Asian Recipes You Can Make Cheap and Fast – SWR3

It should taste good, but at the same time it should be quick and not too expensive. The author of the book, Sebastian Maas, has found this perfect combination in many dishes. In the SWR3 interview, he introduces us to three of them.

Making it versatile and affordable: Sebastian Maas can do it

As important as a varied diet is, it often suffers from a lack of time in everyday life. In addition, regular, varied food can also cost a lot of money – but it doesn’t have to. Author Sebastian Maas proves it: He only started experimenting more in the kitchen when he had his first stable income. Before that, he felt too limited by his financial situation to try more complex recipes:

I have no idea or courage to try it in a smaller way.

Meanwhile, he has made it his mission to cook in a variety of ways without spending what looks like half a fortune each time. He wrote his experiences in a cookbook “Do it for freeDetention.

On the morning show of SWR3, he gave three recipes that we can use to save without leaving:

  1. Peanut Butter Garlic Pasta
  2. Homemade ramen with deviled egg
  3. Savory Japanese Pancakes

If you want to save time shopping, you don’t have to compromise on the quality of the food. Sebastian Maas also told us how he can buy as cheaply as possible at the supermarket:

Peanut butter and garlic is one of the dishes that Sebastian Maas makes for himself often – several times a week if he wants to. He told us why on SWR3’s morning show:

You have the ingredients in the fridge, you just need to chop some fresh vegetables and the sauce is ready in no time. It is very nice!

15 minutes sounds like a good time for a delicious meal! Here is the recipe for anyone who wants to try it.

Cheap meals for less than three euros not only taste good, they also look delicious.  (Photo: Sebastian Maas)

Sebastian Maas

Ingredients for Peanut Butter Garlic Pasta (serves 2):

  • 200 g long dry wheat pasta (spaghetti, linguine,…)
  • 2 small carrots
  • Half a cucumber
  • 1 red or yellow pepper

For the sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oil (recommended: sesame oil)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (recommended: rice vinegar)
  • 2 tbsp chili sauce (prefer Sriracha to Tabasco)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 thumb sized piece of zinc
  • 1 tablespoon of honey, agave syrup or sugar

Optionally as a group:

  • 2 spring onions
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
  • Half a lime

Instructions: This is how peanut butter and garlic is prepared

The preparation is simple, but leaves plenty of room for your imagination: First, bring a pot of water to a boil. It should not be too small because eventually all the ingredients will be mixed in it.

Finely chop the garlic and ginger and mix with the rest of the sauce ingredients. If you can, use rice vinegar and sesame oil, but olive oil and white wine vinegar also serve this purpose. Maybe you like one version better than the other? Just try it.

Wash the remaining vegetables, pepper and cucumber. Now cut the carrot, pepper and cucumber into strips about five centimeters long and one centimeter wide (the slices don’t go so well against the pasta). Cut the slices diagonally.

Now the water should boil and you can put the noodles in the water. You can try it here too: from spaghetti to wide rice noodles to udon noodles, anything is possible. Just pay attention to the cooking time on the package.

When the noodles are done, you can drain the pasta water, except for a little bit. Then add the sauce and chopped vegetables to the pan with the noodles. Mix everything together and you are ready to serve!

“Ramen” is known by many people as instant noodles that are boiled in boiling water. The second version is ramen which is one of those restaurant meals that you only have because you can’t make it at home. However, Maas did not want to use the ready-made version too often.

So he developed a recipe for making delicious ramen at home – and it’s all cheap. You need to bring a little time with you, but it is well invested. Here are some tips for a little variety in your home kitchen:

Cheap meals for less than three euros not only taste good, they also look delicious.  (Photo: Sebastian Maas)

Sebastian Maas

Ingredients for homemade ramen (2 people):

For the perfume:

  • 600 ml stock (vegetable, chicken or meat)
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 halves of white onion
  • 1 thumb sized piece of zinc
  • 150 g durum wheat spaghetti or long pasta

For balls:

  • 2 eggs
  • 6-10 mushrooms
  • 4 radishes or 1 carrot
  • 2 halves of green vegetables
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp sugar or honey

Instructions: This is how ramen wins

The toppings

  • that one egg Boil for exactly six minutes, cool for a minute in ice water and marinate with 2-3 teaspoons of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of sugar, in a jar with a lid and fill the jar with water. You should eat for at least 15 minutes, but it is possible for 24 hours.
  • Clean the mushrooms, remove the skins and crosswise. Fry both sides in hot oil for 5-10 minutes and finally add 2 tablespoons of soy and 3 tablespoons of water. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat and the mushrooms are already melting into a delicious sauce. You can continue this for at least 10 minutes.
  • Cut the radish and carrot into small sticks and marinate each with a tablespoon of sesame oil and sesame seeds.

