Author Topic: cheap but good, and not too boring?  (Read 35874 times)

arborman

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2298
    • View Profile
    • http://bohemiancoast.blogspot.com
cheap but good, and not too boring?
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2007, 07:20:46 PM »
Quote from: Mandos
I find the ubiquity of Shan and National brands to be very interesting as both are Pakistani, and there don't seem to be terribly many Indian competitors at that level.  Gits seems to be Indian (it does dosas and idlies), but beyond that...


That's interesting.

I have to confess - most of my Indian 'cooking' consists of pouring out a jar of 'Patak's' or some other brand name curry sauce into whatever the veggies and meat are.  Very delicious, not particularly cheap though.  I felt uncheflike about it, but then I stayed at an Indian friend's place for a few days and her mom did the same thing twice (though she did make the naan, something I've never dared to try).
The pleasures of the table are for every man, of every land, and no matter what place in history or society; they can be a part of all his other pleasures, and they last the longest, to console him when he has outlived the rest.

lagatta

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13093
    • View Profile
cheap but good, and not too boring?
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2007, 07:53:09 PM »
The Shan and National are considerably cheaper than Patak's, which is from England, and many of their products are spice mixtures, so you have to do a bit more work. I do confess I like some of the Patak's products very much, including such distinctly Asian-English things as Balti paste. Patak's aint cheap.

I don't usually use a whole of Patak stuff for one meal, though.
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
Rosa Luxemburg

arborman

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2298
    • View Profile
    • http://bohemiancoast.blogspot.com
cheap but good, and not too boring?
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2007, 08:08:41 PM »
Quote from: lagatta

I don't usually use a whole of Patak stuff for one meal, though.


Oh me neither - but I usually only use it when we're having some people over.  I use the recipe on the side of the jar.  

I had no idea it was an English company.  Funny that.
The pleasures of the table are for every man, of every land, and no matter what place in history or society; they can be a part of all his other pleasures, and they last the longest, to console him when he has outlived the rest.

Toedancer

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13966
    • View Profile
cheap but good, and not too boring?
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2007, 08:27:09 PM »
Having never been to India or Pakistan the best Indian food I've ever had was in England and S. Africa.

If you could only eat one kind of food for the rest of your life, what would it be? I got asked this over a dozen years ago and my answer is still the same. I could live on Indian food forever and a day and never miss a thing. It's not just the taste, spices etc., but the very texture of it all. I dream about it. Umm altho I think I would miss rotis
"Democracy is not the law of the majority, it's the protection of the minority." -Albert Camus 1913-1960

  • Guest
cheap but good, and not too boring?
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2007, 08:32:37 PM »
You wouldn't miss rotis if you lived on Indian food.

I really hate food these days.

kuri

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3885
    • View Profile
cheap but good, and not too boring?
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2007, 08:58:44 PM »
What I had tonight would qualify as cheap and good.

I soaked the following last night:
- 2 cups dry kidney beans
- 2 cups dry pinto beans

Then put in the slow-cooker this morning:
- 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 carrots sliced
- 3 fennel stalks, sliced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced (trust me)
- 1 tbsp. chili flakes
- 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon
- 1 tbsp. cumin
- 1 tbsp. sage leaves
- 1 tsp. cayenne
- the soaked beans
- fill water to top

Cooked all this on low all day and then added a cup of whole wheat pasta about 15 minutes before serving.

It makes a really thick minestrone-like soup. The spices don't look like they'd make sense, but they blend really well. Serve in bowls with a bit of parmasan or grated mozza cheese. Using dried beans is pretty cheap, and now that I've figured out cooking them in the slow cooker, I can make them on weekdays, too.

lagatta

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13093
    • View Profile
cheap but good, and not too boring?
« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2007, 09:24:46 AM »
I looked at a little packet of "Raj Masala" Butter Chicken curry paste - from a rather westernised line (I know, but not everyone I cook for can cope with very spicy food) of "Authentic North Indian Meals" but indeed, as Mandos says, they are made by National Foods, in Karachi Pakistan (which gives them the edge of being Halal).

