Food on a budget
Nadia Lim shares two of her favourite recipes for those times when you need to make a meal on a tight budget that still tastes great and satisfies the family.
Glass noodle salad with citrus soy dressing
This Asian-inspired salad makes a little bit of pork mince go a long way — it’s there for a bit of flavour, rather than being a main part of the meal. Fresh coriander and mint really make this dish, so if you have space in your daily budget or can raid someone’s garden, then add in generously.
100g dry vermicelli noodles (makes about 300g once cooked)
2 cups shredded or coarsely grated carrot (about 1 large carrot)
1 cup finely sliced celery, (about 3 sticks)
3 cups shredded cabbage
½ cup chopped roasted peanuts
100g pork mince
Chopped coriander and mint, to serve
Citrus soy dressing
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3-4 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp peanut oil
½ tsp brown sugar
- Pour boiling water over the vermicelli and leave to soak for 2 minutes until soft. Drain and rinse under cold water.
- Combine vegetables and peanuts in a large bowl. Mix through vermicelli. Combine all the dressing ingredients then pour over the vermicelli and vegetables and mix well.
- Heat a small drizzle of oil in a small frying pan. Season mince with a pinch of salt and pepper then fry until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes.
- Divide noodle salad between bowls and scatter over pork and few extra peanuts. Add chopped coriander and mint if you have it in your daily budget.
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Tamari roasted butternut salad with peanut sesame sauce
You’ll have to shop hard to get this under 75 cents. You will definitely need to go to an Asian grocer for cheap veges and flavourings, but it’s worth it because this hearty salad has lots of crunch and fresh flavours, and is healthy too. Leave the skin on your butternut for more fibre. Roasting butternut tossed with tamari and honey helps it caramelise. This meal provides carbohydrate, protein and healthy fats, and is gluten and dairy free.
800g-1kg butternut, cut into 2cm cubes (leave skin on)
1½-2 Tbsp tamari soy sauce (you can use other soy sauce if you like)
1-1½ Tbsp liquid honey
¼ cabbage (green, purple, savoy or wong bok)
1 large carrot, shredded, coarsely grated or cut into fine matchsticks
1 bok choy or 2 baby bok choy
Juice of ½ lemon
Chopped coriander, to serve
Peanut sesame sauce
5-6 Tbsp peanut butter
3-4 tsp sesame oil
Juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
3-4 tsp soy sauce
- Heat oven to 200C. Line an oven tray with baking paper (for easy clean up). Toss butternut with soy sauce and honey in prepared tray and season with freshly ground black pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes or until caramelised. Toss once or twice during cooking.
- While the butternut is roasting, prepare the other vegetables. Finely shred the cabbage until you have about 4 cups. Peel and shred or coarsely grate the carrot. Cut the bottom 1-2cm off the bok choy and discard, then very finely slice the stems and leaves. Mix all sauce ingredients together until smooth.
- When ready to serve, toss butternut with salad vegetables and lemon juice. Divide between plates and drizzle over sauce. Add chopped coriander if you have it in your daily budget allowance.