Contrary to popular belief, cooking is for everybody!
Cooking can be a monstrous task for most. Entering a kitchen is like waging a war with pots and pans. Of course, there are a few Master Chefs amongst us who can whip up culinary masterpieces for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even if we don’t have a chef at home or you’re living it up at your bachelor pad—you can’t live out on take-out food and instant noodles forever, can you?
So, the mere mortals in the culinary field, here’s a helping hand from Man’s Life. Easy meals using just five ingredients that are quick to make, and you wouldn’t even have to break a sweat while cooking them!
1. AVOCADO AND TOAST
If you haven’t been initiated into the world of Avocado and Toast, well you are missing out on creamy deliciousness on a bed of carbs. It’s healthy, it really is, and one of the easiest breakfasts you can eat all day long! The key to acing this dish is in picking out great avocados—you want them ripe, but not overripe. Next, pick out a bread of your choice and toast it to perfection!
1 thick slice of bread (whole grain bread or sourdough works best)
1/2 a ripe avocado
1 clove of garlic
salt to taste
GET IT RIGHT: Toast your bread until crisp and golden brown. Cut your avocado in half and get rid of the pit. Scoop the flesh of one half of the avocado into a bowl and mash it as smooth as possible. Add a pinch of salt and adjust to taste. Take the peeled clove of garlic and rub it across the crisp toast. Spread the avocado mash onto the toast and top it off with a fried egg. Breakfast is served!
2. PROTEIN PACKED PANCAKES
Pancakes are a breakfast favourite! This gluten-free version is packed with protein. If you love hitting the gym and lifting weights, this recipe will have you enjoying pancakes without waiting for a cheat-meal day to arrive!
250gms cottage cheese (paneer)
250gms rolled oats
5 large eggs
1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 tablespoon maple syrup
GET IT RIGHT: Place all the ingredients in the blender and puree till smooth. Heat a large pan over medium to low heat and add a small amount of butter. Pour about 85gms (1/4 cup) of batter onto the pan, continue till the pan is filled. Cook on one side till you see bubbles form and then flip till the other side gets golden brown. Repeat until the batter has been used. Serve with favourite toppings and syrup of choice. This portion can fill up to four people.
3. ITALIAN PASTA SALAD
We can have pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner, no doubt. A fun twist to the usual hot pasta is a cold pasta salad that is just as yummy. All you need is a trip to the grocery store for some Italian salad dressing and some pasta. Let’s get cooking!
340gms pasta (penne/ rotini/ elbow)
100 gms olives, pitted
10 slices of pepperoni
450ml Italian Salad Dressing
GET IT RIGHT: Cook the pasta as per packet instructions, till it’s al dente. Drain the water and place the pasta in a large bowl. To this, add diced pepperoni/cottage cheese, olives and tomatoes. Add about 3/4 bottle of salad dressing and mix well. Place it in the fridge for two to three hours. Once you take it out add the remaining salad dressing and add salt and pepper if needed to adjust seasoning.
4. HONEY GARLIC SHRIMP
What’s not to love about a dish that is savoury, sweet and sticky all at the once? Drool!!! This simple sauce that is packed with flavour can be used with multiple proteins, but we are choosing shrimp. You can substitute shrimp with chicken if you aren’t a fan of seafood. This is a quick and easy dish to cook on days that you would want something oriental.
450gms shrimp, peeled and deveined
FOR THE SAUCE
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
GET IT RIGHT: Combine the sauce ingredients and divide it in half. Marinate the shrimp with one half of the sauce for 15-30 minutes. Once done, strain and discard the marinade. Over medium-high heat, sear the marinated prawns in some oil in a pan. Sear for one minute per side till brown. Using tongs, rub the shrimp into the caramelised bits on the bottom of the pan for a smoky aftertaste (Use a cast-iron pan for better caramelisation). Plate the dish and serve hot. Drizzle the remaining sauce onto the shrimp and get eating!
5. CHICKPEA COCONUT CURRY
How could we not have something Indian on this list? Our traditional food isn’t as complicated as you think. While making dal and rice is basic, here is a quick curry that you can make with five ingredients only.
400ml coconut milk
2 tablespoon red curry paste
2 small heads of broccoli (or any other vegetable of your choice)
400gms chickpeas (rinsed and soaked)
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons of cold water
1 onion, chopped (optional)
GET IT RIGHT: Saute the broccoli and onion (if using) in a tablespoon of oil. After a few minutes, add in the coconut milk and simmer for five to eight minutes. The vegetables should soften up and the broccoli should still have a little bite to it. Add the curry paste to the pan and whisk well into the coconut milk mixture. Add the chickpeas and bring to a slight boil after adding the cornstarch slurry. Reduce the heat, add salt to taste and in five minutes take it off the heat. The curry will thicken as it cools. Serve hot with steamed rice. Your mother will be proud!
From breakfast to dinner, all meals can be easy to whip up if you find the right recipe. No more excuses, no more complaining! Five ingredients and five meals are now at your disposal!
[All Images Credit: Shutterstock]