Healthy Kitchen Staples for Fast, Cheap Meals

Shopping for groceries can be overwhelming—you’ve got crowds to dodge and a budget to keep in mind, not to mention the candy aisle calling your name. But that trip to the supermarket “is one of the most important things you’ll do all week,” says Cynthia Sass, RD, Health’s contributing nutrition editor, because the foods you put in your shopping cart can make or break your healthy-eating goals.

And while there are plenty of trendy new health products on grocery store shelves—from pea protein chips to donkey milk—when you’re trying to eat healthy and save, members of Reddit’s r/Eat Cheap and Healthy forum know how important it is to stock up on basics. Whether you’re in need of a quick pantry dinner recipe or creative new ways to use up your zucchini stockpile, this community of budget-conscious cooks has answers. Here, 15 ingredients that r/Eat Cheap and Healthy users always keep in their kitchens, plus suggestions for incorporating these foods into easy meals.

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Frozen veggies

“Throw your favorite frozen veggies in a pan, cube some extra firm tofu and throw it into the pan, add stir fry sauce to your liking (my favorite is House of Tsang’s), and heat until everything is warm. Optional is to serve it with a bag of that $1 frozen brown rice, and garnish it all with fresh green onion, sesame seeds, and Sriracha. If you want to get super fancy, throw in some matchstick carrots and shredded cabbage.”

Eggs

“Eggs. Lots of eggs. Make an omelet. Make a frittata. Throw in veggies. Throw in frozen ham steak. Mix an egg in instant ramen. Hard boil them and make egg salad.”

Pesto

“Pesto has saved me from a life of just getting pizza whenever I’m home from work tired. It’s so easy. I keep pesto sauce, penne, bell peppers, and tinned sweetcorn always stocked. Add a load of black pepper, chili flakes, and some garlic granules perhaps. Takes as long as it takes to cook penne and is super easy.”

Tortillas

“Wraps are my godsend because you can throw whatever in them and it’s great, they are calorific but you can stuff them with healthy things.”

Tomatoes

“They can become pasta sauce, Shakshuka, a sandwich, a salad. Very versatile depending on how much effort you want to put into the meal.”

Tuna

“I like the pre-flavored and portioned tuna packets. They go on sale for $1 and I stock up. Eat straight from the pouch or mix in a salad or pasta.”

Frozen fruit

“I snack on frozen mango chunks and frozen blueberries all the time in the morning or when it’s hot. No preparation needed. But you can make smoothies too! They thaw out relatively fast so you could put some in your yogurt or oatmeal.”

Rice

“Take some rice, I use minute brown rice, and [microwave] it. Add a can of kidney beans, add a can of collard greens, add some Creole seasoning, mix it together and [microwave] it for a minute or two. Literally takes five minutes. I have a couple variations on seasonings I like (vegetables here are either canned or frozen): Rice + Black Beans + Sweet potato + Chili seasoning, Rice + Black beans + Corn + Lime juice + Taco seasoning, Rice + Green peas + cauliflower + Carrots + Curry powder. You could throw any of these in a tortillas as well.”

Oatmeal

“Don’t buy instant: it’s incredibly not worth the cost. If you can afford the expense I would buy the cheapest per ounce container you can find of just plain rolled oats, or steel cut if you prefer. It’ll probably be big, but it doesn’t go bad. I strongly recommend overnight oats. Not because they’re tasty (I’m ambivalent on the subject) but because having a breakfast that you can reach for and instantly eat in the morning is beyond luxurious.”

Potatoes

“Potatoes, potatoes, and potatoes. Doesn’t get cheaper or more nutrient dense.”

Cabbage

“Cabbage is always a great choice—purple is especially full of antioxidants, and I’ve never seen either variety at more than 80 cents a pound. … Cook [them] with potatoes and you’ve got a delicious, healthy, cheap and super filling meal.”

Ginger

“[It’s] a cheap way to add a lot of flavor, especially if you’re going to be doing rice dishes; a 50 cent piece of ginger will last several meals, in my experience.”

Avocados

“Put them on toast, use them in smoothies. Make guacamole. Eat it plain.”

