One Pot Meals by Evan Kleiman

We asked Southern California food authority Evan Kleiman, who hosts the radio show Good Food on KCRW, to create three one-pot meals. The twist? She had to use three different types of cookware from South Coast Plaza’s home stores.  

Evan loves the Instant Pot, one of the most popular cooking trends and best described as a modern electric pressure cooker. You’ll find it at Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table. For cooking with the Instant Pot, Evan chose a Thai-inspired fish soup, redolent with ginger, lemon grass, and coconut milk as its base.

She recommends a classic Le Creuset Dutch oven for a homey arroz con pollo. The color “Ocean,” shown, is exclusive to Williams Sonoma.

No pressure cooker or Dutch oven? A wide stainless steel skillet from Sur La Table will do the trick for a one-pan pasta alla putanesca.

Here, Evan’s recipes for easy meals designed for cooking after a busy day.  



This soup is infinitely customizable. You can add corn kernels, straw mushrooms or a julienne of carrots – anything you want to make the dish more substantial. Evan recommends serving it over rice noodles.

This recipe was prepared in an Instant Pot, but it could easily be made in a Dutch oven or a covered soup pot.

1 15 oz. can coconut milk (do not shake)
2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 inch knob fresh ginger, smashed with the side of a knife
1 stalk fresh lemongrass, cut into 1 inch pieces (optional)
1 teaspoon turmeric
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
4 leaves Thai basil
2 Thai kaffir lime leaves, crushed (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, more to taste
1 tablespoon Vietnamese fish sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Sambal Oelek or Sriracha to taste
Optional vegetables: 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels, 1 large carrot, julienned, ¾ cup straw or other Asian mushrooms
½ pound any firm boneless white fleshed fish fillet like seabass or halibut, cut in chunks
½ pound large peeled, deveined shrimp, tails on
½ pound cleaned, farmed mussels
Cilantro leaves for garnish

Put a couple of tablespoons of the coconut cream that is at the top of the can into the Instant Pot. Hit the sauté button. When the oil has melted add the shallots, ginger and lemongrass and sauté until the shallots have started to color and you can smell all the aromatics. Add the turmeric and stir and sauté for a few seconds. Add the rest of the can of coconut milk, both the remaining cream at the top and the thinner juice. Also add the chicken broth, Thai basil, lime leaves, lime juice and fish sauce. Now add optional vegetables. Stir well to mix everything up. Close the top being sure the valve is turned to “seal” to prevent steam from leaking out. Hit the cancel button to stop the sauté function. Then hit the soup button to cook at high pressure for 6 minutes then do a quick release. Be sure to wait for the silver button to drop down before you open the lid.  Hit cancel if the pot has gone to warm mode.

Hit sauté again and add the mussels. Close the pot just so the shellfish can open, about 2 minutes in the sauté setting. Remove the lid and add the fish and shrimp. Simmer briefly just until cooked through. Serve in individual bowls with a garnish of cilantro leaves.

Serves 4.



1 ½ cups water to add as the pasta cooks
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
15 oz. can or jar tomato sauce
1 teaspoon chile flakes or more to taste
2 – 3 cloves peeled garlic thinly sliced
¼ cup pitted Moroccan olives
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed
2 anchovy fillets in oil, minced or 2 teaspoons Vietnamese fish sauce
1/2 lb. imported Italian spaghetti
Salt to taste if necessary

Pick a 12-inch skillet that allows your long pasta to lay flat. If you use a large diameter skillet you will need more water, but the larger surface will allow for faster evaporation so it all works out. You can also break the pasta in half if you only have smaller pans.

Put the water in the pan along with the tomato sauce, the oil and all the condiments (chili flakes, garlic, olives, capers, and anchovy). If you’re using fish sauce wait to add it. Stir all the ingredients in the pan. Then lay the pasta into the seasoned liquid. 

Turn the heat on so that the water starts to boil. Gently move the pasta around in the boiling liquid. Adjust the heat so it never goes below a lively simmer. It’s important to cook the starch in the pasta properly. Once the pasta is partly cooked add the fish sauce if using. Sprinkle it over the whole dish and stir well.

As the hot liquid penetrates the pasta it will soften. As it does keep it moving around the pan. You’ll notice that the liquid toward the edges of the pan will thicken first, so keep it in play. Stir it back into the center. Continue stirring until the liquid penetrates the pasta enough to cook it through. And the liquid and starch come together into a sauce. It’s magic!

Serve immediately on warmed plates or shallow bowls.

Serves 3-4.



2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon dried Greek oregano

For dish:
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ stick unsalted butter
1 medium onion, small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups long grain rice like Mahatma brand
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1-2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
½ cup pitted green olives
½ cup roasted red pepper strips

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional garnish: chopped cilantro or parsley leaves

Put chicken thighs in a nonreactive bowl and season with a pinch of salt, a grind or two of black pepper and the olive oil, red wine vinegar and oregano. Let marinate while you’re organizing the rest of your ingredients, no more than half an hour.

Melt butter with olive oil in a Dutch oven or large lid pot then sauté onion over medium heat until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and cook just until you can smell its characteristic aroma and it turns opaque. Add the rice and stir well so the grains are coated with the fat. Let it sauté for a minute. Add the tomato paste and the broth. Stir well to mix. Add the remaining condiments. Taste the liquid. It should have a piquancy from the capers and olives. Add salt now if you think you need it.

Nestle the chicken thighs into the rice, adding any reserved marinade or juices. Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover the pot and cook either on top of the stove over low heat or in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until rice has absorbed all the liquid and chicken is cooked through. Taste for seasoning.

Garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley leaves.

Serves 4-6. 


Discover more recipes and learn more about South Coast Plaza’s restaurants in latest issue of TASTE below.