You won't believe what they did to gobhi
We gave these budget ingredients a fancy facelift and the results are disarmingly delicious
What my dining table looks like at the beginning of the month compared to its appearance on the last day is a reverse representation of my life’s trajectory. A flip of the calendar page is celebrated with a spread worthy of a successful adult — fancy cheeseboard, truffle oil to drizzle on the freshly sourced sourdough, grilled asparagus, and avocado in one form or the other. By the 27th, picking avocados is replaced by counting kandas. Dinners start to look like they did in college – a bowl of dal khichdi accompanied by one bhaji made using budget ingredients that are often relegated to the back of the fridge until there’s no other option but to use them.
I’m sure I’m not the only one going through this culinary crisis. When most people find their bank balance dwindling, they factor in shoes, bags, and vacations, but rarely do they take into account the amount of money they spend on food. This, despite the fact that Indians spend 3.5% of their daily income on one plate of food.
While planning your finances to make sure your fashion moments don’t suffer, and vacation schedule doesn’t go out of whack, consider eating in a way that doesn’t go from dining like a maharani to making do with Maggi.
For Tweak India founder Twinkle Khanna, a paisa vasool in-between is to turn edibles into accessories.
View this post on Instagram
But if kanda-scented accessories are not your vibe, then consider giving budget ingredients that make your noses scrunch up involuntarily (think cabbage, baingan, and pumpkin) as much face time as your imported avocados and organic cheeses.
These budget ingredients are the true heroes – under-appreciated but dependable, like the sweet lab partner you ignored in college in favour of the flashy cricket captain who broke your heart.
The only hurdle that comes in the way of us embracing a crate full of cabbages with open arms are the insipid preparations that we associate with most budget ingredients. But that’s when we turn to culinary geniuses who’ve figured out a way to keep both, our tummies and our pockets, adequately stuffed.
They’ve turned gobhi gourmet, and kakdi a culinary connoisseur’s pet. Don’t believe us? Scroll down for proof.
6 recipes that give budget ingredients a million-dollar facelift
Charred cabbage and kidney bean salad
If you are infamous for burning everything you attempt to cook, even a harmless pot of rice, this recipe is for you.
It simply requires you to throw into the oven the king of boring budget ingredients — cabbage – and forget about it till it is beautifully charred. The result? A smoky yet refreshing salad, perfect for the ‘gram.
- Cooked kidney beans or rajma
- Pomegranate seeds
- Parsley leaves
- Charred cabbage
- Tahini-lemon dressing
For charred cabbage:
- 1 cabbage
- Olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Cooked rajma
- Pomegranate seeds
For lemon and tahini dressing:
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- A little less that 1/2 tsp of salt
For charred cabbage:
- Preheat your oven to 250°C.
- Cut the cabbage in half, and then each half into three to four even wedges.
- Mix some olive oil and salt in a little bowl, and then generously brush each wedge with olive oil.
- Lightly brush the bottom of your baking tray with olive oil to prevent sticking, and then lay out the wedges leaving some space between them.
- Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes till the cabbage is cooked through and nicely blackened.
For lemon and tahini dressing:
- Add tahini, lemon juice, and salt to a bowl, and mix with a spoon, adding in a tablespoon of water at a time, till you get a creamy dressing.
- When you mix the lemon with the tahini and start stirring, it’ll start to seize up. This is totally okay, once you add water, and stir well, it’ll transform into creamy goodness.
- Taste and adjust lemon and salt.
For final dish:
- Start with the charred cabbage, toss in some cooked beans into the mix for a little protein, sprinkle some pomegranate seeds for sweetness, and some parsley leaves for freshness.
- Finish with a generous drizzle of the tahini-lemon dressing.
Recipe: Good Slice/Instagram
Photo credit: Racool_studio/Freepik
Smokey eggplant dip
We are here to advocate the rights of the baingan. Not only are the budget ingredients subjected to “Yuck, I hate baingan ki sabzi” , they are even used in metaphors that point fingers at the poor vegetable’s sense of loyalty – thali ka baingan (a phrase used to refer to fickle-minded people).
Scroll down for a mouthwatering recipe that will prove that baingan is just a misunderstood ugly duckling, waiting to transform into a beautiful swan.
- 2 medium globe eggplants
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- Kosher salt
- Pomegranate seeds and black sesame seeds for garnishing
- Prepare a charcoal grill for medium heat (coals should be covered with ash and glowing red with no black remaining).
- Place eggplants directly on coals and cook, turning occasionally, until skins are completely charred and flesh collapses. This will take about 15 to 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can char the eggplant over a gas burner on medium-high heat, turning occasionally with tongs for 12 to 15 minutes.
- Once charred, transfer eggplants to a colander set over a medium-sized bowl. Let them cool 15 minutes.
- Remove skins from eggplants. It’s okay if some bits of charred skin don’t come off. Transfer the flesh to a sieve set over a bowl and let it drain for 10 minutes.
- Then transfer the eggplant flesh into a food processor. Add tahini, lemon juice, and three tablespoons of olive oil and process until creamy. Season the dip with salt.
- Transfer dip to a bowl and top with pomegranate seeds and black sesame seeds, and drizzle on some more olive oil.
Photo credit: Freepik
If a pumpkin can transform into a carriage to take Cinderella to the ball, then it can most definitely turn into a stellar dish.
