Most of us enjoy a Friday night takeaway, but costs can soon mount up if you do it regularly.
The average UK household spends over £1,200 on takeaways and eating out each year, according to research website, Nimblefins, a pretty huge amount when you consider what else you might be able to put this money towards.
One way to reduce this cost is to make your Friday night takeaway food yourself. Although this may not be as appealing as having someone do the cooking for you, the amount of money you could save might be the motivation you need to get those pots and pans out.
Here are three delicious fakeaway recipes to try, along with how much they can save you compared to ordering the same food in.
Slow cooker butter chicken
A single main dish from a UK curry house is £9.33, but for 80p more (£10.13) you could make 12 portions of this delicious slow cooker butter chicken – enough for six meals for a couple, or three for a family of four. Costs were correct at the time of writing.
While some slow cooker recipes can lack depth of flavour, this slow cooker butter chicken builds layers of flavour by cooking and browning the butter chicken mixture in a frying pan before transferring to the slow cooker. The browning that happens in the pan adds a huge depth of flavour and makes the dish beautifully rich, so it’s definitely worth taking your time over it.
Here’s what you’ll need to make 12 portions:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 red onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
60g butter, divided into 4
900g boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1x 142g double concentrate tomato puree
2 tbsps chicken tikka paste
4 tsp curry powder
4 tsp tandoori masala
2 tsp garam masala
500g natural yoghurt
2x 400ml tins coconut milk
30 cardamom pods
Salt to taste
Large frying pan
Straining or slotted spoon
Start by setting a large frying pan on medium to low heat and drizzling in a tablespoon of oil, followed by your onions and a pinch of salt. The salt helps to draw out the water from the onion, so they’ll soften more quickly. Cook them down for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until they soften and start to go lightly golden.
Once the onion has softened, add the garlic and a knob of butter to the pan and cook for a couple more minutes, before removing the onion and garlic mixture from the pan and setting it to one side.
Now you need to brown the chicken, so turn the heat up to medium, put another knob of butter in the pan and, working in batches, add the chicken to the pan in an even layer. Make sure not to crowd the pan and leave space between each piece, otherwise, the chicken will sweat rather than brown and you won’t build as much flavour. Each time you start a new batch, put another knob of butter in the pan.
Brown the chicken pieces on all sides. This should take 2 to 3 minutes. Don’t worry if the chicken catches on the pan, you can sort this out in the next step, just try to not let it burn. Once it’s done, remove the chicken from the pan and set to one side.
Turn the heat on the pan down low, add your tomato puree and cook it for a couple of minutes until it starts to darken slightly. The acidity of the puree will help lift anything that’s stuck to the pan and give your sauce more flavour.
Now you can add your tikka curry paste, the spices and any remaining butter. Mix it well until it’s all combined. The mixture can be slightly dry at this point, so if necessary, add a little splash of water to bring it to a paste-like consistency.
Add the chicken, onions and garlic back into the pan with the tomato and spice mixture and give it a good stir to make sure everything is nicely coated.
Transfer this mixture to your slow cooker, making sure to scrape everything out of the pan. If some sauce is cooked onto the pan, you can use a bit of yoghurt to loosen it and then add it to the slow cooker.
Add the yoghurt and coconut milk to the slow cooker, followed by the cardamom pods and a pinch of salt and set it all to cook for 4 hours on a high heat setting or 6 hours on low.
When the butter chicken is done slow cooking, pick out the cardamom pods and it’s ready to serve.
This dish is great paired with rice, or naan bread, but it also freezes really well, so you can batch-cook it and put anything you don’t use in the freezer for later.
Home made fish and chips
Fish and chips is a Friday night staple for many households across the UK, but it doesn’t come cheap, with the average fish and chip supper costing around £9.47 per person, according to the Office for National Statistics.
It’s cheaper to make your own from scratch, so next time you fancy a chippy tea, why not try making this recipe instead which can feed two people for £7.85?
To make two portions, this is what you’ll need:
2-3 Medium-sized potatoes, cut into 1cm wide chips
2 tbsp olive oil
80g plain flour plus extra for dusting
2 tsp baking powder
Large pinch of salt
150 ml ice-cold light ale
2 medium-sized cod loins
Approx. 500ml Vegetable Oil
Large baking tray
Two large bowls
Heavy-bottomed saucepan or casserole dish
Thermometer (not essential)
Preheat your oven to its highest temperature.
Put your chipped potatoes into a large saucepan, cover with cold water and give them a stir. Leave the chips to soak in the cold water for five minutes. This helps to get rid of any excess starch, which means they’ll cook more evenly and won’t stick to the baking tray in the oven.
