But despair not. Elementary cooking needn't be intimidating if you follow these tips from Chef Saransh Goila, who knows the travails of bachelorhood first hand. The author, TV show host and food columnist has supplied 10 easy (and healthy) tips for Indian bachelors to get their eating right on track. Now just get off that couch and get into the kitchen.
Step 1 he says is to simply stand in front of the stove. (Well, obviously if you don't have one, you have to start by buying one):
Believe it or not, cooking an egg is easier than making tea, says Chef Goila. Especially if you stick to simple recipes like sunny side up, bhurji (scrambled) and boiled eggs. Convert these eggs into full meals by stuffing them between two buns or doing open sandwiches with veggies and cheese. Eggs can even be microwaved: they take only a minute to 90 seconds in a mug or a deep cup to cook!
Buy fruits whenever you see them, though in small quantities, says Chef Goila. They’re perfect for snacking: Goila usually chops them up, adds crushed nuts and potato chips and chaat masala to them with nimbu (lemon) as the ultimate sitcom/ cricket match snack!
It’ll cost you under 3,000 rupees, and you can prepare exceptional smoothies and shakes in 5 minutes, says Chef Goila. The best part? You don’t even need to cut or chop much as the blender does the job, even if you just clean and roughly chop the veggies or fruits. Always keep milk and yoghurt handy in your fridge to blend your fruit/ veggies in with.
It's not easy to give up insta-noodles when you're living alone. Make 'em healthy by adding lots of vegetables (match the quantity of veggies you're adding to the noodle) or meat to your noodles, says Chef Goila. You can add your meat/ veggies while your noodles cook or grill and boil these separately to add them later. Bonus tip: While the noodles cook, don't just stand there! Use those 5 extra minutes to blend a smoothie or a shake.
Cold leftovers or yucky cafetaria food doesn't have to be a choice anymore. If you have leftovers, simply give them a makeover! Chef Goila gives the following tips: 1. Leftover butter chicken + toss with freshly boiled spaghetti = Lunch is ready. 2. Leftover chopped pizza + beat 4/5 eggs + chopped spinach and mushrooms + seasoning + dry herbs. Mix all in a bowl, add Cheese and bake 10 minutes at 180 C. 3. Make a noodles toastie from leftover noodles. Spread schezwan sauce on the bread, and you're good to go! 4. Toss leftover rice with curd to make curd rice. Or with veggies to make fried rice. Or with readymade soups for a bowl meal. Or with a tempering to make tawa or masala pulao.
If you can cook basic curries or gravies, cook just a little bit extra. Then cool the mix for a couple of hours, and finally freeze it into ice cube trays, recommends Chef Goila. This way, you can use the gravy whenever you need, and without thawing the entire amount. Frozen gravies can stay perfect for a month or longer depending on the weather and fridge condition.
Buy cleaned and chopped veggies or fruits from the grocery store or even your veggie seller. Yes this is a possibility now, and it saves you a crazy amount of time, says Chef Goila. It can definitely make cooking seem like less of a chore for the ones with prominent lazy bones.
Throwing a party? Save on your budget by assembling a menu that is a mix of ordered and homemade food, says Chef Goila. For instance, order chicken tikka but use it as a stuffing in a taco which can be assembled at home. Buy a sponge or banana cake, chop it up and top it up with whipped cream and chocolate sauce and nuts. Make two-minute noodles with oodles of cheese and sriracha, stuff these noodles in buns to make a makeshift bunny chow.
Invest in a heavy-duty, nonstick pan, sharp knife and a WOODEN spoon (please don’t scratch the life out of it with a steel spoon). Chef Goila guarantees that most of your cooking will be in this pan whether it is eggs, chicken, or tossing pasta and vegetables. The better it is at handling heat and food, your chances of failure reduce. Also, a sharp knife means lesser chances of cutting a finger, he adds.
Gone are the days of splattered, dog-eared cookbooks and hour-long classes. Today, easy recipes are available dime-a-dozen online. Chef Goila (who also cooks for bachelors
) recommends these people for easy DIY cooking tips and recipes: Easy Indian Khaana: Maunika Gowardhan (https://twitter.com/cookinacurry) Good Health: Nandita Iyer (https://youtube.com/saffrontrail Quick Baking: Pooja Dhingra (The Big Book of Treats)