As the pandemic hit, everyone was stuck in their homes with all the restaurants closed. This gave birth to “Quarantine cooking” or in simpler terms, people started to cook in their homes because “the outside” was closed. During this time, many of us discovered our love for cooking while others enhanced their existing cooking skills. The worst (and the best) thing about “Quarantine cooking” was that it became a trend on social media, especially Instagram. Posting photos and videos of even the simplest of foods became highly viral and with everyone posting food stories some of us got vaguely irritated by the trend.
I was also among those food photographers and enjoyed the trend while it lasted. However, I already knew how to cook and was just enhancing my skills. Obviously, as the world was shut down my resources were limited, but that is when miracle happened. I came across the simplest of recipes that can be made in this dystopian world we are living in.
These recipes can be made for any occasion and by anyone. You honestly don’t need to be an expert in cooking to make these items. Don’t be alarmed by the length of these recipes; all of them can be made in under an hour and will definitely leave you craving for more!. So, here we go -
Cookie Chocolate Cake - This cake recipe is probably the most no-nonsense, easy to bake recipe I have come across. The reason being that it takes only three ingredients and 10 minutes of prep time!
Ingredients - Cookies (300 g). Now you can choose any cookie but I mainly used Oreos and Hide and Seek. Warm milk (1–1.5 cups) Baking powder (2 1/4 tsp)
Preparation of batter - First, we grind the cookies in a food processor and grind them into a fine powder. Now you can use any cookies, I used Oreo Biscuits (a bit hard to grind due to the cream), and Hide and Seek Biscuits (these were perfect for making this cake). Just make sure you are using a chocolate biscuit. You are already half way done! Now pour out the grinded cookies in a bowl and add baking powder in it. Mix it well. You can add a little less baking powder as well. No need to put in the whole 2.25 tsp! Now you are in the last step of making this batter (see wasn’t this just a piece of cake)!!! After mixing it well, add warm (do not BOIL) milk in it and mix the batter again. You can use a blender (which is easier) or if you are comfortable with a spoon, use that. Blend it until it’s a flowy mixture. Unlike normal cake batters, this batter will be a bit more liquidy. Keep that in mind. And there you have it — our batter is ready! Now grease your cake container, preheat the oven to 170C or 300F, and then bake it for 15–20 minutes. Make sure to check your cake is fully baked! If not, put it in the oven for a bit longer. And there you have it, an easy and quick cake recipe! To add some other stuff check out this video.
Watermelon Fruit Punch - Summers are not fun when the temperature outside hits 45C (113 F)!! In this heat, you need something refreshing! This watermelon punch is an amazing drink to have in the summer and this lock-down.
Ingredients - Watermelon (1) Rooh Afza (sharbat) Chaat Masala, Black Salt, Lemon Juice.
Preparation - Cut the watermelon into small pieces. Put it in a food processor. Now, you can either add Rooh Afza, Lemon juice and other two masalas directly in the food processor, or you can first grind it and then put it directly in the watermelon juice. I prefer to grind the watermelon first and depending on the quantity I’ll put in either 1 spoon or 1.5 spoon of Rooh Afza (it is sweet, so if your watermelon is already sweet make sure you don’t add a lot). And add in lemon juice, black salt, and chaat masala depending on your taste buds. Rooh Afza’s main job is to give the drink a striking red color and sweeten it. Whereas, the masalas and lemon will give the drink a salty and sour taste! Try this drink out and I guarantee you it will be the best drink you will have this summer! For other drinks check out this Instagram post!
Pancakes - Pancakes are the love of my life! And this summer I finally learned how to make the most amazing egg-less pancakes ever! Now there are a lot of recipes out there for egg-less pancakes, but this one is my favorite one.
