For every woman living alone and working long hours, dinner is quite a struggle. Even if you have domestic help who will cook for you, they will still have to be told what to make and how to do it, if they don’t know. If you don’t have a cook and are always pressed for time, you’ve probably come home to an empty fridge more often than you would like. But we have a solution – or 10 – for you. While you’re out conquering the world, your poor tummy won’t get neglected anymore.
1. Thai curry
It’s simpler than you think it is. All you need is Thai curry paste and coconut milk, available in your friendly, neighbourhood supermarket. For those who feel chopping vegetables is too much effort and meat will take too long to cook, prawns are the best option. They taste amazing, don’t need accompanying vegetables and take precisely five minutes to cook. Of course, if you’re allergic to shellfish, stick to chicken, the easiest to cook among meats.
One teaspoon of olive oil
Half the packet of thai curry paste. The packet will tell you to use it all, but you won’t need that much for a single person’s dinner. Stir it around in the pan for a few minutes.
Once you start getting that beautiful Thai curry fragrance, add half a jar of coconut milk. You can add more if you want to make the curry less spicy. Keep stirring to make sure there are no lumps of the paste floating around.
Once the curry comes to a boil, add your vegetables, if any. Next, add your choice of meat and let it cook.
When the meat is cooked, you are done.
2. Pasta in white sauce
The one fear that people have with pasta is that it’s too unhealthy, especially for dinner. If you use wheat pasta, it’s not all that unhealthy and won’t leave you feeling bloated just before you sleep. White sauce has been the bane of many lives since one of the main ingredients, flour, can also work against your dish. But here’s a recipe that works like magic.
Boil pasta with a pinch of salt and keep it ready.
Put one teaspoon of butter in a pan.
Add 1-2 teaspoons of flour and stir like your life depends on it.
Add toned milk. Don’t worry about putting too much milk because it will reduce as the sauce cooks.
To get rid of lumps in the sauce, you can either keep hitting them with the spatula or you can whip it with a blender.
While the sauce cooks on low heat and you keep stirring till it reduces, take another pan and put another teaspoon of butter into it.
Add mushrooms, chopped finely, onions, chopped into small pieces, and a clove of garlic cut into the tiniest bits possible.
Saute this combination till the onions get that beautiful caramel brown. You can also add smoked chicken to make it yummier.
Once the mushrooms and onions are cooked, add them to the sauce. Don’t worry about the sauce being too watery because mushrooms absorb liquid quicker than quicksand.
Stir the mushrooms and onions into the sauce so that the sauce takes the flavour too.
Take it off the heat so that it doesn’t become too thick and add the pasta that has been waiting patiently to meet its soulmate.
Add salt and pepper, if you want.
Voila! You have some serious comfort food for dinner.
3. Chicken curry
Get the chicken chopped up and the skin removed by the butcher, so that you don’t have to deal with the mess in your kitchen. Pick up the chicken preferably a day before you plan to make the curry, so that you have enough time to marinate. Pick up some chicken masala on the way home. Contrary to everything the idealists have told you, the readymade chicken curry masala is pretty good. You don’t have to toil in the kitchen for hours while the masala comes together.
For chicken marinade:
In a large bowl, add two teaspoons of red chilli powder and turmeric to about 200 ml of whisked curd.
Put the de-skinned chicken pieces into the marinade and make sure every piece is doused in curd. Leave it in the fridge overnight, if you have the time, or for half an hour. The flavour may not be as good as an overnight marinade but it’ll do.
Next, put one teaspoon of olive oil in a pan and add chopped onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic.
Add about 2-3 teaspoons of the chicken masala, depending on the amount of chicken you’re cooking.
Next, put the marinated chicken, along with the marinade, in the pan and let it cook.
If needed, add some water for the curry.
Needless to say, put salt.