Chicken breasts

“Put some chicken breasts, taco seasoning, and some salsa into a slow cooker for a few hours… makes juicy taco meat for the week. Buy some shredded cheese, avocado and other toppings. Good in tortillas, nachos, Quesadillas mixed in Spanish rice, all kinds of stuff.” —Brrblues

Beans

“Scrambled eggs, beans, and greens are my go-to cheap and easy, healthy dinner. If you cook the beans from scratch at the beginning of the week, it’s cheaper than canned (and less sodium if you’re watching that), but even canned beans are pretty cheap. Kidney beans, chickpeas, navy beans, pinto beans, refried beans, choose whatever you like. Greens can be raw salad greens, cooked greens (collards, Swiss chard, kale, spinach), or other sautéed or steamed veggies. Add some hot sauce or salsa for a little zip. The variety from week to week keeps things from getting too boring.”

Food Grains Availability to the Needy a Point of Concern: NHRC Chief

Indicating the urgent need of strengthening the country’s food policies, National Human Rights Commission Chairman Justice (retired) H.L. Dattu on Thursday said there was an improvement in the food grain production but making it available to the needy remains a point of concern.

Justice Dattu, former Chief Justice of India, stressed it was painful to know that 15 percent of food worth Rs.92,000 crore per year is wasted during production, harvesting, transportation and storage.

“Food security has to be read and studied with agricultural practices and the challengesfacing them in the wake of falling ground water levels at a rapid speed is causing an alarming situation of drought in several districts,” said Justice Dattu.

Food Grains Availability to the Needy a Point of Concern: NHRC Chief

He was speaking at the inauguration of the national conference on Right To Food organised by the National Human Rights Commission.

The conference aimed to make a state-wise assessment of the action taken on the National Food Security Act, 2013. Special reference was to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices to people and the functioning of the targeted public distribution system for the priority households and under the Antodaya Anna Yojana (AAY).

Justice Dattu said it was always useful and pragmatic to hold comprehensive discussions on regular intervals with all the stake holders to evaluate the progress and impediments towards ensuring food and nutritional security to the people of the country.

The Right to Food and its variations is a human right protecting the right of people to feed themselves in dignity, implying that sufficient food is available, that people have the means to access it, and that it adequately meets the individual’s dietary needs.

The former justice, who took over as the NHRC chairperson a month ago, urged the government to expand the scope of discussions on various aspects of the National Food Security Act, 2013.

“There are several food schemes such as the Antodaya Yojna, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), mid-day meal scheme and many others. There has been no dearth in the number of policies and programmes in food issues. However, the question can be raised on the effectiveness of the programmes,” said Justice Dattu.

He said the Supreme Court emphasised on the appointment of commissioners and other officials to look after the food issues in the country, which has improved the situation and proper implementation of the rights to food in many of the states.

“The Supreme Court issued a series of interim orders recognising the constitutional Right to Food as flowing from the right to life and providing directives on proper implementation of various programmes like the ICDS and PDS. The apex court also ordered the creation of a new accountability mechanism, like commissioners for monitoring and reporting on compliance with court orders,” Justice Dattu said.

The event was attended by representatives of all the state human rights commissions.

Is Red Meat Making You Age Faster?

A diet containing too much red meat and not enough fruits and vegetables could increase your body’s ‘biological age’ and lead to health problems, according to a latest research. Research led by the University of Glasgow and published today in Aging, has found that a moderate increase in serum

phosphate levels caused by red meat consumption, combined with a poor overall diet, increases biological age (miles on the clock) in contrast to chronological age (years of age).

Is Red Meat Making You Age Faster?

The study, which looked at participants from the most deprived to the least deprived in the NHS Greater Glasgow Health Board area, also demonstrates that deprived males were the worst affected. Data from the study suggests that accelerated biological ageing, and dietary derived phosphate levels among the most deprived males, were directly related to the frequency of red meat consumption.

Researchers believe that excess red meat particularly affects this group because of their poor diet and “sub-optimal fruit and vegetable intake”. The research, led by the Institute of Cancer Sciences in

collaboration with the Karolinska Institute (Stockholm, Sweden), also found that high phosphate levels in deprived males correlated with reduced kidney function and even underlying mild to moderate chronic kidney disease.

“The data in this study provides evidence for a mechanistic link between high intake of phosphate and age-related morbidities tied to socio-economic status,” Professor Paul Shiels said.

“Our observations indicate that elevated red meat consumption has adverse effects amongst deprived males, who already have a poor diet and eat less fruit and vegetables than recommended. We think in this group the effects of high serum phosphate intake may be exacerbated,” he added.

