Many of us go through a time in life where there just isn’t enough money available to eat as well as we want to. And if you splurge occasionally to go out with friends, it means more meals on a budget with ramen noodles, canned chili and soup.
Throughout history man has looked for ways to improve his meals. Dirt was never seen as a taste enhancer, but the lemongrass growing by those bushes made the leg of beast taste divine.
The Requirements For Being A Budget Gourmet Are:
1) The ability to boil water
2) The ability to stay in the kitchen for 3-5 minutes while your food cooks and not get on Instagram while it burns in the next room
What One Stocks In A Budget Gourmet Kitchen:
There are some important things to have stocked in your kitchen as a budget gourmet. (If you think any of these ingredients are heinous, don’t waste your money on them.)
Salt, pepper, cinnamon, cayenne, curry powder, corn starch, sugar , chili powder, flour
Vinegar, soup stock, chili paste, soy sauce, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, peanut butter, lemon juice, honey, milk, butter, cream cheese
Here are some nifty ways to gourmet up your budget meals.
1 package of ramen noodles with flavor packet
2 cups water
Bring the water to a light boil. (Get off Instagram before all the water boils away.)
Add the noodles in the single block or break them up as you put them in the boiling water. Cook until noodles are soft.
Add only part of the flavor packet.
Not enough flavor? Add more.
Too salty? Add a little more water to thin it out.
Crack an egg, add it to the boiling mixture and stir.
OMG. You just made egg drop soup like at the Imperial China Palace Garden Buffet. (Well, egg drop soup, with noodles.)
There are many other flavors you can add to your soup as well as garnishes to enhance the texture, appearance, nourishment and overall appeal.
If you have any leftover beef, KFC, or ham, even if all you have is luncheon meat, cut it into thin strips and add it to your soup.
Graduate students of BGU (Budget Gourmet University) will also have some carrots, onion, or dare I say, scallions to mince finely as a topping to your meal.
Hot & Sour Soup
Budget Gourmets with a more adventurous spirit may have stocked up some vinegar (preferably rice wine vinegar) and can add a couple splashes to the pot to make hot & sour noodle soup. You may want to add a tiny bit of honey or some sweetener if it’s too tangy.
To add to the authenticity of restaurant-quality hot and sour soup, you can spice it up with hot sauce (chili paste if you have it). Add cornstarch to thicken the soup and give it that 10w40 viscosity you are used to.
(For adding cornstarch, first put a teaspoonful in a small bowl and then add a spoonful or two of broth. Let it liquify in the small bowl before you add it to the main pot of soup and stir it in.)
Budget Gourmet Tip:
If you put in too much hot sauce you can dampen the heat by thinning your sauce by adding water a little at a time, or if it’s soupy enough already you can do the same by adding some butter, or a spoonful of cream cheese, both of which will add more body to your soup.
Well, that was super easy, and tasty, right? And nothing exploded. If you’re creative enough we just may see you on the next season of “Master Chef.”
There you have three ways to improve your budget meal. And that doesn’t include the many other combinations you’ll create with the ingredients you have on hand.