Does Healthy Cooking Need to Cost a Bomb?
“Of course not lah!” was the resounding response we got from the unsung heroines of home-cooked goodness – the aunties and makciks. These expert home chefs had been whipping up nutritious meals on a budget for decades, much to the delight of their families and bank account balances.
According to the aunties, the first step to cooking a cheap and healthy meal is sourcing cheap (but fresh) ingredients. This means you should buy locally sourced vegetables, fish, and meat. While the pasar pagi is an obvious place to shop for these items, not having an intimate relationship with the stall owners can cause a rise in your grocery bill. We tapped the auntie grapevine on easy places for a cheap grocery run, and it seems that NSK Trade City and Tesco has come up as the favourites.
We figured that since our beloved prime minister Najib Razak could acquire a chicken for RM1 at NSK Trade City in Kuchai Lama, we should give it a go too! We visited both NSK (at Kuchai Lama, but there are many other branches available) and Tesco and jotted down the prices.
Unfortunately, we could not find any RM1 chicken at NSK as it was a special offer on the day our prime minister visited. However, we did find lots of cheap veggies and fish to add to your meal!
To find out whether NSK or Tesco is cheaper, see our price comparison chart for both the stores here.
Now that you know where you can buy cheap groceries, the next step is careful meal planning. If you plan your meals well, you can prepare them in under an hour, with only a budget of RM10!
Here are five meal ideas to put you on your way (click on blue links for recipes!):
Meal Plan #1 (3-Course Asian Meal)
Steamed Fish with Sour Plum and Ginger (recipe) (Approx. RM6)
Steamed Soft Tofu with Spring Onion (recipe) (Approx RM1.20)
Meal Plan #2 (3-Course Asian Meal)
Stir-fried Sengkuang (recipe) (Approx RM2)
Spinach Soup with Egg (recipe) (Approx RM3)
Meal Plan #3 (3-Course Asian Meal)
Red Onion Omelette (recipe) (Approx RM1)
Meal Plan #4 (Western Meal)
Meal Plan #5 (Pasta Meal)
Note: The RM10 budget does not include cost of condiments, which you should already have in your kitchen (like herbs, soy sauce, oil, salt, pepper, corn flour, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, and pepper). This is because these items are usually a one-off purchase and can last you a long time. It also does not include rice, as this is a staple in most kitchens (and some prefer to have their meals without rice). And no, it does not include cost of transportation to grocery shop, gas, electricity, kitchen equipment, dining utensils etc.
Do you have any healthy meals under RM10 of your own? Share it with everyone in the comments below or on our Facebook page!