Increasingly, families, couples and singles are looking for quick, cheap, home cooked meals that are easy to prepare in a single pot. Home cooked is better than fast food. Busy people want to be able to quickly prepare nutritious meals that they can leave bubbling away cooking, while other things are done around the house.
But, choosing simple and inexpensive meals need not sacrifice taste and good health if the recipes are carefully chosen.
One trap that many people succumb to, is to look for cheaper cuts of meat. The trouble with this approach is that cheap meat cuts are tough and take hours and hours of cooking.
Many cheap meat cuts are also laden with fat. It is better to choose smaller quantities of expensive meat cuts that are tender, cook quickly and are full of flavor.
Below are a collection of the best cheap one-pot meals that are quick and easy to prepare and nutritious.
Heat the mustard oil in a small saucepan to moderate-high temperature. Add the mustard seeds and stir-fry for about 1 minute, until they just start to pop. Add the curry leaves and fry for about 30 seconds. Then, add the onions and stir-fry for about 5 minutes, until they become transparent and soften. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2 minutes then add cumin, chilli powder, cinnamon, cloves and 1 teaspoon of salt and stir-fry for a minute or so until fragrant. Add the turmeric, tomato and sugar and then cook for about 5 minutes until the tomatoes have softened.
Lower the heat under the pan to medium-low. Add the coriander and 1 cup of coconut milk. Strain the tamarind and add the liquid to pan. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
Next slice the fish into large, thick pieces. Add to the pan with the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut milk. Add enough water to just cover the fish. Simmer very gently for 10 minutes, until the fish is just cooked cooked through (do not over-cook). Serve hot, topped the with slices of red chillies, coriander leaves and fried curry leaves. Serve with steamed rice.
Heat the oil in medium size wok over medium heat. Add the onion and stir-fry until soft and golden in color. Add the curry paste and cook for about a minute, until the fragrance of the curry paste is vitalised. Add the lemon grass, lime leaves and coconut milk and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Next, add the fish and simmer in the sauce for about 5 minutes, until the fish is just cooked. Add the sugar, lime juice, fish sauce and snow peas. Cook for an additional 3 minutes. Serve the curry in small bowls topped with Thai basil leaves and slices of red chilli.
Heat the oil in a hot frying pan, add the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds and cloves and stir fry for 20 seconds to release the fragrance and flavor of the spices. Add about half of the chopped onion to the pan and stir fry for about 4 minutes, until the onions have just started to soften. Put the rest of the ginger, garlic, ground coriander, onion, with 100 ml (3 1/2 fl oz) of the coconut milk into the bowl of a blender or food processor. Pulse the mixture to create a smooth purée. Transfer this mixture to the frying pan. Add the whole green chillies and salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pan with a lid and gently simmer for about 10 minutes 15 minutes to develop and combine the flavors. Then, add the fish, the rest of the coconut milk, the currry leaves, black pepper, water and garam masala. Cover the pan and cook for no more than 5 minutes, until the fish is just cooked inside. Serve with fresh coriander leaves, lemon juices and a sprinkling of red chilli slices and ground pepper.
Heat oil in a deep frying pan or Dutch oven. Add the ginger and garlic an fry for 2 minutes. Then, add the onion and green chilli. Sprinkle over the spices and salt and cook for 2-3 minutes.Add the medium thick coconut milk and bring the mixture to the boil. Then reduce the heat so that the mixture is gently simmering. Add the fish pieces and cook very gently over low heat for about 20 minutes, until the fish is just about cooked. Add the coconut cream and stir gently to combine. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside for 15 minutes to blend all the flavors. Serve with coriander or basil leaves, slices of red chilli and other fresh herbs.
Add the onion, garlic, serrano chilli, shredded coconut and ginger to a food processor or blender bowl and pour in 1/3 cup coconut milk. Pulse to form a paste. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or Dutch oven. Add the curry leaves and yellow mustard seeds and cook for 1 minute. Add the blended coconut paste and cook the mixture, while stirring for about 4 minutes. Add the fenugreek, cayenne, turmeric, cardamom, coriander and ground fennel and fry for 2 minutes. Add 3/4 cup of coconut milk, the water, tamarind paste, tomatoes and sugar. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes and then add the cherry tomatoes and cook for about 1 minute. Add the fish pieces and cook for about 3 minutes, until the fish is just cooked in the center. Serve the fish curry with cilantro leaves, fresh ginger slices and very thinly slices red chilli.