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Travel, Teach, Live in Europe and Middle East

Writer Jessica Ackerman: Frugal Ways to Enjoy Middle Eastern Cooking (Food, Middle_East, Budget)

Middle Eastern cooking can be enjoyed very economically, especially when prepared at home. There are several advantages to home cooking as compared to restaurant foods, besides the obvious cost advantage. When you cook at home, you'll also be able to choose the exact foods you want, while insuring that they are always fresh. Many people also find cooking to be an enjoyable hobby and a way to further explore a country's culture. Just as with any kind of cooking, you should always fully utilize the foods you buy and make sure to use up all leftovers. However, there are also some methods that you can use to save even more money when cooking Middle Eastern food at home.

Save Money by Substituting for Saffron
Saffron is a wonderful seasoning that can add a lot to the flavor of Middle Eastern cooking. However, it is also one of the most expensive spices that you can buy. Turmeric is one spice that you can try substituting for saffron, as it also has a beautiful yellow color. However, when cooking recipes that highlight the flavor of saffron, it is likely that you will be able to tell the difference when tumeric is used instead. This is why many people often choose to just skip cooking the dishes that call for saffron, instead of substituting for it or leaving it out completely, if they are trying to cook economically. Of course, you can also save money on saffron by only using it for special dishes or on special occasions.

Grow Your Own Vegetables
Middle Eastern cooking often features fresh vegetables, which can be much less expensive if you grow them yourself. Even if you only have a little bit of space, you can grow many kinds of vegetables. A small garden plot is all you need, or even just a few containers or pots on the balcony or back patio. Your recipes will taste fresher and you'll save money. Plus, you'll have fun, since gardening can be a very enjoyable hobby.

Substitute Beef or Chicken for Lamb
Lamb is a very popular ingredient in many Middle Eastern dishes. However, lamb is also more expensive than either beef or chicken. In many recipes, you can actually substitute beef or chicken and still end up with a delicious dish. It might not be as authentic, but it will still taste great and will save you money.

Buy Foods in Bulk
One of the easiest ways to save money when cooking is to take advantage of sales and buy in bulk. When something is on sale, such as rice or meat, you can buy extra so that you won't have to buy it when prices go up. Rice can be kept in good condition as long as you keep it in a cool, dry location in a sealed container. If you buy bulk packages of beef or chicken, you can divide them up into smaller portions and freeze them for future meals. It might seem a little bit expensive when you first start out buying in bulk, but in the end you'll save a lot of money.

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