For those looking to whip up a vegetarian version of the dish, substitute the chorizo with a vegetarian soy-based counterpart – soyrizo
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
- 340 g pork chorizo or soyrizo
- 225 g tomatoes, chopped
- 425 g pureed pumpkin
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 jalapeños, de-seeded and sliced
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 113 g diced green chilies
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 6 large flour tortillas
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
- Sour cream
- Sliced jalapeños
- Preheat the oven to 176°C.
- Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Once warm, add the onions and bell peppers.
- Cook for five to seven minutes, then add the chorizo, or soyrizo, and cook for an additional four to six minutes, then set aside.
- Prepare the sauce by adding the chopped tomato, pumpkin puree, garlic, jalapeños, tomato sauce, green chilies, cumin, chilli powder, oregano, cayenne pepper, cocoa powder and nutmeg to a blender or food processor and puree.
- Now get everything lined up on your countertop, the sauce, chorizo, tortillas and cheese.
- Cover the bottom of a nine inch by 13 inch baking dish with a thin layer of sauce.
- Lay one tortilla in the sauce, then ladle two large spoonfuls from the blender of sauce onto the top of the tortilla.
- Spoon a small amount of the chorizo mixture into the middle and top with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese.
- Roll the tortilla up, then repeat the above five more times.
- Take any remaining sauce and pour it over the top.
- Top the enchiladas with the remaining cheddar cheese.
- Place in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and top with the optional toppings of your choice.
Photo credit: Veggieinspired.com
Cold cucumber soup
This mouthwatering recipe disproves two things – one, that cucumbers don’t just belong in salads and two, the best soup isn’t always hot.
For the soup:
- 2 English cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 garlic cloves
- 4 to 5 fresh basil leaves
- 2 green onions
- 1 sweet apple, peeled and cored
- Juice of ½ lime
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
- Water to thin, if needed
For the garnish:
- Diced cucumber
- Diced red pepper
- Slivered almonds
- Place all of the soup ingredients into a high-speed blender and purée until smooth. Add water (or additional almond milk) to thin, if needed.
- Carefully transfer to an airtight container and place in the fridge for one to two hours to chill.
- Once chilled, serve garnished with diced cucumber, red peppers, and silvered almonds.
Photo credit: Taste.com.au
Aloo gobhi and gobhi matar (and the number of times a week your mother gave them to you in your school dabba) have bracketed bechara cauliflower as being one of the most boring budget ingredients, but that really isn’t true.
Give the vegetable a facelift with this delicious recipe.
- 1 cauliflower head
- 1 small eggplant, cut into 1 cm-thick rounds
- 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1 small carrot, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, finely chopped
- 400g can diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, torn, plus extra, to serve
- 90 g bocconcini, drained, sliced
- Baby spinach, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
- Cut cauliflower into thick steaks (depending on the size of your cauliflower, you will get four to six steaks).
- Place steaks on the prepared tray and lightly spray with oil. Season with oregano. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Add eggplant around the cauliflower and spray with oil. Top with the tomato mixture and bocconcini. Bake, turning once during cooking, for 30 minutes or until the veggies are golden and tender.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot.
- Cook, stirring, for five minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and vine-ripened tomato.
- Cook, stirring, for two to three minutes or until softened. Add the canned tomato, vinegar and 60 ml of water.
- Simmer gently for 10 minutes or until the sauce is thickened. Stir through the basil.
- Spoon the tomato sauce mixture over the eggplant and cauliflower stacks and top with bocconcini.
- Bake for five to ten minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden. Serve with baby spinach leaves.
Photo credit: Robustrecipes.com
Peanut butter and chocolate puffed rice treats
Puffed rice, the staple when whipping up chaat, is one of the few budget ingredients that can easily go from being the core ingredients of a spicy appetiser to being a delicious sweet treat.
- 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3/4 cup natural peanut butter
- 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar, chopped
- 3 3/4 cups puffed rice
To prepare the pan:
- Prepare a 9×13 baking dish by lining it with parchment paper, leaving some overhang on two sides.
- Grease the parchment paper and the remainder of the exposed sides of the pan with a neutral tasting oil (such as avocado or grape seed oil). Set the prepared pan aside.
- Measure all of your ingredients and have them ready.
For the mix:
- To a medium-sized sauce pot add the coconut oil, salt, honey (or agave nectar), and peanut butter in the sauce pot. Turn on the heat to medium low and stir just until everything is melted and well combined.
- Add the chocolate and stir until all the chocolate is melted and well combined. Remove from the heat.
- Once off the heat, immediately stir in the rice crispy cereal until all the cereal is well coated.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Use a spatula to evenly distribute the mixture into the pan so that it’s in a smooth layer. Press gently, just so that everything is well compacted.
- Allow the pan to cool at room temp for 15 minutes. Then pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes, or just until everything is firm.
- Run a butter knife around the edges of the puffed rice treat to loosen it. Use the parchment paper tabs to help pull the entire thing out of the pan. Use a sharp knife to cut into squares.
- Enjoy immediately or store in an air tight container at room temp. If your kitchen is too hot, pop them in the freezer to firm up for about 10 minutes, before eating them. You don’t want to store them in the fridge otherwise the cereal might get soggy.