The last thing you want to do after a long day at work is cook up a storm. Plus, there is the pile of dirty dishes you have to deal with afterwards.
But when you are tired, it is all the more important to treat yourself to a nourishing meal.
Enter this fuss-free one-pot meal of coriander chicken and mushroom brown rice.
It is easy to whip up - in one hour and 20 minutes - perfect for busy women on the go. Most of that time is waiting for the rice to cook, which takes about an hour. While waiting, you could wash up and take a shower.
It is also an economical meal to cook for the family, using ingredients which are easily available at the supermarket.
I opt for Fresh Rice, a brand of organic Thai mixed fragrant brown rice that requires no soaking and is more convenient to cook. It is a mix of 80 per cent brown rice and 20 per cent red rice.
The usual ratio of cooking brown rice is 1 part of rice to 11/2 parts of liquid. But as there are other ingredients in the mix which can add moisture, I find that cutting back slightly on the cooking liquid - in this case, chicken stock - helps prevent the rice from being mushy.
For this recipe, I reduce the amount of chicken stock by 25ml. If you find the rice too hard, simply add a little more stock and let it cook longer until it becomes as soft as you want.
The protein in this one-pot mealis mainly from the chicken. For maximum flavour, marinate the meat the night before, or first thing in the morning.
If you are short on time, marinating it for 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients is good enough to render tasty results.
I use fresh shiitake mushrooms as they do not require soaking and are inexpensive.
Although this is a one-pot dish, I pre-fry the rice mixture and meat for extra flavour and colour. I also leave the chicken skin on.
You can remove it for a healthier meal, and skip the stir-frying steps if you really want to go for the bare minimum in cooking this dish.
I do not add salt to the rice as I use canned chicken stock for convenience, which contains sodium. However, if you like it more savoury, add a pinch of salt.
I like to liven up this one-pot meal with a side dish of radish and carrot pickles, which you can easily make when you are free and keep in the refrigerator to eat over a week.
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CORIANDER CHICKEN AND MUSHROOM BROWN RICE
2 boneless chicken legs (800g), cut into 4cm by 4cm bite-sized pieces
50g fresh coriander, chopped
25g garlic, chopped
1/3 tsp ground white pepper ½ tsp salt
2 Tbs cooking oil
80g whole garlic cloves, lightly bruised
5 fresh shiitake mushrooms (100g), chopped
2½ cups of brown rice (350g), rinsed
1 Tbs sesame oil
500ml canned chicken stock
30g fried shallots
250g xiao bai cai (Shanghai greens)
1. Place the chicken in a bowl, then add the chopped coriander, chopped garlic, white pepper and salt. Mix well. Cover with clingwrap and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
2. In a non-stick frying pan, heat the cooking oil over medium heat.
3. Add the whole garlic cloves and fry for one minute until fragrant.
4. Add the mushrooms and fry for 45 seconds.
5. Add the brown rice and stir-fry for two minutes.
6. Add the sesame oil and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
7. Transfer the rice mixture into the rice cooker.
8. Pour in the chicken stock and add the fried shallots. Stir, then cook for 25 minutes.
9. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat.
10. Place chicken pieces in the pan and fry for 45 seconds until the surface turns opaque.
11. Turn off the heat and transfer the chicken into the rice cooker. Cook for another 30 minutes.
12. Open the rice cooker and arrange the xiao bai cai on top of the rice. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
13. Serve hot.
Makes four to five servings.
RADISH AND CARROT PICKLES
120ml seasoned sushi vinegar
1½ Tbs sugar
A pinch of salt
30g radish, shredded
30g carrot, shredded
You will need a clean 250ml jar.
1. Pour vinegar in a glass measuring cup and add the sugar and salt.
2. Stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
3. Place the shredded radish and carrot in a jar and add the vinegar.
4. Secure the lid tightly and store in the fridge.
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