Our Favorite Quarantine Recipes

The pandemic gave birth to what is known as "Quarantine Cooking," or in simpler terms, people started to cook in their homes because the outside was closed. During this time, many of us realized our love for cooking as others enhanced their skills. The worst (and the best) thing about "Quarantine Cooking" was that it became a trend on social media, especially Instagram. Posting photos and videos of even the simplest foods became highly viral, and maybe even a tad bit irritating.

I was amongst those food photographers and enjoyed the trend while it lasted. Only I already knew how to cook and was just enhancing my skill. Obviously, as the world was shut down, my resources were limited but that’s when the miracles happened. I came across the simplest of recipes which could be made in this dystopian world we were living in.

These recipes can be made for any occasion and by anyone. You honestly don't need to be an expert in cooking to make these items. Don't be alarmed by the length of these recipes, all of them can be made in under an hour. Here we go-

Cookie Chocolate Cake

This cake recipe is probably the most no-nonsense, easy to bake recipe I have come across. The reason being that it takes only three ingredients and 10 minutes of prep time!

Ingredients -

Cookies (300 g). You can choose any cookie, but I used Oreos and Hide and Seek.

Warm milk (1–1.5 cups)

Baking powder (2 1/4 tsp)

Preparation of batter -

First, we grind the cookies in a food processor into a fine powder. You can use any cookies, I used Oreo Biscuits (a bit hard to grind due to the cream), and Hide and Seek Biscuits (these were perfect for making this cake). Just make sure you are using a chocolate biscuit.

You’re already halfway done! Next, pour out the grinded cookies in a bowl and add baking powder in it. Mix it well. You can add a little less baking powder, no need to put in the whole 2.25 tsp.

Now you are in the last step of making this batter --wasn’t this just a piece of cake?! After mixing it well, add warm (NOT BOILING) milk and mix the batter again. You can use a blender (which is easier) or a spoon works well. Blend until it’s a flowy mixture. Unlike normal cake batters, this batter will be a bit more liquidy. Keep that in mind!

And there you have it — our batter is ready! Now grease your cake container, preheat the oven to 170C or 300F, and then bake it for 15–20 minutes. Make sure to check if your cake is fully baked! If not, put it in the oven for a bit longer. 

An easy and quick cake recipe! To add some other stuff check out this video.

Watermelon Fruit Punch

Summer isn’t  fun when the temperature outside hits 113 Fahrenheit. In this heat, you need to stay refreshed and fully hydrated. This watermelon punch makes a great summertime drink!

Ingredients -

Watermelon (1)

Rooh Afza (sharbat)

Chaat Masala, Black Salt, Lemon Juice.

Preparation -

Cut the watermelon into small pieces. Put it in a food processor.

You can either add Rooh Afza, lemon juice and the other two spices directly in the food processor, or you can grind them and then put it directly in the watermelon juice.

I prefer to grind the watermelon first, and depending on the quantity I’ll put in either 1 spoon or 1.5 spoon of Rooh Afza (if your watermelon is already sweet, make sure you don’t add a lot). Add in lemon juice, black salt, and chaat masala depending on your taste buds.

Rooh Afza’s main job is to give the drink a striking red color and sweeten it. The spices and lemon will give the drink a salty and sour taste! Try this drink out, and I guarantee you, it will be the best drink you will have this summer. For other drinks check out this Instagram post!

Pancakes

Pancakes are the love of my life! And this summer I finally learned how to make the most amazing eggless pancakes. There’s an abundance of eggless pancake recipes, but this one is my favorite one.

Ingredients -

Wheat flour (2 cups)

Grinded sugar (2 tbsp)

Baking powder (2 tbsp)

Baking soda (1/2 tsp)

Salt (a pinch)

Butter (2 tbsp)

Milk (depending on consistency, 1–2 cups)

Preparation -

First add all the dry ingredients together and mix them well.

Melt 2 tbsp butter and pour it in the dry mixture. Then take one cup of milk and pour half of it in the mixture. Mix it well.

After the batter is a bit thick, add the rest of the milk. If your batter is too thick, you can add a little bit more milk. This is where most people have problems --just make sure that the batter is consistent.

