Cooking takeaway-style dishes at home
Swap takeaways for ‘fakeaways’
Takeaway food is a great way to enjoy cuisines from around the world without having to bother about booking a table and dressing up to dine out. While it’s 100 per cent okay to buy a takeaway on the odd occasion, bear in mind that you can make takeaway-style food at home that’s not only delicious but also cheaper and better for you. Sure, it’s not quite as easy as picking up the phone, but the savings you’ll make to your SmartPoints Budget makes it totally worth the little bit of extra effort. Here are our best tips for creating your very own fakeaway dishes at home.
You can’t go to a Thai restaurant or takeaway without having a delicious aromatic curry, but it can add up to a lot more SmartPoints than you might realise. Make it at home instead, and you can have your curry and eat it too.
- For the curry: Buy lean cuts of meat or some fresh seafood to turn into the hero of your dish. Partner it with lots of crisp vegetables like snow peas and broccoli, and flavoursome add-ons like ginger and fresh basil – Thai food is all about the fresh produce and herbs. Replace some of the coconut milk with stock: you’ll still get that rich sauce, but will be more likely to stay on track, as well.
- For the rice: If you don’t have many SmartPoints to spare, you could swap traditional rice for cauliflower rice. Simply put cauliflower through a food processor until finely chopped and then toss in a wok with a little water or oil. Add onion and tumeric for extra flavour.
Tip: If you really want white rice, go for it! But you’ll up the nutritional value, and save 1 SmartPoints too, if you opt for brown, instead.
Bring it to life: Make the meal feel more traditional by investing in some decorative Thai bowls and spoons. It’s like food Feng Shui (and yes, we know that’s not Thai but the fact remains that food tends to taste better when you have the right utensils).
When anyone mentions Italian food, pizza and pasta – the Italian takeaway staples – immediately come to mind. The problem is they also tend to involve large serves, with plenty of cheese and oil. You can still get an amazing, authentic flavour by doing it yourself, with the benefit of balancing your SmartPoints Budget.
- For the pasta: Create a SmartPoints - friendly meal by making zucchini pasta or using a konjac pasta. That way you can spend more on the sauces and extras. A tomato passata can be made into a showstopper by adding ingredients like fresh basil, olives and chunks of grilled eggplant and capsicum. If a creamy sauce is your thing, try using silken tofu as a base. Put it through a food processor with basil, garlic, lemon juice and a dash of robust olive oil, mustard and seasoning. It’s perfect if you’re vegetarian or vegan, too.
- For the pizza: Use a wholemeal flatbread for the base or a single serve traditional base for portion control. Load up on vegetables like mushrooms, baby spinach and capsicum, and choose lean meats or fish. Fresh herbs and extras like chilli are great ways to add powerful flavour hits. Use a mixed sprinkle of cheeses on top like mozzarella mixed with parmesan and reduced-fat cheddar – it’ll give a stronger flavour and you won’t have to use as much.
Bring it to life: Serve your pizza on a wooden board or serve your pasta in shallow, restaurant-style bowls.
Fish and chips
Everyone should have a stand-out fish and chips recipe in their repertoire for when nothing else will do. The versions at your local shop tend to be kilojoule-laden and that can make it hard to stay on Plan when you order and eat them. The great news is that you can create delicious versions of this dish at home that’ll please even the most die-hard fans of the original.
- For the chips: Hand-cut regular potato or sweet potato into chips and coat with a layer of spray oil. Sprinkle with coarsely ground rock salt and some dry or fresh rosemary. Bake until tender and browned.
- For the fish: Buy good-quality fresh white fish. It’ll taste great grilled with a dash of oil and seasoning, but if you want to go for a more traditional batter-style dish, try dipping the fish in whisked egg and coating in polenta that’s had a small amount of parmesan mixed into it. It’s super tasty and provides a great crunch.
Tip: Serve with a salad to bump up the nutritional value of your meal and add bulk.
Bring it to life: Make it a genuine experience by serving your fish and chips on a layer of newspaper lined with baking paper.