The end of a working week, and this evening, masses of people will be heading off down the road to the local Indian takeaway, or ringing them to deliver, to get the weekly chicken tikka masala and pilau rice. A couple of pints in the pub while waiting for it to be cooked, and, by the time you've added the usual bready accompaniments, and maybe a side dish or two, that's Friday evening for 2, with a spend of around £30 easily. Assuming that they do that every fortnight through the year that is over £700 down the drain - scary stuff eh?! Having braved the home made frugal fish and chips the other week, I thought that this week we would try a Frugalindian instead - so on the menu is curry with rice, dhal and naan bread (sort of)...all home made and at a fraction of the cost of that takeaway!
The dhal is the easy thing to get going - I use a Paul Merrett recipe from Economy Gastronomy and it never lets me down. Simply yellow split peas, garlic and spices, simmered in water until the peas break down completely and the whole thing forms a creamy goo. Once that was going, I turned my attention to the curry. As I had some previously made thai curry paste in the fridge needing using I decided that was the direction to go. A quick hunt through the freezer determined that we were going with a chicken curry, but this would work equally well with lamb, or even fish. I first threw finely chopped onion into a pan with some melted ghee, and added the curry paste, and some ginger/garlic mix from a jar we got for practically nothing at the Good Food Show in December. That lot fried off gently while I sorted my veg - as a general rule I work on the basis of including whatever needs using up in a curry, and tonight was no exception as the last of last weeks mushrooms and courgette went in, along with some frozen peppers as much for colour as anything else, and a tablespoon each of lime juice and fish sauce. A tin of coconut milk provided the liquid before I threw in the cooked chicken and set it to simmer. Rather than doing Naan breads I decided to try the flatbread recipe from the River Cottage Everyday book - Hugh F-W's recipes usually work for me, and although I'd not tried this one before it was as easy and straightforward as his usually are - just four ingredients, flour, salt, oil and water, mixed into a dough, kneaded until smooth and left to rest, before forming into balls, rolling out and cooking on a hot pan. Easy peasy - and most effective.....
...very tasty too, they will get cooked again, espcially as I reckon the entire batch cost under 18p to make.
Rice was cooked the easy way - in the microwave steamer - with some coconut, cardomom pods and a few strands of saffron added. A quick bleep later and that was done and we were ready to plate up.
All in all a definite success - thai chicken curry, rice and dhal, with flatbreads, and I reckon the total cost was under £3 for the two of us - so a bit of a saving there over the takeaway! Washed down with a couple of beers bought on Morrisons "4 for £5.50" deal has just wrapped the night up nicely!
It's been a frugal day all round here - charity shop finds this morning were a candle making kit (pretty much complete - the moulds are missing but there is extra wax to compensate) and a three-quarter-length suede jacket - total cost £12.98. That'll do for me!
Have a great frugal weekend!