It’s time to level up.

Nine one-pot recipes you can make in isolation and avoid piles of dishes
Features Cooking Sunday, March 29, 2020 - 15:20

India is five days into the 21-day lockdown period, and with restaurants shuttered, limited delivery services and official orders to stay indoors, many are turning to their own kitchens to churn out three square meals a day.

But now that you’ve exhausted your repertoire of daal-rice, omelettes or the two kinds of sabzi you learnt how to make before you moved away from home, it’s time to level up.

TNM has rounded up nine simple recipes that can be easily modified depending on your tastes, diet, eating habits and the ingredients you have available. As a bonus, these recipes (mostly) only require one pot or pan to reduce the number of dishes to clean while you hone your culinary skills.


Eggs, tomatoes and spices form the base of this dish, which shot to fame on social media a few years ago. Serve it or eat it straight out of the pan (as they do on Instagram), and substitute for ingredients you have on hand (no paprika? A bit of chilli powder will do. No canned tomatoes? Try a combination of whole tomatoes and tomato puree).

Fried rice

Perhaps the most versatile of dishes, a good fried rice can be as simple as eggs, salt and pepper, or can be made more interesting with the vegetables in your fridge. Beans, baby corn, spinach, carrots (seriously, use whatever you have available) can be chopped and fried or par-boiled before being tossed into the fried rice. Add chilli flakes to give it a bit of heat, or make it non-vegetarian with the addition of chicken or prawn.

Palak khichdi with brown rice and toasted peanuts recipe

A twist on everyday recipes can make dishes seem a bit more appealing (especially if you already have the ingredients on hand). This recipe for palak khichdi uses brown rice, a healthier substitute, and daals, which can be easily stored for long periods so you’re not heading to the grocery store every other day.

Chicken noodle soup

And if you’re sick of making khichdi, chicken noodle soup is an able substitute for comfort food. Carrots, beans, mushrooms and onions work best in this soup but feel free to experiment a bit. Any sort of pasta works fine for this.

Honey soy chicken 

Three simple ingredients — honey, soya sauce and ketchup — work wonders when allowed to heat and caramelize together. Don’t have an oven? Not a problem. Use boneless pieces of chicken tossed lightly in salt, pepper and flour (maida), pan-fry with oil until brown on all sides and then remove from the pan. Use the same pan to make your honey-soy sauce and add the fried chicken back to the pan to coat with the sauce. (You can try this with vegetables, too).

Drop meatballs with tomato sauce

Firstly, don’t get overwhelmed by the ingredient list. Ground beef can be substituted for kheema, use any kind of cheese instead of parmesan and buy whatever pasta sauce they’re selling in your store (Not available? Whole tomatoes, tomato puree and dried herbs like oregano or thyme work as well).

Honey chilli potato roast

A bit similar to the honey-soy chicken recipe. Add capsicum, onions and tomatoes, as the recipe recommends, for a great stir-fry option.

Beetroot rasam

The hardest part about this dish is prepping the beetroot. Since you’re putting in the effort, consider doubling the recipe so you have enough for a few days. Unlike typical rasam, this recipe doesn’t require toor dal.

Bonus sweet treat: Cake batter popcorn

Popcorn, cake batter and chocolate chips. Curl up with a movie and the isolation will be over before you know it.

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.