Once you have your batter ready, take out a non-stick pan (if you don’t have one, just take a regular one). Heat it a bit before pouring the batter on it. I recommend keeping it on a low flame if you aren’t really familiar working with it. Flip the pancake when you see a lot of bubbles coming up, but don’t wait too long or else it might burn.

There it is, the perfect breakfast recipe: simple and easy to make! Add some berries, chocolate chips or any condiment of choice to the batter, and add any sauces you like. My go to is honey and chocolate syrup. (For a video demonstration, see this).

Open Paneer Sandwich

This dish is my go-to for any occasion. I made this on my parents’ anniversary and on my sibling’s birthday! This will give you an opportunity to expand your cooking skills from baking and making drinks to cook something much more filling and exciting! Let’s start -

Ingredients -

Green onions (1)

Garlic (1–3 leafs)

Paneer (30–50 g)

Bell peppers (1 - green and red) -- according to taste

Milk (1–1.5 cups)

Cheese slices (3–4) -- according to taste

Bread

Black olives (optional)

Preparation -

Start with chopping all the vegetables (medium sized) and paneer (small squares). I am going to divide this recipe into two parts. First, we will make our cheesy paneer filling -

Pour some oil (at least 2 tbsp) in a pan on low heat. Let the oil cook for a bit, then add garlic to it. I don’t use much garlic because the smell bothers my mom, but you can use more than a few leaves.

Next, we are going to saute our veggies! Add chopped green onions (same thing as garlic with onions), bell peppers in the pan and saute them for a bit.

Add a bit of salt, oregano and chili flakes, according to taste. Let them cook in the pan.

Now it’s time to add paneer! Mix it well after adding, and then add milk (1–1.5 cups). I used homemade paneer, but you could also use paneer from the market. The tricky part here is to remember that paneer absorbs milk. If you end up adding a lot of milk, just keep stirring it on high flame while making sure nothing gets burned in the process and you’ll be fine!

For our last step, you need to add cheese slices. This will make your filling a bit solid and easy to apply on the bread. There you have the awesome filling for your open sandwich.

For the second part of this recipe, all you need to do is toast bread and cut it into small pieces.  Top it with the filling you made. To make it look more aesthetic and add more flavor, add black olives on top of your open sandwich and enjoy it anytime, anywhere!!! (Link to this recipe is here).

Home-made chocolate

For the last awesome quarantine recipe, I bring you home-made chocolate right from my grandma’s kitchen! It’s as the name of the article suggests — easy to make and oh so perfect for quarantine (or literally anytime you are craving chocolate)!!

Ingredients -

Butter - home-made or from market (1 cup)

Sugar - same amount as the butter (1 cup)

Milk powder (depends on your mixture)

Drinking chocolate powder (2–3 tbsp)

Cocoa powder (½ -1 tbsp, depends on taste)

Preparation -

First take the sugar and add some water to it. Put the solution on a stove and mix them well until boiling and the sugar is completely dissolved. Then, add butter into the mix. Remember to turn off the stove before mixing the butter. 

You have to use the same amount of butter and sugar, and it’s completely up to you how much you want to make. If you want to make a lot, you can take 2–3 cups, but remember to change the ingredients accordingly.

After the butter is completely melted, keep on mixing it for a while and then let it rest for 5–10 minutes.

Add cocoa powder and drink chocolate powder to your mixture and keep mixing it well. If you want really dark chocolate, add more cocoa powder.

Now comes an important step --adding milk powder. This will help in making your chocolate dough-like. Keep adding milk powder slowly and see if the mixture is getting thick. You need to make the mixture dough-like, but not rock hard. Keep it smooth so it’s easy to roll. I usually add 2–4 tbsp, but it really depends on your mixture’s texture.

And there you have it! If you have different shape molds, you can put this chocolate dough in them or just roll it and cut it into small square pieces before refrigerating!

I hope you will enjoy making these recipes as much as I did, they might bring some color to our monotonous life right now. If you made something new this quarantine, do reach out to let me know! Follow me for more easy and fun recipes!