Lazy but Tasty: 12 Asian Recipes You Can Cook Using One Pot

Lazy but Tasty: 12 Asian Recipes You Can Cook Using One Pot

The best recipes are often the easiest too!

I’m sure we can all agree that nothing beats a fresh, home-cooked meal. While it may sometimes lack restaurant-style aesthetics, a home-cooked meal often brings with it simple comforts and nostalgic flavours. Plus, who doesn’t like the idea of cozying up in bed with a warm meal while binging on the latest Netflix shows? 

Personally, I cook all the time and I find it rather therapeutic. The only problem I have with cooking at home though, is the cleanup! Oh yes, I look forward to everything about cooking at home except for the dishes, pots, and pans that pile up in the sink while my steak sizzles away. Thankfully, there’s a trendy style of cooking that perfectly caters to people like me who hate cleaning up after cooking up a storm: one-pot recipes. 

Convenient, cost-effective, and oh, so yummy, one-pot recipes are best-suited for those who want to enjoy a home-cooked meal at the end of a busy day without too much hassle. Sound like something you’d like to try in your own kitchen? Well then you’re in luck because here are my top 12 one-pot Asian home recipes that will leave you satiated and satisfied! 

Note: Even though most of the recipes here call for only one pot, for the sake of convenience, you may sometimes need a second one to cook simultaneously with (such as for boiling rice or pasta). 

1. Egg fried rice with spam

Honestly speaking, this is one of the one-pot recipes I cook almost once every week. This Uncle Roger-approved recipe can be done in 15 minutes or less. It’s so simple even a baby could do it! (For legal purposes, that was a joke. Please do NOT allow infants to roam around in the kitchen unsupervised!) 

Ingredients: 2 eggs, 1 bowl of overnight rice, frozen vegetables, spam (or luncheon meat), garlic, soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions: 

Start by chopping up some garlic and cutting your spam or luncheon meat into cubes (you can substitute it with chicken sausage for a Halal version). Fry up the garlic until fragrant then add in the spam. Stir fry for a minute or two before adding in your overnight rice and frozen vegetables. Once the rice has softened, add salt and pepper to taste and a touch of soy sauce for colour. You can add MSG but it’s up to you. 

Create a little opening in the middle of your wok (or frying pan) and add in the eggs. Before the egg starts to set, quickly toss it around with your fried rice. Cook until the eggs are done and serve. So easy! 

If you want to level up this dish, what I do is I separate one yolk from the eggs and beat it into the rice before cooking. This coats the rice in yolk so when you fry it, the rice turns bright yellow, which is basically the Chinese style huang jin chao fan (golden fried rice). 

2. Yong Chow Fried Rice

Image credit: Krista

Compared to my version of fried rice, Yong Chow Fried Rice is much more “authentic”. After all, it’s considered one of the traditional rice dishes in Chinese cooking, having originated from the city of Yangzhou in Jiangsu province all the way back in the Qing Dynasty (18th century). Talk about a one-pot recipe packed with cultural history! 

In its most traditional form, Yong Chow Fried Rice is made using shrimp, cured Chinese sausage (lap cheong), eggs, and scallions. Modern variations include twists like adding roast pork into the mix. Let’s do that! 

Ingredients: 2 eggs, 1 bowl of overnight rice, shrimp, cured Chinese sausage, roast pork, garlic, scallion, soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste

Cooking instructions:

Unlike MY version of fried rice, you start this one by cooking your eggs on medium high heat. Scramble and fold them gently, making sure not to add too much colour to them. They should still be yellow when you take them out and set them aside for later. 

Next, crank the heat up and stir fry garlic and Chinese sausage until fragrant. Add in the shrimps and roast pork and take a moment to enjoy the smell. Once you snap out of it, add in the rice and season with soy sauce, a touch of salt, and pepper to taste. Again, MSG is optional here. Make sure to flatten any lumps of rice you may find. 

Finally, add in the eggs and stir fry until it’s broken up and evenly distributed. Top with freshly chopped scallion and serve. Yum! 

3. Rice Cooker Hainanese Chicken Rice 

Image credit: Pauloleong2002

Now this one requires a tad bit more work. It’s one of those one pot Asian recipes I make for special occasions, like when my football team, Aston Villa, actually wins a match for once! Of course, for all that labour of love, what you get in return is a super delicious meal that rivals even Michelin-star restaurants. 

