Moving to another country is always a huge experience for Erasmus students. A different culture, a new flat, new people… a new lifestyle! You have quite a few things to think about. After your successful hunt for accommodation, flights, and many other things, your budget must be getting tight. A wise man once said: “And what about food? Food is the key”. Well, he was right!
1. Make a chicken soup… and change it however you want
Most cuisines around the world have something like a chicken soup. Simple broth made of vegetables and meat. You don’t have to do much - it’s the easiest dish you can imagine. Of course, you won’t be eating this all week, but you can actually make much more than just one portion. Why? Firstly, because it’s cheap. Secondly, because you can transform the broth into other dishes. Depending on what you add, it can be transformed into tomato soup, cucumber soup (cold, made with fresh cucumbers, or a Polish-style soup with pickled cucumbers if you like stronger tastes), cauliflower soup, etc.. If you like the tastes of Asia, you can try to make homemade Ramen, Kimchi soup or Pho.
After those soups, there’s room for more! Take the meat and carrots out of your broth and slice both. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in another pan and add 350 ml of broth. Mix 2 tablespoons of flour with cold water and add it to the mix, then add the meat, carrots and some cooked rice. Dinner is served!
You can also freeze some portions for later, or even roast the meat from the broth with your favourite seasonings.
2. Sushi… in a bowl
Yes, yes, it sounds weird, but the most annoying thing about sushi is making this special, pricey rice and rolling it. Here’s a quick sushi idea for lazy people! Cook some normal rice and put it in the bowl, slice some avocado, surimi, cucumber, basically whatever you want in your sushi and add it to the bowl alongside some nori, sesame and soy sauce on top. You’re done! Enjoy!
Another easy thing to make - you can make those thin, French crepes or fluffy, Canadian pancakes (or even Hungarian-style potato pancakes!). It’s quick and easy. You can make sweet or savoury ones, and you can change the toppings to create so many different dishes!
Oh boy, there are so many possibilities with curry. If you’re an aspiring young Masterchef, you can make your own mix of curry and try out new combinations, but let’s say you might feel a little bit lazy - you could buy a simple curry mix from your local shop. You can still create tonnes of dishes. You can make curry with chicken, pork, beef or tofu (with chicken, tofu or vegetables being the preferred low-budget options). You can still use some of that broth you made before here! You can bake curry rolls or proper Indian curry or Thai curry. Red curry, green curry, yellow curry… the choice is yours!
It’s always a good idea, and actually, a really fun thing to do with your friends! It’s cheap, quick and you can add whatever toppings you have in your fridge. Gather your flatmates and start baking. You’ll get to know them better and it’s a great ice-breaker, so you can kill two birds with one stone.
As you can see, you don’t have to buy frozen food when you’re a student. You can cook international dishes and still stay on budget. These are only some ideas, but feel free to explore more! And remember, it’s always better to work with company, so try some with your flatmates!