Adapting to rampant inflation and prices skyrocketing for many months is a serious challenge for many of us. There are plenty of strategies to save some money, from giving up expensive hobbies to taking only three-minute showers. Nonetheless, not all forms of economizing are necessary sacrifices: We introduce some truly cost-effective dishes from Central and Eastern Europe that are tasty and do not lighten our wallets.
Kugelis is a Lithuanian dish that combines everything we can nowadays wish for: it is quite cost-effective, can be consumed in many different ways, and is delicious. It is a kind of potato cake or pudding, so its main ingredient is the still affordable potato. We only need a few very common extra ingredients to make kugelis: onions, milk, eggs, and the most special one: bacon. You can find the recipe here; it is very easy to make it!
One of Georgia’s most famous national dishes, khinkali, resembles Asian dumplings. The Georgian dumplings can be filled with meat, cheese, or even potatoes, depending only on our preferences, so the only limits are our imagination and the available ingredients. The basis of khinkali, the dough, can be made from a few basic ingredients: we need flour, eggs, and warm water, and the filling can actually be made from leftovers. You can find the detailed recipe here.
Everyone loves garlic and pastry, and the Ukrainian pampushki combines these: they are soft buns with garlic sauce, which are delicious on their own but also as a side dish. The ingredients are, again, some of the most basic foodstuffs: you will need flour, oil, spices, and garlic. Click here for detailed instructions.
Grenadiermarsch, more commonly known as potato pasta, is also an affordable yet delicious (and filling) dish that can be made outside the school canteen in a more delicious way. It is a bit strange to eat a side dish with a side dish, but your wallet will be happy at the end of the month. You just need a few ingredients, and the retro dinner is ready to serve! Drink with spritzer (fröccs) or just a slightly oversweetened tea for the perfect experience.
Papanasi is a Romanian fried cottage cheese doughnut. Besides cottage cheese, we need flour, sugar, eggs, and oil, and traditionally smetana and jam as toppings, but, of course, we can have alternative versions. Here is the detailed recipe.
Bryndzové halušky is a Slovak national dish consisting of potato dumplings and soft sheep cheese. It is perfect for cooks who want to save money (and who does not these days?) as it is also made from just a few ingredients not so affected by inflation, but it is still delicious and filling. Halušky requires only a few basic foodstuffs (flour, eggs, and potato), so only the bryndza (sheep milk cheese) and the (not compulsory) bacon are the ingredients that may not be found in every kitchen.
This Polish specialty could be called „Central European ravioli,” as it is a filled and cooked dumpling. The difference lies more in the filling, which is typically a mixture of potatoes and cheese in Poland. The rest of the recipe is pretty straightforward: the filling made from boiled potatoes, butter, cheese, and onion is placed into the dough, and after closing the dough pocket, it is cooked in boiling water. You can find the full recipe here.