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Your best recipes/ideas for cooking using a single hotplate

The gas supply to my apartment has been out for a week, and the interim cooking solution supplied by the gas company is a single hotplate. So far I've been making do with salads and sandwiches, but I have no eta on when the repairs will be done and I know I'm going to want to cook something hot soon.

So I have an electric kettle, a toaster and a single hotplate. My mind is going blank in terms of what I'd usually make in one pot/pan, aside from the usual eggs or beans on toast.

For those of you that have used/currently use a hotplate, what are your favourite/best meals? And do you tend to stick one-pan wonders, or are you happy to use it for several processes for one meal?

Thanks in advance for the tips - I think all the freezing showers have taken away my recipe brain!

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  1. If its large enough and you can set the temperature low, can you use it to make a stew or a curry?

    Do you have a rice cooker, or any interest in investing in one? Would really give you more options to work with one-dish meals made on the hotplate. And a rice cooker is a good investment beyond your immediate need.

    3 Replies
    1. re: BernalKC

      It's fairly small (in size) and power (1500w) but, as I've discovered tonight, the whole unit gets very hot. I wouldn't be keen on using it for a stew or anything slow-cooked, because I think it's incredibly low-range and not designed to be on for more than maybe 20 minutes. Will definitely be looking into a rice cooker if this goes on for very long - don't currently have one as I live alone and I never thought it was worth it for the volume.

      1. re: ultimatepotato

        Rice cookers (at least mine) are just as good for cooking a half cup of rice as 2-3 cups. Its one of those things that, now that I own one, I can't imagine every living without it.

        1. re: BernalKC

          For smaller amounts (1 cup or less), I use a microwave.

    2. I'll start out by admitting that I have never used a hot plate. That said, a few things come to mind:

      1. Poached salmon. You don't need to get it super-hot so it should work if you don't try to cook too much at once.

      2. I keep intending to try this recipe that I found on Pinterest (with a few changes, of course!): http://www.apronstringsblog.com/one-p...

      3. Quesadillas. Not exciting but fast and tasty.

      4. My favorite broke dinner: cabbage and ramen. Sautee the cabbage with ginger, garlic, soy, and sesame oil (powdered spices are fine) then toss in a packet of slightly undercooked ramen noodles (these can actually be done in the microwave or left sitting in boiling water for a few minutes). Finish them all up in the pan together, with or without a bit of the seasoning packet.

      5. Sloppy joes. Again, not that exciting but always good. My recipe: saute an onion, add ground beef, drain once cooked. Add 1 bottle of Heinz chili sauce and cook until hot. Not the most sophisticated recipe but I love it.

      Good luck!

      1 Reply
      1. re: wandajune6

        Thanks for the ideas - I had forgotten about quesadillas, and I just made something similar to your ramen. Had to look up sloppy joes!

      2. I have been limited to two induction hotplates during renovation. Don't hesitate to buy a second plate, preferably induction, until this is over. That will let you do a starch and a main at the same time. If you have or can acquire a pressure cooker, that will add to quick meals immeasurably.

        Dried beans were my best friend, for chili, stews, and cassoulet. Canned beans would speed things up.

        The only thing I missed was high heat searing and broiling. Easy to live without for a few weeks.

        Here is a photo of beef ribs slow cooked over a burner-plate.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jayt90

          I'm hoping to avoid getting to the point of buying extra appliances as it's just me by myself (all dinner parties cancelled for the foreseeable!) but those ribs look fantastic, thanks!

        2. I've made all sorts of things on a single hotplate, any "one pot" meal can be made on a hotplate really.

          The best advice I have is to remember that you can actually do multiple things on a single hotplate. For example, if you cook tomato sauce in one pan, it will stay hot enough sitting, covered in its pan while you cook pasta. Then just toss the two together in the (now empty) pasta pot over the heat to finish. Works well. Rice the same way - keeps warm long enough to cook something in a skillet to go with it.

          3 Replies
          1. re: thimes

            Thank you - I'm sure if this stretches towards the next weekend I'll start the multi-pot options.