Indeed it’s notable that these effects are not apparent among less deprived males, or in females, especially in the context of a more balanced diet.

Phosphate is naturally present in basic foodstuffs, including meats, fish, eggs, dairy products and vegetables. Intestinal absorption of naturally occurring phosphate is minimally regulated, as absorption is efficient, hence high supplementation results in markedly elevated levels of serum phosphate, which can have adverse health consequences. This research has taken place as a part of the psychological, social, and biological determinants of ill health (pSoBid) study cohort, originally funded by the Glasgow

Centre for Population Health.

The study, ‘Accelerated Ageing and Renal Dysfunction Links Lower Socioeconomic Status and Dietary Phosphate Intake’ is published in Aging.

Now, Savour a Yoghurt Which is Naturally Sweet

The presence of added sugar in dairy products has always led the health conscious consumers to avoid them.

But a team of Danish researchers has made it possible to manipulate the metabolic properties of yogurt-producing bacteria to sweeten the yogurt naturally, while reducing sugar in the final product.  Also, using microbiological methods the researchers have almost eliminated lactose, so that those with lactose intolerance can enjoy the yogurt.

Now, Savour a Yoghurt Which is Naturally Sweet

“The goal was to engineer the yogurt bacteria not to consume glucose, a fermentation product that is a particularly sweet form of sugar,” said Eric Johansen, one of the researchers who is associate vice president at Chr. Hansen Holding A/S – a global bioscience company in Denmark.

The findings are detailed in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

The team engineered the bacteria not to consume glucose, a particularly sweet product of yogurt’s fermentation.Yogurt contains live cultures of bacteria known as streptococcus thermophiles and the bulgaricus subspecies of Lactobacillus delbrueckii.

When grown in milk, these two strains normally break down the lactose into two sugar components glucose and galactose, which is less sweet than glucose.

Then, the bacterium consumes the glucose and makes more galactose. The microbial tweak eliminates lactose, so those intolerant to the milk sugar can eat the yogurt.

The Secret to Perfect Scrambled Eggs

In the world of scrambled eggs, soft-scrambled eggs are the king of the breakfast table. Creamy, comforting and yet luxurious, you can pile it on a toast while you’re rushing out of the door or toss in some cheese, bacon and the works if you have time to spare. It’s such a fundamentally simple dish, that an explanation may seem almost absurd. Anybody can scramble an egg but making a dreamy scramble is an art form. It’s the first dish most amateur cooks learn to master, and the biggest mistake most people make while cooking scrambled eggs is to add the salt after, or perhaps wonder whether to use milk or cream. So we’re here to clear your queries and give you a foolproof recipe. It’s time to bid dry, spongey eggs goodbye.

Scrambled Eggs on Toast

Tips and Tricks

1. Avoid using a cast iron skillet while scrambling eggs because they turn a greenish shade. This is due to the sulfur in egg whites reacting with the iron of the pan.

2. The key to making perfectly scrambled eggs lies in whisking the eggs thoroughly beforecooking them, since whisking incorporates air and gives you fluffier scrambled eggs.

3. Contrary to popular belief, salting eggs in advance does not result in watery or tough scrambled eggs. Yes, eggs turn a darker shade of orange and appear thinner than before after adding salt but after testing and re-testing, I’ve found that pre-salting actually helps the eggs retain their moisture and tenderness.

4. Confused between milk and cream? Me too! So I thought it would be fun to make batches with cream and milk. I found that the scrambled eggs made with cream were a little too rich but the scrambled eggs made with milk were light and fluffy, and just rich enough.

5. Turn off the heat before the eggs are completely cooked since the heat retained in the pan continues to cook and firm up the eggs even after the pan is removed from heat. And the longer they cook, the drier they become.

6. The duration for which you beat the egg mixture is a matter of preference. So if you like your scrambled eggs dense, beat lightly. But if you prefer lighter fluffier scrambled eggs, beat vigorously.

Ingredients

4 eggs
¼ cup milk
Salt and pepper
2 ½ tsp butter

Instructions

1. Lightly beat the eggs, and then beat again with milk and a pinch salt and pepper in a bowl until blended.

2. Heat the butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat until hot, and pour in the egg mixture.

3. As the eggs begin to set, gently pull the eggs across the pan with a spatula, forming large soft curds. Continue cooking – pulling, lifting and folding eggs – until thickened. Note: No visible liquid egg should remain and you must not stir constantly. Voila, your scrambled eggs are ready.

