10 cheap ingredients every home cook should have in their kitchen

If you haven't got a lot of space in your kitchen and your cooking at home is simple, you don't need to compromise on taste.

A lot of people think that to cook delicious meals you need a lot of time and ingredients, but chef, Mitch Orr believes that a simple approach to cooking yields the best results.

“The only things I ever have at home are ingredients for simple, easy to throw together meals. If you’re like me, and you work late, there may not always be an abundance of ingredients at home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t whip up something delicious and full of flavour,” he says.

Here are a list of basic ingredients that Mitch recommends everyone should keep stocked in their kitchen for fast, inexpensive but delicious meals:

1. Eggs 

The ultimate ingredient, according to Mitch. "You can do so much with eggs so think beyond the scrambled and fried options. Be a little fancy and poach some eggs or make a frittata and put it in containers for the week’s lunches." 

2. Mi Goreng bulk packet

Mitch believes this  perfect late-night snack, and the perfect springboard for any recipe. "You can turn this into a gourmet meal by adding an egg and sautéing some veggies or having it plain will do just fine," he says.

3. Lao gan ma chilli paste

Love a bit of spice? Chilli paste is versatile and Lao gan ma is a flavour bomb that'll add a kick to anything you make. Use it in noodles, or as Mitch says, "This is great to use even as a condiment for steak or fish."

4. Lap cheong

Never heard of lap cheong? "Otherwise known as a Chinese sausage, these can be cooked in a variety of ways. Steam with rice to take your flavour to the next level, or stir fry and add them to your omelettes, fried rice or noodles," explains Mitch.

5. Rice

This pantry staple is inexpensive, filling and can be teamed with alomst any foods to make a full dish. But, which type should you choose? Mitch says, "My favourite pick for dishes is jasmine. It’s light, and smells amazing."

6. Fish sauce

"I love flavour and the perfect seasoning for me is fish sauce," says Mitch. "I like to add this to most of my meals and it keeps recipes simple, without needing to add lots of different sauces and spices." 

7. Pasta

We'd all like to come home to freshly-made pasta, but we don’t always have the luxury or time to make it for a meal. So, ready-made is good to have in the pantry. Mitch advises, "Feel free to experiment with flavours and additional ingredients with this one to find your go-to pasta dish."

8. Salt and pepper 

"These two are so underrated but so important, so there’s no excuse for not having any in your pantry. A pinch of both for a flavour boost in whatever you’re cooking up can make or break the meal," says Mitch. His personal picks are Murray River Pink Salt and Kampot Pepper.

9. Garlic

The aroma of garlic is incredible, and it's a simple way to add flavour to so many meals - no matter the cusiine. "You can add as much or as little as you like to your cooking," says Mitch. "You could even add in your own garlic butter to go with your home made carbonara!"

10. Shiitake mushrooms 

"They're so versatile, delicious and easy to use – say no more! You can add it to your mi goreng, soup, pizza or even gravy," explains Mitch.

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