Creating a fabulous family meal doesn’t have to take hours and destroy the kitchen. There are a host of tasty, nutritious, simple meals you can whip up with minimal fuss and clean up. One pot cooking runs the gamut from chicken curry, to butternut squash and sage risotto, to linguine to old favourites like mac’n’cheese.
The trick to one-pot cooking, much like making soup is to keep a set of basic ingredients on hand so you are always ready to cook. Here’s how to get started.
One pot — this can be a wok or large skillet, soup pot, or casserole dish
Cutting boards (one for meat/fish/poultry, one for veg)
Bowls for separating ingredients
You won’t use all of these, every time, but they are good base ingredients for a range of recipes.
Arboreo or paella rice
Fideua or macaroni
Rice or egg noodles
Lentils or mung dal
Tinned chopped tomatoes / tomato puree
Sweet and smoked paprika
Dried Mediterranean herbs (rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano)
Indian spices (cumin, turmeric, curry powder, garam masala)
Ibiza sea salt
Coarse-ground black pepper
Now, to get you started, here is a one-pot chicken curry recipe adapted from BBC Food, which has loads more recipes of all flavours, if you’re looking for inspiration.
1 large onion
6 garlic cloves
50g ginger, chopped
4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp fennel seed
5cm cinnamon stick
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp caster sugar
400g tin chopped tomatoes
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
250ml hot chicken stock
2 tbsp chopped coriander
Grate the onion into a bowl. Tip into a small bowl and leave on one side.
Crush the garlic to a paste with a knife or garlic press and finely grate the ginger.
Heat the oil in a wok or sturdy pan over a medium heat. Combine the cumin and fennel seeds with the cinnamon and chilli flakes and add to the pan. Swirl together for about 30 secs until the spices release a fragrant aroma.
Add the onion paste. Fry until the water evaporates and the onions dark golden, about 7-8 mins. Add the garlic and ginger paste and cook for another 2 mins, stirring all the time.
Stir in the garam masala, turmeric, and sugar and continue cooking for 20 secs before tipping in the tomatoes.
Cook on a medium heat for about 10 mins without a lid until the tomatoes reduce and darken.
Cut the chicken thighs into 3cm chunks and add to the pan once the tomatoes have thickened to a paste. Cook for 5 mins to coat the chicken in the masala and seal in the juices, and then pour over the hot chicken stock.
Simmer for 8-10 mins without a lid until the chicken is tender and the masala lightly thickened. Add an extra ladle of stock or water if the curry needs it.