We weren’t well endowed while growing up. With both my parents working they had less time to cook anything special. Sometimes when they were really busy I survived on rice and milk.
In college when everyone was complaining about the food that was offered in the mess, I was quite happy with it but I used to join their voice to not disappoint them.
While I was working for an MNC, I had to live in a city where food is of abundance. I used to eat Idly and Chutney every single morning. I never got bored of it.
My wife feels blessed because whatever she cooks is fine by me. This is not what she has seen while growing up. Her dad needed a particular dish on a particular part of the day and her mom had to cook it even though there was plenty of food leftover.
As per the tradition, my wife had to go to her mom’s place when she was pregnant. I had to cook my meals. Since my expectations are low, even rice porridge will do.
As the title suggests, I eat once(a big meal) or twice a day. 3 times is pretty rare. It happens only if by mistake I cook a lot.
I mostly like eating once a day. I feel more energetic that way. This took a while to realize. So usually, the only meal I have is in the afternoon at around 12pm. If I eat snacks, or dessert, it has to be right after that meal and not before or later.
I eat the same meal every day. But I change the ingredients a little bit here and there to get most of the nutrients.
Traditionally - in the southern part of India - the meal consists of Sambar/Rasam(curry) and rice. We also have Palya(cooked and seasoned vegetables) and Papad(one big, round, crunchy chip), and a little bit of pickle.
A developers minimal meal
When I was living in the city I used to eat out or order food from outside. I started to realize it isn’t good for me. I started cooking but I wanted to buy minimal utensils for that. I had a pot for boiling milk, a cast-iron skillet for making omelets, and a cooker for cooking my meal.
Yes. A single cooker for everything else. We have this famous dish called Bisi Bele Bath which I liked in Mayyas & MTRs. It used to feel more like a mixture of rice and Sambar. Technically it is a mix of rice and Sambhar.
That was probably my inspiration to create this meal plan where I cook rice with veggies and masala. So there is no need for another dish. Here are the ingredients.
- Rice(I prefer millets or boiled rice) + water (1:2 ratio)
- Veggies(onion is a must + any veggies/greens you like)
- Chilly powder + Coriander powder
- Hing + Oma(carom seeds) - (optional)
- Masala powder(optional)
- Soaked beans and pulses(optional)
- Turmeric (don’t miss this one)
- Coconut oil or Ghee (a spoonful)
- Salt to taste
Put all these in a cooker and wait for 5 to 6 whistles. You can cook this in the oven as well(I haven’t tried this though)
Onions give the rice a sweeter tinge and for some reason, I like it a lot.
That’s all. A simple meal which includes pretty much everything we eat except for Papad and Pickles.
This is so simple that if you’re a non-vegetarian, just add some chicken pieces, mint leaves, coriander leaves, bay leaves, pandan leaves, star anice and cinnamon. There is your dirt cheap biryani(too many leaves to procure though)
While eating add a spoon of Ghee and have Papad, Pickles, or what have you.
- One single dish to wash(2 including the plate 😁)
- No decision fatigue
- Economical - saves you money on groceries and gas
- Time Saver - I use an induction cooker.
Use an induction cooker. It can give you a lot of piece-of-mind. You can just time it and forget it. This is really useful in boiling milk. Milk tends to boil over when you aren’t looking for a fraction of a second.
Just be careful not to add a lot of rice. A good measure is to use a fist-full of rice. That is the measure used by Indian Sadhus that live on alms.
A fist-full of grains is enough for a person for the entire day.
So if your fist is large, you probably are a big person and the amount of rice you get is proportional to your body.
When someone asks you what did you have for breakfast or dinner just make up some dish. Do not tell them that you are intermittent fasting. Trust me it is for the better. If not they will judge you or offer breakfast.
Use Millets instead of rice. It could be hard(literally) to get used to but you’ll like it because your metabolism is going to improve (what I mean is you’re going to have great shits).
Do not use vegetable/refined oil. This is a new and highly processed poison. Use traditionally extracted Coconut oil, Butter or Ghee.
Don’t eat this all the time.
Have a masala dosa once in a while.
Do not tell anyone close to you about it. Do not reject when you are at someone’s place and they offer you something other than the “developers minimal meal”. At this time period no one is willing to get advice from someone on how and what to eat. But you follow it no matter what.
Try using only things that are not processed. If it comes in a packet, the chances are it is bad for you. If you dive into the ocean of food industry and the things they add to your food to sell it, you will prefer growing your own food.
Finally, I can be satisfied with just one kind of dish every day maybe because I had a childhood where meal variety was a luxury. I think most of you are not going to like this but you can have it when you’re alone or you do not have any cooking skills.