Gloria Spittel showcases one pot meals
One pot meals are certainly more than merely the convenience they’re hailed for. In fact, they may not be all that convenient either! But it is better than preparing the three, four or even five dishes that usually accompany a Sri Lankan meal, and it’s definitely easier to clean up during preparation as well as after a meal. A lot goes into preparing a one pot meal, from browning the meat to sautéing the spices and aromatics.
The focus of such a pot should be the ‘meal’ part of it. It’s important to pair vegetables with a choice of protein to complete the nutrition profile of the dish. Usually served with hot rice, one pot dishes can also be eaten with bread, pasta, noodles, quinoa or couscous.
Ultimately, what a one pot meal underscores is freedom of choice in terms of ingredients, carbohydrate pairings, time-consuming meal preparation and subsequent cleaning up, as well as freeing up time to enjoy a nutritious meal… and then relaxing to do what the heart desires!
All that being said, here’s a recipe for braised chicken. You can follow it stringently or use as a guide. The choice is yours…
8-10___chicken thighs or
¼ cup___optional grains (chickpeas, lentils and mung beans)
2/3___cup soy sauce
2 tbsp___chilli paste
1-2 inch___piece ginger
¼ cup___rice wine vinegar
1-2 tsp___sesame oil
250g___red, yellow and/or green peppers
2-3___tbsp freshly chopped parsley
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste
Oil for cooking
Grind, grate or smash the garlic and ginger. Wash and prepare the chicken. Cut the chicken into smaller chunks to reduce cooking time and add flavour. Leaving the skin on the chicken is recommended but dry the chicken and skin thoroughly. Marinate with salt and pepper.
Cut the vegetables to roughly the same size as the chicken. Slice the onions thinly. If you are using chickpeas, parboil them first or use canned beans. Wash and set aside the grains.
Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, chilli paste, rice wine vinegar, garlic and ginger in a bowl. Taste and adjust salt, spice and sugar as desired.
Into a pan or skillet, pour about 1-2 tablespoons of oil. Once heated, add the chicken – skin side down. Brown the skin and all sides of the chicken, and remove from the pan. Into the same pan, add one more tablespoon of oil and sauté the spices. Once aromatic, add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add shiitake mushrooms.
Return the chicken to the pan. If you’re using grains, add them too and cook for a few minutes. Pour the sauce and top with water until the liquid covers three-quarters of the chicken. Bring to a quick boil and then reduce heat, cover and simmer.
If you are using root vegetables, add them before simmering. Once the grains and chicken are cooked through, add the vegetables and cook until al dente.
In case the sauce isn’t thick enough, add 1-2 teaspoons of cornflour slurry into the sauce and stir. It will thicken immediately. Serve hot!