If you’ve mastered the ideal scrambled eggs and want to experiment with flavours, we’re here to help. You should only add anything additional near the end, just before the eggs are done so the add-ins can warm up or melt without interfering with the eggs. However, vegetables such as mushrooms should be cooked first, so that they’ve already released their water and are fully cooked through. You can also add a few sprigs of fresh soft herbs, red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped) for an Indian tadka. You can also stir a bit of creamy (dreamy) salad dressing or pasta or salsa into the egg mixture. For added flavour, I love adding shredded cheese, avocado and salmon.

Vegetable Soups Built for Maximum Flavor

Soup season has us in its wintry grip, and now is the time to give in to its demands. “Make more soup,” the wind insists as the sleet pelts down from the hoary sky.

There are many ways to accomplish this bone-warming task.

You could simmer loads of rich meats and grains into something stewlike and hearty. You could make a silky, sophisticated puréed soup, one leaning heavily on homemade chicken stock and plenty of cream to give it a satisfying richness.

Or you could worship what few local vegetables we’ve got this time of year and build your soup, letting the roots, shoots and alliums take command of the pot.

These three soups do just that. Instead of depending on meat or quarts of homemade stock for depth, they use a few simple techniques to build flavor in the pot. You’ll taste the pure essence of vegetables, coaxed to their maximum potential.

Vegetable Soups Built for Maximum Flavor
The first is to caramelize the vegetables, either in your soup pot or in the oven, to sweeten them and condense their juices.

Next, add plenty of aromatics to the pot — herbs, spices, garlic, onions and the like — and let everything simmer for a long time to blend the flavors.

These two steps alone eliminate the need for using stock. The vegetables melt down to create an intense broth. And don’t skimp on the salt. You’ll need a good amount here.

This said, if you wanted to deepen the broth even more and have some good stock on hand, feel free to substitute it for water. Just take care to avoid nasty brands of canned and boxed stock, which will do more harm than good.

And finally, when your soup is done, finish each bowl with a garnish that contrasts in taste, color, texture or all of the above.

This final touch adds a lot. A squeeze of citrus, a dollop of yogurt or a drizzle of cream, a dusting of cheese or a good chile powder, a sprinkling of some herbs or croutons — all can take a perfectly fine soup into the realm of the delectable. Even a spiral of good olive oil to finish and some coarse sea salt can do wonders.

Consider these three soups as starting points. You can play fast and loose with them, substituting what you’ve got for what’s called for, as long as you keep the basic vegetable families the same. Use roots for roots, leafy greens for leafy greens, and other alliums for leeks, onions and garlic.

One exception is that you can go even wilder when replacing the mushrooms in the spiced mushroom and spinach soup. Pretty much any other flavorful vegetables will work. Try carrots, beets, broccoli or squash, adding a few minutes onto the cooking if needed for the vegetables to cook through. The combination of spices — a fragrant mix of cumin, coriander, cinnamon and allspice — will go nicely with any vegetable with a strong enough personality to stand up to them. Sweet potatoes, yes. Russets, maybe not.

Kohlrabi may not be the most popular of winter vegetables, but that’s because it can be hard to find unless you get too much of it crammed into your community-supported agriculture box, as I do. And I’ve learned to love the turnip-like vegetable for its mild sweetness and crisp, juicy flesh. When broiled, kohlrabi browns at the edges, getting even sweeter. And it works wonderfully well puréed into a smooth, cozy soup. If you can’t find it, try regular turnips, radishes or rutabaga.

Lastly, for my version of a chunky leek and potato soup, a base of browned leeks adds both sweetness and depth. This recipe uses twice as many leeks as potatoes, which gives it a pronounced onion flavor, and also makes it a bit lighter than most versions.

All of these soups will freeze well, so you won’t have to.

Caramelized Kohlrabi Soup

Yield: 6 servings

Total time: 45 minutes

3 pounds kohlrabi, turnips or a combination, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed

1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 large white onion, peeled and diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock (or use water)

1 bay leaf

1 small lemon, preferably a Meyer lemon

Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, as needed

Smoky chile powder, as needed

1. Arrange an oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together kohlrabi, 2 tablespoons oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt and the black pepper. Transfer to oven and broil until very well browned, about 10 minutes total, tossing halfway through cooking. (Watch carefully to see that they do not burn.)

2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and let cook for 1 minute.

