I always knew I had to learn to cook for myself sooner or later if I wanted to ‘survive’ in the UK. Restaurants and take outs aren’t going to be healthy for both my body and wallet.
I had plenty of time to learn the basics of cooking back home during the summer of 2014/2015 before I left for the UK but laziness and procrastination got the best of me. So, I left Malaysia not knowing anything about making food, besides Maggi noodles, omelettes and French toasts – the simplest of the simplest foods to make.
Being a Malaysian Indian who grew up tasting a variety of savoury dishes, the common dishes here such as pizzas, burgers, chicken wings and chips, although very tasty, bored me after a while. So, I had to cook if I wanted proper, cheap and healthy Indian food.
You’ll rarely see restaurants that serve South Indian food here in Southampton, so if you can’t live without some chicken varuval, like me, those cookery skills will keep you sane 🙂
Within the first few weeks here in the UK, I started looking up recipes online that were simple enough for me to try. I jotted them down so I could then head over to the grocery store to get the ingredients I need. The first few dishes I cooked were pretty tasty but weren’t fantastically scrumptious but with time, I improved significantly.
Cooking with your flatmates is one way to improve your cookery skills. Having Malaysian flatmates made it all easier and more convenient. My flatmates had significantly more culinary knowledge than I did, so having them giving me inputs on cooking techniques helped me immensely.
Of course, cooking yourself meant you can experiment with different ingredients and observe how they change the taste of your food, for the better or the worst. Sometimes, the food turns out horrendously bad, I learnt from experience, but that’s okay, you’ll be the only one who’s eating it – no harm done.