Being a Pakistani man it’s no less than a taboo to be caught by the stove in the kitchen. So, to avoid social stigma and shame I had successfully kept myself at a safe distance from the kitchen for the greater part of my life.
However, things changed overnight when my parents were away for Hajj two years ago and our house help could not make it to work for almost a week because of a bad bout of flu. Not one to be easily defeated, I adamantly ordered take-out for the first three days. But as it goes take-out is expensive, especially when you’re a student living on a limited allowance.
On the fourth day then, I found myself clumsily finding the way to the kitchen in the hope of finding some frozen food in the freezer (not that I knew how to fry but it still seemed like a saner option than actual cooking). Alas! The only frozen item in the freezer was ice. After contemplating my options in front of the open freezer for an eternity, I finally resigned to fate. Araiz Shahid, the most pampered little mama’s boy to have ever walked the Earth would have to do the unthinkable: cook for survival!
Lucky for me I was born in the age of internet! From “How to use a knife to chop vegetables” to detailed orientations on all the recipes ever invented – the World Wide Web was my oyster.
Accepting the non-existent nature of my culinary skills I decided to start with the most basic recipes: cheese omelette, mashed potatoes and sweet lassi.
In the last two years since I realized what an important life-skill cooking was, I’ve mastered many more recipes and even thrown small lunches for friends and family but I’ll save those for another time. For now, I am writing to rescue those who have never cooked before and could use some easy recipes to bring together a quick, hassle free first meal for themselves.
Here goes nothing!
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 5 minutes Serves: 1 person
I like cheese but I also enjoy the distinct taste of a Pakistani omelette. So my recipe is a mix of both east and the west.
- Eggs – 2
- Onion – 1 small finely chopped
- Tomato – 1 small finely chopped
- Green chilies – 2 finely chopped
- Milk – 2 tbs (optional)
- Cheddar Cheese – 1 slice
- Salt – half tsp
- Red chili powder – quarter tsp
- Oil – 1 tbs
- Break the eggs in a deep bowl and add salt and red chilies.
- Now beat the eggs with a beater or a fork (yes, a fork works just fine, you fancy people!)
- Now add the milk to the egg and beat some more.
- Finally throw in all the veggies and cheese and beat until the mixture is a little foamy.
- In a frying pan pour in the oil and put the pan on the stove. Make sure the burner is on low heat.
- Now pour in the egg mixture (spread your cheese evenly if its concentrated too much on one side).
- Allow the bottom of the egg to cook. Give it about two minutes.
- Then flip your half cooked omelette and let it cook for another 2 minutes.
- Lightly press the top of your omelette with the spatula/cooking spoon to make sure the egg is fully cooked.
- Now put off the stove because your omelette is ready!
Prep Time: 2 minutes Cooking Time: Half an hour (don't worry, it takes half an hour because the potato will take about 25 minutes to boil while you watch TV) Serves: 1 person
- Potato – 1 medium
- Butter – 1 tsp
- Milk – 5 tbs
- Salt – 1 pinch
- Take a small, deep cooking pan and fill it with water.
- Now put in a medium sized potato and place the pan on the stove with medium heat.
- Let the potato boil for about 20 – 25 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, stick in a fork or knife in the potato while still on the stove to make sure its fully boiled.
- Then turn off the heat and drain the hot water in the kitchen sink.
- Wash your boiled potato under cold water. This will both clean the vegetable and ensure that it cools down a little.
- Now peal off its skin and mash the potato until its not chunky anymore. (If you have a potato masher, great, if you don’t then a simple fork and some mashing with clean, bear hands will also do the trick!).
- In a frying pan (on low heat) put in the butter and allow it to melt.
- Once the butter has melted, add milk to it.
- Then quickly add the mashed potatoes and a pinch of salt.
- Now with a spoon (and I mean ANY spoon; no preferences) keep stirring the mixture until it takes a creamy form.
- Once creamy, put off the burner, pour your mixture in a small bowl and enjoy!
Prep Time: 5 minutes Serves: 1 person
Being a Punjabi, I need my fix of sweet lassi every few days in winter and EVERYDAY during Summers to energize. Lucky for me, it’s one of the easiest things to make.
- Yogurt – 1 cup (ideally chilled)
- Milk – half cup (ideally chilled)
- Water half cup (ideally chilled)
- Sugar – 5 tbs or to taste
- Get hold of a milkshake maker (electronic or manual)
- Pour in all the ingredients.
- If you’re using a manual milk shake maker then keep spinning until the mixture is foamy and frothy. This might take about 3 – 5 minutes.
- If you’re using an electronic shaker, one or two spins (for a few seconds each) would work.
- And there! That’s all there is to making lassi!
Now whether you’re a lazy bum like I once was or an aspiring chef who’s not yet had an opportunity to exercise his/her culinary skills, please try these easy recipes and let me know how they turned out! Your comments will encourage me to share more advanced but equally easy recipes very soon!