3. Add roasted kohlrabi, stock, 3 cups water, the bay leaf and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to medium, cover partly, and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes.

4. Discard bay leaf. Using an immersion blender or working in batches in a food processor, purée soup until very smooth.

5. Zest the lemon into the pot, then halve it and squeeze in its juice. Taste soup and add more salt if needed. Ladle soup into bowls and top with a drizzle of oil, grated cheese and a pinch of chile powder.

Golden Leek and Potato Soup

Yield: 6 servings

Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes

2 1/2 pounds leeks, white and light green part only

2 bay leaves

4 large sprigs fresh thyme

4 large sprigs fresh sage

4 large sprigs parsley, and chopped leaves for garnish

1 large handful celery leaves (optional)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter or extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled and very thinly sliced

8 cups vegetable stock or water

1 tablespoon kosher salt, more to taste

1 teaspoon black pepper, more to taste

1 3/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, halved and thinly sliced

Heavy cream, for serving (optional)

1. Halve the leeks lengthwise and rinse away any grit. Thinly slice the leeks crosswise. In a small square of cheesecloth, tie together bay leaves, thyme, sage, parsley and celery leaves if using.

2. Melt the butter or heat the oil in the bottom of a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until leeks are soft and dark golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic for the last 3 minutes of cooking.

3. Stir in stock or water, the sachet of herbs, the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce immediately to medium-low; simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Add the potatoes and simmer soup until potatoes are very tender and falling apart, about 45 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. If desired, drizzle a small amount of cream into each bowl when serving, and top with parsley for garnish.=

Mushroom-Spinach Soup With Middle Eastern Spices

Yield: 6 servings

Total time: 1 hour

6 tablespoons unsalted butter or extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/4 pounds mixed mushrooms (such as cremini, oyster, chanterelles and shiitake), chopped

1/2 pound shallots, finely diced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch ground allspice

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste

1 teaspoon black pepper

5 ounces baby spinach

Fresh lime juice, to taste

Plain yogurt, for serving (optional)

1. Heat 3 tablespoons butter or oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add half the mushrooms and half the shallots; cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are well browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to a bowl and repeat with remaining butter, mushrooms and shallots.

2. Return all mushrooms to the pot and stir in tomato paste, thyme, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and allspice; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

3. Stir in 5 cups water, the salt and the black pepper. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat and cook gently for 20 minutes. Stir in baby spinach and let cook until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.

4. Using an immersion blender or food processor, coarsely purée soup. Mix in lime juice. Thin with water, as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Serve with dollops of yogurt if you’d like.

Egg Paratha: The Indian Breakfast Treat That’s All About a Simple Trick

While bread and eggs may hold the pride of place when it comes to comfort food, many Indians, if given a chance, would happily trade the slice of bread for their beloved paratha. Crisp, flaky, and often stuffed with spice-mixed fillings of potatoes, vegetables and even meat, it is a fitting dish and quite decadent, might I add, especially when doused with generous helpings of desi ghee. Yet, it is perfect for breakfast, with the capability of effortlessly curbing your hunger until lunchtime when you take a break from work.

Egg Paratha: The Indian Breakfast Treat That's All About a Simple Trick

Among the various fillings, the most popular choice is, without any doubt, the Aloo Paratha. The crisp outer and the gooey inner work miraculously to make it an irresistible treat. But if you were to ask me, my all-time favourite is the Egg Paratha. I discovered my love for it during my short visits to the capital to meet family and friends, when I would make it a point to venture out early mornings to roadside stalls for a bite of Delhi’s famousparathas.

The Egg Paratha caught my fancy because I was intrigued how an egg could be sealed so neatly within a paratha while cooking it on the tawa. If you inspect the paratha after it’s cooked, you wouldn’t be able to find any trace of egg on the outer surface. Only when you tear into the paratha, does it reveal itself. Much later, I learned the trick of getting it right.

Making Egg Paratha

The best places to savour Egg Parathas are roadside stalls. They make it without any frills but diligently to serve you flavours at their best. And all for an amount of 20-30 rupees. These are also the best places to learn tricks of perfecting the recipe.

The process to making Egg Paratha is actually quite simple. Starting with the dough, you can use the same one you make at home for rotis or other parathas. Most commercial places use a mix of refined and whole wheat flour to make the paratha, but you can use whole wheat flour or multi-grain flour too. So make the dough like you normally do, and while rolling it, try to double fold and shape the dough into a triangle. Point to note: the folds are important as they play an important role later.

