Fuck, I Canít Cook!

Fuck, I Canít Cook!

Post-O Week, students stand united by two experiences. Experience one is an immobilizing hangover induced by weeklong drinking. Experience two is the sinking feeling of looking at an empty bank account, which has also been induced by weeklong drinking. 

When it comes to these dire times, we need to save money. But banning eating out altogether ends in disaster. I have no self-control. Small changes, like choosing cheaper places to eat, make a big difference. 


Red Lentil Dhal

Dhal is affordable and hearty. It is easy to make and can be eaten throughout the week to save coin on lunches and dinners. It is also fantastic frozen and reheated for those busy days where takeaways are tempting, but the bank account won’t allow for it. For those like me who love a bit of meat, this dhal is delicious alongside some very inexpensive frozen sausages. Sounds weird, but trust me. 

Serves 6

A splash of oil

6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (you can use the minced stuff however)

2 thumb sized pieces of ginger, grated (also can use the minced stuff)

2 tsp cumin

2 Tbsp curry powder

1 tsp paprika, optional (if you don’t have it already, don’t worry)

3 onions

1 large carrot 

1 1/2  cup red split lentils (if you use red lentils, you will just have to cook for longer and add more stock)

2 1/2 cups stock (vegetable or chicken stock works)

2 cans tinned tomatoes

1 can coconut cream and milk

A pinch of chilli flakes

A pinch of sugar or something sweet 

A squeeze of lemon juice 


A handful of coriander (optional) 

To serve: rice and/or naan


1.     Heat a splash of oil in large pot over medium heat

2.     Add the garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, curry powder, and paprika. Fry off for a couple of minutes, until fragrant. 

3.     Meanwhile, finely chop the onions and grate the carrot. 

4.     Add the onions, season with salt, and cook until softened and golden, at least for 5 minutes. 

5.     Add the lentils, vegetable stock, tomato and coconut cream, and chilli flakes. Stir and bring to a boil. 

6.     Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered for 25 minutes. If the dahl getting too thick, add a splash more stock or water when you need to and cover with a lid for the remaining cooking time. 

7.     Turn the heat off. Taste and add more salt, a pinch or sugar, chilli and lemon juice according to taste. 

8.     Serve with rice and naan bread, topped with coriander.


Best Cheap Eat: Friendly Khmer Satay Noodle House 

Friendly Khmer gives you the best bang for your buck in town. They sell a satay burger, loaded with delicious peanutty tofu and crunchy veggies, for only $5. They also sell the most delicious noodle stir fries for only slightly more. Their staff are exceptionally kind, and their service is amazing. I have never regretted spending a single cent at this glorious place. 

Honourable mentions:

OUSA: free breakfasts and $6 lunch meals that are delicious, close to uni and filling. 

Cheese rolls from Governor's Cafe: $2.50 for a roll makes the perfect snack. 

Dominos: their $5 pizza does tend to make me feel like my organs are failing. Desperate times do call for desperate measures. 

Jitsu: their spicy katsu on rice is slightly higher priced than the other options, however you get so much fried chicken, rice and miso soup that it’s worth it. 

This article first appeared in Issue 2, 2021.
Posted 12:55pm Sunday 7th March 2021 by Alice Taylor.