Jon Cartu Assert: Family dinners under Dh35: four easy recipes you can make a... - Jonathan Cartu Restaurant, Baking & Catering Services
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Jon Cartu Assert: Family dinners under Dh35: four easy recipes you can make a…

Family dinners under Dh35: four easy recipes you can make a...

Jon Cartu Assert: Family dinners under Dh35: four easy recipes you can make a…

Just because we’re all home-bound these days doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the finer things in life – and sometimes that happens to be good ol’ fashioned home cooking. So, if you’re looking to save a bit when it comes to spending on food, we’ve got the trick for you. Four food bloggers from the UAE have shared recipes that are simple, delicious and downright economical to prepare. Here are four recipes that can feed a family of four for less than Dh35.

Pasta al Pomodoro by Fathima Mansoor

Pasta al Pomodoro, a tomato sauce pasta. Courtesy of Fathima Mansoor, @tableforfivedubai

The South African mum of three, and food blogger behind @tableforfivedubai, is always whipping up delicious, healthy and effortless meals for her family. Here’s a tomato sauce pasta recipe she loves for its simplicity. Not only can it be made using ingredients regularly found in cupboards, it can also be adapted by adding meat or veggies if one prefers.

Ingredients

1 400g box of spaghetti or tagliatelle (500g Panzani tagliatelle costs Dh15 at Carrefour)

4 tbsp or a generous amount of olive oil

1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced (30 fils)

1-2 cloves garlic (30 fils)

1 400g can of chopped tomatoes (Dh5)

Salt, to taste

A pinch of sugar

Fresh basil (Dh2)

Black pepper, crushed

Parmesan cheese (optional) (Dh10 for 200grams, so Dh2 for sprinkling)

Total cost: Dh24.6

Method

Boil the pasta according to the specifications. Strain and set aside.

In a pan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and saute. Leave on low heat. Once it has softened, add the garlic and the can of tomatoes. Add salt and sugar and leave it to cook on medium heat till the tomatoes are cooked and a nice thick glossy sauce has formed. Add in some fresh basil and adjust seasoning as desired.

Add the pasta to the sauce. Serve hot with grated Parmesan cheese.

Tip: you can add anything to this pasta to build it up, like your choice of meat or vegetables.

Cheesy, juicy bean burgers by Lavina Israni

A bean burger with a cheesy interior. Courtesy of Lavina Israni
A bean burger with a cheesy interior. Courtesy of Lavina Israni

Dubai food and travel blogger Lavina Israni, behind www.lavinaisrani.com, has spent a considerable amount of the isolation period whipping up healthy, tasty meals. Here she shares a fun recipe idea to bring back family burger nights.

Ingredients

For the patty:

400g red kidney beans, dried (Dh6)

½ cup onion, chopped (50 fils)

4 cloves garlic cloves, chopped (30 fils)

½ cup feta cheese (200g of feta cheese goes for Dh5.8)

2 tbsp white vinegar (Dh1.6)

1 sprig coriander leaves (Dh1)

1 sprig mint leaves (Dh1)

Spice mix, to taste (salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, oregano)

4 pcs Mini Babybel original cheese (Dh6.4)

2 Eggs (Dh1.5)

Homemade bread crumbs (1 slice of toasted bread, blitzed into crumbs. Can use remaining burger buns for this purpose)

Oil for shallow frying

For the assembly:

4 burger buns (Dh2.75 for 6 plain burger buns)

1 bunch of locally produced arugula (jir jir) (Dh1 on Kibsons)

Extra toppings of your choice, optional (fried onions, sliced tomatoes, pickle, avocado, etc)

Condiments of your choice, optional (ketchup, mustard, thousand island, etc)

Total cost: Dh27.85, plus the cost of condiments of your choice

Method

For the patty, the night before making the burgers, rinse and soak the kidney beans in water overnight. The next day, rinse and dry the beans, and cook them in a pressure cooker until fully done.

Preheat oven to 180° C. Spread the kidney beans evenly on parchment paper and bake for 10-15 minutes, until slightly dried out.

