It’s both a classic work-from-home problem and an office-going, lunch-toting one. At home, you prepare a fresh hot meal, only to be interrupted by a surprise Zoom call, your child’s 10th online learning dilemma, and other distractions galore. At work, you’re met with a sea of people queuing up for the microwave at lunch (not to mention that touching the microwave handle in a Covid world probably has you breaking out in hives.)
The solution comes in the form of recipes that can be fully enjoyed at room temperature. If you grew up hearing a parent yell “eat before your food gets cold”, these dishes below are just begging to be left to get cold. Because some meals simply don’t need to be piping hot to be delicious. From a breakfast egg dish to salads, mains and desserts, here are 5 such dishes to play it cool. (Psst, they’re also picnic-perfect).
Even though this dish is made by pan frying and then baking sausages with tomatoes, garlic and capsicum, and then adding an egg, it doesn’t need to be served warm – in fact the recipe recommends cooking everything down and serving at room temperature.
2. Orange and rocket salad
When you don’t want the hassle of a warmed dish, a salad always comes to the rescue in almost every form. This delish salad combines different textures and tastes, uniting rocket and orange slices with the bite of mustard and pepper with the smooth sweetness of honey. Despite toasted sesame seeds, this salad is great served at room temperature - and even cold!
3. Southern Fried Chicken
Yes, it might seem strange to have fried chicken on this list, a dish that’s traditionally served piping hot. In this version, an American favourite from its South, the chicken is soaked in milk to whiten the meat. The crust tastes good and pretty much unchanged even at room temperature - serve with some potato salad or just some crisp vegetable sticks. Just skip the gravy and you have a great room-temperature friendly meal on your hands.
4. Tapis nasi goreng
A very popular Indonesian fried rice that’s usually served as a side dish, this nasi goreng is served with peanut coconut chicken skewers and curry prawns for a main course befitting its name as the world's great comfort food. All you have to do is top with a fried egg, but if you prefer to eat your fried egg immediately, the way it should be eaten, just skip it and continue eating the rest of the dish at room temperature – there’s enough protein in this dish to make up for the egg’s absence.
5. Anjeer or fig barfi
This fudgy Indian sweet sees a mixture of ground figs, jaggery and dry nuts added to a greased aluminium tray, spread out evenly and left to set to room temperature. Then simply cut into squares and dig in. Whether as a healthy dessert or a dense snack that packs energy, these are great to tuck into when cool.