3 Seriously Lazy One-Pot Recipes From Around The World

Rukmini Iyer, author of The Roasting Tin cookbooks, tells HuffPost how to crack the code of lockdown cooking.
Rukmini Iyer
Rukmini Iyer

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For some, lockdown cooking has been a chance to flex those culinary skills – a form of escapism in troubled times. But for others, that cooking mojo was lost early on in the pandemic, and it’s been a real struggle.

It’s hardly surprising we’ve reached peak pandemic fatigue – the World Health Organisation estimates 60% are suffering from lockdown lethargy. And when it comes to cooking, the thought of coming up with three meals a day is the last thing you want to think about – never mind trying to feed your children as well. That’s where Rukmini Iyer’s cookbooks come in.

Her ‘The Roasting Tin’ series contains recipes for traybake meals, with a ‘chop everything, cook it all in the same-tray and let the oven do the work’ formula. The idea stemmed from reworked, well-loved recipes that she cooked with her mum to be less labour intensive – “I wanted something tasty and fresh when I got home, but I didn’t want to be standing up,” Iyer tells HuffPost UK.

“It was essentially like, ‘how can I get a fresh dinner without having to stand?’”

Her latest instalment, The Roasting Tin Around the World, is an accumulation of recipes she’s collected over the years from her pre-Covid travel trips, including Singapore, Sri Lanka, Indonesian, Vietnam, and the USA.

“What I wanted to recreate was the feeling of amazement that I had in trying dishes from abroad for the first time,” she explains. “But, presented in a way that was accessible for easy weeknight cooking.”

Iyer seems to have cracked the code when it comes to lazy lockdown cooking. “It sounds silly, but the hardest thing is just going into the kitchen,” she says. “There’s almost a mental block about getting off the sofa... and if you can at least make it as far as the chopping board, then that’s a good place to start.

“It’s about getting over that motivation hump. There’s nothing wrong with making a fish finger sandwich and we shouldn’t demonise ourselves. We’re expecting too much and that way we set ourselves up for disappointment.”

One way to combat the cooking blues is to meal plan, she says. It’ll save time, money and prevent food waste, and it’s a good opportunity to try something new. “For the first time, I’ve really gotten into meal planning,” says Iyer.

“We have a whiteboard, we make a weekly list and put a stack of books I’ve been meaning to cook from on the table to go through on a Sunday.

To help you climb over that cooking wall you’ve hit, here are three recipes from Iyer’s latest cookbook to get you get inspired in the kitchen.

Slow-Cooked Pork Pibil With Pink Pickled Onions

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 3 hours

The Roasting Tin Around the World – Global One Dish Dinners by Rukmini Iyer
The Roasting Tin Around the World – Global One Dish Dinners by Rukmini Iyer

Ingredients:

1 onion, roughly chopped

6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon dried oregano (Mexican if you have it)

8 cloves

250ml orange juice (ideally freshly squeezed)

2 limes, juice only

50g achiote paste

2 teaspoons sea salt

800g free-range pork shoulder, diced

For the pickled onions:

1⁄2 red onion, very thinly sliced

1 lime, juice only

To serve:

Chopped fresh coriander

Tortillas and sour cream

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 140°C fan/160°C/gas 2.

2. Tip the onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, cloves, citrus juice, achiote paste and salt into a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth.

3. In a small deep roasting tin or lidded casserole dish, mix the pork shoulder with the spice paste. Cover tightly with foil or the lid, then transfer to the oven and cook for 3 hours.

4. Meanwhile, mix the very thinly sliced red onion with the lime juice and set aside for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. (The acid in the lime juice will turn the onions a beautiful bright pink by the time the pork is ready.)

5. Once cooked, remove the foil or lid and shred the pork while hot. Serve with the pink pickled onions, chopped coriander, warm tortillas, and sour cream.

Note: This dish isn’t at all spicy, so it’s a good one for kids, and can be easily made ahead, frozen, and defrosted in portions.

S’mores Rocky Road with Peanuts, Marshmallows and Chocolate

Serves: many, many people | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes, plus 1-hour chilling

The Roasting Tin Around the World – Global One Dish Dinners by Rukmini Iyer
The Roasting Tin Around the World – Global One Dish Dinners by Rukmini Iyer

Ingredients:

200g unsalted butter

300g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids, broken up

250g digestive biscuits or Graham crackers

150g mini vegetarian marshmallows (I like pink and white)

75g salted peanuts, roughly chopped

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/gas 6.

2. Tip the butter and chocolate into a saucepan over a low heat and stir until both have fully melted.

3. Break up all but 4 of the digestive biscuits or Graham crackers and stir them into the chocolate butter, then stir in 100g of the marshmallows. Spread the mixture in a lined shallow roasting tin, then scatter with the remaining digestive biscuits, broken into larger pieces, the marshmallows and the peanuts.

4. Transfer the tin to the oven and bake for 5–10 minutes, until the marshmallows have just started to catch and turn golden brown.

5. Let the tin cool on the side before cutting the cake into squares. (I rather like a square or two while it’s still warm out of the oven, but for a proper refrigerator cake, you’ll need to pop it into the fridge to chill for a few hours before serving, so it sets properly.)

Slow Roasted Peppers with Chilli, Lemon and Garlic Beans

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 1 hour

The Roasting Tin Around the World – Global One Dish Dinners by Rukmini Iyer
The Roasting Tin Around the World – Global One Dish Dinners by Rukmini Iyer

Ingredients:

5 vine tomatoes, quartered

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced

1 orange pepper, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 bay leaves

1 large sprig of fresh rosemary

12 – 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes

Plenty of freshly ground black pepper

For the beans:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

12 clove of garlic, finely grated

12 teaspoon chilli flakes

12 – 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes

1 x 400g tin of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

12 lemon, zest only

To serve:

Rounds of thickly sliced, toasted bread

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/gas 6.

2. Tip the tomatoes, peppers, oil, herbs, salt, and pepper into a roasting tin large enough to hold everything in one layer, mix well, then transfer to the oven and roast for 50 minutes. If after half an hour it looks as though the peppers are catching a bit too quickly, turn the heat down a fraction.

3. Meanwhile, stir the extra virgin olive oil, garlic, chilli flakes, salt, cannellini beans and lemon zest together in a bowl and set aside.

4. Once the peppers have had 50 minutes, stir through the beans, then turn the oven down to 160°C fan/180°C/gas 4 and cook for a further 10 minutes.

5.Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed, adding a little more olive oil if you wish, then remove the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs and serve piled on to toasted bread. This tastes even better the next day, so it’s well worth making in advance and reheating.

Recipes from The Roasting Tin Around the World – Global One Dish Dinners by Rukmini Iyer, published by Square Peg, £16.99, out now.

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