Some days, I don’t feel like cooking. Shocking, I know, given that this entire column focuses on my culinary struggles, but there we are. Sadly for me (and for those around me, given that a hangry Julia is not a pleasant experience), the days when I don’t feel like cooking don’t tend to square up with the days that I don’t feel like eating that much.
Take yesterday, for example. I’d spent the majority of the day writing about dynamic nomalism (don’t ask), trying to find a working plug in the hell which is currently the library, and failing to stave off my hunger by drinking copious amounts of coffee. The last thing I wanted to do was cook – and yet it reached 5pm and I couldn’t concentrate properly and I knew the time had come.
All I had at my disposal when I returned home was rice, chicken (which needed to be eaten that day), a single, sad onion, a Korma paste which I’d bought weeks ago and forgotten about and a few bedraggled looking carrots. But I was determined. I could make this work.
Confession – I don’t like cooking rice. I hate it, actually. I can never get the amount right, I never manage to make it fluffy and it always burns slightly at the bottom. Still learning, people. Still learning. But given that it was rice or hunger, I decided to make the best of it. Cue me googling ‘one-pot chicken and rice’ recipes and finding my answer… a chicken pilaf! Perfect.
3) Stock cube
4) Choice of vegetables.
5) Curry paste
Luckily, it was pretty easy to prepare. I chopped the onion, cut the chicken into small pieces and added to a pan. As it was starting to cook, I added two teaspoons of curry paste (crazy, I know) and left to cook through on a medium heat.
While the dish was cooking, I chopped the vegetables (I only had a few carrots, but make use of whatever you have in a cupboard or the fridge) and dissolved a stock cube in boiling water. After about five minutes I added both the stock and the vegetables, seasoned with salt and pepper and left to cook through. Once the vegetables had softened slightly, I added the rice – cooking actually in the pan meant it didn’t burn, which I considered a success – and left the whole dish to cook through for another fifteen to twenty minutes.
I’ll be honest – it wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever made, and I’d recommend using a stronger curry paste than Korma if you don’t have that much to put in it, but as a quick and easy meal at the end of a library day it worked pretty well. I also (obviously) made a lot more than intended and so was able to freeze the leftovers, which is always a positive.
Improvements: Next time I’d be more prepared and add more vegetables. I think it would work really well with chickpeas to thicken everything and make it slightly more filling.
Overall: 6/10. Quick, easy, relatively cheap and quite filling – but something you might get bored with eating every day.