Why I love my crockpot.

Because it fits so well in my life.

A frequent occurrence in my life is that by late afternoon, my chipper attitude shifts from “YES LET’S DO THIS” to “I’ll do this tomorrow”. All my dinner plans are thrown out the window and I resort to eating something that requires little prep and cooking for simplicity’s sake. That usually means not too healthy food and putting the groceries in the freezer or else they’ll go bad. Then the next day I forget to thaw it and say “Screw this, I’ll do this another time”.

It’s a pretty vicious circle that I struggle to break out of. With my diabetes this is really bad. Up until a few weeks ago, I never heard of a slowcooker before until I saw a recipe in passing focused on the crockpot. I began to look up what it was and how to use it out of curiosity, and the more I learned the more I fell in love with the idea.

One dish to clean. No worries about burning food. You just put everything in, put the lid on and half a day later it’s ready to be served. It’s magic.

So for my birthday I decided to buy one. My third dish ever is in it right now and I found dozens of slowcooker recipes for diabetics online. I truly love the process of cooking in this thing!

About 8 hours before dinner time (that usually means around 10am) I prep the food I want to cook. Today this happened to be rice and chicken with an Asian sweet soy sauce I made myself. I just had to cut and dice the chicken, mince the onion and garlic, combine the rest and layer it in the pan, put on the lid and voila. All I need to do is put the vegetables in at the end so they don’t become mushy and I’m ready to eat.

In the meantime I had plenty of time to do the very few dishes I made during prepping, do my 15 minute workout on the stationary bike, take care of the cats and get some knitting in, go out to get groceries, go to appointments and more. I’ve never felt so free! The food is ridiculously delicious too, the difference between traditional pan cooked and crockpot cooked is astonishing.

As with all cooking tools, it takes some experimenting to figure out what works best. I definitely need to get used to reducing the amount of liquid that is used in these recipes. However, I’m fairly confident in the following recipe I put together, so I’m happy to share it!

Sweet soy chicken and rice

Ingredients:
260gr of rice (approximately 1.2 cup)
600ml water (approximately 2.7cups)
1 cube vegetable broth dissolved in the water above
700gr boneless chicken breast (this was 3 halves for me)
140gr bamboo shoots (this was one drained can for me)
125gr bean sprouts (fresh and uncooked)
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
4 tblsp water
100ml ketjap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce, 1 tablespoon = 15ml, so approx 6.5 tablespoons)
1 tblsp white vinegar
2 tsp sambal oelek
1-2 tsp cornstarch and 1tblsp water

Preparation:

1. Dissolve the broth cube in the 300ml of water and pour the rice and water in the bottom of the pan.

2. Slice the chicken breast into cubes and trim any fat from it. (I feed the leftover raw chicken and fat to my cats.) Place the cubes on top of the rice.

3. Mince the garlic and onion and put in a bowl. (If you like you can saute them with 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil. I didn’t.)

4. Add the water, the ketjap manis, vinegar and sambal and mix thoroughly. (If you’re sauteing, add these ingredients to the pan bring everything to a boil for 1 minute.)

5. Pour the sauce over the chicken. It will mix with the broth but that’s okay, the onions will still be covering the chicken. Don’t stir and mix it, keep everything layered!

6. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4. During the last 15-30 minutes add the bean sprouts and bamboo shoots on top so they’ll cook but stay crispy/chewy.

7. When done, you can finally mix the rice, chicken and vegetables and serve. If the sauce is too runny, mix the cornstarch with the water until smooth and slowly stir into the rice until the right consistency and cook for another 10-15 minutes.

My crockpot is still cooking for another 5 hours so I’m not entirely sure if the amounts of liquid are alright, but it’s nothing a little bit of cornstarch can’t fix! I’ll share a photo of the end result and how it tastes when it’s finished. 🙂

Edit: I kinda botched this recipe! The rice needs a lot more water to cook properly, so I adjusted the recipe. You may need to play around with the amounts yourself, but 3 cups per cup of rice seems about right for this.

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