Guava Season cookbook provides simple meal ideas for tough times

With food prices rising, stretching a dollar and the food supply is vital these days.

Knowing how to prepare a healthy and nutritious meal without breaking the bank, however, is a challenge for many.

With her first cookbook, Mmhmm ​​- Guava Season, Baidawi Assing provides a much-needed solution for these times.

Assing is the man behind the popular EatAhFood website and hosts a series called Mmhmm ​​on the brand’s YouTube channel.

The free, downloadable recipe book lives up to its name. Guava season in local parlance refers to a time of financial hardship. Thanks to global food shortages, unemployment, inability to work due to illness, and a myriad of other problems caused by the pandemic, many are stuck in an endless guava season.

Guava Season is Baidawi Assing’s first cookbook from EatAhFood

The cookbook contains 25 recipes that reflect Assing’s personal and strategic preference for simple, humble and economical meals such as sago porridge, cooked lentils, coo-coo, cooked tuna, cooked kidney beans, plantain porridge and green fig and cooked pigeon peas. .

The recipes are also mostly vegetarian or vegan. Assing, who is neither, explains in the book that it is cheaper to prepare vegetarian meals than to prepare meat dishes.

While providing readers with simple meal options, Assing also encourages readers to frequent their local markets and build a sense of community around food and life.

“The whole premise of the book was showing people that they can eat good food, delicious food and it doesn’t have to be expensive or just change people’s perspective on what we think. be of good or high quality. People think something really good is something you have to spend a lot of money on and it’s not,” he told Loop News.

“Also, part of choosing certain ingredients is the relationship between seller and buyer in the marketplace, where it’s not a rigid relationship like in the grocery store where everything has a price. You don’t negotiate with the grocery store, but in the market you still have that relationship with a salesperson where even the salespersons know that some customers don’t always have it. If a seller knows that I usually buy three bhaigans and that day I only buy two, he will keep that in mind and add one more. It’s just a broad understanding of where people are in terms of finances and kind of an acknowledgment that we’re all going through this,” he said.

Chicken Bhagi Rice

Each meal listed in Guava Season can feed four to six people depending on portion size.

In the introduction to his book, Assing notes the staples he stockpiles while cooking on a budget.

Some of its staples that can be found in the supermarket are parboiled rice, pasta, all-purpose flour, cornmeal, and dried or canned peas and beans that feature in many season recipes. the guava. At the market, he buys ground groceries and he makes a special mention of green figs which he says are an extremely versatile ingredient that goes well with almost any protein dish, whether it’s peas, beans, meat or fish.

“It’s a very cheap item on the market, but if you’re lucky it’s something you can get for free if you have a neighbor with a fig tree in their garden,” he wrote. .

With product prices trending higher, Assing said he picked recipes with ingredients that didn’t fluctuate too much in price.

The ingredients of his recipes can easily be exchanged for others in the event that certain prices are too prohibitive.

Spicy spaghetti with peas and carrots

“Depending on the recipe, you can always replace some ingredients with another. So for sautéed cassava, if cassava is expensive in the market, you can swap it and use dasheen. Almost all provisions could be replaced by this sautéed cassava. In recipes that call for pumpkin, if it’s expensive, you can use carrot. The reason I chose these particular recipes is that the ingredients most of them use don’t fluctuate as high. I didn’t use anything but a full set of tomatoes because that’s something that could be very expensive in the market,” he said.

Guava season is dedicated to Baidawi’s mother, Zina. Her all-time favorite dish is the stewed tuna and rice she made for him when he was a kid.

Download Guava Season HERE.

Michael M. Tomlin