South Asian Recipes Fit for Staying Home

A leisurely afternoon at the market or a last-minute run to the grocery store seems to be a thing of the past. Whether you call it quarantine, self-isolation, or social distancing, you stay home and do with what you find in the kitchen. Even if you have a well-stocked pantry, this can be a difficult proposition. If you are ready to keep it simple but also mix things up a bit, here are a few great recipes that use staple South Asian ingredients that you can find in your house. You and your family can still eat well while staying safe at home.

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

The mix of ginger, lime, and cilantro in this coconut soup gives it a deliciously smooth taste. The added fettuccine egg noodles make it more than just a side dish but a full meal to keep your family satisfied.

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne (add more for a spicier soup)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1-quart canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 5 teaspoons Asian fish sauce or soy sauce
  • 2 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 3-inch-long strips lime zest
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 pound egg fettuccine
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 14-inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)

Heat the cooking oil over low heat in a large pot. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add in the cayenne, coriander, black pepper, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring continually for about 30 seconds.

Next, pour in the chicken broth, fish sauce, coconut milk, lime zest, and salt. Bring to a simmer while stirring occasionally. Partially cover the pot and continue to simmer, reducing the heat if necessary, for 10 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the fettuccine. Cook just until done, about 12 minutes.

Place chicken slices into the soup and cook for about 1 ½ minutes until cooked. Remove the soup pot from the heat and mix in the cooked fettuccine, lime juice, and cilantro (optional).

Serve in a bowl with both a fork and spoon.

Easy Vegetable Lo Mein

This recipe has only a handful of ingredients and can be ready in just 15 minutes. It’s a delicious vegetarian option but would also be great with added chicken or shrimp.

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. package lo mein noodles
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons high heat cooking oil
  • 6 cups mixed vegetables (mushrooms, bell peppers, cabbage, and green onion or any variety you like)

Follow the package directions to cook the lo mein noodles then drain and put aside. While those are cooking, mix the sesame oil, soy sauce, water, and sugar.

In a large skillet heat the cooking oil over medium heat. Once the oil is beginning to simmer, toss in the vegetables. Stir fry for about a minute until the edges of the vegetables start to wilt.

Add the noodles and sauce to the vegetables. Mix and continue to cook for about 2 minutes, or until there is no more sauce at the bottom of the skillet.

Serve immediately.

South Asian Style Chicken Curry

A tasty dish filled with the slow-cooked flavors of a delicious curry but made in about 30 minutes. It’s a simple meal to make, with not much more than chicken, rice, and a few of your favorite spices.

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 mixed-color peppers, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 2 ¼ inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • few fresh coriander sprigs, pick off leaves and finely chop stalks
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut in 1-inch chunks
  • vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 heaped teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 cup organic chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 1 lime, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon mango chutney (optional)

In a large frying pan, heat one tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add onion and pepper, and fry for about 10 minutes until softened.

Add ginger, garlic, and coriander stalks and fry until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in turmeric powder and curry powder and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add chicken pieces, mixing to thoroughly coat for 2 minutes.

Pour in the chicken stock and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and let simmer for 12-14 minutes until sauce is thickened. Add in the tomato for the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Squeeze half the lime over the curry, add a pinch of black pepper, and mango chutney (optional). Taste and repeat if needed.

Serve sprinkled with coriander leaves and lime wedges over cooked basmati rice.

Sticky Glazed Eggplant

This eggplant is glazed with a flavorful and easy to make soy sauce mixture. It is a versatile main ingredient that can be served over rice or noodles. You can make it spicy by adding a little Sriracha, chili garlic sauce, or crushed red pepper flakes.

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant, 5-6 cups cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 4 cups cooked rice or noodles
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once heated, coat the entire surface of the skillet by swirling the oil around it. Add the eggplant pieces. Cook for about 10 minutes until soft. To prevent sticking, stir occasionally and add a few tablespoons of water to the pan if needed.

In a bowl, stir the garlic, soy sauce, ginger, and sugar together and then pour over the softened eggplant. Stir and continue to cook for about 5 minutes.

Serve over rice or noodles and top with peanuts and green onions. For a little added spice, mix mayonnaise and Sriracha and drizzle over eggplant.