Ingredients - Wheat flour (Maida, 2 cups) Grinded sugar (2 tbsp) Baking powder (2 tbsp) Baking soda (1/2 tsp) Salt (a pinch) Butter (2 tbsp) Milk (deepening on consistency, 1–2 cups)
Preparation - First add all the dry ingredients(from wheat flour to salt) together and mix them well. Melt 2 tbsp butter and pour it in the dry mixture. Now, take one cup of milk and pour half of it in the mixture. Mix it well. After the batter is a bit thick, add the rest of the milk. If your batter is still thick, you can add a little bit more milk. This is where most people have problems, but it’s okay to add more milk. Make the batter consistent. Now, you have your batter ready! Take out a non-stick pan (if you don’t have one just take a regular one). Heat it a bit before pouring the batter on it. I recommend keeping it on a low flame if you aren’t really familiar working with it. Flip the pancake when you see a lot of bubbles coming up, but don’t wait too long or else it might burn! There it is, the perfect breakfast recipe: simple and easy to make! Add some berries, chocolate chips or whatever you like in the batter, and add any sauces you like. My go to is — honey and chocolate syrup. (For a video demonstration, see this).
Open Paneer Sandwich - This dish is one of my favorites to go for any occasion. I made this on my parents’ anniversary as well as on one of my siblings birthdays! This will give you an opportunity to expand your cooking skills from baking and making drinks to cook something much more filling and exciting! Let’s start -
Ingredients - Green onions (1) Garlic (1–3 leafs) Paneer (30–50 g) Bell peppers (1 - green and red), use according to your taste and quantity! Milk (1–1.5 cups) Cheese slices (3–4), again use according to your taste! Bread Black olives (optional)
Preparation - Start with chopping all the vegetables(medium size) and paneer (into small squares). I am going to divide this recipe into two parts. First we will make our cheesy paneer filling - Pour some oil (at least put in 2 tbsp) in a pan on low heat. Let the oil cook for a bit, then add garlic to it. Now I don’t use much garlic because the smell bothers my mom, but you can use more than a few leaves. Next we are going to saute our veggies! Add chopped green onions (same thing as garlic with onions), bell peppers in the pan and saute them for a bit. Now, according to taste add a bit of salt, oregano and chili flakes. Again, let them cook for a bit in the pan. Now it’s time to add paneer! Mix it well after adding and then add milk (1–1.5 cups). Now, I used homemade paneer but you can use paneer from the market also. A small tricky part here is to remember that paneer absorbs milk. So, if you end up adding a lot of milk just keep stirring it in high flame for a little while making sure nothing gets burned in the process and you’ll be fine! For our last step, you need to add cheese slices. This will make your filling a bit solid and easy to apply on the bread. There you have the awesome filling for your open sandwich. For the second part of this recipe, all you need to do is toast a bread a little bit and cut it into small pieces. On top of those pieces put the filling you made. To make it look more pretty and add another flavor, add black olive on top of your open sandwich and enjoy it anytime, anywhere!!! (Link to this recipe is here).
Home-made chocolate - For the last awesome quarantine recipe, I bring you the recipe of making home-made chocolate right from my grandma’s kitchen! It is as the name of the article suggests — easy to make and oh so perfect for quarantine (or literally anytime you are craving chocolate)!!
Ingredients - Butter - home-made or from market (1 cup) Sugar - same amount as the butter (1 cup) Milk powder (depends on your mixture) Drinking chocolate powder (2–3 tbsp) Cocoa powder (½ -1 tbsp, also depends on your taste)
Preparation - First take the sugar and add some water in it. Put the solution on gas and mix them well until the solution is boiling and sugar is completely dissolved. Then add the butter in the mix. Remember to turn off the gas before mixing the butter. Now, you have to use the same amount of butter and sugar, and it’s completely up to you how much you want to make. If you want to make a lot, you can take 2–3 cups but remember to change the ingredients accordingly. After the butter is completely melted, keep on mixing it for a while and then let it rest for 5–10 minutes. Add cocoa powder (if you want really dark chocolate add more cocoa powder) and drinking chocolate powder to your mixture and keep mixing it well. Now comes an important step, adding milk powder. This will help in making your chocolate dough-like. Keep adding milk powder slowly and see if the mixture is getting thick. You need to make the mixture dough-like but not rock hard either. Keep it smooth so, it is easy to roll. (I usually add 2–4 tbsp, but it really depends on your mixture’s texture).
And there you have it! If you have different shapes molds you can put this chocolate dough in them or else roll it and cut it into small square pieces before refrigerating!
These are just few of many recipes I know and made!
I hope you will enjoy making these recipes (as much as I did!), and they might bring some color to our monotonous life right now. If you made something new this quarantine let me know in the comments below! Follow me for more easy and fun recipes!