Coronavirus India: No Meat, No Vegetables During Lockdown? Here’s How You Can Still Cook Nutritious Meals | GPlus Guwahati

No Meat, No Vegetables During Lockdown? Here’s How You Can Still Cook Nutritious Meals

Gunjan Sharma | April 06, 2020 16:12 hrs

GUWAHATI: Since the government has announced the lockdown, most of us are worried about how to get essential food items like vegetables, meat etc. In almost every household, it is essential to consume vegetables, fruits, and meat on a daily basis to keep the system going. 

However, in this time of crisis, it is not always possible, nor preferable to go out and bring fresh items every day.
Now the important question that arises here is how and what to cook without vegetables and meat throughout this lockdown? 

Hence it is time we think practically and buy those food items which are nutritious, easily available at grocery stores and have a longer shelf life so that we can stay in our houses and maintain social distancing. 

There are multiple food items in grocery stores and our kitchen which are equally healthy, full of nutrition and can help us cook great meals without missing vegetables and meat. We might find them boring but these can be made into some delicious and versatile meals.  

Keeping that in mind here is a list of food items that can help you survive the lockdown! 

Lentils (Dal) 

Dal could be termed as an Indian kitchen essential. It would be hard to find a household in India that doesn't stock up different varieties of dal. Dal adds essential vitamins, protein, minerals, and fibre to our diet. 

Apart from having a longer shelf life, Dal is easy to cook, comes in different types and it also has several nutritional values. 

In vegetarian households, dal works as a major protein provider. Each type of dal has its own set of nutritional benefits. However, some types of dals are healthier when compared to others. 

Dal can be made tastier with limited amount of spices and veggies. Using Panchphoron in dal makes it taste and smell delicious. Panchphoron (or Pas Phoron) in Assamese is a very common household whole spice blend which is used while preparing major dishes like vegetables, meat and lentils. This spice mix is believed to have originated from the Indian subcontinent. Panchphoron means "five spices", which includes fenugreek seed aka methi, nigella seeds/black cumin seed aka kalonji, cumin seeds aka jeera, black mustard seed aka sarso/rai and fennel seeds aka sauf. 

One can mix and match different types of dal and enjoy a tasty meal. You can fry the dal with onions, or add Panchphoron and enjoy it with rice. Apart from having dal in its common form with rice or roti, one can also make rotis (chapati) stuffed with dal, moong dal sabji, channa dal gravy, halwa made of dal, dal chilla and much more.  

The moong dal and black gram dal are said to be the healthiest among the dals. Moong dal has minimal calorie and it is a rich source of iron and potassium. Masoor dal on the other hand comes with both benefits and side effects. 
Masoor dal improves the blood circulation but it can also raise your uric acid levels.  

Chana dal or Bengal gram dal acts as one of the richest vegan sources of proteins. 

Urad dal is one of the major sources of proteins and Vitamin B. Toor dal could be said to be one of the most popular dals consumed in India. It helps to regularise bowel movements.

This lockdown could be your time to get into the kitchen and experiment with dal. It can be made taster with very less ingredients and it has a longer shelf life making it a win-win food item.


Every non-vegetarian / eggetarian household always keeps a stock of eggs ready. It is one of those items which can go with almost anything. Boil it, fry it, scramble it or make it into an omelette or curry, eggs never seem to disappoint.  Not only do they taste good, eggs also have major nutritional benefits. Apart from being a major source of protein, eggs also provide vitamin, minerals, and fat to our body.

Using this versatile food item, we can make tasty dishes in minutes at home. Devil eggs, egg curry, egg stuffed paratha, egg bhurji and egg rolls are some of the common and popular egg preparations which can easily be prepared with limited ingredients. 

Soya chunks

One can easily be tricked with minced soya instead of minced chicken in chicken momos. Popular faux meats are majorly made of soy.  

You can actually replace meat with soya chunks in your favourite dishes. Though easy to cook, soya chunks do not have any flavour of their own but they do have a tendency to absorb other flavours well.  

As per experts, soya chunks can lower cholesterol levels, prevent heart diseases, and help in weight loss. It is said to have a protein content which is equal to that of meat. They are also a good source of minerals, vitamins and good fibre content, which can help to check on your body weight and fight diabetes. Soya chunks are easily available at all grocery stores and can be stored for a longer time. 