I made up a mixture of a large tin of keta salmon (the cheap kind), quinoa, some (goat's milk) béchamel I had left over, a tbsp of Trinidad-style curry powder, a bit of sambal (hot pepper paste) and a few other things. Will be adding grated fresh ginger, a bit more mustard than is in the curry (I love mustard), and onions, of course.  Tasting it the mix seems nice, but the proof is in the baking of the pie  (I do a yeasted olive-oil pastry).

Haitians make and sell (near my house) tasty little pâtés, flakier than the Jamaican kind, with a choice of beef, chicken and "fish" fillings - the fish is just tinned tuna or cheap salmon, or any cheap fish, highly-spiced. I'm not making this quite that spicy but I wanted a bit of an Island flavour.

Must not forget to add some chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, mostly for the pretty colour contrast - it is of course better to eat that uncooked, as it is a very good source of vitamin c, much of which is lost in the baking.

In Italian, someone who is like "prezzemolo" (parsley) is the kind of person you encounter everywhere, at parties, business meetings, public functions etc.
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
Rosa Luxemburg

Herr Magoo

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2297
    • View Profile
cheap but good, and not too boring?
« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2007, 12:22:27 PM »
Quote
I looked at a little packet of "Raj Masala" Butter Chicken curry paste


I've used these, and they're pretty good.  Back in the day I started recording a "Sizzle" episode about "convenience" foods like this; quick shortcuts to Butter Chicken, Japanese curry, and Thai Red Curry.  I think they all have their moments.  And don't think for a second that your favourite Thai place grinds all their own pastes.  Young Thailand here in Toronto, for example, uses Maesri brand curry pastes.  Buy a tin of the same stuff and you can get pretty close to their result.
ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,

vickyinottawa

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 437
    • View Profile
    • http://www.offhand.ca
cheap but good, and not too boring?
« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2007, 12:48:05 PM »
Canned beans are cheap and a good source of protein to boot.   Simple creole with beans - saute 1 diced onion, 1 diced green pepper, 1 minced clove garlic, add 1 large can kidney beans and 1 28oz can tomatoes, add salt, pepper and 1/4tsp cayenne, simmer until sauce has thickened and serve with rice.

I also do a similar dish with a tin of black beans.... 1 onion, 1 green pepper, 2-3 cloves garlic, cumin, cardamom and red pepper flakes, OJ and a bit of dry sherry.

Boom Boom

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9962
    • View Profile
cheap but good, and not too boring?
« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2007, 01:39:06 PM »
In a hurry for a hot meal, I just cook a can of beans and boil up some rice, drain it, and mix the two together. Maybe with a bit of finely chopped onion, if I have time.

lagatta

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13093
    • View Profile
cheap but good, and not too boring?
« Reply #25 on: February 04, 2007, 06:15:10 PM »
I made a sort-of mapo tofu dish. Sort of because I was out of fermented black-bean sauce (horrors!) so I added some miso paste instead. I also added some greens (finely sliced celery, green onion and Chinese celery cabbage - the real dish would only contain the onion, with greens on the side, but I was making a simple one-dish supper and wanted to make sure I ate my greens!

I added a tbsp of Vietnamese hot pepper paste - the kind that is more like ground chillis than puréed.

You can use minced lamb in lieu of pork, and vegetarians can add either a bit of fake minced meat (Yves stuff), mince textured vegetable protein or nothing at all. I do like a bit of meat in it. I don't make it very hot - I prefer it warming rather than fiery, but of course chilli fiends can add more.

Mapo variations discussion

Ma-Po Tofu
This fiery Sichuan classic is named for the pockmarked (po) wife (ma) who supposedly invented it at her husband's restaurant. (lagatta notes, in many versions, she is a widow, and it is HER little restaurant or stand).
Sauce:
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons hot bean paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Kosher salt
1 pound regular or soft (not silken) tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons corn, peanut or canola oil
1/2 pound ground pork shoulder (preferably 75 percent lean)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely minced peeled ginger
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons Japanese sesame oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon toasted sansho powder
3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
Accompaniment: steamed rice
To make the sauce: Stir together broth, bean paste, soy sauce, and kosher salt. Set aside.
To poach the tofu: Slide tofu into a saucepan of simmering water and keep at a bare simmer while stir-frying rest of dish.