Ingredients: Chicken thighs/breasts/drumsticks, uncooked rice, chicken stock, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, scallions (garnish), pandan leaves (optional), salt and pepper to taste, and a decent rice cooker

Cooking Instructions: 

First thing you’ll want to do is chop up your chicken into decent-sized pieces. Because you’ll be cooking everything in your rice cooker, it’s important to make sure that your chicken fits, and that it can cook all the way through given its size.

Next, massage your chicken pieces with sesame oil, salt, and pepper and let it marinade for about 15 minutes. During this time, wash off your rice to get rid of extra starch and add to your rice cooker. Instead of adding water though, use chicken stock! I’m sure most of us already know how to measure how much liquid to use for perfect rice, so I won’t leave any confusing measurements. 

On top of the rice, add in your chopped garlic and about half an inch of sliced ginger. If you have pandan leaves, tie them into knots and add them in for extra fragrance. Finally, rest your chicken on top of the rice and then sit back and let it cook. You’ll know it’s ready when your house smells like heaven! Before serving, sprinkle some scallions on top of the rice for garnish! 

4. Darren’s Rice Cooker Dinner 

Of course, using the same principle, you can use your rice cooker to create a wide variety of yummy one pot dinners. I’m not sure what to call this because I think I created it, but I’m sharing because it’s one of my best recipes. And yes, it came about because I was too lazy to cook anything else, and decided to dump whatever I had into a rice cooker. Thankfully, it turned out pretty good! What’s more, it makes use of really simple ingredients too! 

Ingredients: Canned braised meat (pork belly or ribs work best), uncooked rice, shredded cabbage, garlic, sesame oil, red chilies, salt and pepper to taste, and a decent rice cooker

Cooking instructions: 

First, prep your ingredients. Shred your cabbage into thin strips and cut up your canned meat. I often use this braised pork belly that you can find in Malaysia but any kind of canned meat is good enough. Mince your garlic and chop up the chilies, removing the seeds if you don’t like too much heat. 

One way my recipe differs from the one above is that I stir fry the uncooked rice for a very quick 30 seconds (or up to a minute) with the rest of the ingredients before transferring everything into the rice cooker. I then top it up with some water or stock, then simply wait until it is cooked! What you get is a fragrant pot of rice with melt-in-your-mouth meat, juicy cabbage, and a little spicy kick from the chillies. Oof, where’s my Michelin Star?

Also read: 13 Yummy Microwave Recipes That Are Easier Than You Think

5. Cantonese-style braised eggplant and mince

Image credit: Kake

This was one of my favourite one-pot recipes while I was studying in Hong Kong. Because of how high the cost of living was, I always viewed this recipe as a cheap way to eat a well-balanced meal. You’ll need to cook your rice in a rice cooker but we won’t consider that a violation since a rice cooker isn’t technically a pot, it’s a part of our family. Are you proud, Uncle Roger?

Ingredients: Eggplant (cubed), minced pork (or chicken), sesame oil, cornstarch, Shaoxing wine, ginger, garlic, red chili, ground bean paste (you can find these at most Asian grocery stores), light and dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, cilantro (garnish), and salt and pepper to taste

Cooking instructions: 

Wow, that’s a long list of ingredients, isn’t it? Don’t worry, let’s break it down. First, here’s a home-cooking tip: Whenever you’re working with eggplants, prep that first. In this recipe, cube your eggplants and soak in salted water for about 15 minutes. This apparently removes the bitterness and helps it cook faster. Just make sure to squeeze out any excess water before cooking. 

Next, season your mince. In a bowl, add in the mince with Shaoxing wine (about two teaspoons), sesame oil, cornstarch, light soy sauce, pepper to taste, and water. Mix it around and let it marinade for about 15 minutes. 

In your wok or pan, fry off minced garlic, ginger and red chili until fragrant. Add in the minced meat and stir fry until golden brown. Add in the eggplant and for a couple of minutes. Next, add in the ground bean paste, light and dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, and chicken stock into the wok and let simmer for 15 minutes. The main thing is to make sure that the egg plant becomes tender. 

Once that’s done, add in a mixture of cornstarch and water to help thicken the sauce and then serve it over your bowl of fluffy rice. My tummy is growling already! Sprinkle some cilantro on top for garnish. 

