For yearssss I have been trying to cultivate a sustainable habit of cooking my own meals. There would be a spur of motivation for a couple of days and the efforts would eventually die off.
In 2020, I finally took a hard look at WHY the habit just couldn’t stick and I realised that on top of not having much interest in cooking, there was just too much effort.
I would see a recipe, buy whatever needed for that and then struggled to recreate another meal with it.
Simply said, I lacked a complete kitchen.
But so many ingredients, so little time…what should I buy?
I knew I wanted to only spend 15 mins max to prepare a dish – preferably by simply boiling /stir frying or (best of all) can be eaten raw.
If you are as lazy as I am/ new to cooking and is looking for best staples to buy in order to whip up a simple and quick dish – here are the Must Have Ingredients in a Beginner’s Kitchen! –Vegetarian Edition
- Rice Vermicelli – just soak it in boiling water for 5 mins and its ready
- Flatbreads (eg. Tortilla Wraps, Pita Bread) – get a frozen wrap and let it thaw or microwave on low power
- Couscous – soak it in boiling water for 5-10mins till soft (best to add some olive oil and salt after!)
- Chickpeas/ Hummus – Preparing hummus requires a one time effort and a can of chickpea’s worth of hummus
- Kimchi – if there is only one ingredient you take away from this list – let it be this! A game changer in spicing up the taste of any dish, it can be eaten with lettuce as a snack or mixed together as sauce with noodles/couscous
- Edamame – simply boil it for 2-3mins, drain, add some salt and walla!
- Bell peppers
- Avocado – can be used as a spread on your wrap + a pinch of salt, in salad etc
- Baby tomatoes
*All vegetables can be eaten raw except for Mushrooms
Herbs, Spices & Condiments
- Pesto sauce
- Soy sauce
- Black Pepper
- Spring Onion
- Nutritional yeast (optional) – great source of Vit B if you are on a vegetarian diet
- Coriander (optional)
- Lemon – must have to make a good hummus and great for sprinkle of zest
Simple Pairing Ideas
- Vermicelli Bibimbap
- Hummus wrap + vegetables of your choice
- Stir-fried kimchi vermicelli and vegetables
Tools I found useful
- Multicooker – if you are just starting out, this versatile piece is great. You can fry, boil, steam all in a click of a button
- Colander – gotta drain those noodles/vegetables
- Blender/Food processor (optional) – You would need this if you decide to make your own hummus. I think it’s a great addition either ways to make a simple smoothie so would highly recommend 🙂
- Felton Egg Cooker (optional) – I LOVE THIS. If you want to cook the perfect half boiled eggs with no worry then this is a must-have. Pop the egg in, pour boiling water till it covers the egg and once all the water has been drained on its own – it means the egg is ready!
The staple list is what I found useful in my own cooking journey. Because they are so easy to work with, I have been trying to find new ways to cook it/mix and match for variety.
Throughout the process it has really developed my interest in cooking and that’s why, I would recommend every beginner to start somewhere 🙂
PS: All dishes are vegetarian because I’m trying to be a vegetarian, so feel free to add a meat of your choice if it’s not for you.
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2 thoughts on “A Newbie’s guide to quick and easy cooking”
Really useful post and your meals look so good! I got a vegan cookbook for Christmas and have been loving making everything from it:) there’s so much diversity to vegan eating that people don’t realise.
Thank you! Really glad you found it useful! You are so right. Vegan cooking is more than just vegetables and some carbs. In fact I think we end up being more creative with our food and with the ways we cook it 🙂
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