Cheap and Convenient Punjabi Recipes for Uni Students!


As a 20-year-old university student, in my third year of not living at home, you’d think I’d be pretty independent right?

Well, since I have been living at home during lockdown I have had a lot, and I mean a lot of time to reflect on how I have lived at university. It’s no secret that university students tend not to have the best diets if I had a pound every time I heard a student say, “oh lol I forgot to eat today do you wanna get a Maccies?” I’d probably be able to pay off at least half of my student debt.

My diet over the last two years have consisted of three main components:

– Frozen nuggets and Heinz Beans (it has to be Heinz)

– Pasta (which is usually still solid, since I have no patience to wait till its fully cooked)

– Noodles (the typical student dish, but I still have standards and I won’t settle for any other type of noodles that aren’t Maggie!)

When I look back now at my typical 6-year-old diet, I can now see how I seriously neglected my health and how this mentally and physically affected me. I lost weight. I was always tired. I became lazy. However, I am ready to make a change and maintain a healthy, nutritious diet; whilst embracing my culture.

Growing up in an Asian household my amazing mother never failed to make a delicious, authentic curry every night for my family. When I was younger I never appreciated Punjabi cuisine and the amount of love my mum put into her cooking. This is why I spent this entire lockdown determined to learn my mother’s classic Punjabi recipes, even if it meant her yelling at me for doing countless things wrong and being in the way.

If you’re a beginner cook or a lazy university student much like myself, then these three easy and cheap recipes, with minimal ingredients, are just for you! Each recipe serves four people, so why not impress your uni flatmates, or just freeze the rest to have after those late lectures when you’re too tired to cook.

Aloo Gobi

Ingredients:

  • 2tbsp Sunflower Oil
  • 2 Onions chopped
  • ½ of a fresh ginger finely grated
  • 2 chillies finely chopped (or more if you prefer your dishes spicy!)
  • 2tsp cumin seeds (optional)
  • 2tsp Garam Masala
  • 1tsp garlic powder
  • 1tsp Turmeric
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1 cauliflower, broken into florets, leaves chopped
  • 2 large potatoes cubed
  • Optional add ins – tomatoes, spinach, peas.

Method:

1. In a saucepan that has a lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, pour in the chopped onions. Continue to stir until the onions become soft, stir in the ginger and chilli, cumin seeds, turmeric and garam masala allow to sizzle over medium heat for about five minutes. Add about a teaspoon of salt, it should be golden/light brown colour, this is called a thorka (curry paste), which is the most important component for every traditional curry.

2. Add the cauliflower florets and stir to coat in the spices and cook for a few minutes. Add the cubed potatoes, and stir, cover and steam for 10–15 minutes. Sprinkle over any other seasonings to taste. Garnish with coriander, and you can serve this dish with rice/roti or naan bread and yoghurt to take the heat off!

Dahl

Ingredients:

  • 2tbsp Sunflower Oil
  • 2 Onions chopped
  • ½ of a fresh ginger finely grated
  • 2 chillies finely chopped (or more if you prefer your dishes spicy!)
  • 2tsp cumin seeds (optional)
  • 1tsp Garam Masala
  • 1tsp Turmeric
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1 1/2cups of red lentils
  • Optional – coriander, tomatoes

Method:

1. First, rinse the lentils and place them in a medium saucepan along with 3/4 cups of room temperature water. Turn the heat to medium and allow the lentils to cook for around 20 minutes, until soft.

2. Whilst the lentils are cooking, it’s time to make the thorka, In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, pour in the chopped onions. Continue to stir until the onions become soft, stir in the ginger and chilli, cumin seeds, turmeric and garam masala allow to sizzle over medium heat for about five minutes. Add about a teaspoon of salt, it should be golden/light brown colour.

3. Stir in the tomatoes, and once the lentils are cooked, you can then pour in the mixture into the pot of lentils, cover for 20-30 minutes. Sprinkle over any other seasonings to taste. Garnish with coriander, serve with rice/roti or naan bread and yoghurt to take the heat off!

Simple Chicken Curry

Ingredients:

  • 2tbsp Sunflower Oil
  • 2 Onions chopped
  • ½ of a fresh ginger finely grated
  • 2 chillies finely chopped (or more if you prefer your dishes spicy!)
  • 2tsp cumin seeds (optional)
  • 1tsp Garam Masala
  • 1tsp Turmeric
  • 2tbsp Sunflower Oil
  • 2 Onions chopped
  • ½ of a fresh ginger finely grated
  • 2 chillies finely chopped (or more if you prefer your dishes spicy!)
  • 2tsp cumin seeds (optional)
  • 1tsp Garam Masala
  • 1tsp Turmeric

Method:

  1. Firstly you need to make the thorka, by heating oil in a saucepan, over medium-high heat. When hot, pour in the chopped onions.

2. Continue to stir until the onions become soft, stir in the ginger and chilli, cumin seeds, turmeric and garam masala allow to sizzle over medium heat for about five minutes.

3. Add about a teaspoon of salt, it should be golden/light brown colour.

4. Then add in the tinned tomatoes, and leave for 3-5 minutes. Next, you can add the cubed chicken, pour one cup of water into a saucepan, and bring to boil. Reduce to a medium to low heat and cook for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through with no pinkness (chicken breast cooks a lot faster than the thigh).

5. Sprinkle over any other seasonings to taste. Garnish with coriander, and serve with rice/roti or naan bread and yoghurt to take the heat off!

I hope you enjoy these recipes and make sure to leave your reviews below!

Guest Blogger:
Harpal Kaur

Day Dreaming and Writing

britishbindi

An Award-Nominated blog which discusses what it's like to be a contemporary British Asian Woman.

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