Indian food is all about the – not-so-optional – extras. A curry isn’t as it should be without a hastily torn handful of flatbread, a refreshing salsa or a dollop of homemade mango chutney. Even better, why not create something a little more complex, such as a bowl full of crispy onion bhajis, or – yes, you guessed it – vibrantly-coloured Spinach Pakoras. These are the additions that truly make a dish into a meal.
Though seen as a purely Indian dish, Aloo Gobi (aloo gobhi/alu gobi/potato and cauliflower curry) is widely and frequently consumed across South Asia, most prevalently in Pakistan and Nepal. Happily, it’s also one of those Asian dishes that has its perfectly manicured feet firmly under the table of British cuisine.
Toor Dal – also known as tuvar and arahar dal – is a variety of yellow split pea widely used across Indian cuisine. Sold either naturally, or “treated” with oil to prolong its shelf life, toor dal makes for a quick and inexpensive meal or accompaniment to curry. This recipe is particularly simple and as long as you have a well-stocked spice cupboard is very easily prepared.
Indian cuisine is one that makes use of a huge range of what are, on the face of it, expensive ingredients. This recipe for Chana Masala, for instance, uses a total of five spices plus a few other fresh ingredients; garlic, ginger and chilli. While the initial outlay for these flavourings may seem quite the investment, shopping carefully could mean that the spices you’ve bought will be enough for perhaps 40 similar dishes. Indian cuisine is probably the most frugal culinary avenue out there!
Paneer is an ingredient common across South Asian cuisine. It has, for instance, played a role in Indian cuisine – notably North Indian – for centuries, despite Indian food being particularly prone to development and change. Mutter Paneer, paneer with peas, is perhaps the best known of all these dishes – especially in the West – and since it’s such a quintessentially Indian ingredient, it seemed offensive to ignore paneer any longer!
Hello! I'm Nick, frugal food enthusiast and curator of frugalfeeding, a food blog about eating good, well-sourced food as economically as possible.