Tuesday, January 6, 2009

To help get frugal with food...

Here is a recipe for some nice Indian food that hopefully will be a cheapy dinner.
Chicken Curry:
  • 3 TBSP Olive Oil (36 cents)
  • 1 small onion, chopped (25 cents)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (25 cents)
  • 3 TBSP curry powder (50 cents)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (20 cents)
  • 1 tsp paprika (20 cents)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp ginger root (20-60 cents for ground versus fresh)
  • 1/2 tsp white sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 2 breast halves, cut into bite sized pieces ($1.29-2.99/lb for bone-in vs. boneless)
  • 1 TBSP tomato paste (25 cents)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt ($1.50)
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk ($2.12/can)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion until lightly browned. Stir in garlic, curry powder, cinnamon, paprika, bay leaf, ginger, sugar and salt. Continue stirring for 2 minutes. Add chicken pieces, tomato paste, yogurt, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.

  2. Remove bay leaf, TASTE and [if desired] stir in lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Simmer 5 more minutes.

Remember the lemon & pepper will add tart & hot to your sauce...which is why I recommend a taste. I found prices where I could and then divided the prices into cost per tablespoons & teaspoons. Some prices were so small, it was mere pennies or LESS per serving (like the sugar). I used the lower price on the items with a range...just to give an idea. I added that meal up to about $7.12. To feed four that is $1.78 PER PERSON. Most people will serve this over rice...another item that is pennies to the serving. Even rounding it up to $8, still means you served your family for $2 a person. How satisfied would your family be if they had to spend that same $8 at a fast food restaurant??

If you'd like to add another $3.40ish to your bill, try this naan bread with your curry.

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast (60 cents)
  • 1 cup warm water (free!)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar (40 cents)
  • 2 TBSP milk
  • 1 egg beaten (15 cents)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour ($2)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic (optional)
  • 1/4 butter melted (25 cents)
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.
  2. Punch down dough, and knead in garlic. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  3. During the second rising, preheat grill/skillet/griddle to high heat.
  4. At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.

The naan rounds out your meal for just over $10 total. And it's unlikely you'd have to purchase ALL of these ingredients to prepare this meal! I think all I need to add to my shopping list is bread flour, coconut milk, and yogurt.


ETA: Had an email suggestion of adding a bag of frozen peas & carrots to the curry...the mix with the little square carrots is apparently the best way to go...Thanks!

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