6. Korean pork belly and kimchi rice bowl 

Image credit: Bopuc

Hands up if you love Korean food too! Thankfully, you don’t have to be a masterchef to make a good Korean meal at home. All you need is this delicious one pot Asian recipe! It’s not Korean BBQ but it’ll be guaranteed to make you come back for more. Next stop, flavourville! 

Ingredients: pork belly, onion, kimchi, Gochujang (Korean red pepper paste), garlic, scallion, salt and pepper to taste

Cooking instructions: 

First, start by cutting up your pork belly into bite-size pieces. Heat up the oil (you can use regular cooking oil but sesame oil adds more fragrance) and fry off the pork belly for a minute until they turn a little brown. At that point, add in the garlic, onions, and kimchi then stir fry together until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Add in a tablespoon of Gochujang and a touch of water to combine. Simmer for about a minute before serving over a bowl of fluffy rice. Add some scallions on top for garnish and you’re done! 

7. Spicy stir-fried rice cakes

Image credit: Henry Fong

Personally, I quite like eating Korean rice cakes (tteokbokki). They’ve got a nice bite to them and the sauce that usually accompanies it. Thanks to the innovation of food technology, you can easily find packaged Korean rice cakes (with sauce) that you can cook in a couple of minutes. However, if you want to level up, try this Chinese-inspired recipe instead!

Ingredients: pork belly (optional but recommended), ginger, garlic, onion, Thai chillies, scallion, rice cakes, Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, sugar, spicy bean paste, Sichuan peppercorn powder

Cooking instructions: 

First, brown the pork belly in a wok over high heat and set aside. In the same wok, add in a few more tablespoons of oil and drop in the ginger to let it infuse the oil. About a minute or two is enough. Add in the garlic and quickly stir fry, making sure it doesn’t burn. Next, stir fry the onions, red chili, and scallion before pouring in your rice cakes. Add a little bit of Shaoxing wine to add more flavour. 

After about a minute of mixing the contents of the wok, add in your soy sauce, sugar, spicy bean paste, sichuan peppercorn powder and the pork belly from earlier and combine. Keep doing this until the rice cakes are cooked through but still chewy. Add a little touch of water if you think it’s too dry. However, keep in mind that this is a stir fry, so it’s not supposed to be as soupy as tteokbokki! 

Also read: 15 Korean Dishes to Try That You Always See in K-Dramas

8. Curry beef/chicken/pork rice bowl

Moving on from Korean one pot Asian recipes, let’s take a look at this scrumptious Japanese rice bowl! Featuring tender beef (or any other type of meat), spicy curry with a kick, and fluffy rice, it’s a great meal that will definitely keep you satisfied. The best part? It’s super simple to cook too!

Ingredients: a large potato, ground beef, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, sugar, cornstarch, frozen peas, onion, garlic, scallion, salt and pepper to taste

Cooking instructions: 

First, in a wok or skillet, fry off your aromatics (onions and garlic) until slightly caramelised and aromatic. Add in your potatoes first, since these take longer to cook. Stir fry for around 10 minutes, making sure your potatoes don’t suddenly become fries (as in, don’t let them get too crispy!)

Next, add in your ground beef and cook until lightly browned. Add in your spices (curry powder, turmeric, cumin, sugar, salt, and pepper) and stir fry to combine. Mix cornstarch with water to make a slurry and add to the wok. Bring to a boil then simmer until everything is cooked through, the potatoes are soft, and the gravy thickens. 

Finally, add in the frozen peas (optional) and once that’s done cooking, ladle the curry beef over an appetising bowl of rice and enjoy!

9. Maggi goreng

Image credit: amrufm

Oh, my mother used to cook this for breakfast during the weekends! It’s such a simple and cost-effective dish, but it’s packed full of flavour and nostalgia. It makes use of the simplest of ingredients and takes only about 15 minutes to cook! Plus, your kitchen’s gonna smell amazing when you’re done with this one pot stir fry noodle dish! 

Ingredients: Maggi instant noodles (chicken flavouring), eggs, choy sum (or bean sprouts), garlic, shallots, light and dark soy sauce, pepper to taste

Cooking instructions: 

Start by cooking your instant noodles. However, do NOT add in the flavouring packet! Save that for the stir fry! Mince your garlic and shallots and stir fry until fragrant. Add in the choy sum or bean sprouts before adding in a beaten egg. Stir fry everything together and break apart the egg before adding the cooked instant noodles to the pan. 

