Store Cupboard Staples: Easy Recipes to Try While in Self-Isolation

While world-over food delivery services have halted to avoid the spread of the deadly Coronavirus, the average citizen has transformed into a chef in their own right. From professional chefs taking to social media platforms the likes of Instagram and Facebook to share easy-to-make recipes for the whole family, to amateur cooks turned culinary-artistes of the highest regard, the global palette is making do with what is available, and creating restaurant-worthy meals from scratch!
While the availability of resources has taken a hit, and pharmacies and grocery stores stock only the essentials, TheVibe is here with a few recipes to explore that hero those disregarded store-cupboard staples we have always taken for granted.
So, grab your aprons and fire up that that oven, as we get into these quick and easy recipes to satiate your cravings while in isolation!

° Chickpea and White Bean Hummus

Who doesn’t love a good homemade hummus? This simple and elegant recipe can be altered to suit your tastebuds, by substituting your preferred spices and beans. Pair with carrots, chips, pita bread- the possibilities are endless!

What you’ll need:

  • 15 ounces (one can) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
  • 15 ounces (one can) small white beans, drained
  • 5 tablespoons tahini
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

How to do it:

Add the beans, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and cumin into a blender or food processor. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and blend in pulses a few times until a paste forms. Then, add a few more tablespoons of olive oil (a tablespoon at time), pulsing a few times after each addition until the desired consistency is reached. Taste the hummus and add salt to taste.

° Shashouka

This Mediterranean dish is both hearty and comforting, made with eggs and a rich, spiced red sauce. A popular item at the breakfast table, the red sauce can be saved for later and used for a variety of other cooking.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper (chopped)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 can of plum tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Eggs

How to do it:

Warm the oil in a large, oven-safe skillet over medium heat, and pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Add onion, bell pepper, and salt. Stir often, until the onions are tender, this should take about 5 minutes. Add garlic, spices, and red pepper flakes. Stir until nice and fragrant, for about 2 minutes. Pour in the can of plum tomatoes and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes, while breaking apart plum tomatoes with a spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste. After the sauce is ready, crack 5-6 eggs onto the top of the red sauce. Transfer your skillet to the oven and bake for 8 to 12 minutes, checking often. You’ll know your Shashouka is ready when the egg whites are an opaque white and the yolks have risen a bit but are still soft. Serve hot!

° Lentil Stew

This warm, hearty stew is made using an element found in every Indian household- lentils! A health alternative to packaged soup-mixes, this stew is easy to make and can be frozen or refrigerated for later use.

What you’ll need:

  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 large carrots
  • 2 medium onions (diced)
  • 4 stalks celery (diced)
  • 6 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 ½ cups red lentils (rinsed)
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons of lemon juice

How to do it:

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Toss in the carrots, onion, and celery. Stir until onions are translucent, which should take around 5-6 minutes. Toss in the garlic and stir until it’s fragrant. Add the balsamic vinegar, paprika, cumin, cayenne, and lentils and stir regularly. Pour in vegetable stock. Add salt and pepper. Stir and bring the stew to a simmer. Cover the pot partially with a lid and let the stew simmer for about 7-10 minutes. Add in the lemon juice for a final flavour of zest, and serve hot!

° Puttanesca Sauce

Who doesn’t love a good plate of spaghetti? A crowd-pleaser at any table, a well-made batch of puttanesca can transform even the dullest roast meal into an Italian feast fit for kings. Make this recipe in large batches that can be frozen for later use.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans whole Italian plum tomatoes
  • 1 (16 ounce) can whole pitted black olives, drained
  • 4 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 6 basil leaves, chopped/ dried basil seasoning
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes

How to do it:

Heat oil and sauté the garlic until softened and golden brown. Add tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until sauce has thickened. Pair with spaghetti or meat for a wholesome meal!

° Butter Cookies

These buttery little mouthfuls are best paired with tea, a glass of cold milk or had as a snack in between meals. The best part about this recipe? You can substitute the flavours and nuts with something more suited to your personal taste!

What you’ll need:

  • 260 grams of crunchy peanut butter
  • 200 grams of caster sugar
  • 1 egg

How to do it:

Preheat the oven to 195 degrees Celsius. Put the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well until combined into a ball of dough. If the mixture is still quite gooey (this depends on the type and temperature of your peanut butter), use a pair of teaspoons to complete the next step. Take chunks of the dough and roll them into balls the size of a rupee coin. Place these on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper, around 5cm apart. Use a fork to flatten each ball of dough to around 1cm thick. Bake for approximately 20 minutes (a few minutes less if you prefer them squidgy). Cool on a wire rack before serving at teatime!

° Honey Cake

A bonus one for all of you sweet-tooth’s out there! This scrumptious dessert is made using only store-cupboard ingredients, and is 100% gluten free!

What you’ll need:

  • 4 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons runny honey
  • 150 grams flaked almonds
  • A small round cake tin

How to do it:

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius, and grease and line the cake tin. Separate the eggs, and whisk the whites. Beat the yolks with 4 tablespoons of the honey, mixing well.

Blend 125 grams of the flaked almonds in a blender to grind them. Put the remaining 25 grams on a baking sheet and, as the oven gets hot, pop them in for 5 to 10 minutes to toast them. Keep an eye on them; they’ll colour very quickly. Mix the ground almonds with the egg yolks and honey, and gradually fold in the egg whites using a metal spoon, being careful not to over-mix and beat out all the air. Transfer the mixture to the cake tin and bake for 25 minutes, lowering the temperature for the final 10 minutes to 180 degrees. Allow the cake to cool completely in the tin before turning it out on to a wire rack. Drizzle the final tablespoon of honey over the top, before sprinkling over the toasted almonds.

For those of us lazy cooks out there, your kinara store is also well stocked with instant meals ready for consumption. Check out some of these brands with a variety of readymade treats to offer!

° Knorr

Source: CRX Design

Whether its soups or noodles, Manchurian or rice, masalas or ice tea mixes, or some combination thereof, Knorr has got your back. From a mouth-watering Indian selection of Biryani masalas to their international range that offers continental selections from America, Thailand, China and more, Knorr is here to fill your belly.

° Maggi

Source: Amazon

Everyone’s favourite two-minute snack, Maggi masala is at the centre of every college-kids diet plan. From pasta to sauces that add a kick to your average meal, Maggi’s range of ready-to-eat-and-mix products are an isolation staple every kitchen needs.


MTR’s brand image is synonymous with authentically Indian readymade food. Whether it’s idli or gulab jamun, poha or paneer butter masala, MTR’s wide selection will have you cooking up a storm like the best of them.

° McCain

All the goodness of an indulgent, often cheesy meal in one frozen packet. McCain’s selection offers a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian goodies to soothe your rumbling belly. From chicken nuggets to cheesy potato shots, and not to mention, those smiley fries you loved from your childhood. Who ever said fresh was better than frozen?

What are your go-to easy-fix recipes to make while in isolation? Let us know!

All the recipes and images used in this article have been sourced from around the internet, and belong rightfully to their original owners.

©️ 2020. Gut and Flow Media Pvt. Ltd.

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