Not to sound like a broken record, but I pay approximately 50% in income tax and another 25% VAT on everything I buy. Yes, even groceries!
This definitely sucks, so I've come up with a game I call "how low can I go?" It's not even a game really, it's just a personal challenge to see how much of my net salary I can save each month.
A year ago, I'd think someone of means would be crazy to deprive themselves like this, but it's a whole other ballgame over here.
First of all, shopping is completely intimidating. This being Denmark, salespeople approach me in Danish. If I need help, I say as politely as possible, "I'm sorry, do you speak English?" and hope for the best. If I don't need help, I smile as sweetly as possible and say, "just browsing, thank you". Generally, people are cool, sometimes they're not, but whatever, it makes it easy to save money when shopping is such a chore. At the grocery store, I pay in cash to avoid any possible snafu's with the debit terminal, say a quick "tak for det" when they give me my change, bag my goods, and escape as quickly as possible.
The language barrier aside, there's not a whole lot of choice here. Someday, I'd like to do a photo post that shows you how little choice we have. It's pretty much brand name or generic. There are no endless selections of brands, flavors, and sizes. You need ketchup? OK, brand name or generic... done.
The "how low can I go?" game has several sub games, one of which is "how far can I stretch a 900g bag of dried chickpeas?" The answer is, farther than you think!
I've mentioned before that I'm loving Thai and Indian inspired flavors. This dish hits the trifecta of fast, stretching a kroner, and indulging my taste for curry and coconut!
1 onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 - 1 T curry paste
2 cups cooked chickpeas
2 T soy sauce
1 1/4 cups coconut milk
1 T brown sugar
fresh juice from 1/2 lime
chopped fresh basil
Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute, until they start to brown, then add the garlic and curry paste. Saute until the garlic softens, then add the chickpeas, soy sauce and coconut milk. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 - 15 minutes, then stir in the tomatoes, sugar, and lime juice. Simmer another 10 minutes, then stir in the basil.
I served this over brown rice, which is my standard, but I'm sure it would be delightful over Jasmine rice, or white rice simmered with tea or cinnamon sticks.
I used 1 T of red curry paste, which was quite spicy. Next time, I'll cut back on the curry, or experiment with green or yellow curry paste. I'll also add some veggies along with the chickpeas... maybe cauliflower, carrots, red peppers, and zucchini?
I used 2 leftover canned tomatoes, which I chopped and added along with a bit of their juice. If I didn't have to use up canned tomatoes, I would've used 1 medium or large fresh tomato.
Cilantro tastes soapy to me, but if you like cilantro, I'd sub it for the basil because it's more authentic :)
Labels: denmark, frugal living, recipes, vegan, vegetarian