Cooking in a dorm can be nearly impossible for a number of reasons, the primary one being that, pretty much 99 times out of 100, cooking requires some sort of kitchen. In the absence of a kitchen though, say if you’re camping, at least then you can still set up a gas stove and stitch together some sort of makeshift mise en place.
In a dorm, unfortunately, you lack even the creature comforts you could expect from a lowly campsite, and instead are reduced to trying to stave off the freshman 15 with only the help of a mini-fridge and a microwave. In such a dire situation, making anything even remotely edible in your cramped lodging requires culinary creativity on par with that of a Michelin star winner.
Unless you have Indian food.
That’s right, whether you grew up eating dal daily or you thought rogan josh hosted a podcast, when you live in a dorm, the food of the Asian subcontinent will be your godsend. Granted, because you still lack a stove, oven, functional sink or any number of kitchen basics, eating Indian in this context doesn’t mean whipping up palak paneer over a Bunsen burner.
You will still have to settle for a few shortcuts and save the from-scratch preparations for when you find yourself in a full kitchen. But, with a few helpful products and the right wherewithal, you can eat like Shah Jahan every night of the week.
So, here are four reasons why Indian food is the best dorm food.
1. It’s Convenient
Many of India’s best dishes — lentils, curries, stews, vegetables — are one-pot wonders. Unlike many other cuisines, when you eat like a true Mumbaikar, you can get your starch, protein, vegetable and flavor all in one dish, which is essential when your cookspace quadruples as your lounge space, sleep space and study space.
In fact, with a product like Maya Kaimal Everyday Dal all you need is a microwave and you’re 90 seconds away from a nutritionally replete, plant-based meal that tastes delicious, which is basically the big, hairy, audacious goal for any and all dormroom cookery. Throw in some shelf-friendly naan and drizzle on some spicy ketchup, and before you know it the food hall employees will be coming over to your place for dinner. (Don’t let them in.)
2. It’s Healthy & Vegan
We completely understand that the dorm-friendly, microwaveable market is pretty much the provenance of ramen, but after a few of those late-night sodium bombs you and your rapidly shrinking pants might want to look into some other alternatives. Like ramen, most dorm snacks swap nutrients for preservatives, which means subsisting on pretzels and Power Bars might keep your lights on, but it’ll have some serious ramifications for your selfie game.
Indian food, whether it’s pre-study-session tikka masala or late night goan coconut, is generally vegetable-forward, nutrient-rich and gut-friendly; many of its most delicious dishes are even vegan. So just because you don’t have the time or cookware you’d like, you can still eat healthy and reward your body for all the studying it’s doing.
3. It’s Delicious
Because, as a freshman and sophomore, you’ll be so overwhelmed with the basic responsibilities of running your own life, food companies know that your standards for food quality are pretty low — that’s pretty much the mission statement for Pop-Tarts. Packaged food purveyors and snack enablers figure that if they can keep you hopped on sugar, salt and fat then you’ll have the energy to make it to class with your eyes open, and that’s basically where they feel their responsibilities end.
No matter what stage of maturity your palette has reached though, chances are you’ll grow incredibly tired incredibly quickly of most freshmen chow. When that happens, you’re going to want some options that double down on flavor without sacrificing taste, and that’s where Indian food comes in.
The entire cuisine is world-renowned for its virtuosic application of spice, so no matter what dish you choose, you’ll be eating some of the most elegant, complex fare possible. That on top of the fact that it will cost you only a fraction of the cost that even a bread crumb runs at Whole Foods, and the decision really becomes a no-brainer.
4. It’s Cool
It’s 2018 and eating adventurously has been in for like five years now, where have you been? The person sticking to chicken fingers and mashed potatoes at the dining hall isn’t blasé, they’re uncultured.
You, with your epicurean tastes, name-dropping of various cuisines and their dominant flavor profiles, you are cool. Plus, college is all about expanding your worldview, so it makes sense to begin by expanding your pantry.
Head to Maya Kaimal Fine Indian Foods for more products and recipe suggestions to make boring college dining a thing of the past.