Cooking With Zaka: a Super-Legit Tomato Sauce Narrative

Oh shit, I’m cooking today and it’s like one hour til I have to start. I really should have remembered to take something out of the freezer to thaw… I really don’t want to thaw something in the microwave, so my options are basically gradually peeling off a block of ground meat in the pan (huge pain), krögarpytt (brand of frozen mix of potato, onion and various meats, plus lots of things I’d have to look at the ingredients list for), or… oh yes, my saviour – that lovely meaty cylindrical thing I first had back in Eastern Europe.

Regrettably, I am not speaking of dicks.

The frozen ćevapčići lidl sells in 1kg bags is both delicious and affordable, but we’ve had it a few too many times recently. I should probably cook something else… maybe I’ll change the condiments from rice to pasta or fries… fuck fries turning them is a huge pain… meh fuck pasta too… okay it’s rice again… wait, I could make a sauce! …but what exactly? It’s not like I have the time to make tomato sauce from scratch, and frankly it’s not like it’s that great anyway (I’ve done it according to a legit recipe once!).

Well, if you don’t like a recipe you can always change it! I quickly search the fridge and find a fairly small red onion, garlic (not an option, was rotting), and okay that was all I was looking for in the fridge to begin with. Next I reach for the box of strained tomatoes I know is in the larder next to the fridge. Surprisingly it has not been abducted by aliens (maybe the red on the packaging scared them off), allowing me to wrest it from the depths of the… just kidding, it was at chest height on the second shelf.

I get a bouillon cube, a knife, put some rapeseed oil in a saucepan, and set to business; the business is making the bouillon cube submit to my knife (not the easiest), and cutting the onions.

I managed to not cry.

The preparation of the ćevapčići and rice was easy (and irrelevant). Anyway, the sauce. I heat the oil at medium-high for a bit, pop in a piece of onion to see if it’s ready, and the bubbling around it assures me that this is the case. I put in the rest of the onion and stir it around a bit, lower the heat, and pour in some of the strained tomato and the semi-powdered bouillon cube (it did not submit fully, but I was able to impose strict limits on its military and generally destroy its infrastructure), let it boil, add salt (used a lot, which was a bad idea – try not to do that, the bouillon cube prolly has it already), white pepper, and finally the x-factor ingredient I just had to put in: chili flakes. A bit too many, I reflected after I had thrown in a bunch. After letting it boil slightly and stirring it around a bit, I decided it was done, used a spoon to try it, and was promptly greeted with something strong and edible, probably in that order.

It was actually not too bad, and if nothing else it proves that whipping something up on your own isn’t necessarily too bad. At least if you’re a Zaka. I may or may not make it ever again, but I’ll probably take it a bit easier with the chili flakes and use less salt.

Thus concludes this episode of Cooking With Zaka.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bouillon cube
  • 1 red onion
  • strained tomatoes
  • white pepper
  • salt (maybe)
  • chili flakes / seeds / whatever
  • rapeseed oil (olive oil might be better)

Serve with other stuff, if you actually think it’s worth trying. There are probably better recipes.

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