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Flavoursome Asian-Inspired Meals on a Budget

Flavoursome Asian-Inspired Meals on a Budget

Image Credit: Asia Society

Sometimes good eats cost a fair chunk of change. For those who are looking for flavour on a budget, we've assembled a list of the best Asian dishes with the lowest price point. Spoiling yourself doesn't mean breaking the bank! Check out our Asian-inspired meals for foodies on a budget.


Szechuan Stir-Fry

Szechuan is a broad bean paste with a touch of chilli and sesame oil, often served as a dipping sauce or stir-fry base. To add new levels of flavour, you can take a simple dish of chicken/beef strips with beans and rice, and dress it with a sauce like Szechuan for an entirely different experience.

Serve with rice, green beans, baby corn, chilli, broccolini and mushroom, in any combination, for a fuller dish. Get started with our Szechuan Stir-Fry spice paste and recreate this delicious dish in the comfort of your own home! 

Butter Chicken

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Image Credit: The Kitchen Paper

Popularised in Northern Indian, Butter Chicken is a family favourite that any guest will enjoy. Butter Chicken is a mild tomato curry with a sweet spice, cloves and fenugreek base. It contains chunks of chicken, all blended together with coconut cream or full fat cream, and is often served alongside rice.

When served in large portions, Butter Chicken basically pays for itself, costing a lot less than you'd expect! Be sure to serve with naan, roti, paratha or simply plain rice.

To reduce costs, be sure to go to an Indian grocer to collect your spices and accompaniments, use full cream milk instead of coconut cream, and use a base to minimizes the cost of ingredients. Use our Indian Butter Chicken base to get the full range of Northern Indian flavours for only a fragment of the price.

San Choy Bow

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Image Credit: Gourmet Game

San choy bow, or Chinese lettuce wraps, are a classic when it comes to budget Asian meals. A splash of soy sauce and a teaspoon of minced garlic/ginger can take a simple dish like this to the next level. You can also add sesame oil or peanut oil for another layer of flavour.

Keeping it simple is key when making San choy bow - select a minced meat, two or three vegetables and your lettuce. We recommend pork mince with carrot, corn and cabbage, in iceberg lettuce, but any combination is possible. To minimise costs even further, reduce the amount of meat by combining it with rice. It will make the dish even more filling and cut costs in the meantime.

Vietnamese Pho

Pho is a Vietnamese broth containing a blend of ginger, coriander, star anise and cinnamon, served amid beef, chicken or pork, bean sprouts, basil leaves, lime and chillies. With so much in a single dish, you'd expect it to be expensive to prepare, but with little meat, it is actually one of the cheapest on this list! Most of the big flavours in this meal are coming from herbs and spices and, as a result, there isn't much to this dish outside of the broth base and added embellishments like bean sprouts and chilli.

To make it even simpler, our Vietnamese Pho Base provides the broth for you, meaning you only have to worry about meat, vegetables and herbs!

Japanese Miso Soup

A combination of dashi (a stock base), soybean paste and tofu, Japanese Miso Soup is simple to make, with three ingredients, in total. For additional flavour, you can add wakame seaweed, shallots, mushroom, onion, shrimp, fish, or even potatoes.

Miso soup is such a fantastic budget meal as it is also incredibly healthy with almost no calories!

Cut costs even further by using our Japanese Miso Soup that takes away the complexity of making Miso, entirely at home!

Gỏi cuốn

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Image Credit: What To Cook Today

Gỏi cuốn or Vietnamese spring rolls are small finger rolls, filled with meats and vegetable fillings, and wrapped in rice paper.

In its simplest form, you need some form of shredded meat/seafood, vermicelli rice noodles (for body), coriander, rice paper rounds, and sauce to dip, primarily sweet chili, fish sauce, or soy sauce. The vegetables and rice noodles are combined, dressed, and wrapped in softened rice paper to be consumed as a finger roll.

To take it up a notch, add additional meats/seafood, carrot, capsicum, wombok cabbage, lime, mint or beansprouts in any combination you fancy. What makes rice paper rolls so fantastic is their ability to be fully customizable depending on your needs and your weekly budget. 

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