Yes, we know making our own food is cheaper and healthier. But supermarkets exist for a reason. We don't mind paying money for food we don't have the time or skill to make ourselves. The cost of learning to prepare something and the work it takes to put it together is well worth parting with our money for.
However, suppose there are some food items we buy on a weekly basis that are actually really easy and quick to make? And the ingredients for which cost only a fraction of the price? In that case, it really would be a waste to not make our own. Allow us to be the pesky auntie and tell you about the following food items you can make at home for cheap.
Store Price: RM9 – RM15
Homemade Cost: RM3
This versatile spread can be used in sandwiches, as a dip for chips, or eaten with cut up vegetables for a healthy snack. The only ingredients you need are chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. Even though the tahini might seem expensive when you buy it the first time, one small can makes about 12 or so plates of hummus. That's plenty of bang for your buck.
Store Price: RM15 – RM20
Homemade Cost: RM5
Homemade ice-cream is such a pain to make. You have to churn it, freeze it, and whisk things up. And that's if you even have an ice-cream maker. Thankfully, this recipe for banana ice-cream only requires you to blitz up frozen bananas, and.. that's it. That's really all there is to it. Bananas' high pectin content means it develops a velvety soft-serve texture when prepared this way without any additional anythings. Surprisingly easy, and healthy too.
Store Price: RM12 – RM15
Homemade Cost: RM5
Whether you like it chunky or smooth, this breakfast spread (and sometimes baking ingredient) is as tasty as it is handy to have in the kitchen. Too bad it often has unhealthy hydrogenated oils and can be too sweet or too oily. No need to worry about that if you make your own, though. You can control how smooth or shunky you want it and it costs a lot less. It's also not at all difficult to make. If you can fry an egg and push a button on a food processor, you're good to go.
Chicken or Beef Stock
Store Price: RM3 – RM5
Homemade Cost: Free if you using leftovers or bones from meat you cooked with
Why would you want to make stock? Stock can be used as a base for soups, stews, marinades, and you can make chicken rice with it. Homemade ones are also not as high in salt and can be way more flavourful. Just collect uneaten or unused bones from your other cooking adventures and freeze them. Boil the whole lot at the end of the week and you have stock ready for the week ahead.
Thai Chilli Sauce
Store Price: RM5 – RM7
Homemade Cost: RM2
This kitchen staple can turn boring french fries exciting again, wake up bland leftovers, and make dull sandwiches more interesting. Also, it's so easy and cheap to make, it's almost a rip-off to sell them in supermarkets. The recipes out there may call for specific types of chillies, ginger or even fish sauce, but as long as you have the basics (chillies, garlic, and vinegar) your end product should already be better than the bottled stuff. And just like the other recipes, the only skills you need to make this sauce is 'ingredient purchasing' and 'blender having'.
Store Price: RM7 – RM14
Homemade Price: RM3
Mustard isn't much used in the local cuisine, but don't be scared, it's super simple to make. The ingredients cost next to nothing, too. This recipe calls for two kinds of mustard seeds but one works fine. Mustard can be used much like our friend the thai chilli sauce above, but with the added bonus of leaning towards the savoury side. This spicy and aromatic condiment can be spread it in sandwiches, accompany your fried goodies as dip, or used as one of the main players in this 4-ingredient chicken dish.
So there you have it. Six different food items that can be made for much cheaper than you can buy them in stores. Making them takes almost no time out of your day, too. Have you found other easy-to-make foodstuffs that's also cheaper when homemade? Do share them with us. Let us know in the comments section below!