remembering I was telling you how this paste is really versatile? The thing is, it can be used in as many ways as you want.

You can have it by itself; or toss it in your salad;or mix it with rice to make pilaf; or eat it with nan bread; or add it to boiled pasta.

I have myself tried it as a filling for roles, croissants and also for samosas, and they’ve turned out to be big hits with all my friends and guests.

Just to give you an example, I’ve mixed it here with Garlic and Herb La Roule’ cheese, to make it a breakfast spread for toast.

The best part is that you can store it in a container in your freezer for at least a week and keep using it as and when. That’ll save you both time and effort, especially if you’re running around attending classes and doing your assignments!