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Welcome to Concession Card Cooking!
Each month, I’ll present you with a recipe that’s cheap and easy to cook—a perfect student feed.

Words and Photo by Nathaniel Seddon-Smith

Vegetarians have it tough. As a committed carnivore since my infant years, until recently I believed my place in society was to laugh, jeer and swing my caveman club at vegetarians from behind whatever slab of dead animal was being served for dinner, while they label me a philistine and tuck into their fair-trade, gluten-free lentils and skinny soy lattes.

However, the concession card life has mocked my protein cravings and sent my canine teeth into obscurity. Steaks, which were once standard dinner fare, are now just Lady Gaga’s clothes. At one point I almost ate my own ribcage thinking it was lamb shanks. It was in this dark hour that I put my pride on the shelf and looked up some veggie recipes.

This month’s recipe is a personal favourite of mine, and comes out to approximately $3.20 a meal. And no, I didn’t know the Japanese did curry either.

Ingredients (Serves 2):

200g Firm Tofu (Inexperienced tofu eaters, it must be the FIRM tofu. Soft tofu breaks up too much)

3 teaspoons chopped garlic

5 chopped spring onions

1 teaspoon chopped/powdered ginger

1 or 2 heads of broccoli

Mi Goreng Noodles

3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce

2 heaped teaspoons cornflour

Vegetable stock

Oil

Method:

1. Drain the tofu by squeezing it gently in a clean tea towel. Squeeze until the juices have stopped coming out.

2. Take the corn flour, soy sauce, vegetable stock, and the Mi Goreng chilli sauce and oil sachets and mix them all together in a bowl with about a cup (250mL) of hot water. Add the cornflour carefully to avoid lumps. Put the mixture aside for now.

3. Chop up and cook the broccoli. You can stick it in a microwave proof box with a bit of water and zap it for a few minutes if you can’t be bothered with cooking it in a pot.

4. Chop the tofu into bite sized pieces, then fry it in a pan with a teaspoon or two of oil until all sides are golden brown. Take the tofu out and set it aside when it’s done, but keep the pan hot.

5. If you have fresh ginger, put it in the pan now with the spring onions, garlic and some oil and fry for about a minute.

6. Make sure the pan is at a medium heat, then slowly pour in the sauce mixture. It should quickly thicken and darken, but shouldn’t be too gloopy. If the sauce doesn’t thicken after a couple of minutes, turn up the heat.

7. Once the sauce is fairly thick and dark, add the tofu and the broccoli. Meanwhile, start cooking the noodles.

8. When the tofu is heated through, it’s ready to eat!

Welcome to Concession Card Cooking!
Each month, I’ll present you with a recipe that’s cheap and easy to cook—a perfect student feed.

Words and Photo by Nathaniel Seddon-Smith

Student life is tough. You move out of home (or at least the cool ones do), then suddenly POW! Bills! BAM! Responsibility! WHACK! Studies! Then of course, the toughest challenge of all: living without mum’s cooking. Your once rich diet reduced to Mi Goreng seasoned with whatever was stuck to the bottom of the bowl. Breakfast becomes optional, then non-existent, and the closest thing to salad you have is the mould that thrives in the jar of god-knows-what at the back of the fridge.

But now, the time has come for you to break out of the vicious cycle of subsistence and malnutrition. This is an intervention to cure you, my readers, of your culinary heresy. But you can’t go straight from microwave to Masterchef. You need some training wheels and a helpful father figure to give you the metaphorical push in the right direction.

To find them, we take a trip to the faraway land of Mexico. We can all learn something from Mexico: it is a simple country, filled with simple people, and the currency is Marijuana. Mexican culture is often horribly misunderstood: contrary to popular opinion, they do not spend their days wearing ponchos and sombreros, eating tacos and drinking Corona. In fact, for the average Méxicano, Chili is a major part of their diet, both con carne or sin carne (they also have much better taste in beer). This Aztec delicacy is so easy it can be cooked by any gringo, whether you’re the type that swears a lot in the kitchen because you’re Gordon Ramsay or because you’ve set the pan on fire. Best of all, it’s cheaper per serving than anything you’ll find at Maccas.

 Ingredients: (Serves 3-4)

  • 500g Beef Mince (Replace with lentils or beans for a vegetarian option)
  • 2 Onions
  • 2 Cans Chopped Tinned Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Baked Beans or Four Bean Mix
  • Salt, Pepper, Chili Powder
  • Rice (Long Grain best)
  • Cooking Oil

Method:

  1. Dice the onions and fry them in a spoonful of oil until they’re pale and soft
  2. Add the mince to the same pan. Break the slab up a bit as it cooks to help it cook more evenly.
  3. When the meat is all brown, empty the frying pan into a large cooking pot. Add the tomatoes, beans and seasoning. Add as much chili powder as you want, but don’t ditch it altogether – it adds to the flavour (you sook).
  4. Mix it all up and put it on a high heat until it’s bubbling a little. Turn the heat down and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. While the chili cooks, wash and cook the rice (about half a cup of raw rice per person).
  6. By the time the rice is done, the chili should be cooked. Stick them both on a plate and chow down amigo.

If you’re feeling a bit fancy, fry some garlic with the onions, then add some chicken stock and mixed herbs with the other ingredients.

¡Buen Provecho!