            1. re: ultimatepotato

              you can also do a lot with steaming - from simple things (vegetables/shrimp/chicken/etc) to more "adventurous" like chinese steamed buns (bao) to change things up a little.

            2. re: thimes

              I want to second thimes' advice: you can do multiple things on a single burner. Rice and pasta just as thimes says. Meat or chicken can wait long enough to do a simple green veg. I have been working with a single burner for awhile now and it has barely slowed me down, just a matter of thinking through the steps a bit.

            3. I've made a decent steak on a hotplate, believe it or not. Helps to have a good cut of meat, though.

              1. I cook on a single hotplate A LOT!
                Carmelize onions. Add a fresh tomato (cut up), some peppers (if you want) some hot pepper, thyme oregona rosemary garlic, a can of chickpeas (or other canned beans, black beans, etc.) with liquid. Simmer till the all are tender. Serve over toast (from the toaster). Or get a small container of rice from your local takeout Chinese place, and serve over that.

                Any stir fry. You can make the rice first, pull it out and rinse the pan, make your stir fry, pour it over.

                Any pasta sauce--you can cook the pasta first, then add it back in. Carbonara. Do the bacon first, rinse pan, cook pasta, grate cheese, add bacon and cheese and raw egg to the hot drained pasta, toss in the one pan.

                Fish chowder. Paella. Bouillabaise.

                The sky's the limit!

                1. Sausage and peppers. Veggi sausage (and veggi peppers). Chipped beef on toast. Chicken a la king on toast. Any of Julia Child's sauteed chicken breasts (on toast!)

                  Get some couscous or whole wheat cous cous. That cooks up in a bowl if you pour boiling kettle water over it, so you can use the burner for something else.

                  1. A very cool thing for this are those Chinese steamer baskets which fit one on top of the other.

                    They are for this exact situation. Rice cooks in the first pot.

                    Fish steams in the one on top. Greens or dumplings can steam in the one on top of that.

                    1. I haven't used a hot plate but I often don't have 2 things cooking on different burners, I love me some one pot meals. You could do larger quantities of whatever starch you want (rice, pasta, mashed potatoes) and keep in the fridge, and then make the protein/veggie portion right before eating. Toss in the starch with the rest to reheat it. Here's a few ideas for that:








                      1. When I just had one hotplate to cook on I would often do pasta + sauce dishes. I would cook the pasta for 5 of its required 10 minutes, then take it off the heat and cook the sauce. The pasta will continue to cook from the residual heat in the water (though will take a bit longer as it cooks slower and slower as it cools). Then my 10 minute sauce and my pasta would end up being ready at the same time!

                        1. I like this one-pot pasta method. We've added chopped rotisserie chicken, smoked sausage, pulled pork. Quick and easy and endlessly adaptable.

                          1. Tabouli- boiling water ontop of bulgar to cook it
                            Savory oatmeal- add greens, soy sauce, mix in egg while still super hot
                            Big salads with burger/veggie burger patty from toaster oven
                            Grain salads with bulgar or couscous- add greens, raw veggies and nuts
                            English muffin or bagel "pizzas" in toaster oven
                            Burritos- heat refried beans on burner, skip the rice

                            A cheap rice cooker could make rice, quinoa, oatmeal, chilis, stews and worth the $25 if this is an ongoing situation

                            1. Thanks for all the ideas - I just needed a swift reminder that during the week I tend to use one burner and one pot whenever I can anyway. It's just typical that while I'm restricted to it I tend to want things that are slightly more complicated. Hopefully will be fixed by the weekend, otherwise I'll be looking into rice cookers too.

                              1. One more thought--you can make various savory fritters or pancakes (potato pancakes, corn cakes, clam cakes) on the burner and set them on lettuce or other shredded greens that wilt slightly, slightly cook.


                                1. Do you have a microwave as well? Many pastas cook up easily in the microwave - freeing up your burner. Just throw them in a bowl of water and nuke them for about 20 min or so.

                                  A big pot of chili would be good, plus you can serve it several ways - as is, over a baked potato, over nachos, over pasta...