How To Cook These 12 Affordable And Simple Dishes Over the Weekend

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Many Malaysians are known for spending more than they can afford on dining out. If you are looking to cut costs on spending time eating outside over the weekend, the best way is to cook your food at home. Here are some of the best recipes that you can cook while satisfying your whole family without forking out a huge sum of money eating outside.

How to cook beans

For dried beans, soak 2 mugfuls overnight and boil in plenty of water for an hour till it’s tender. For lentils, it would take about 30 minutes to cook. Pick from the list below depending on taste and recipe.

1.Tarka Dall

Add 200 grams of orange split lentils to the tomatoes with 650ml water. Cover and cook for approximately 30 mins until it’s soft and mushy. Meanwhile, fry 2 sliced loves garlic, a chopped green chilli, 2cm square of chopped ginger and 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil until it’s brown. Stir this into the lentils along with a chopped bunch of free coriander and 2 tablespoons of turmeric. Lastly, add the juice of ½ a lemon and salt to taste. Heat for a few minutes and serve with spiced rice.

2.Sausage and Lentil Pie

Add 100 grams of green lentils and 500ml water to the tomatoes. Cover and cook until it is soft for 40 minutes. Season it with ½ tablespoon of ground cumin and 1 tablespoon of oregano. Fry 4 sausages until it’s cooked. Cut each into 3 or 4 pieces and mix in with the lentils. Boil and mash 2 large potatoes with salt, pepper, milk and butter. Put sausages and lentils into a pie dish and top with the mash. Sprinkle some grated cheese on top and bake in a medium oven for 30 minutes until it’s browned on top.


Add a thinly sliced carrot, a chopped stick of celery, 2 tablespoons of thyme, a handful of chopped fresh parsley, 1 tablespoon of tomato puree and 750mil of vegetable oil. Bring to the boil and cook until the vegetables are tender. Put in a handful of green beans chopped into 3cm pieces and ¼ shredded cabbage. Cook for 10 minutes. For a more substantial soup, add 2 tablespoons of little pasta shapes(pastini) or broken spaghetti and cook until it is soft. Lastly, serve it with parmesan cheese.

4.Chilli Con Carne

Use red kidney beans. Add 1 ½ tablespoon of chilli powder, 1 tablespoon of ground cumin and 2 tablespoons of oregano. Next, add 250 grams of seasoned minced beef and 1 tablespoon oil in a frying pan, cook it until it’s brown. Add to the bean mixture with 1 tablespoon of tomato puree and a little sugar. Add 200ml stock and simmer covered for about an hour until it’s cooked and thick. Serve with boiled rice and garnish with chopped green peppers and sour cream.

How to cook tomatoes

Add one tin or carton of chopped tomatoes with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes, if you are using the tomatoes as a sauce, add dried or fresh herbs(basil, oregano, thyme) and cook for 5 minutes. Serve over pasta with grated parmesan.

1.Tuna Provencale

Adda yellow pepper slice into strips, two cloves of garlic cut in half, a bay leaf, some chopped parsley and a slug of white wine. Stew it for 20 minutes and then add a tin of tuna steak. Cook until tuna is heated through and serve with plain rice. If you are looking for a more complex dish use fresh cod or haddock steaks in place of the tuna and cook for 10 minutes.

2.Bolognese Sauce

Add 250 grams of minced beef, 2 tablespoons of tomato puree, a carrot, and stick of celery(both finely chopped). Cook the meat and then add a glass of red wine, a little more seasoning and 200ml of stock. Simmer with the lid off for at least 30 minutes, add more liquid if necessary. Mix it with pasta and a knob of butter before sprinkling it with parmesan cheese.

3.Cauliflower Curry

Add 3 cloves chopped garlic, 2cm square of grafted ginger, ½ tablespoon of turmeric, 1 chopped green chilli and a handful of chopped fresh coriander to the tomatoes. Cook for at least 10 minutes, break a small cauliflower into florets and chop stalk into chunks. Add it to the pan, with 1 tablespoon of ground coriander, 1 tablespoon of cumin, ½ lemon juice and enough water to barely cover. Cook and stir gently, until the cauliflower is tender. Add seasoning for the taste and serve it with rice.



Add 1 large or 2 small chilli peppers(any type) sliced into thin slivers, 2 cloves of chopped garlic and a few basil leaves. Cook until the liquid evaporates and the peppers are soft. Beat 4 eggs, add them to the pan, stir gently until they are scrambled eggs. Lastly, serve them with toast bread and top with slices of ham.


5.Mattar Paneer

Add 1 tablespoon of turmeric, ½ tablespoon of ground coriander, ¼ tablespoon of chilli powder and a 2cm square of grated fresh ginger. Cook for a few minutes, then add approximately 400g thawed frozen peas, ½ tablespoon of cinnamon, 4 cardamom pods and 250ml water. Simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. Cut approximately 150g of mild cheddar into large cubes and cook it with the curry for 3 minutes before serving them with rice.


How to cook onions

Peel and chop 1 medium onion into small dice. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium flame. Add the onions and fry them until it’s soft but not brown and stir them frequently. Alternatively, you can peel and chop one clove of garlic and fry with the onion.


1.Coconut Chicken

Add 2 chicken breasts or 4 thighs chopped into chunks, a 2cm lump of ginger, a stem of lemongrass, a clove of garlic and green chilli(all finely chopped). Season and fry them for a few minutes until the chicken is well cooked. Add 200ml of chicken stock and simmer for 15 minutes. Chop a small bunch of coriander and add to the pan with a cup of coconut cream and 1 tablespoon of turmeric. Stir them until the sauce is thick and serve it with rice.


2.Beef Stew

Season 400grams cubed beef stew with salt and pepper together with 2 tablespoons of flour. Cook it with onions until it’s brown. Add 1 cup of red wine, 2 carrots and mushroom chopped up. Pour in 250ml of stock, a can of tomatoes and some dried herbs. Seasons well and cook at a simmer for 30 minutes. Cover the lid, then cook for an hour in a fairly low oven. Lastly, serve it with baked potatoes cooked at the same time. Add turnips, celery, or other vegetables you like to complete the dish.



Add 20grams of butter, 200grams of arborio rice(a half mug), 6 sliced mushrooms and 2 halved cloves of garlic. Fry for a few minutes, then add a glass of white wine and cook until it’s absorbed. Mix up 750ml stock and pour them as the rice absorbs it. Keep adding until the rice is just cooked and the sauce is creamy for 20 minutes. Season them with salt and pepper for more taste. Add a knob of butter and a handful of grated parmesan and serve with extra parmesan cheese.


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You Jing is a content writer who writes career and lifestyle contents to inspire job seekers and employers alike on their journey to work-life balance, empowerment and transformation in their career path.

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