Nadiya Hussain on Easy Weeknight Dinners, the Dish That Means "Home" to Her and More
As the host of Nadiya's Time to Eat on Netflix and season 6 winner of The Great British Baking Show, Nadiya Hussain knows her way around the kitchen. So when EatingWell had the chance to speak with Hussain, we couldn't wait to get her advice about cooking and food. Read on to learn more about the ingredients always in Hussain's fridge, what cooking means to her and more.
Finish this sentence: To me, cooking is…
What is always in your fridge?
"Cheese, oat milk, chiles, coriander, dark chocolate, yeast."
Is there a kitchen tool that you can't live without?
"My knives. Nothing is worse than a blunt knife in the kitchen. It needs to be sharp to be effective!" (Check out our picks for the best chef's knives.)
Did you discover any new baking recipes during England's lockdowns?
"I've loved experimenting with sourdough. I haven't killed my starter yet and that is always a plus." (Learn how to make your own sourdough starter.)
What food says 'home' to you?
"Chicken Korma. My mum only ever made it for special celebrations like Eid, so it was a real treat. Simply cooked with whole spices, it's the kind of sweet, soothing smell that makes you jump out of bed."
What's your if-I-only-had-one-meal-left meal?
"Fish and chips, straight from the chippy [a British fish-and-chip shop]. Always with a pickled onion, mushy peas and curry sauce. No washing up afterward!"
What do the words 'eating well' mean to you?
"Eating well for me means color. If I have a rainbow on my plate, I am usually happy. As a family we strive to eat a rainbow for as many meals as possible." (We think Nadiya would love our Eat-the-Rainbow Chopped Salad with Basil & Mozzarella.)
We're big fans of Nadiya's Time to Eat, which is about time-saving meals for busy families using pantry staples. (Yes, please!) What advice do you have for time-crunched weeknight dinners?
"Take the pressure off! Meals don't have to be 'special' every night. They can be leftovers that have been reheated. Or they could be a home-cooked meal out of the freezer. Forward planning, batch cooking and utilizing your freezer means that the meals will be special for one simple reason: you made it, you saved time and you can take a load off. That is what makes eating special sometimes." (Check out these healthy casseroles that are freezer-friendly.)
We also love that you visit farmers and food producers on your show for an inside look at where your favorite ingredients come from. What's the coolest thing you've learned so far?
"I visited a farm that supplies almost all of the UK's mushrooms, Monaghan Mushrooms. They produce nearly 2,000 tons a week. It was a revelation! I learned that the different sizes of mushrooms that I buy are all the same type of mushroom, but they're just picked at different times."
EatingWell has always promoted sustainability. What environmental issue speaks to you the most?
"Waste is something that really worries me, so I am a big fan of using up what we have—rather than throwing away. For example, some of the things we toss have multiple purposes, like potato and carrot peels, which I save in a large freezer bag to make into a delicious, hearty soup. I also like to wash, dry and crush my eggshells and add them to our vegetable patches and flower beds to deter slugs and snails." (Check out 10 easy ways to reduce your food waste.)
This article originally appeared in EatingWell Magazine, March 2021.