Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sweet Roasted Onion

Here's a nice little snack.

Total preparation time: 20 minutes

Total cost: < US$1

Small pearl onions (5-8 for 1 person), washed

1) put onions in boiling water for 2 minutes
2) drain and cool with cold water
3) cut roots off and squeeze the onion --> the onion skin should come off easily
4) pre-heat oven to 350F
5) put onions on a piece of aluminum foil
6) drizzle a small teaspoon of honey on each onion
7) bake onions for 12 minutes

Enjoy with a cold beverage.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Feedback from Early Lead Users

Hi everyone,
Some early lead users have given me very good feedback on this, and I will incorporate them in the future. Watch for...

Tips on cooking (and grocery shopping)...
Simple lunch ideas...
Guest chef columns...

And I really encourage everyone to try out the recipes and tips, and tell me if you like or hate them! Thanks!

Baked Chicken Thighs

Save this for the Friday night, when you are kicking back after a hard week of research.

Total time of preparation: 50 minutes to 1 hour

Total cost: < US$4

2 chicken thighs, skin on. Deboned is preferred.
Oyster sauce
Chilli paste

1) preheat oven to 450F
2) in a bowl, coat chicken thighs evenly with oyster sauce and chilli paste. You don't need a lot, just enough to cover the thighs.
3) Take aluminum foil, and make a little tray with it. Make sure corners are "sealed".
4) put chicken thighs on tray, skin side up and leave in oven.
5) Bake for 35 minutes to 40 minutes or so, till skin is crispy but not burnt.

Enjoy the moist, crispy chicken thighs with cold beer. Life is good.

Essential Things for A Basic Graduate Student Kitchen

From my experience, these are the most basic things you should have in your kitchen to begin cooking effectively.

1 non stick saucepan, 12 inch pan is probably most versatile
1 small pot (for heating water, warming sauces etc.)
1 medium pot (for soups, pasta)
1 chopping board
1 ladle
1 simple, cheap spatula (get the cheapest cos this spoils really easily)
1 simple set of kitchen knives
2-3 simple bowls
2-3 plates
normal forks, spoons, steak knives
tupperware to store leftovers
aluminum foil
microwave oven
toaster oven (i prefer toaster oven to a toaster as its more versatile)

Basic Food Items -- these should always be present:
garlic (buy either fresh ones and chop yourself which is a pain, or buy the ready chopped/minced ones like me)
butter / margarine
plain pasta sauce (or for more advanced users, tomato puree)
cooking oil (or olive oil)
your favorite cereal
normal bread
sliced cheese
frozen vegetables (i like french cut beans but always have 1 bag of your favorite ready)
frozen french fries (or tater oats)
soya sauce
rice if you like

General rules of thumb for effective, stress free graduate student cooking life:
1) Meat is a luxury. Or more precisely, cooking meat is a luxury. Meat has a very short shelf life, and is relatively expensive. Nothing hurts you more than seeing meat go to waste. Save meat for special occasions and eat it on the day you buy it, or simply just go to a restaurant.
2) Eggs are amazing. Period.
3) Make use of your oven. It is extremely versatile and you can cook a huge variety of things with it. Best of all, clean up is much easier than cooking on the stove.

Fish and Chips

This is the easiest, healthiest and also most shortcut way I make fish and chips. The thing to note: use the oven, never deep fry. Deep frying is unhealthy, and clean up is a real pain. The oven is probably even more versatile than the microwave oven!

Total time of preparation: 20 minutes

Total cost: US$4

Ingredients (to serve 1-2 people):
10-20 standard frozen fish fingers
generous amount of frozen fries

1) pre-heat oven to 425F
2) on a piece of normal aluminum foil, place fries evenly across it
3) when oven is heated, put fries in oven for 5 minutes
4) take fries out at 5 minutes, put the fish fingers on the foil too
5) bake for another 15 minutes

Fish and chips. Serve with lemon juice over it for a quick dinner.

Stir-fry Vegetarian Pasta

Quite a complete meal by itself, completely vegetarian and very healthy.

Total cooking time (including ingredient preparation): 20 minutes

Total cost: less than US$2

Ingredients (to serve 1-2):
1 large tomato (ripe), finely chopped. (you may substitute with tomato puree if you like)
4 white mushrooms, quartered
4 sweet pearl onions, lightly blanched and peeled and halved
handful of cut french beans
1/2 a box of firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
pasta (any kind, but easier with tortellini or macaroni)
minced garlic
chilli paste or chilli sauce
pepper, salt to taste

1) set water to boil, once boiling, put pasta in
2) at 3 minutes before pasta is al dente done, put in mushrooms, onions and cut french beans
3) drain when pasta is done al dente
4) heat saucepan with a bit of olive oil, set to high heat
5) put in minced garlic fry till slightly brown
6) put in tomato puree, stir fry a bit
7) add in chilli paste
8) add in pasta, mushrooms, onions and cut french beans
9) stir fry in tofu, you may add a bit of water if you like. make sure sauce coats all ingredients evenly.
10) add salt, pepper to taste

Serve with some toast as a starter, and fruits as dessert, and you have for yourself a complete vegetarian dinner. :)


Hi everyone, I started this blog for all the busy graduate students out there, who need to cook but need easy recipes. Its also to help me keep a record of all the recipes I have picked up over the years!

Do send me via the comments if you have any recipes to share too!