The Origins and Enduring Appeal of One-Pot Cooking

One-pot or one-pan cooking is among the convenience foods embraced worldwide, from Japan to India, South Africa to Brazil. The approach combines various ingredients during the cooking phase to create tasty, nutritious, and comforting dishes which are also convenient and easy to make. In addition, they’re less messy, with minimal washing up required.
One-pot dishes are also typically simple and hearty. As relatives of the medieval pottage or perpetual stew, these meals fall somewhere between a soup and a stew. The original concept was to throw whatever was available into your pot and keep it stewing over the fire all day. It was dipped into across mealtimes and occasionally added to. A secondary benefit was a warmed room from the same fire.
What Is a One-Pot or One-Pan Meal?
This age-old preparation method is found among almost all ethnicities and cultures, and as its name suggests, it needs just one pot or pan. This pot may be a Dutch Oven, casserole dish, tagine, roast pan, skillet, or wok.
All your vegetables, protein, and starches are mixed in just one vessel. There the flavors and textures mingle together to produce a unique sensation, often more flavorsome than the individual elements alone. Retaining the juices from each ingredient can also be healthier, preserving the nutritional content of the broth.
Among the most familiar hotpots are Spanish paella, Italian risotto, Chinese stir fry, French cassoulet, and Indian Biryani. Another ancient hot pot is porridge, dating back thousands of years in China and Africa. However, there are many more, each relying on everyday products but with unique cultural touches.
Discover One-Pot Wonders From Around the World
Examples include the quintessentially basic one-pan recipe – France’s pot-au-feu (“pot-over-the-fire”), comprising inexpensive meat cuts and various root vegetables. From the south of France comes Languedoc Cassoulet, a meat assortment – often poultry, pork, or mutton – and white beans for a tastier version. From Brittany comes Kig Ha Farz – a simmered meat broth with a buckwheat flour-based pudding.
Other instances include Poland’s bigos – a laborer or hunter’s stew containing sauerkraut (pickled cabbage), fresh cabbage, and whatever meat is available, chopped into small pieces. Still in Europe, Barley-rich Slovenian Ričet combines potatoes, vegetables, and cured pork. Meanwhile, further east, Vietnamese Pho mingles noodles, legumes, eggs, plants, and fish or meat in a spicy broth with countless variations. Korean Bibimbap provides similar ingredients separately for mixing before eating.
Elsewhere around the globe, you’ll find South Africa’s Potjiekos (“small pot food”) made outdoors in a cast iron cauldron. Then there’s Italy’s Minestrone, Jewish Cholent – a special dish stewed overnight before the Sabbath, Brazil’s Feijoada – a leftovers stew, and Japan’s Donburi – rice mixed with vegetables, meats, and sauces. Other notable stews are Macedonia’s Tavče Gravče – a one-pot baked bean dish, and the Guyanese Christmas Pepperpot, a meat stew with Caribbean peppers, cassava root sauce, and cinnamon.
Why Follow Hot Pot Trends Around the Globe?
What does this mean for convenience foods and related product manufacturers? It’s an opportunity to provide ingredients, flavor, and aroma molecules to perfectly complement these one-pan dishes, accommodating international and local profiles, palettes, and preferences.
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