Let's Eat

Fast fakeaways for less

Takeaways can be costly - Ilana Epstein shares her tips on how to treat yourself for less


Looking for a cost efficient food option to fuel your Euro-watching? You’ve come to the right place.

This article by Ilana Epstein, first published in 2022, contains all the inspo you need to create a fantastic fakeaway that may even cost less per head than the number of goals England have scored so far. 

If you’re following my series on how to cut food costs and still eat well, you’ll by now be used to the need for forward planning. However, there’s still room for some treats. A take-away dinner at the end of a long day that happens to be at the end of a hard week isn’t just desirable, it sounds heaven sent! Take-aways add up though, so why not plan in a fakeaway.

So here are my fakeaway ideas — some may be less than healthy, but so is the typical take-away, and it’s not an everyday meal. Fakeaways may take more time and preparation then your take-away, but they are so much cheaper, and you can prepare some elements ahead making it easier to whip one up when you’re in need of an easy meal:

Go Mexican

Finding kosher Mexican takeout in London is nearly impossible, so I have always made it at home. You can buy a do-it-yourself taco kit, fajita mixes and a variety of tortilla wraps, both in kosher stores and Amazon – these make a quick and easy dinner — and contain loads of protein and vegetables — making this a healthier option as well.

Bake up a tray of nachos topped with vegan mince, cheese and sauteed peppers for everyone to dig into. Fajitas are a lovely sociable option and easy to prepare. Simply lay out plates of fillings (sauteed peppers; sliced vegetables; grated cheese — if you’re making a veggie version — plus the wraps and everyone can assemble their own.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Since this article was published, we’ve discovered Sonia’s Salsa, which are a range of authentic Mexican chilli-based condiments made in a kosher home. Owner, Kelsey also recommends buying Tajin, which is a zesty, Mexican chilli lime seasoning which is kosher certified for an authentic flavour. Both are a relatively cheap way to take your Mexican fakeaway up a notch.

Bollywood Shabbat

Mash-up Friday night dinner and curry-night for a special end to the week. Indian curries are one of those things that taste amazing even if made ahead of time. Combined with rice — it’s a perfect Friday night meal, consider swapping out challah for naan bread and hummus for chutney. Make more than you need so you can freeze portions for later in the week, or your next fakeaway.

Pizza Party

Another fun option for all the family. Make your own dough and then lay out a range of toppings for everyone to make their own. For takeout style pizza the oven needs to be super-hot.

If you can, it’s worth investing in a pizza stone which will conduct and holds heat.

A cheap one will cost about the same as a kosher takeaway family pizza and will last you for years. It helps keep the oven temperature steady even when a cold ingredient (such as an uncooked pizza) is placed inside.

The pizza will cook more evenly, and the stone will also allow the bottom to get crisp.

Deli Delights

Much of the deli menu (think salt beef sandwiches, latkes or knishes) started out in Jewish home kitchens. It’s time home cooks reclaimed them.

They’re really easy to make for a fraction of the price and make a wonderful family meal bridging generations and passing on some of our unique heritage.

It’s a great time of year too to buy smaller cucumbers to which are easy to pickle at home.  There are plenty of recipes online.

Shawarma, bar none

The staple shawarma bar menu also goes down well with most of the family.

Traditionally it has been a cheaper option, but even this is steadily going up in price. Pulled meats, falafel, hummus, pickles and even amba can be made at home, for less.

Even if you buy your falafel to fry or bake at home instead of making it from scratch, it will still be a fraction of the cost. You can even make a batch of chips to eat on the side.

Frying them does make for a more authentic-tasting treat, so go for it if you have a deep fat fryer — or you can use a deep pan of oil. If you prefer a healthier option, you can air fry or oven fry your falafel and fries at a high temperature and spritzed with oil.

The JC, Mesila UK, Jewish Futures and GIFT have joined forces to bring you tips and tricks on how to look after your wallets and our planet.

First published in The JC 18/08/2022

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