Tear open the seasoning packet and add that in, along with some light and dark soy sauce (to colour more than to season), and pepper. Stir fry everything until it is evenly coloured, and you’re done! Simple, right? But trust me, the flavour is incredible! 

10. Chinese spaghetti

Yes, you read that right, and yes, I’ve personally made this, sober, mind you! It sounds weird but it’s one of those lazy one pot Asian recipes that strangely works! It’s a perfect marriage of flavours and textures and trust me, you’ll soon be making this slurpy dish more often than you’d care to admit! 

Ingredients: spaghetti, ground beef or pork, onion,  garlic, Shaoxing wine, chicken stock, oyster sauce, light and dark soy sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch, salt and pepper to taste. 

Cooking instructions: 

Start by cooking the spaghetti, al dente (firm texture with good bite), please! While that’s happening, brown your beef in a wok of oil and add onions, garlic, and Shaoxing wine. When the onions get a little translucent, add in the chicken stock, bring to a boil, then let it simmer after adding in oyster sauce, light and dark soy sauce, sesame oil, and pepper. 

After about 10 minutes, add in some cornstarch slurry (cornstarch + water) to thicken the sauce. Make sure to keep stirring to help it along the way. Add the spaghetti to the wok and stir until every strand is coated. If the sauce is too thick, add in some of the pasta water. You’ll know it’s ready once you start salivating!

11. Vegetable Lo Mein

Image credit: Shoshanah

When it comes to one pot Asian recipes, nothing is as famous (and simple!) as lo mein. Popular even in the U.S., lo mein is a basic noodle dish that only takes about 10 minutes to cook. It packs a real flavour punch and can be modified in an infinite number of ways. There’s chicken lo mein, shrimp lo mein, and more. Today, let’s take a look at vegetable lo mein. Because eating your veggies is super important! 

Ingredients: lo mein noodles (or just egg noodles), light and dark soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, sliced mushrooms (shitake’s the best), scallion, bell pepper, carrot, Shaoxing wine, leafy greens (choy sum for example), salt and pepper to taste.  

Cooking instructions: 

The good part about using egg noodles or lo mein noodles is that they often come already cooked! So you already save one step. Yay! Anyway, in a small bowl, combine light and dark soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar. Set aside for use later on. 

In a hot wok, stir fry your garlic, sliced mushrooms, scallions, bell pepper and carrots. After about two minutes of tossing and turning, add in the Shaoxing wine and stir fry for another minute before adding in your leafy greens. Once the greens are cooked through, add in your noodles. If, for some reason, the noodles are clumped together, just run some warm water over it and it should come apart. 

After mixing your noodles well with your vegetables, add in the sauce mixture from earlier and coat everything uniformly. Scoop and serve with pride because even your ancestors will be proud of that dish! 

12. Chicken udon soup

Image credit: sk

Finally, if you’re feeling a little under the weather and want a hearty, soupy meal, this is the recipe for you! Easy to prepare and healthy by all means, this scrumptious and comforting noodle dish is perfect for sharing too! 

Ingredients: chicken pieces (choose whichever part you like, but for this dish, drumsticks are a good idea), celery, ginger, corn kernels, leek, carrot, udon noodles, soy sauce, coriander (garnish), salt and pepper to taste

Cooking instructions: 

Super simple dish to cook. Add your chicken pieces and vegetables into a pot of cold water. Add some salt and pepper to season and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and just let it cook for two hours, skimming away any impurities that rise to the surface. 

Congratulations, you just made chicken stock from scratch. Yes, it takes some time, but it’s an imperative part of the process. Alternatively, you can prepare the stock a day before and refrigerate for later use. Anyway, once the two hours are up, remove the chicken pieces and shred with a fork. Strain the stock into another pot and bring back to a boil. Add in your corn kernels and a touch of soy sauce and cook for about a minute before adding your chicken back in. 

Finally, add your noodles and cook for about three minutes before plating up and digging in! Chicken udon soup for the soul, I’d say! 

And there you have it, 12 super easy one-pot Asian recipes that guarantee a yummy meal and minimal clean up! Try them yourself and show us your results! 

About Author

Darren Yeoh
Darren Yeoh

Darren enjoys the finer things in life and loves exploring unfamiliar places on foot, guided with nothing but instinct and a good-old fashioned map. He enjoys cultural experiences and exciting adventures and is not a stranger to travelling alone. When he's not putting his travel experiences into words, he's probably sitting behind his laptop, planning his upcoming adventure.