As we all navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, part of staying at home and keeping ourselves healthy is to nourish our hearts, our minds, our communities and our bodies with the right healthy meals.
As most restaurants and grocery shops are operating minimally these days, and we get to spend most of our time indoors, we are all in this together. We are here as you revisit your pantry and make that budget for a list of your grocery items.
Don’t get depressed staying at home, a simple walk into your kitchen and a little effort and creativity might help you whip up your favourite comfort food. It’s a nourishing act and it will fill your stomach at the same time. And who knows, maybe you have that stash of pickles sitting so long at the back of your cupboard?
This time tests our imagination and our gratitude with the daily and most convenient things that we have right now, or we might have overlooked a little bit. Here are eight pantry-friendly home recipes for a comforting and hearty quarantine meal:
1. Kimchi Fried Rice
Remember that Kimchi stashed at the farthest back of your fridge? Cook up some white rice, or better yet, revive that leftover rice you had the other day and reheat it in a pan of melted butter and fried garlic. Add the excess Kimchi and extract as much of the sauce as you can. You might also want to top that with some crushed Nori (roasted seaweed) or fried egg for that added little extra!
2. Coconut Dal with Rice
A steaming hot dal over rice is the cure for all ails – whether it’s a fever, stomach pain or a pandemic. Dals can range from consistency and flavour. A simple soup-like dal made with turmeric, cumin, salt and a dash of coconut milk or cream is perfect on a cold day. Don’t worry if you don’t have an ingredient or two, you could just scratch that off, switch it up and cook away!
3. Cheesy Cheeseburgers
We know, we know, we’ve missed the fast food too! If you no idea on how to cook the ground meat sitting in your fridge, worry not. Mix the ground beef with some grated cheese (any kind) and form them into balls. Smash the homemade burger patties (or cheeseballs) on a hot skillet and cook to your desired doneness. Once that’s done, toast some bread and build your favourite cheeseburger.
4. Mixed Veggies
Don’t wait until your leafy greens and other vegetables wilt away. Blanch any veg you’ve got. Whether it’s a carrot, a few green stems or stray stalks of broccoli – quickly bring them to a boiling hot water, soaking them in cold and strain. Drench the mixed vegetables in your favourite sauce or maybe add some melted butter and a dash of salt and pepper. You’re welcome.
5. Pumpkin Soup
Another hearty, easy, veggie dish is the pumpkin soup. Perfect for the rainy days or when you catch a cold (we hope not). Simply heat the pumpkin with spices and bring to a boil. Mash the pumpkin using a food processor or a blender. Return to pot and let it simmer adding salt and pepper to taste. You may also stir in some milk for a rich and creamy taste!
6. Ramen with Instant Noodles
If you have stocked up on instant noodles, you’re lucky! With the use of the most minimal ingredient, you can still whip up a decent meal at home. If you have some bits of protein like a slab of meat, tofu or even an egg, you’re really lucky! Add some cooked meat or boiled egg to your steaming noodles and enjoy an instant homemade ramen.
A Middle Eastern dish that uses the most basic ingredients. Simmer diced bell peppers and tomatoes or ditch any of these two ingredients. Bring them into a paste-like consistency, crack a few eggs on top of the simmering sauce and flavour with salt and pepper. Wait until the eggs are cooked and pair it with bread. Yum!
An egg dish we trust anyone can “wing it”! Simply crack eggs in a mixing bowl, generously add salt and pepper, and whisk. Finally, on a low-heat pan, pour the mixture and give a quick stir. Add any bits and pieces of foodstuff you may find such as veggies, cheeses, cold meat cuts or plainly enjoy it!