It's little wonder that cuisines across the globe have their own version of 'the bowl'. You can cuddle up to a bowl of food. Eschew the table and nurse it gently in your lap while you chat or tend the fire, read or watch the telly. Bowls are nourishing and comforting and generally filled with humble, good-for-you fare.
Take a trip with us across meal times and timelines to celebrate the simple joy that is bowl food.
Soup is surely the original bowl food and is still the best way to eat a meal sans table. There's a soup for every season and occasion, but start with perfecting a few chicken soup recipes and you'll be most of the way there. Try this Palestinian soup first.
The best bowls mix the crunch of raw ingredients with the flavour of cooked. This Aztec-inspired quinoa bowl does this so well - raw sugar snaps, zucchini, avocado and corn contrast with the chewy grains of quinoa. It's all smothered in a zesty chipotle in adobo and lime dressing.
A grain bowl for when you need a taste of Mumbai in your day. Grate some fresh turmeric over to add an immunity-boosting kick.
This is one of my favourite recipes – it’s so incredibly delicious and I have to admit that I often get cravings for it! It is super quick and easy to make while the quinoa is cooking you can get started on making the mountains of fresh guacamole, creamy cashew cheese, tomato salsa and garlicky black beans. You will love the amazing mix of intense flavours!
If soup was the first, then rice was surely the second of the bowl foods. As proved by dishes such as this bibimbap, it just works. Like many of the bowl recipes, bibimbap has a long list of ingredients, but is quite straightforward to pull together.
This creamy rice bowl is incredibly luxurious and fragrant. It is delicious served warm and silky, or the next day when it has thickened slightly.
A really, simple and tasty lunch that starts with an Asian-inspired poached chicken and is finished with fresh herbs, brown rice and a sweet chilli dipping sauce. #RecipeForLife
The bowl-de-jour, pokē is a traditional Hawaiian raw fish. When served with rice and vegetables, you've got yourself a pokē bowl. It's the darling of the hipster set simply because the flavour just begs to cross-cultures and pair with pickled or fermented things like kimchi, seaweed and sauerkraut.
Millions of people across the world sit down to bowl food every night. In India, it's called dinner. Now, you could easily drown in all the amazing curry recipes available, but a fish curry like this one is a life saver.
This curry recipe was passed down from my grandmother to my mum and it is utterly delightful.
The kitchen is where Rohingyan women made a name for themselves and when it comes to beef curry, my mum's is second to none!
Bowls are fantastic for packing in plenty of nutrition, as this wild rice and wakame bowl proves. The thing about a bowl is that you can stuff it full of whatever you like then pour a specialist dressing over the lot. Here it's a sour umeboshi dressing that makes this entire bowl ping with life.
‘Don’ is short for donburi, which is a Japanese rice bowl, and soboro means ‘crumbled meat’. This minced chicken cooked in a sweet-salty sauce with vegetables and spring onions is a quick midweek meal. - Matthew Evans, For the Love of Meat
Pasta has to fall under the "bowl food" banner, surely? Serving one big bowl of pasta for everyone to construct their own little bowls of pasta is the easiest entertaining solution around. You can't beat spaghetti alla carbonara for smashing in front of the box, but any of these pasta option would make perfect bowl food:
Silvia Colloca shares her family one pot pasta recipe which is full of Mediterranean flavour and a breeze to cook (and clean up).
Using passata for the sauce gives it a thick, soup-like consistency and yields a richer bowl of pasta.
Every culture has some kind of bowl option for breakfast, including Thai khao tom gung, or rice congee. Congee is eaten for breakfast across Asia, as both a sweet or savoury dish. Another recent addition to the breakfast bowl phenomenon is the smoothie bowl, which is worth experimenting with:
A lot of smoothies are high in sugar; this one makes a a better start to the day with fresh vegetables and fruit, walnuts for omega-3s and oats to keep you going for longer.
This bowl was inspired by my travels in Vietnam, where avocado is often used in delicious smoothies. Avocado is an intriguing and totally underrated ‘sweet’ ingredient.
Borrowing from every bowl recipe ever created, the ubiquitous 'salad bowl' is basically just a deconstructed sushi-pokē-pasta-rice mash up. And it's pretty darn perfect.
A healthy, low-carb start to your day that's laced with creamy feta and a zesty sumac and lemon dressing.
A healthy vegetarian bowl of homemade mini falafel, shredded cabbage and carrot salad and dollops of spiced yoghurt, a fresh and wholesome feed.
Ginger fried rice is my comfort food in every sense – my mum made this for me whenever I was feeling unwell; the dish is particularly good for settling a restless tummy and is also a proficient hangover cure.
This hands-on meal is great for kids, as not do they get to assemble their own nacho bowls—they get to eat the whole thing, bowl and all!
This delicious breakfast is packed full of nutrients, including antioxidants, calcium and iron.