For the egg mixture inside, you can follow the same recipe for making Masala Omelette. In a bowl, whisk the eggs well along with chopped onions, green chillies, coriander leaves, a pinch of salt, and half a teaspoon each of red chilli powder and garam masala if you like.

The skill of the recipe only comes into play when you start cooking the paratha on thetawa. Midway through the process, when the paratha is starting to crisp on the outer, you need to make a small slit using a sharp knife along the folds on one side of the triangle. Quickly pour in half the quantity of egg and let it slide in, then flip it over and repeat the process. Drizzle some oil (and generous amount if you want your paratha to be nice and crisp) over the paratha and using the back of a spoon, gently press on the surface. As the egg mixture begins to cook inside and the oil crisps up the outer surface, the paratha will fluff up and the edges will seal itself, leaving no trace of the deed done.

Enjoy the paratha hot with a little serving of pickle on the side, or like some of my friends, with a squeeze of tomato ketchup. For the gluttons, you can’t miss out on the generous serving of desi ghee on top!

The Quick Recipe

Egg Paratha
Serves 2
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flour
A pinch of salt
1 Tbsp oil
2 eggs
¼ cup chopped onions
1 green chilli, chopped
2 Tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
½ tsp garam masala
Salt to taste

Method:

1. In a mixing bowl, add flour, salt and oil, and knead the mixture into a smooth dough using 1 cup of water. You can add in a little more water if the dough seems dry. Knead well.

2. Divide the dough into 4 balls.

3. Roll out the dough ball evenly using a rolling pin, then fold it twice to form a triangle. Roll it out again to make a triangular sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.

4. In a bowl, whisk the eggs well along with onions, chilli, coriander leaves, garam masalaand salt. Keep aside.

5. Place the rolled dough on a hot tawa, and let it cook for 1-2 minutes on both sides. Add a little oil on the surface and let it cook for one more minute.

5. As the edges start to crisp, quickly make a slit using a sharp knife along the folds and pour in half the quantity of egg. Tilt the paratha a little so that the egg mix slides in. Then flip it over and repeat the process on the other side.

6. Drizzle some more oil on the paratha and press the surface gently using the back of your spoon. Turn up the heat and continue cooking the paratha until it fluffs up and turns crisp brown.

7. Serve hot with a helping of desi ghee on top.

Devilled Eggs: The 3-Ingredient Recipe to Spruce Up Ordinary Eggs

t’s a wonder why this dish is associated with the ‘devil’, when in reality it is actually an angel in disguise. Super easy to rustle up, this recipe can save anyone’s day – from midnight hunger pangs, mid meal snacking to entertaining unannounced guests, it is a foolproof dish that can be made even by amateur cooks, if not kids, and all in a matter of a few minutes.

Devilled Eggs: The 3-Ingredient Recipe to Spruce Up Ordinary Eggs

Devilled eggs are known by many monikers – picnic eggs, egg mimosa, and Russian eggs, to name a few. What makes it extremely popular is the creamy filling with which the boiled eggs are stuffed with. After all, who can say no to eggs and mayonnaise? It is a combination hard to resist. And you just can’t go wrong when it comes to making it because it is that simple and requires just about three ingredients to dish it out on your own.

How to Make Devilled Eggs

So fold up your sleeves and get ready for a quick treat. Here’s how –

6 eggs, hard boiled
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tsp mustard sauce or kasundi

Method:

1. Neatly slice the eggs in halves, and then scoop out the yolks.

2. In a mixing bowl, add the yolks, mayonnaise and mustard sauce and mix well. Add salt and pepper accordingly to your taste.

3. Take a piping bag fit with a nozzle, and fill in up with the egg mixture.

4. Carefully fill up the egg whites with the egg mixture, making neat swirls. Serve immediately.

Additions: You can top the eggs with chopped herbs such as parsley or coriander, or even oregano and chilli flakes.

Variations to Devilled Eggs

Even though Devilled Eggs are extremely popular in America, the recipe is said to have been taken from the Romans. Apparently, the Romans included it as the first course of anelaborate meal. Over the years, there have been many variations to the dish, where people have experimented with the ingredients that go in the filling. While mayonnaise and mustard remain constant, some of the additions include Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, chives, spring onions, oregano, sour cream, and caviar, among others to spruce up the flavour.

