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Make a gourmet meal on a student budget

Sometimes you just want to treat yourself to a good meal.  But where can a student get a sumptuous meal on the cheap without feeling a huge financial dent?  Art Café? Onami? Fogo Gaucho? Unless someone else is paying for it, it’s unlikely you will break bank to buy a Sh2,000 meal.

However, there is silver lining. You can treat yourself to a good meal for a fraction of the price – if you prepare the food from your kitchen. Think about it; trying out a new menu can be interesting and also challenging. So try out this menu that feeds three adults at a reasonable student budget of less than Sh300.


Potato Pancakes with a side dish of: steak in crunchy vegetables and guacamole

Potato Pancakes:


6 large potatoes

1 large onion

3 garlic cloves

1 bunch of coriander

1 egg

½ cup of all purpose flour

Salt and pepper to taste


Wash potatoes thoroughly.  Chop them up coarsely and then place them in a pot with boiling water.  Do not peel the potatoes, cook until soft for mashing.

While potatoes are cooking, chop up the onion and coriander finely, and crush the garlic, set aside.

Once the potatoes are cooked, drain the water, and place the potatoes into a bowl for mashing.  Mash the potatoes.  Once the potatoes are mashed, place the onions, garlic and coriander in the bowl of potatoes.  Crack an egg into the mixture, add salt and pepper, and mix everything well.

Once the potato pancake mixture is ready, make 4 cm wide, and 1 ½ cm thick patties out of them.

Heat a pan with 3 table spoons of vegetable cooking oil.  Coat the patties in flour before putting them in oil.  Cook both sides till golden brown.



Steak in vegetables


¼ kg of steak

2 carrots

1 zucchini

A hand full of French beans

1 onion- cut into rings

2 cloves of garlic- crushed

1 green chili

1 lemon

2 tablespoons of oil

Salt to taste



Wash and chop all the vegetables, then cut steak into strips.

Heat oil in pan then throw in onions and garlic.  Cook for about 3 minutes or until onions turn clear and the throw in the steak.  High heat is important at this stage, cook until steak in nicely browned.

Once steak is browned, squeeze out lemon juice into the pan.  Throw in the rest of the ingredients, reduce the heat and cover for 5 minutes.




1 avocado

1 onion

1 bunch coriander

1 tomato- pitted

1 small green pepper

1 lemon

Salt and pepper to taste



Peel and pit avocado.  Then mash into a bowl.

Chop all the other ingredients finely- except the lemon and put into the avocado bowl.  Then squeeze lemon juice into the bowl.

Add salt and pepper to taste.


There you have it, a fancy meal that serves three healthy people for the grand total of: Sh 276!! Now isn’t that something? Bon appétit!

Ingredient Breakdown:

Onions: 20/-

Garlic: 20/-

Potatoes: 40/-

Steak: 90/-

Carrots: 10/-

Zucchini: 10/-

French beans: 10/-

Lemons: 20/-

Avocado: 25 /-

Green pepper: 20/-

1 egg: 10/-

Chili: 1/-

Coriander: Free courtesy of butcher

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