You can prepare many dishes with soya chunks such as soya chunks curry, soya pulao with rice, minced soya momos, soya korma, soya cutlet and more.  

Cottage Cheese (Paneer)

Paneer is one of the major sources of protein in vegetarian households along with dal.  Apart from protein, paneer also acts as a rich sauce of selenium, potassium and calcium. 

Although most people prefer to buy fresh paneer from dairy shops, packaged paneer is also available at grocery stores. Packaged paneer has a longer shelf life and could be a saviour during this lockdown. 

Though generally people buy paneer, it can also be easily made at home. Follow these simple steps to make paneer at home instantly: 

•    Boil 1 litre milk in a container 
•    Once it comes to a boil add juice of half a lemon
•    Let it boil till the water and milk (paneer) gets separated 
•    Once separated strain the paneer in a cloth and take out the excess water
•    Rest the paneer in the cloth and put some weight on it; and let it set in the fridge for some time. 
•    Voila, your paneer is ready.   

Paneer can be used in multiple dishes like paneer curry, paneer fried rice, paneer tikka and shahi paneer to name a few.  

Broken Wheat (Dalia)

Dalia or broken wheat which looks boring is very healthy for our body. Dalia is said to be healthier than wheat flour and it can be consumed by people of all age groups. 

Dalia is rich in fibre content, cures constipation, helps in losing weight and also helps in increasing metabolism. 

Dalia could work for all kinds of meals be it breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner. Dalia can be consumed daily by preparing it in various ways. Dalia can also be consumed by diabetic patients. 

You can make dalia pulao, dalia cooked with milk, dalia khichdi, dalia upma, and dalia with jaggery could be your next go to favourite sweet dish. 

Flattened rice (Chirwa)

Chirwa / Chura or Flattened Rice is fat free, lactose free and healthy for the heart. You can roast it and eat it for a snack mixed with some nuts, salt and spices or make it into poha with limited spices and veggies.


Another common way of having Chirwa is having it with curd (doi) and jaggery. Doi-Chira is a very common breakfast in parts of Assam, Bengal and Bihar. It cools down your body and helps in digestion.    

Chirwa is also gluten free. 

Kidney Bean (Rajma)

Rajma or Kidney beans are a great sauce of protein, rich in minerals, vitamins and fibres. Rajma should always be eaten well cooked. Raw or improperly cooked beans could have bad effects on your health. 

Rajma can be consumed in the form of a salad, or in a form of curry with rice/roti. Rajma is also used to make cutlets, chops and works great as a binding ingredient. Rajma has a longer shelf life. It should be soaked in water overnight before boiling. 

Chickpea (Kabuli chana)

Chickpeas or Choley as they are commonly referred to in India, is a very common grain used in Indian households. They are easily available in major grocery stores, are affordable and have a longer shelf life too. 

Apart from being a source of vitamins, minerals and fibre, they also offer help in improving digestion. 

Choley is generally enjoyed with bhature/puri or rice. It works as a replacement for meat in vegetarian and vegan dishes. Chickpea also works as the main ingredient while making hummus. 

Chickpea is a very good binding ingredient and can help in preparing chops, cutlets, burger patties and more. 

Mung bean (Green moong)

Green moong or sprouts as they are commonly referred to, is another versatile type of bean. They are gluten free, rich in protein, moderately caloric, low-fat and cholesterol-free. 

They can be consumed as a salad or can be made into a curry like dal too. 

One can even make dosa out of green moong or paratha.

Semolina (Sooji)

Semolina is flour made from ground durum wheat. It is rich in protein, fiber, and vitamins B. It may also support weight loss, heart health, and digestion. 

Sooji is versatile and very easy to cook. It can be made into sweet or savoury dishes. Upma, Soojihalwa, Sooji cutlet are some of the common dishes prepared in Indian households. 


Curd helps in improving digestion and enhancing immunity. Curd can be easily made at home for daily consumption. It is often used to thicken gravy or made into curry or raita and can even be consumed directly. 

Apart from these major ingredients there are some ingredients which work as essentials in every kitchen. These could include wheat, rice, potato, onion, ginger, garlic and chillies.

Take this lockdown seriously!! 

Stay at home, scan your kitchen, eat healthy, experiment with easily available ingredients and make the best of it.

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