Monday, April 2, 2012

Cheap spicy meal - Slow cooked curry

For about $10, you can make enough curry for at least 8 meals. If you want to lower the cost even more, use beans instead of chicken. That will drive the cost down to about a buck a meal and it will look like you have more food (because a pound of dried beans will increase in volume a lot). However, you'll have to boil the dried beans (about $1.39/lb) and then add them to the curry. You can also add a smaller amount of chicken for flavor and add a lot of beans.

The other great thing about making curry is that it is very easy to do. Just get a 6-quart slow cooker, dump everything in, put the lid on, and go away for about 3 hours. You might have to stir it around once every hour but that's it. If you have one of those cookers with an adjustable temperature knob, you can adjust the time it takes for the curry to cook. If you're in a hurry, you can probably eat in about an hour (if you don't keep opening the lid). The temperature can also be set to about 180-200F if you plan on going to work/school and coming back in about 6 to 8 hours. Just make sure you have enough water in there and the lid is on if you're going away for more than a few hours (because if all of the water evaporates, the curry will burn).

NESCO cooker with adjustable temperature knob
Possible ingredients:
Chicken (or other protein) - $2.50
2 lb vegetables (frozen veggies are good) - $2.50
onion (diced) - $0.50
3-5 cloves garlic (chopped) - $0.10
2 large potatoes (cubed) - $1
2 plantains (cubed) - $0.40
4 blocks of Japanese curry roux (e.g. Golden Curry) - $2 (for half a large box)
1 can light coconut milk (e.g. Trader Joe's light coconut milk) - $1
water (depending on how much sauce you want - start with 2 cups and add if necessary)

* Prices are approximate
Big pot of curry all ready to eat!

Small portion - veggies, potato, plantain, mushroom

Small portion - veggies, potato, plantain, mushroom
If you have room in your fridge, the whole pot can be stored in there. However, it's probably better to store it in smaller containers so that you can take a box to school or work the next day.

The potatoes and plantains are enough carbs for some people but having rice on the side would be how most Asians would serve this. A healthier alternative would be to have a side of mashed beans if you did not use that as the protein in the curry.

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