Money Saving Tamil Food Tricks

We all want to save money – especially when it comes to food. Here are some tricks and tips to help you save some money.
Do you have any other tips and tricks you use? If you do, please share!

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Store Curry Leaves in Yogurt Containers

When I use to leave my curry leaves in the bag from the store in the fridge, they would wilt within 2 days. Now, when I get a bag of curry leaves, I de-leaf the leaves and put them in an airtight yogurt container with a paper towel on top of them. This has helped keep my curry leaves for 2 weeks.

Ginger Garlic Paste

Ginger and garlic is something that is used in many Tamil curries. But the effort of making them can be time consuming. If you prepare a batch of this, put it in an air-tight sealed container and leave it in your fridge for the next few days, or put it in some oil and arrange them on an ice cube tray and keep it in your freezer. You can just pop an “ice cube with ginger, garlic and oil” to your pan when you need.

Buy Fish from Tamil stores and Shrimp from Chinese Stores

Fish is cheaper in Tamil stores, and you will get the many variants that taste good for fish curry. Shrimp, a staple in Chinese cooking is cheaper at Chinese stores. Staples are usually cheaper at the stores they are native to, so do some research and find out what’s cheaper where. This is also true for fruits and other produce – exotic fruits are MUCH cheaper at Chinese stores than other big grocery chain supermarkets.

Buy an Onion Saver

Almost all Tamil recipes call for onions. Sometimes though, you use half an onion and you wonder what to do with the rest. If you keep an onion in the fridge without it being in an onion saver, it actually makes the other food in your fridge go bad. An onion saver on the other hand, saves the onion and prevents your other food from spoiling. You can get them for pretty cheap at any store that sells kitchen products.

Make Sambhar

We make sambhar at our house on Fridays. This is the best way to make a tasty dish while using up all the veggies in the fridge that need to be used up soon. If you have veggies that you use half of throughout the week, just add them to sambhar. Any veggies taste fine in sambhar, especially eggplant, squash, carrots, etc. I’ll try to post a recipe for this sometime this week. Another option is to freeze veggies you are not using – butternut squash, carrots and cauliflower all stay pretty well in the freezer.

Buy Meat from Butcher Shops in Bulk

Meat and fish are cheaper to buy whole than to buy as parts. When buying meat, buy whole – instead of buying chicken drumsticks, buy the whole chicken, instead of buying fish fillets, buy a whole fish and ask the stores to descale and cut it in pieces for you. The price per pound is cheaper on the whole than the part when you buy it already cleaned. But, when you buy a whole chicken, many butcher shops will de-skin and cut the chicken into small cubes ready for curry for free.

Freeze Meat into Portions

When you buy in bulk, the key to making is simple for you to cook and not waste your food (especially if it is just for you or your spouse) is to clean your meat and fish, separate it into smaller freezer bags and store it in the freezer, in ready to cook style. This means that the only thing you will have to do when you are ready to cook is to let it thaw and rinse it. Saves lots of time on weeknights!

Happy money saving 🙂

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