This is cooking with minimum fuss at its best—of course, possible largely if you find the right “bottled" sauce, chutney or can of goods. Jamie Oliver's new book, 5 Ingredients Quick & Easy Food, is an adaptation from his show on Channel 4.
The book has recipes for salads, chicken, meat, vegetables, fish, pasta, rice, noodles and eggs, as well as a section devoted to desserts. To follow some of these recipes while cooking with what’s usually available in an Indian pantry might be tough so you will need to make sure you have easy access to chilli jam, rose harissa, dukkah, etc. Besides, do remember that the recipes do not take into account staple ingredients like salt or olive oil. Keep these handy.
Most of the recipes are fairly easy and do not require too much prep time, cooking time or fancy equipment. The book is also clear that these recipes may not always result in healthy meals (though the book claims 70% do) and that most are not complete meals in themselves.
Interestingly, each recipe has a nutrition chart which includes the calorie count, fat, protein and carbohydrate content for those who follow the nutrition meter with dedication. Here are two recipes you could try at home.
Baked saffron rice
Cooking time: 26 minutes
Ingredients: 2 red onions, 2 small pinches of saffron, 4 heaped tbsp natural yogurt, 4 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste, 300g white Basmati rice
Nutrition information: Calories, 506kcal; protein, 9.7g; carbs, 74.9g.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Peel and finely chop the red onions. Place a 25x30cm roasting tray on high heat and pour 1 tbsp of olive oil, add the onions and fry for 4 minutes, or until soft and sweet, stirring regularly. Meanwhile, place half the saffron in 600ml of boiling water. In a bowl, cover the remaining saffron with 1 tbsp of boiling water, steep for 10 seconds, then mix with the yogurt and put aside.
Stir the tomato paste, rice and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper into the onion tray, then pour in the saffron water and bring to the boil. Once it’s boiling, carefully transfer to the oven for 15 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid, fluffed up beautifully and is golden and crisp on top. Spoon the saffron yogurt over the rice, drizzle it all with 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, fork and mix it all together, and dish up.
Roast tikka chicken
Fast prep: 10 minutes
Slow cook: 1 hour
Ingredients: 800g potatoes, 1 small head of cauliflower (600g), 1 bunch fresh coriander (30g), 1 kg whole chicken, 2 tbsp tikka curry paste
Nutrition information: Calories, 467kcal; protein, 42.3g; carbs, 40.6g.
Method: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Wash the potatoes and chop into 3cm chunks. Trim the cauliflower stalk, remove any tough outer leaves, then chop the cauliflower and leaves into the same size as the spuds. Finely slice the coriander stalks (reserving the leaves in a bowl of cold water). In a 30x40cm roasting tray, toss the vegetables and coriander stalks with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, and 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and red wine vinegar.
Sit the chicken in the tray and rub all over with the tikka paste. Place the chicken directly on the bars of the oven, scrunch everything in the tray and place exactly underneath the chicken to catch the juices. Roast for 1 hour, or until everything is golden and cooked through, turning the vegetables halfway. Sit the chicken on top of the vegetables to rest for 5 minutes, then sprinkle over the drained coriander leaves and serve, tossing the vegetables in all the tasty juices before dishing up.