Here’s my final frugal recipe offering for Save the Children and the Live Below the Line challenge, which will see thousands of people this week attempting to spend just £1 a day on food and drink – the equivalent to the extreme poverty line. My previous creations have been a Virgin Bloody Mary soup made from tinned tomatoes and red pepper, and Spicy Bean Burgers made from tinned kidney beans.
Admittedly it might not look all that appetizing, but it is tasty and cheap and filling. And at less than 40p a portion, that’s no mean feat.
Also known as mujaddara, this is a peasant dish made from lentils and rice, popular across the Arab world. It’s supposed to be made with brown or green lentils. I made mine with red lentils, which is possibly why mine went a little mushy but my family weren’t to know and ate it without complaint for lunch today. Well, except Mia the youngest, who complains about everything the first time she tries it. She got into it two after a few mouthfuls. I was lucky enough to use fresh broccoli from our vegetable patch, but you’ll see I’ve costed frozen broccoli in the recipe below as this, I’ve discovered, is the cheapest way to buy vegetables.
Megadarra with roasted broccoli
250g red split lentils, rinsed and drained
East End red split lentils from ASDA £3.50 for 2kg = 43.75p
800ml vegetable stock (made from one stock cube)
ASDA Chosen By You vegetable stock cubes 12 for 78p = 6.5p
250g brown basmati rice, rinsed and drained
ASDA brown basmati rice £1.68 for 1kg = 42p
1 tsp (2g) ground cumin
ASDA 57p for 41g = 2.78p
2 tbsp vegetable oil (60ml)
ASDA sunflower oil £3 for 3 litres = 3p
1 onion (80g), finely sliced
ASDA Smartprice brown onions £1.16 for 2kg = 4.64p
2 cloves garlic, crushed
ASDA loose garlic 30p for approx. 8 cloves = 7.5p
300g frozen broccoli, defrosted
ASDA Smartprice broccoli £1 for 1kg = 30p
1 tsp (2g) mild chilli powder
ASDA mild chilli powder 80p for 44g = 3.63p
100g plain yoghurt
ASDA Smartprice low fat natural yoghurt 45p for 500g = 9p
Total cost = £1.53. Cost per serving = 38.25p
Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6.
Put the lentils and stock in a large pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for around ten minutes before adding the rice and cumin. Simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes until the lentils and rice are cooked and the stock has been absorbed. You may need to add a little more liquid if it starts to dry out before they are cooked.
While the lentils and rice are cooking, you can get on with preparing the onions and the broccoli.
Fry the onions in a tablespoonful of oil over a low heat. Cook gently for around half an hour until soft and golden. Add the crushed garlic and fry for another couple of minutes before removing from the heat.
To roast the broccoli, place in an ovenproof dish and toss with a tablespoonful of oil and sprinkle with the chilli powder. Roast for around 25 minutes until just tender and darkening.
To serve, stir two-thirds of the onions into the lentils and rice, and serve in bowls with the rest of the onion and broccoli on top with some yoghurt on the side. Dig in!