Meanwhile, saute the onions and garlic in oil and a pinch of salt until they turn soft and caramelised.

In a food processor, add the fried onions and garlic along with the remaining patty ingredients, except the Babyel cheese, eggs and the breadcrumbs. Form a homogeneous mixture.

Add the beans and pulse the mixture, leaving some chunks of beans for texture. At this point, taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning according to your preference.

Divide the patty mixture into four equal parts. Build each patty around a Babybel piece. To ensure no cheese leaks out whilst frying, seal the Babybel with the patty mixture until its entirely hidden.

In a bowl, add the eggs and whisk lightly with a fork. Dip each patty to the egg mixture, followed by breadcrumbs.

Heat oil in a frying pan. Shallow fry the patties until they turn golden brown.

To assemble the burgers, slice each bun open. If you like a crisp burger base, butter the buns and lightly toast on a pan.

Slather condiments of your choice on each burger base. Add arugula leaves.

Place the bean patty on top of the arugula. You can add any of your favourite burger toppings such as fried onions, tomato slices, pickles, etc.

Serve the burgers while they’re hot. The molten cheese will ooze out as you eat.

Daal chaawal and kachoomar salad (lentil curry and rice with a tomato and cucumber salad) by Haiya Tariq

Lentil curry, rice and a side salad, can all be made under Dh35. Courtesy of Haiya Tariq, @passmethedimsum
Lentil curry, rice and a side salad, can all be made under Dh35. Courtesy of Haiya Tariq, @passmethedimsum

The blogger and content creator behind www.passmethedimsum is known for her love of tea and quality ingredients. Here’s her recipe for a simple daal (lentil curry) with rice, served with a side salad – a complete, nourishing meal.

Ingredients

For the daal:

1.5 cups black masoor daal (400g for Dh4.5)

1 tsp salt

1-2 tsps red chilli powder (50g for Dh2.3)

1 tsp turmeric powder (100g for Dh1.9)

1 tsp garlic paste (60 fils)

1 tsp ginger paste (60 fils)

To temper the daal:

1/4 cup cooking oil

1 tsp cumin, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds each (100g of whole garam masala costs Dh6)

5-6 dried whole red chilies (Dh1.25)

1 small onion, thinly sliced (50 fils)

For the rice:

4 cups of white basmati rice (Dh11.10 for a 1kg packet of Daawat basmati rice)

1-2 tsp salt

For the salad:

1 medium sized tomato (90 fils)

3 cucumbers (Dh2.25)

1 medium sized onion (50 fils)

Juice of 1 lime (60 fils)

Total cost: Dh34.1

Method

Rinse and soak the daal in room temperature water for an hour. Drain, add all the daal ingredients into a large saucepan, cover with enough water and let it simmer for 2-3 hours until fully cooked. Mash some of the daal with the back of a wooden spoon to soften. Alternatively, this can also be cooked faster in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot.

To temper the daal, in a small frying pan, fry the sliced onion in the oil until translucent, then add in the rest of the spices. Once the onions are golden-brown, dump this mixture straight onto the daal. Scoop some daal into this frying pan, to soak up all the goodness and then pour that back in with the rest of your daal.

Rinse the rice until the water runs clear and cook as per packet instructions depending on whether you’re using a pressure cooker, normal saucepan of Instant Pot.

For the salad, finely chop the cucumber, tomato and onion and squeeze lime on it. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon some rice, some daal, some salad and a tsp of pickle onto each plate (optional).

Mujadara (Arabic lentil and rice) by Zahra Abdalla

Mujadara is a Levant recipe made with rice and lentils. Courtesy of Zahra Abdalla
Mujadara is a Levant recipe made with rice and lentils. Courtesy of Zahra Abdalla

Mujadara is a Levant recipe made with either Calrose or basmati rice, and lentils topped with crispy onions. This is a hearty bowl can be made with ingredients found in most basic Middle Eastern pantries, which is what makes it perfect for those days that you are out of ideas on what to cook and don’t have to time to visit the supermarket, says Zahra Abdalla, author of cookbook Cooking with Zahra. She also recommends serving it with a tomato and onion…

Jon Cartu

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