After five minutes drain the potatoes, give them a brief rinse and then tip them back into the saucepan and cover with more cold water.
Set this saucepan on the hob on high heat and bring to a boil. Boil the chips for three minutes and then drain them thoroughly.
Tip the par-boiled chips onto a baking tray and drizzle liberally with olive oil, making sure every chip is coated and then add a generous sprinkle of salt. Put the chips in the oven to bake for 25 minutes, turning them halfway through.
While the chips cook, you can prepare the fish.
Start by making the batter. Whisk together the plain flour, cornflour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl until evenly combined.
In a separate bowl or jug, measure out the beer and vodka and stir to combine. Using vodka means that the liquid in the batter evaporates faster when frying, so it creates a crispier batter.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and slowly pour in the wet ingredients, stirring as you go until the batter is just combined. Be careful to not overmix at this point as this can knock the air out of the batter and make it tough.
Set the batter to one side and start prepping your fish.
Pat the cod loins dry on a piece of kitchen paper, and then either cut it into goujons or leave them whole.
Tip a little plain flour and a pinch of salt into a medium-sized bowl and stir to combine. You’ll use this to coat the fish before dipping it in the batter.
Pour 2cm of vegetable oil into a heavy-bottomed pan, and turn the heat on high. You want the oil to reach 180℃ which should take five to ten minutes. If you have a thermometer, use this to keep an eye on the temperature. If you don’t have a thermometer, don’t worry. After about five minutes and when you think the oil is ready, drop a dollop of batter into the oil. If it takes about 30 seconds to go golden brown, your oil is ready. If it takes more time, you’ll need to wait for the oil to get hotter. If it takes less, you’ll need to turn down the heat a little.
Once your oil is hot enough, coat your fish in the flour mixture and then dip it in the batter until it’s evenly coated. Hold the battered fish over the batter bowl for a moment to allow any excess to drip off before very gently placing it in the hot oil.
If you cut your fish into goujons, they should only take a couple of minutes to cook. If you decide to leave the fillets whole they’ll take four to five minutes to cook.
When the fish is done, use a slotted or straining spoon to remove it from the hot oil and place it on a wire rack. Sprinkle with a little flakey salt while the fish is fresh out of the pan.
If you’re cooking your fish in batches, it will stay hot for a little while, but you can keep it warm in the oven on a low temperature if needed. Serve with peas (mushy if you like), tartare sauce and vinegar.
Airfryer orange chicken
If your favourite Friday night treat is a Chinese takeaway, then you’ll love this orange chicken recipe. A main dish from a Chinese takeaway costs around £6.86, according to the Office for National Statistics, but for less than 50p more (£6.86), you could make your own ‘fakeaway’ with this recipe which serves two to three people.
Orange chicken is an American-Chinese recipe that’s really popular across the pond. It’s similar to what most of us would recognise as sweet and sour, but without being overly sweet.
To make things a little easier and healthier, we’re going to cook the chicken in an air fryer rather than deep frying it, but if you don’t have an air fryer, you can cook it in your oven instead.
To make enough for two to three people you’ll need:
640g chicken thighs chopped into bite-size pieces
100g corn flour
50g plain flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
Oil spray or veg oil
Orange chicken sauce
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves – minced
1-inch ginger – minced (or 1tbsp frozen pre-chopped ginger)
Pinch of chilli flakes
Juice of 2 oranges
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp packed dark brown sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sriracha (optional)
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp water
2 large bowls
Start by making the batter for the chicken. In one bowl whisk together the flour, cornflour, salt and ground ginger and in a second bowl crack in two eggs and mix vigorously with a fork.
Take the bite-sized pieces of chicken and dip them first into the egg and then into the flour mixture. Make sure each piece is well coated in flour and there are no wet spots on the chicken.
Make sure you have the grill insert in your air fryer drawer and either spray it with a little oil or use a piece of kitchen roll to lightly grease it. Then, working in batches, cook your chicken at 200℃ for 15 minutes, turning the chicken halfway through.
While the chicken is cooking, you’ll need to make the sauce.
In a medium-sized pan over medium heat, cook the garlic, ginger and chilli flakes for a couple of minutes until softened. Then pour the orange juice, lemon juice, dark brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sriracha and hoisin sauce into the pan. Whisk this all together until combined and bring to a simmer to reduce slightly.
To thicken the sauce, in a small bowl combine the cornflour with the water and stir, and slowly add to the sauce while stirring, until you reach the consistency you want.
When the chicken is ready, tip it into the pan with the sauce and stir it until everything is coated.
Serve with rice and some pak choi or tenderstem broccoli.
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