5 Tasty Desi Recipes that Cost Less than £5

Everyone loves to save a bit of money. It is possible to make Desi recipes which are both delicious and cheap. Here are five which cost less than £5.

The scrumptious dish combines a perfect blend of spices all within a creamy texture.

Everyone loves a good plate of food, especially if it’s bursting with rich flavours and textures.

We all love a bargain too, there is nothing like saving a few pounds when doing anything.

It is possible to put the two together. Many think that a cheap meal will lack any flavour, but that is wrong.

Yummy food, especially Desi style food can be created without breaking the bank.

This is suitable for students on a budget, who can save money and eat nutritious foods or young professionals living on their own.

All the essential herbs and spices will already be in your cupboard, so you’re almost there when it comes to cooking.

There are several imaginative and affordable Desi recipes which can be cooked up in less than an hour.

All are full of flavour and with these recipes, they will provide inspiration on what to eat, either as a main meal or as a delicious snack.

The average prices have been worked out with the costs of ingredients across a number of UK supermarkets and assume no cost is incurred for the spices and herbs.

So, let’s get to it, here are five Desi recipes which can cost less than £5 to make.

Aloo Gobi

5 Tasty Desi Recipes that cost less than £5 - aloo

One of the classics within Desi cooking, Aloo Gobi is popular within Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani cuisine.

All the vegetables come together with the spice, but other flavours from the cauliflower and potatoes really bring the dish together.

The slightly sweet taste of the cauliflower offsets the earthy potatoes, but the garlic and ginger flavour make for an intense depth of flavour.

This vegetarian meal does not cost a lot to make. It promises to be a delicious meal without hurting your wallet.

Average Price: £3.83


  • 1 Small cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 2 Potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ Tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 chilli, finely chopped
  • Small bunch of coriander, chopped


  1. Wash and drain cauliflower. Make sure it is completely dry before cooking.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and added the mustard seeds. As they start to pop, add the cumin seeds.
  3. Add the onions and garlic. Fry until soft and lightly browned.
  4. Reduce the heat and add the tomatoes, ginger, salt, turmeric, chilli and fenugreek leaves.
  5. Cook until the onions and tomatoes begin to form a thick masala paste.
  6. Add the potatoes and stir to coat in the sauce.
  7. Reduce the heat and cover. Leave to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add the cauliflower and stir to coat in the sauce. Cover and leave to cook for 30 minutes on a low heat until thoroughly cooked.
  9. Stir occasionally and gently to prevent the vegetables from going mushy.
  10. Sprinkle with garam masala and garnish with coriander before serving.

This recipe was inspired by Hari Ghotra.

Chicken Pakoras

5 Tasty Desi Recipes that cost less than £5 - chicken pakora

While a pakora is usually made with vegetables, a chicken variation just elevates it.

The light, crisp batter coats the wonderfully moist and soft chicken.

It makes for a perfect snack or appetiser to have any day of the week.

The delicious batter combines spice with a tang for the taste buds as soon as you take that first bite.

It is a simple recipe which can be shared with friends and family.

Average Price: £4.68


  • 250g chicken, cut into thin strips or cubes
  • 250g onions, sliced and layers separated
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • A pinch of turmeric powder
  • 2 Green chillies, chopped
  • 15 Curry leaves washed and chopped
  • 5 tbsp chickpea flour
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, to deep fry


  1. Mix the chicken with onions, curry leaves, ginger-garlic paste, green chilli, red chilli powder, garam masala, turmeric, lemon juice and salt. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a deep pan.
  3. Mix both flours together and add a little water to form a batter.
  4. Add the chicken and onions into the batter to coat.
  5. To test the oil, drop a little batter into the oil and if it immediately sizzles, it is ready.
  6. Drop each chicken piece one after another but do not crowd them.
  7. Keep stirring and fry until golden brown.
  8. Remove and leave to dry on kitchen paper.
  9. Once all the pakoras are done, refry in batches for two minutes to make them extra crispy.
  10. Remove and enjoy as a snack.

This recipe was inspired by Indian Healthy Recipes.

Dal Makhani

5 Tasty Desi Recipes that cost less than £5 - dal

Dal Makhani is a favourite of many, originating from North India.

