I love one pot meals. It sounds cool, it is trending (for a while) on many videos celebrity chefs put up to get everyone excited about cooking and the most important thing, it is meant for a quick meal at the end of the day. Comforting food during childhood comprised of rice, a chicken dish and an assortment of vegetables for me. Those were the days when I had the luxury of someone cooking that meal for me. Sadly, growing up and moving outside the house does not provide you with that kind of luxury. However, you still crave for all those elements in a meal during days you barely manage to make lunch due to your difficult work schedule.
Historically, one pot meals were considered as peasant food. Made in one pot, comprising of various scraps of ingredients which came together to give the peasant class much needed nutrition. Ratatouille, a culinary gold mine for inspiration was part of the peasant food culture tradition. As, globalisation would have it, it is now part of a dominant food culture.
My one pot meal comprises of my two favorite food groups; carbohydrates and proteins. Yes, regular readers of the blog would say it is a pretty safe bet! Moving on, it also has to contain some amount of vegetables. It is important to have some greens on the plate, many might not like it but it is an obligation we have to our body in return of all we make it go through!
I call it the ‘Malaysian meets Me’. My style of cooking with the influence of a Malaysian curry but all in one pot.
- 2 tbsp oil
- 4 pods cardamom
- 4 green chillies, can be adjusted according to the amount of heat you need.
- 1 big roughly chopped onion
- 1 tbsp chopped Lemon grass or 2 tbsp lemon juice (whichever is available, but priority goes to the lemon grass)
- 3 big pods of garlic
- About 2 inches of ginger
- ½ cup chopped coriander
- 500 grams chicken
- 1 cup brown rice (you can use white rice as well but brown is a healthier option)
- 200 ml coconut milk
- 1 cup French beans/ carrots/ peas/ broccoli or you can mix all up and put one cup
- Salt to taste
- Warm water
- In a grinder add green chillies, ginger, garlic, coriander leaves, onions and lemongrass/ lemon juice. Make into a paste. Do not add water.
- In a wok/ flat pan heat oil and temper the cardamom.
- Put in the spice paste and fry it, if the paste sticks to the pan put about 2-3 tbsp of warm water. The warm water does not let the oil to cool down quickly and helps in frying the paste till it is done.
- Once the paste is fried (it will take about 10 minutes, a little patience and some light stirring) .Put in the chicken and the beans. Mix well and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Wash and drain the rice and put in the wok.
- Measure the coconut milk in the same cup you measured the rice in.
- Then add warm water. This mix should be 2 cups (a measure of 1:2 ratio of rice and coconut milk water)
- Add salt. Mix and bring to boil.
- Simmer and cover for exactly 20 minutes.
- Switch off the heat and make it stay till 10 minutes.
- Put it on a plate and your meal is done
If you are excited about playing with tastes etc. you can change the ingredients especially in the paste to have a completely different flavour. Have fun with it to add some variety. You can also add prawns or boiled egg to this mix. If you are a vegetarian just double the portion of vegetables you put in this or add some soy chunks with the vegetables. The cooking process remains same for all the above ingredients. However, if you put mutton or beef in it, you should consider increasing the cooking time so that the meat is cooked through. I hope you have a good time cooking it as much as I did.