Your grocery run took longer than expected and the kids are almost home from school. You rush home and you have five minutes until you hear the beep of the school bus. What do you make for lunch?
Whether you are a busy office goer, parent or simply someone who does not want to spend hours in the kitchen – we have five-minute recipes that require little to no prep time as well as some tips for those cooking on a tight schedule.
A salsa-inspired recipe
German expat, based in Dubai, Melanie Rudolf likes eating healthy as well as sharing her cooking with friends and family. She has been on a quest to find clean recipes that do not require too much time. While trying out new dishes in her kitchen, she made her version of a mango and feta salad that only takes five minutes to make and requires no cooking.
“I first tried making this dish back in the summer of 2019 as my brother-in-law told me that he likes mango and feta salad. I added a twist with the pine nuts and since then, I love to eat it when I crave healthy food or when I don’t have the time or energy to cook something,” the 39-year-old said.
I love to eat it when I crave healthy food or when I don’t have the time or energy to cook something
Sharing a tip to cut time when cooking, she said: “Always use high quality ingredients and keep some basics, like cheese, basil, capsicum, premade tomato sauce, in your refrigerator that you can easily pair together for recipes such as pastas. You can never go wrong with making a quick tomato sauce pasta at night.”
Recipe: Mango Feta salad
1 ripe mango
100 gms feta cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
A pinch of pepper
A pinch of salt
25 gms toasted pine nuts
1. Use a sharp knife or a peeler for cutting and peeling the mango. Dice the mango.
2. Roast the pine nuts in a pan. They should get a nice little brown colour. Be careful to not set the flame on high as the nuts burn quickly. Put them aside on a plate so they can cool down completely.
3. Cut the feta into small pieces.
4. Mix the mango and feta in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil on top, sprinkle black pepper and salt and mix it all together gently.
5. Sprinkle the pine nuts at the end and mix one last time. Serve.
The ocean beckons
Parent and public relations professional, Rabab Hussain admits to having “absolutely no patience in the kitchen”. Her need to come up with quick recipes started when she began working and it only grew as she became a mother.
“I cook for myself, my daughter and extended family, but I don’t like spending time in the kitchen. For days I am not willing to be in the kitchen at all, I make my tuna sandwiches,” the 36-year-old said.
The tuna sandwiches recipe she shared requires little to no cooking and the filling is customisable. “This is my go-to recipe for lunch and dinner or even when I want to pack a quick lunch for work,” the Pakistani expat based in Sharjah said.
What I like about this recipe is that I can change it every time I make it, according to what I have in my kitchen
“What I like about this recipe is that I can change it every time I make it, according to what I have in my kitchen. You can also go as heavy or as light as you like on the filling and choose to toast your bread or not,” she added.
Besides making quick sandwiches, the busy mum has some kitchen hacks she uses to cut time when cooking. “I precut vegetables and keep them in the freezer to add to pastas and curries. Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, bitter gourd, pumpkin and spinach hold well in the freezer,” she said.
Especially for her daughter, Hussain makes paratha or stuffed flatbread and freezes them.
Recipe: Tuna sandwich
1 can of tuna
2 tbsp mayonnaise
Handful of chopped onions
Handful of chopped cucumbers
Hot sauce as per taste
A pinch of salt
A pinch of pepper
4 to 5 lettuce leaves
8 slices of milk or white bread
1. Mix the tuna, mayonnaise, onions, cucumbers, hot sauce, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
2. Toast the bread, which is optional.
3. Top the bread with lettuce leaves, a scoop of the tuna dip and squeeze lemon juice on top and place another slice of bread on top.
From Kerala to Jamaica
An accountant based in Dubai, Sreechithra Sreenivas remembers eating caramelised bananas growing up, made by her mother. Now, she has been living with her husband in the UAE for the last 14 years and replicates the recipe for her own family.
The 37-year-old who hails from the south Indian state of Kerala calls it her go-to recipe for when she needs to whip up a quick snack or side dish for her family. An interesting fact is that this dish is also a well-known recipe from Jamaica.
Fried plantains are known to be one of the most common evening snacks eaten in Kerala and here’s how you can make it at home.
Recipe: Sweet fried plantains
2 bananas or plantain (plantains are bigger, more starchy and less sweet)
1 tsp ghee
2 tbsp sugar
1. Peel the banana or plantain and cut into your desired shape. A flat shape is preferred, as it will allow the surface of the bananas to caramelise well.
2. Heat the ghee in a frying pan and arrange the banana slices flat.
3. Cook for a few seconds and then add sugar on top.
4. Flip the slices and cook until both sides are golden brown. Serve hot.
High protein and vegan
Fujairah-based Pakistani expat Beenish Aziz calls cooking her hobby and she tries out quick recipes to share with her family.
“My friends and family appreciate my cooking and that’s why I come up with new recipes like this one with chickpeas,” she said.
I particularly like this recipe because it’s quick and chickpeas contain lot of carbohydrates so it provides lots of energy
“I particularly like this recipe because it’s quick and chickpeas contain lot of carbohydrates so it provides lots of energy,” the 34-year-old added.
Spiced chickpea salad or chole are popularly eaten in Pakistani households and as street food, especially as an evening snack or during Ramadan at iftar time.
Here is Aziz’s take on the dish that only takes five minutes to make…
Recipe: Spicy chickpea salad
Serves: 2 to 3
1 can of chickpeas (store bought)
Juice of half a lemon
½ tsp of chilli flakes
Salt to taste
1 tbsp of chopped coriander
½ cup boiled potatoes, cubed (optional)
1. Toss all the ingredients together and serve.
Eggs… delicious eggs
Sharjah resident Huma Arshad tries to make new dishes in her kitchen and is not one to follow recipe books.
“I like experimenting and I don’t stick to measurements and exact ingredients that's how I came up with this recipe I like to call loaded eggs," she said.
I like experimenting and I don’t stick to measurements and exact ingredients that's how I came up with this recipe I like to call loaded eggs
The recipe that mainly combines cheese, vegetables that one can find in their fridge, and eggs, is Arshad's go-to when she wants to make a quick meal. "A lot of the time it's just me having lunch and making a complicated meal takes too long so I go for this dish on those days," she said.
Recipe: Vegetable cheese omelette
2 to 3 eggs
Half a capsicum chopped
1 small onion chopped
4 to 5 button mushrooms chopped
Handful of spinach
1/2 cup of cheese (cheddar preferred)
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1. Chop all your vegetables and add them to a hot pan. Sauté for 1 minute and then cover the pan, so the vegetables wilt.
2. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a bowl and add salt and pepper.
3. Add the egg on top of the vegetables and cook for 4 minutes. Top with cheese. Serve hot.
Do you have any quick recipes to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org