The scrumptious dish combines a perfect blend of spices all within a creamy texture.

It is made using lentils and kidney beans which cook to form a smooth dish.

The big flavours which come from the dish make it one which must be tried. With it not costing a lot you cannot beat this vegetarian option!

Average Price: £3.91


  • 2 tbsp red kidney beans, soaked overnight
  • ½ Cup urad dal, soaked overnight
  • Sunflower oil
  • ½ Cup tomato purée
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • ½ Cup fresh cream
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 Green chillies, sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 Inch piece ginger, chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Boil the dal and kidney beans with four cups of water and a pinch of salt. This makes it soft.
  2. In a deep pan, heat oil and add cumin seeds. Once they sizzle, add half of the ginger-garlic paste.
  3. Add onions, green chillies and the purée. Fry until golden.
  4. Once the mix is ready, add the cooked lentils and kidney beans. Bring to the boil.
  5. Add the garam masala and season with salt.
  6. Stir well and add water if it becomes too thick.
  7. Add the cream and butter. Stir well.
  8. Serve with rice, naan and roti.

This recipe was inspired by Times of India recipes.

Bombay Potatoes

5 Tasty Desi Recipes that cost less than £5 - potato

This Indian dish is a classic vegetarian option, commonly eaten as a side dish but can be a main meal if you choose.

The potatoes are soft but when fried, adds an extra crisp to them.

Each piece brings out many different flavours, from the spice of the chillies to the slight citrus taste of the ginger.

It takes hardly any time to cook and there is enough to be eaten the next day.

This version adds onions for added depth and adds an extra bite to the dish. The sweetness and slight acidity of the tomatoes offset the spicy flavour.

The best thing is that this dish can be a great addition to a weekly meal due to its low cost.

Average Price: £2.89


  • 3 Large potatoes, cut into medium-sized cubes
  • 3 Garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 Large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 Tomato quartered
  • ¾ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Boil and salt a large pot of water. Add the potatoes and boil until just tender, check by pricking them with a fork, if the fork slightly goes through, they are ready.
  2. Blend together ginger, garlic and tomato until smooth.
  3. Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan.
  4. Add the cumin and mustard seeds. Once they sizzle, add the onion and cook for one minute.
  5. Add the ginger-garlic mixture, the ground spices and salt.
  6. Gently cook for two minutes until it becomes aromatic.
  7. Tip the potatoes and cook for five minutes to become fully coated in the spices. Cook for longer if you prefer crispier potatoes.
  8. Remove from the heat and enjoy with fresh roti.

This recipe was adapted from Anjum Anand.

Prawn Curry

5 Tasty Desi Recipes that cost less than £5 - prawn

A curry is a staple of Indian cooking and comes in many variations with different levels of spice.

This prawn curry is one to make at home as the palette is filled with a number of extraordinary flavours.

The curry has spice which then gives a hint of sweetness from the pepper and onion for a delicious meal.

Normally, if using fresh prawns then the dish would be over the £5 budget however frozen prawns bring the cost down.

Once you try this dish, you will want to have more.

Average Price:  £4.80


  • 1 Bag of frozen prawns, defrosted
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 250ml vegetable or fish stock
  • ½ Can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Red pepper, chopped
  • 1 Red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • A small handful of coriander, chopped


  1. Heat oil in a pan and gently fry the ginger, garlic and chilli.
  2. Add the onion and cumin seeds. Cook for 10 minutes or until the onion is golden brown.
  3. Add the pepper and fry until cooked but still crunchy.
  4. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and cook until the mix becomes aromatic.
  5. In a separate pan, cook the prawns until they become pink all the way through.
  6. Tip the prawns in with the onions and peppers.
  7. Add the garam masala and stock. Stir and cook gently for 10 minutes or until reduced.
  8. Garnish with the coriander.
  9. Serve with basmati rice and mango chutney.

These recipes feature different main ingredients which can be put together to create a wonderful dish.

All promise flavour and nutrition with every mouthful. They also will not cost you the earth to make. So, give these recipes a go and try them for yourself!

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”

Images courtesy of Indian Healthy Recipes, Cook Republic and Deep's Cook Book

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