Teen leaving the nest? Give them a taste of home with these recipes

Last week was a difficult time for me. My first-born left home for the first and only time. It was a mixed bag of emotions. Reet is a wonderful person. I am proud of her for passing her exams and getting into her university. But, Im sad that she won't be seeing me as often. I worry about how she will cope with it.
All parents experience the joy of having children leave their family home, regardless of whether they're moving in with a partner or starting university. It has helped me to see things in perspective and make me realize how my parents must have felt as I left the nest.

A teenager who moves away from their family learns so many life skills that it is a first step into the independence and responsibility they need to manage everything in life. Many teens will experience this as their first time doing their laundry, managing their finances, shopping for food, and cooking for themselves.

Reet Gill and Romy Gill are moving away. Photograph: Courtesy Romy Gill

Some teens are more comfortable in the kitchen than others. They may have cooked with their parents as a child, been taught cooking lessons or simply love creating delicious meals. Others may find cooking a chore or a way to get energy, but it is an enjoyable and rewarding hobby. No matter what age your teenager falls into, or whether they fall somewhere in the middle, a few simple recipes can make a big difference. It is vital to be healthy, not only for your body but also for your mind, which is especially important for success at university. You will set them up for success and give them a foundation from which they can create delicious, healthy meals.

I have three favorite recipes for university that are easy to prepare and produce amazing results. The first recipe is one that I discovered early in my life. It is also very affordable. The second recipe is perfect for batch cooking and freezing. And the third is great for students who want to impress their friends or partners. I hope that your university students will enjoy this new challenge of learning how to cook something completely different.

My first recipe was roti

My childhood was dominated by flat breads, whether they were eaten as part of a main course or as a snack. When I was growing up, we ate many types of flat breads: parathas with various spices and other ingredients, deep-fried flat breads such as poori that puff up into balls, and roti. We used to make chapatti every day in India. This was the first recipe my mother taught me. They were cooked over an open fire, but my mother taught me how to cook them that way as a child. These are great for university students as they can be used as side dishes to curries, soups, or wrapped with your choice of filling. This recipe makes 8 servings

300g atta (chapatti), flour, plus additional for dusting. (Use plain or wholemeal flour in the event that atta flour is unavailable.

Water 200ml

1 tsp sunflower or rapeseed oil

Brush with ghee, or vegetable oil

Place the flour in a large bowl. Make a well in its middle. Add a small amount of water to the flour, mixing the flour as you go. Continue adding the water slowly until the dough forms. You may need more water if you use wholemeal or plain flour. This is because the consistency of your chapatti flour will vary.

For 5-6 minutes, knead the dough in a bowl until it becomes smooth and elastic. The dough should be brushed with some vegetable oil. Cover it with a tea towel and let it rest at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes.

Divide the dough into eight equal-sized balls. Roll each ball into a disk about 3mm thick. Each disc should measure 7-8cm in size. Continue with the remaining dough balls.

Place a dry pan on a medium heat. After the roti are hot, dry fry one side of them for approximately one minute until bubbles appear on the top. Flip the roti over and cook the other side. Press the dough lightly with a kitchen towel for another minute until it begins to rise. Continue with the rest of the roti.

To keep the bread warm, lightly brush it with ghee/oil. Wrap it in a tea towel or kitchen paper. You can freeze leftovers for later enjoyment.

To batch cook: onion paste

The base is an essential part of many Indian meals. Gravy is a base that you use to make a variety of Indian dishes. It's not a sauce for Sunday roast. Makes 500g

100ml rapeseed oil or sunflower oil (or butter/ghee)

600g red or white onions, roughly chopped

Ginger 60g fresh, peeled, and chopped

Garlic 1 large bulb, peeled then roughly chopped

tomatoes 2 tins, chopped

Chilli powder 2 teaspoon

salt 2 tsp

garam masala 3 TSP

Turmeric 1 tsp

Over medium heat, heat the butter, oil and ghee in large saucepan. Stirring frequently, add the onions to the pan. Stir in the ginger and garlic, and continue cooking for 15 minutes.

Cook for 5 minutes more. Add the tinned tomatoes. Cook the rest of the ingredients for 5 minutes. Let the mixture cool on the stove. Once it has cooled, remove from heat. Blend the paste using a hand blender until smooth. Divide the mixture into six portions and place in freezer-safe containers.

Once the onion paste is ready to go, you can add 250g of meat, fish, or one package of paneer diced. You can also cook with 400g of vegetables. If you like a creamier recipe, you can add 100ml coconut milk, yoghurt, or cream.

Easy butter chicken will impress your friends

This is a recipe that I passed on to Reet, my daughter. This is a simple recipe that Reet loves to share with her friends. It's delicious and easy, yet it tastes so decadent. It is easy to prepare and can be made in a casserole dish. Serves 3-4

Chicken breast 500g, cut into 2cm pieces

tomato pure 50g

Single cream 200ml

Salt 1 tsp

caster sugar 2 tsp

Chilli powder or flakes 1 teaspoon

2 tsp tandoori masala (available at supermarket world food aisles).

6 cloves of garlic, peeled then grated

Ginger 15g fresh, peeled, and grated

Ground cashew nuts 50g

Oil of your choice: 3 tsp

coriander 2 tsp, ground

Lemon juice

Water 200ml

Pre-heat the oven to 180C fan/gas 4. Mix all ingredients together in a large casserole dish with a lid. Place the casserole dish on the middle rack of your oven. Cover it with the lid and bake for one hour. After the meat is cooked, take it out of the oven and let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Romy Gill is a broadcaster, chef, and food writer. The book Zaika: Vegan Recipes from India (Orion At 20) is available at guardianbookshop.com for 17.40