To stir-fry the pork: Heat a wok or large heavy skillet over high heat until hot and add 1 1/2 tablespoons corn oil, swirling to coat. Add pork and stir-fry, breaking up lumps and adding remaining 1/2 tablespoon corn oil if meat sticks, until no longer pink. Add garlic and ginger and stir-fry over moderate heat until very fragrant, about 2 minutes.

To finish the stir-fry: Stir reserved sauce, then add to pork and bring to a simmer. Drain tofu in a large sieve and slide into sauce, stirring gently.

Stir cornstarch mixture and add to stir-fry. Bring to a boil, stirring gently, and cook until thickened and glossy, about 15 seconds.

Turn off heat and sprinkle with sesame oil, sansho powder, to taste, and 2 tablespoons scallion. Stir once or twice, then serve sprinkled with remaining tablespoon scallion.
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
Rosa Luxemburg

lagatta

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13093
    • View Profile
cheap but good, and not too boring?
« Reply #26 on: February 11, 2007, 05:46:35 PM »
I'm just posting this epicurious recipe for Potato, sage and rosemary pizza because it is certainly cheap, and a pizza we often enjoyed al taglio (pizza sold by the square slice) in Italy. Many of the al taglio versions contained no cheese, or just a bit of romano or parmesan.

This is from this month's Bon Appétit - they have another nice pizza on the cover. Gourmet and Bon Appétit seem to be posting all their recipes on the site - I guess they expect enough people will buy the magazines for the travel, technique and lifestyle articles.
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
Rosa Luxemburg

Debra

  • Administrator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11228
    • View Profile
    • April Reign
cheap but good, and not too boring?
« Reply #27 on: February 11, 2007, 05:51:31 PM »
:eat
“Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.” —  Josephine Hart

  • Guest
cheap but good, and not too boring?
« Reply #28 on: February 11, 2007, 06:16:43 PM »
Try my egg curry served on rice if you wish.

- Hard-boil 6-8 eggs.
- Make coconut milk (or buy it. I usually make my own).
- Slice up an onion, saute it with chilli powder, turmeric powder or saffron, coriander powder and garam masala. Add a diced tomato.
- Pour half a cup of coconut milk and a cup of homo milk (you can vary these proportions, or just use only coconut milk, or only homo milk. The homo milk makes it thicker, and the coconut milk... well, that has a different flavour that homo milk can't provide).
- Peel the shells of the hard-boiled eggs, and throw the eggs into the milk mixture. Bring to a boil. Simmer. Server on rice.

You don't have to, but it's a must for me to throw in hot, skinny green chilli peppers (diced or sliced or whatever) while the thing simmers. Diced is better cause then I can eat them easier.

Don't forget to cook the rice!!!

Herr Magoo

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2297
    • View Profile
cheap but good, and not too boring?
« Reply #29 on: February 11, 2007, 06:19:49 PM »
I don't know if this will be good or not, but at least it was cheap.  We decided we had a wintertime hankering for some plain old beef stew.  I was in a Columbian butcher shop in Kensington, buying chorizo meat for some burritos (also pretty cheap) and I asked if they had stewing beef.  I was expecting those pale pink nuggets of stringy brisket or flank that usually get cut up and offered as stewing beef, but he offered me a shank cut, bone in.  Somehow I had expected it to be a bit pricey, but the pound and a half slab set me back about $4.  It's gonna get a good hour and a half of slow simmering, that's for sure.  Fingers crossed!  It got shook with some pepper and mustard and browned up nicely, then removed.  I softened up some onion, a few whole cloves of garlic, a bunch of quartered cremini mushrooms, and a few bay leaves, then I added back the beef, gave it a few stirs, and added in some beef broth and some water.  Now, time will tell.  I'll add the 'taters and carrots soon.
ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,

 

Return To TAT