The Guardian has recently published few credit crunch recipe specials. They got couple of celebrity chefs to cook two course meal for two under a fiver. They got so much flak from readers that the recipes were unimaginative, expensive, unhealthy ... etc
The Guardian decided to put the ball back in the readers court. They asked readers on their Word of Mouth food blog to come up with a menu themselves to see if they can do better than the celeb chefs. Take some photos and the best ones might get published in G2.
I decided to submit a Syrian inspired menu. It was such a hard task as you need to buy everything from scratch. Olive oil alone will eat up half of your budget.
I decided to cook Foul Salad(Broad Bean) for starter. This is Foul Ma'alla ("fried" Foul) with a twist. The main is Mujaddara(Bulgar wheat and lentils pilaf). I added a non-Syrian chilli sauce to pour on top. I got the idea from the Egyptian dish Kushari. For those who don't know, Kushari is a "poor man" dish consists of rice and lentils pilaf, boiled pasta, fried onions and chilli sauce on top. I personally prefer to "Syrianise" it and use Bulgar instead of rice.
All the ingredients used are Tesco standard range (some items are Value range) bought on Sunday. Here is the pricing:
Bulgar wheat 80p
Olive oil 250mls bottle 120p (the cheapest I could find)
Frozen Broad beans 100p
Tomato paste 30p
All totaling 4.90£
The optional yogurt is not included but could be another 50 p
Starter: Foul Salad (Broad beans)
Frozen broad beans 400g
Yogurt 100g (optional)
Coriander chopped 1tbs
Garlic 1 clove crushed
Boil water in a pan and add the frozen beans. Bring back to the boil and cook for two minutes. Transfer the beans to cold water to stop the cooking process and preserve their colour.
In a frying pan heat two table spoons of olive oil till very hot. Drop the coriander and garlic and remove immediately from heat. This will flavour the oil and take off the edge of the garlic. Add the mixture to the broad beans and squeeze half a lemon. Mix with yogurt and drizzle some olive oil.
Main: Mujaddara (Bulgar Wheat and Lentils Pilaf) with Chili sauce:
Green Lentils 150g
Bulgar Wheat 300g
One Large onion
Garlic two cloves
Chilli powder 1tbs
Tomato paste 1tbs
Finely slice half the onion and fry in olive oil till brown and crispy. Remove half the fried onion and dry on kitchen paper to sprinkle on top. Keep the rest of the onion and the oil for later.
Soak the Bulgar wheat in cold water for 20 minutes. Boil two cups of water on a pan and add the lentils. Let cook for 10 minutes till start to soften the add the Bulgar wheat and a tea spoon of salt. Bring back to boil then reduce the heat and cook for 15-20 minutes. Add more boiling water if necessary. Add the olive oil and fried onion mixture 5 minutes before ready and mix well. Cooking time and water amount varies a lot depending on the type and coarseness of the wheat. Try to follow the pack instructions. Cover and let steam.
For the chilli sauce chop the other half of the onion and sweat over medium heat in olive oil. Finely slice the garlic and add to the soft onion. Add the tomato paste and chilli powder and cook for few minutes. Add 1 cup of boiling water, salt, vinegar and squeeze some lemon to taste. Let simmer for 15 - 20 minutes till the sauce is thick.
Serve the Mujaddara with fried onion on top with the chilli sauce.
The paper came out today, my menu didn't make it. Maybe, I should have cooked pasta afterall!