There’s something about my grandmother’s cooking that really brought the family together. Whether it was Eid or Sundays, I distinctly remember the sweet fragrances of masalas, meat, the perfume of veggies cooking as my grandmother and her army of friends and neighbourhood aunties got together to stir us up with some amazing slow-cooked dishes.
With the kind of lives we lead, stir-cooked dishes are going out of fashion. We want instant, quick, something that satisfies us immediately. But, slow-cooked dishes have a charm of their own- there’s a sense of community in cooking together, slow-cooking helps tenderize the lesser expensive cuts of the meat if you’re on a budget or feeding a large family and a lot of slow cooker recipes rely on the natural flavour and power of ingredients & nutrients! Need I say more?
Once I started using Forza Cast-Iron pre-seasoned cookware, the game changed for me. When I’m making slow-cooked dishes that need to simmer for longer hours, the protective coating ensures that it doesn’t tear and contaminate the food. The most interesting bit? The Forza Fry Pan is pre-seasoned with 100% vegetable oil. Cast-Iron enhances the Iron content in your food, so now get your healthy dose of essential Iron ions with every meal. Since the pan is pre-seasoned, you can cook healthy food with very little oil. Forza cookware is oven, grill & freezer safe and the cookware is super easy to clean!
Here, I put down some recipes of my favourite slow-cooked dishes that remind me of my grandmother and that you can cook with your friends or extended family at farmhouses, cookouts, etc.!
Slow cooked vegetable lasagnea
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, sliced
- 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 large courgettes, diced (400g)
- 1 red and 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and roughly sliced
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 2 tsp vegetable bouillon
- 15g fresh basil, chopped plus a few leaves
- 1 large aubergine, sliced across length or width for maximum surface area
- 6 wholewheat lasagne sheets (105g)
- 125g vegetarian buffalo mozzarella, chopped
- Heat 1 tbsp rapeseed oil in a large non-stick pan and fry 2 sliced onions and 2 chopped large garlic cloves for 5 mins, stirring frequently until softened.
- Tip in 2 diced large courgettes, 1 red and 1 yellow pepper, both roughly sliced, and 400g chopped tomatoes with 2 tbsp tomato purée, 2 tsp vegetable bouillon and 15g chopped basil.
- Stir well, cover and cook for 5 mins. Don’t be tempted to add more liquid as plenty of moisture will come from the vegetables once they start cooking.
- Slice 1 large aubergine. Lay half the slices of aubergine in the base of the slow cooker and top with 3 sheets of lasagne.
- Add a third of the ratatouille mixture, then the remaining aubergine slices, 3 more lasagne sheets, then the remaining ratatouille mixture.
- Cover and cook on High for 2½ – 3 hours until the pasta and vegetables are tender.
- Scatter 125g vegetarian buffalo mozzarella over the vegetables then cover and leave for 10 mins to settle and melt the cheese.
- Scatter with extra basil and serve with a handful of rockets.
Slow Cooked Chicken Korma
- 2 garlic cloves
- thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 6 skinless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ¼-½ tsp chilli powder
- 2 tsp sugar
- 300ml chicken stock
- 150ml double cream
- 6 tbsp ground almonds
- toasted flaked almonds , coriander, basmati rice and naan breads, to serve (optional)
- Put the cast iron pan on the gas. Put the garlic, ginger and onions in a small blender with a splash of water and whizz to a paste. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat and sear the chicken all over. Remove from the pan and set aside, then add the onion paste. Fry over a medium heat for 10 mins until lightly golden.
- Stir in the tomato purée, spices, 1 tsp salt and the sugar, fry for 1 min until aromatic, then put the chicken back into the pan (with any resting juices) and add the stock. Stir and bring to a simmer, then spoon into the slow cooker. Cook on low for 5-6 hrs until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
- Stir through the cream and the ground almonds and bubble for 10 mins to reduce, if needed. Scatter with flaked almonds and coriander, if using, then serve with rice and naans, if you like.
Luckily, my family loves the fragrant flavours and delicate taste as well!
Author : Alina Gufran, writer and film-maker, who loves the outdoors and reading.