The noodles

  • Finely chop the garlic and the white parts of the spring onions and fry them in olive oil until brown. Add soy sauce and let it cook for about half a minute. Then pour in the perfume.
  • Finely chop the ginger, add it and cook for another 10 minutes. After that, the heat can be turned off. At this point everything can be blended with a hand blender; it’s up to you.
  • In a separate bowl, cook the noodles until they are still slightly al dente.
  • When the noodles are almost done, bring the pot back to the boil, as it’s time to serve.


  • Drain the pasta and “gather” it in the middle of the plate.
  • Add the broth. Warning: the glass is much sharper at the bottom of the case than at the top. If there are several parts, it is better to divide the dough evenly!
  • Pour hot oil over the soup.
  • Cut the prepared eggs in half and place them next to the pasta.
  • Place the prepared vegetables in the middle of the bowl and serve quickly!

“Okonomiyaki”, Japanese pancakes, from Maas’s book are ready in no time. If you don’t have time for homemade ramen right now, you can choose this dish.

Cheap meals for less than three euros not only taste good, they also look delicious.  (Photo: Sebastian Maas)

Sebastian Maas

Ingredients for Japanese pancakes (2 people):

For the dough:

  • 200 grams of wheat flour
  • 200 grams of flavoring (vegetable flavoring, chicken flavoring or similar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 300-400 g of chopped vegetables (recommendation: Chinese cabbage, carrots, chives, corn)
  • 2 halves of white onion
  • oil or fat for frying

For decoration:

Instructions: How to make Japanese pancakes!

First, make the dough: In a bowl, combine the flour, cool pepper (not too hot!) and eggs. Then dry vegetables (such as carrots) are grated and the rest of the vegetables are cut to the size of their mouths. Which goes directly into the battery.

Keyword “leftover food”: Here you can find all the vegetables that are currently in the refrigerator and must go quickly! Just change the ingredients a bit here.

If the mass is now nice and sticky, the pancakes can be baked. To do this, put a pan on a medium heat and fry a quarter of the mass in a little oil. As a guide, about an inch thick, each side will take about four minutes.

The sauce question

In parts of Japan, pancakes are traditionally served with light and dark sauce. Light sauce Japanese mayonnaise. But since it is very expensive in Germany, we use German mayo.
that one dark sauce in Japan it is a mixture of ketchup, Worcestershire and chili sauce. Bargain ribs here are well served with barbecue sauce. Another variation would be ketchup with soy sauce or a mixture of chili, honey and soy sauce. But there may be an “Asia Week” in your local supermarkets again. Then you can also buy chili sauce cheaply.

Breakfast table (Photo: imago)

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a lot of…

Basic ingredients are the key to success. If you have legumes, flour and wheat at home, you can create cheap and long-lasting fresh meals on the produce. Maas also recommends this. The most important thing for him personally: chickpeas and dried beans. Of course, it always depends on your taste. It is also important to prepare a plan in advance:

How much will I eat at home, how much will I eat out this week? It is important to think about your food and not just go with your gut feeling. Because then you often buy too much, then one or the other item may spoil and you have to throw it away.

Maas has a simple approach to this plan: first come the ingredients, then the food. Before he decides what he wants to eat for the week, he looks around at the supermarket’s offers. Then he builds his menu around them. Of course you can also buy flowers without a recommendation, but then it can be much more expensive.

We asked Maas this question on SWR3’s morning show. He also says: It is difficult to cook cheaply when the prices increase, but it is possible. There is no medicine that must be bought; Prices vary from region to region, and even from supermarket to supermarket. So Maas’ biggest advice remains: Orient yourself to seasonal offers and products.

If something is in season, firstly it’s fresher and secondly it’s usually much cheaper because of the surplus. So I’m always looking: Which vegetables are the most popular right now, which ones are the cheapest? And then build my menu around that.

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