Thursday, September 15, 2011

RM5.80 Noodles


Just 3 years ago, you could eat a bowl of noodles for RM3.50/USD1.10 but now, you'd have to pay at least RM6/USD1.95 for less than the same. I've eaten fish noodles for RM8/USD2.60 and the ingredients were noodles and only TWO slices of fish. It is just crazy.

While shopping at the market recently, I challenged myself to cook lunch for less than RM5 to feed 4. It had to be nutritiously balanced, meaning there should be meat and veggies on top of the basic starch. I also wanted a simple dish that doesn't take much preparation and cooking time. The dish that fits all that was fried noodles, with the least expensive ingredients I could think of: bean sprouts (RM1), wheat noodles (RM0.80) and pork roll (RM4). The total cost came to RM5.80/USD1.88, RM0.80 more than my budget. I could push the cost to less than RM3/USD1 if I used two eggs instead of the pork roll but that would be too much of a shock to the family although Hub would probably be very pleased.

Despite the scrimping, the noodles were delicious and went very well with a chili-lime sauce.

Any suggestions for more budget meals?


RM5.80 Noodles (serves 3 to 4)
1/2 kg yellow 'oil' noodles
1 pork roll, sliced
1/2 kg bean sprouts
2 T oyster sauce
1 to 2 T light soy sauce
pinch of salt
2 T veg oil
1 T garlic, chopped (optional)
spring onions from your garden for garnishing

1. Heat up a wok or a non-stick frying pan. Add the oil and fry the garlic until gragrant but not brown. Toss the noodles (which are pre-cooked) under medium high heat, mixing well with the oyster sauce and the light soy sauce. This will take several minutes, to heat the noodles through and to sear some of the noodles to give a smoky fire taste. If you like softer noodles, sprinkle chicken stock or water by the spoonful over the noodles. Adding too much water or stock all at once will make the noodles starchy.

2. Push the noodles aside, throw in the bean sprouts and a pinch of salt and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the pork roll and push the noodles into the center to mix by tossing and turning. Taste and season if necessary. Throw in the spring onions and dish up. Serve with a chili sauce.

note: if you prefer saucy noodles, use one tablespoon of the oyster sauce and one tablespoon of the light soy sauce to mix with 1/2 T of cornstarch, a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar (if like), some white pepper and 1/2 cup of chicken stock or water and add that to the wok/pan (push the noodles to the side of the wok) just before adding the spring onions. Make sure to let the cornstarch sauce boil or the sauce'll taste floury. Push in the noodles and toss to mix.


Blur Ting said...

Sometimes I give myself challenges like that and feel so pleased to be able to create something delicious at minimal cost. Another idea is tauhu goreng using firm bean curd, bean sprout and cucumber, topped with peanut sauce.

Kikukat said...

Blur Ting's tofu topping sounds delicious. I was going to suggest some kind of fish cake all sliced up. Could you tell me what "oil" noodles are. As always, you have such great pics.

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

I think i can cook RM5 noodles, bean sprouts that i use to buy only cost me RM 0.70 and i suggest to replace pork roll with fish cake/balls, add half a carrot shredded and some chives. I will try to cook this soon.

Chocolate, Cookies & Candies said...

The cost of food has been rising faster than the wages. When I arrived in the UK 3 years ago, I was amazed at how cheap food prices were. Most of the staples have had quite an increase since. Now NZ was a shock. While I was away, basic necessities like milk, bread etc had nearly doubled. Yes, in 3 years!

Mary Chey said...

Eating outside is really expensive nowadays. Everyting seems to have gone up except for my salary! darn! It seem better we cook ourself to save cost & satifiction (much much cheaper, clean & even sometimes taste better!)

Winston said...

This is funny cause it reminds me of how often I think to myself, "what's the cheapest way I can feed myself today?" hahaha. With healthy options, of course. I love budget meal ideas! Sorry ah, still student ;p

Chocolate, Cookies & Candies said...

What a great idea, Terri! You've inspired me to make cheaper but equally nutritious meals now. BTW, I've been trying out A LOT of your recipes with success! Hubby was in meat ecstasy when I roasted a rack of ribs (your recipe too) so I'm going to do that again.

Ally ML said...

I like this topic, too. Your meal is looking so delicious! I think rice with an omelette and a fresh salad with tomatoes and onions is very low budget...It's quick and healthy.

terri@adailyobsession said...

blurting:tt sounds very very good, like shanghai cold noodles.

kikukat: i love fish cake (home made) and noodles:) oil noodles are wheat noodles that are precooked and as they are called, the noodles are coated with oil. they are yummy but most noodles are now made with too much alkaline water and coloring so i always look for the palest oil noodles.

sonia: oh yes, sounds yummy:)

ccc: nz would be just like oz i think. oz is now one of the most expensive places to live in :( tt's why this year a lot more students than usual are going to england where fees are half tt of oz.

mary: i agree. restaurant food is not as good as home cooked food. the savings from eating out means we can buy quality ingredients:)

winston: you shd team up with ming n shop at vic mart. no, i think you shd've moved into ming's apt when there was an extra room. then both of u can take turns to cook.

ccc: oh tt is happy news. i love it when ppl love my recipes. try the soy sauce chicken, the marmite pork, the duck, the pork cubes...:)

allY; def healthy n low budget; love it!

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