It really depends on your taste, and what’s available in your kitchen store cupboard. You can even give it an Indian spin by adding red chilli powder or garam masala. Or leftover curry to tune up the flavour quotient. It is really that simple!

For some added crunch, you can add in chopped onions. I usually like to add in some chopped red, yellow and green bell peppers to give it a dramatic appeal of colours. It also helps in adding to the crunch. Nuts like pecan or almonds would also go well in this recipe. You can finish off with a topping of fresh herbs or microgreens for that extra punch. Really, there’s plenty you could do with this simple dish. So are you up for it?

Don’t Turn on the Oven: Say Yes to a Delicious No-Bake Cheesecake

Not everyone who loves cheesecake has the patience to make one. And if you go out in search of one, it’s a confusing world out there. Sure there are restaurants that serve carefully-crafted, world-class, ingenious and to-die-for deserts. But more often than not, you’ll find yourself face-to-face with fabricated, icy and terribly sweet cakes and desserts that you wouldn’t even want to dig into for seconds. And this is why I’m going to show you how to make a cheesecake for which you won’t even need to own an oven, let alone learn how to use one.

We have Italy to thank for cheesecakes in general but the United States gets gratitude for the no-bake version of it. There aren’t many noticeable differences between the two but a dedicated cheesecake lover will be able to tell you that the baked one has a sturdy and firm filling because it’s baked with whisked eggs, cornflour and other binding ingredients while the no-bake one is a bit more cheesy, soft, luscious and cloud-like.

Let’s break this down, one step at a time:

Base – There are two main ingredients that go into the case: something crumbly which would mean graham crackers and butter (umm, yum!). You can either break the crackers by putting them in a plastic bag and breaking them down with a rolling pin or crush them bit by bit, using your hand. A food processor works well too but personally I think it grinds the crackers too fine and I like mine a bit uneven, chaotic. Mark Bittman does a great version of the no-bake cheesecake when he suggests you mix crushed nuts with the graham crackers.

Graham crackers are an expensive proposition in India so I’ve found the perfect substitute:  Digestive biscuits! They also lend something extra to a cheesecake, this slightly salty flavour which goes beautifully with the cream filling. One chef recommended the use of ginger as well and you can throw those along with the biscuits and butter in the food processor, if you’re a fan of ginger that is.

cheesecake-blueberry-plate

The filling – Melissa Clark puts it right “You can find a clear divide between cheesecake lovers, those who love the soft, creamy and dense cream cheese filling and those who adore the ricotta/goat cheese and more airy kind-a cheese layer.” We can create a perfect mix of both the worlds by using cream cheese and a bit of ricotta cheese, and I’ll show you how in the recipe that follows.

Eve O’Sullivan of the Guardian suggests another great addition to the filling, cream white chocolate! I mixed some with cream cheese and even though it didn’t set as well as it should have, the taste was absolutely divine! I’m a personal fan of coconuts and you’ll be surprised at how well desiccated goes in a cheesecake. Since this is a no-bake cheesecake, the quantity of sugar you use doesn’t change the texture of the cake. So feel free to adjust the proportions according to how sweet (or not) you want it to be.

What’s on top: Any kind of fleshy fruit goes well atop a cheesecake- berries, mangoes, raisins or alternatively, you can also puree any of the fruits and use that.

No-Bake Cheesecake Recipe

Serves: 6-8 people

Time taken: 25 minutes preparation and 5-6 hours chill time

Ingredients

For the base:

400 grams biscuits or graham crackers, crushed

100 grams unsalted butter, melted

10 almonds

5 walnuts

For the filling:

500 grams cream cheese, full-fat preferably at room temperature

40 grams desiccated coconut

1 tablespoon vanilla essence

40 grams caster sugar

For the topping (optional):

Fresh fruits

Maple syrup

Method

1. Blitz the almonds in a food processor.

2. Drop the biscuits in a plastic bag along with the walnuts and crush them with a rolling pin.

3. Mix the almonds and crushed biscuits from step 2.

4. Pour the melted butter over this and mix well. Press the mix into a tin, cover it with a cling film and refrigerate till its firm.

5. In a big bowl, stir the cream cheese, desiccated coconut, vanilla essence and castor sugar and pour it over the biscuit in the tin.

6. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 3.5 to 4 hours.

7. Top with fruits of your choice. Cut and serve.