Meal I can prepare the day before with a really tiny kitchen?
February 5, 2017 3:54 AM   Subscribe

I find myself unexpectedly responsible for cooking for five on Tuesday. My problem is that I have a very long working day on Tuesday, and am not home until one hour before the dinner starts. I am working at home tomorrow, so I can prepare things Monday evening. I have a typical Hong Kong kitchen-- this means, no oven, no crock pot. I have two burners and a rice cooker. Two of the guests are ovo-lacto vegetarian. I am an indifferent cook. Help? Recipe suggestions appreciated.
posted by frumiousb to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Well I don't know what ingredients you have there, but you could do this recipe and sub the meat w something else (tofu?)
Some other Japanese recipes have the same base of soy sauce, mirin, sake, etc. Tasty with or without meat, I think.

Would the Peace Corps China cookbook be helpful??
posted by sacchan at 4:28 AM on February 5, 2017

How many courses and any specific cuisine? Do you want to be fancy in any way? Also, if you're indifferent and it's short notice and you're at work all day would you consider getting take out or at least some take out to supplement your domestic efforts?
posted by koahiatamadl at 4:29 AM on February 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Assuming you do have a rice cooker, something like this Thai green curry might work. You can even prep the veg on Monday (potatoes can be kept in water overnight), so that all you have to do when you come home is put the rice on and fire the wok -- the curry should be done at about the same time as the rice. Could serve papaya salad with it, or any simple salad. If you pick something that's mostly crunchy vegetables (carrot salad, jicama salad) you can cut up the veg and make dressing the day before, and just toss together to serve.

Something like sesame soba noodles is a main dish that works on a similar principle. You could add some pre-cooked shrimp to round it out a bit and make it into more of a main.

Edit: oops, sorry, forgot about the vegetarian bit. Firm tofu would work, then, for either recipe, in place of the meat.
posted by Diablevert at 4:37 AM on February 5, 2017 [3 favorites]

You could substitute firm tofu for chicken in this recipe (chicken teriyaki and broccoli) and triple the recipe. It's easy and fast. You could cut up the broccoli the night before, or, to make it even easier, you could use frozen broccoli as suggested--thaw and drain it beforehand. If you make it, do be sure to use low-sodium soy sauce because it will be too salty without it.
posted by tiger tiger at 5:34 AM on February 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

In a similarly tiny tokyo apartment one time I made Apple Cheddar Soup. It subs apple cider (or in your case would be an unfiltered apple juice if you can find it) for the chicken broth many soups use. Then we had a nice green salad and some french bread.

But I don't think you need to make this soup specifically. But a hearty soup, salad and bread combo is a good way to go. Soups, stews, curries and chilies usually get better for sitting overnight and being re-heated. And the bread (and maybe the salad too?) you can just buy pre-made.

If you have a blender another easier soup would be pumpkin soup. 900 grams of peeled and chopped up pumpkin + 1100 ml of vegetable stock and a little salt and pepper. Heat to a boil, then cover and turn down the heat to a simmer. Cook until the pumkin is soft - about 30 min. Then puree with in batches with a blender (or immersion blender).
posted by Caravantea at 5:40 AM on February 5, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'd do a rice bowl dinner - Google vegetarian rice bowls. Prep the fillings you can in advance for the flavors you want, and let's your guests assemble.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:02 AM on February 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

My American response is vegetarian chili. Easy to cook in a pot on the stove Monday night, will be even better Tuesday night, can be made festive with bowls of add-ons (cheddar, sour cream, green onions, tortilla strips, salsa...)
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:51 AM on February 5, 2017 [5 favorites]

oh and for chili, cornbread would be traditional accompaniment but nobody will say no to any other good purchased bread or rolls with butter, just buy the previous day and keep wrapped. Otherwise it's a one bowl meal with plenty of vegetables and protein in it.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:54 AM on February 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

A kale salad will keep well covered in the fridge, you could easily make it the day before. The basic idea is that you wash and de-stem the kale, rip it into salad-size pieces, coat it with acid (lemon, vinegar), oil, and chunky salt, and then "massage"/scrunch it vigorously with your hands for a few minutes until it goes bright green and soft. Then you can add whatever other fruit, veg, etc are readily available. It can be simple or complex. I usually go for something like chunked tart apple, red cabbage strips, and maybe raisins or sunflower seeds, but there are a million possibilities if you search "massaged kale salad."
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:37 AM on February 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Veggie chili is a great idea. I'm going with that. Thanks!
posted by frumiousb at 9:31 PM on February 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

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