Coconut Chicken and Vegetable Curry

coconut curry tastefood

Move over turkey. It’s time for a holiday dinner time-out. This easy curry is a one-pot wonder – warming and spiced, creamy and filling, and simply prepared in 30 minutes. It’s perfect fare for a cold winter day and a welcome dinner option following an afternoon of cookie-baking.

Coconut Chicken Vegetable Curry

The beauty of this recipe is its flexibility. Feel free to switch up the vegetables to your taste. Chicken thighs may also be used in place of the breast meat – just adjust the cooking time accordingly. Serves 4.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound chicken breast, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, sliced
1 poblano pepper, seeded and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated peeled ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes with juice
1 (15-ounce) can coconut milk
1/2 bunch lacinato kale, tough stems removed, coarsely chopped
1 red jalapeño pepper, sliced
Chopped fresh cilantro

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wide pot or deep skillet. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pot in one layer without overcrowding. Cook until the chicken colors on all sides, turning as needed, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside on a plate.
2. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the same pot, then add the onion and carrot and saute until the carrot brightens in color and the vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the poblano and saute 1 minute. Add the garlic and ginger and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring, to coat the vegetables and lightly toast the spice. Pour in the tomatoes and coconut milk and season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Partially cover the pot and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Return the chicken to the pot and stir in the kale. Continue to simmer until the chicken is thoroughly cooked through and the leaves are wilted, about 5 minutes.
4. Serve the curry in bowls with basmati rice. Garnish with the jalapeño slices and fresh cilantro.

Low Sodium Love: Coconut Shrimp Curry

Coconut Shrimp Curry – who needs salt?

A year ago, I participated in a food blog event hosted by Jessica, the author of the wonderful blog Sodium Girl. The challenge was to make a favorite recipe and reduce the salt as much as possible. As a salt lover, I confess that this terrified me. What if the lack of sodium  led to bland and dull results? How would I put a positive spin on unsaltiness? Well, as you can see from that post, I couldn’t have been more surprised and pleased when my doctored chicken wing recipe resulted in finger-licking deliciousness.

So, this year when Jessica asked if I would participate in a repeat of the challenge, I had less trepidation. I decided to adapt one of the most viewed recipes on TasteFood – Coconut Shrimp Curry – and exorcise it of any added sodium without compromising on flavor. After all, if it’s such a popular recipe, why not make it available to anyone who is watching their sodium intake? In this contest, natural salt found in whole ingredients is acceptable, but no added or processed salt is allowed. Shrimp have a natural saltiness which would be a boost to the flavor. And, as I learned last year, a great way to compensate for reduced sodium is to ramp up the aromatics and spices, which I did with generous amounts of garlic, fresh ginger, chiles and curry powder – all the good stuff, if you ask me. A spoonful of sugar rounded out the stew and a squeeze of fresh lime juice added sharpness and acidity.

And gosh darn it, it happened again. Once again the results thoroughly impressed me. The curry was rich, bright and brimming with flavor. The extra squeeze of lime provided an extra kick and, dare I say, tricked me into thinking there was plenty of salt in the curry. I even cheated and added a pinch of salt to a small bowlful for comparison. And, guess what? I found the results a little too, well, salty. Go figure.

Thank you, Jessica, for inviting me to participate again this year. For more inspiring low sodium recipes that are heart healthy and delicious with a big spoonful of valuable information,  you can read Jessica’s blog here and find all of the recipe links for this Low Sodium Rally here.

Coconut Shrimp Curry

Feel free to add additional vegetables, such as carrots or cauliflower, to the stew. Depending on the heat of the chiles, adjust amounts to your taste. Serves 4 to 6.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped, about 1 1/2 cups
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 green jalapeño pepper, stemmed and seeded, minced
1 red jalapeño or serrano pepper, stemmed and seeded, minced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise, each quarter sliced in 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 – 26 ounce package Pomi chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 pound frozen large shrimp, defrosted, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup cilantro/coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
1 lime, cut in wedges

Heat oil in deep skillet or soup pot. Add onion and sauté until soft but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeños and ginger. Sauté until fragrant, 1 minute. Add zucchini and curry powder; sauté 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, coconut milk and sugar. Simmer 10 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until they turn pink and are just cooked through. Add cilantro. Taste for seasoning. Serve immediately in bowls with basmati rice and lime wedges for squeezing over the curry.

Chicken and Vegetable Curry

~ Chicken and Vegetable Curry ~

At last the rains have come. This means that much-needed snow is finally falling in the mountains, and it also means that it’s perfect weather at home for a stew. January invites slow-cooking and one-pot meals. After the fancy food and hoopla of the holidays, the first month of the new year begets hearty and comforting meals without pretension. This curry is a perfect example. Brimming with vegetables and perfumed with curry, this stew is healthy and light. Its brightness and heat will warm and feed a crowd, while jump-starting any dormant taste buds suffering the winter doldrums.

Chicken and Vegetable Curry

For a richer curry, substitute the chicken stock with 1 – 14 ounce can of coconut milk. Serves 4 – 6.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons grated ginger, with juices
1 heaping tablespoon curry powder, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1 large carrot, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded, cut in 1/4 inch julienne
1 half head of cauliflower, broken into small florets
1 – 15 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes with juices
2 cups chicken stock, or more as necessary
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch pieces
Fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a deep skillet or pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the curry powder and salt; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the carrot, red pepper and cauliflower. Cook, stirring to coat the vegetables with the spices, 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes with juices and chicken stock. The vegetables should be just covered with liquid. If not, add a little more chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon. Stir in the chicken. Simmer, partially covered, until chicken is thoroughly cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning. If needed, add 1-2 teaspoons of brown sugar. Serve hot with basmati rice. Garnish with fresh cilantro.


Curry Chicken Stew

Curry Chicken Stew

When I lived in Geneva for 10 years in the nineties, there was no shortage of cheese and French haute cuisine. There is nothing wrong with that.  However, from time to time I found myself craving exotic, spiced flavors from further corners of the world. Short of the falafel truck outside of La Placette, there were few alternatives. The few available ethnic restaurants were often overpriced and underwhelming – Swiss interpretations of the real gritty deal. So, I quickly learned to make my own versions of curries, satays, and spring rolls at home. They were hardly authentic, but I was able to satisfy my wistful taste buds.

One day, I came across a recipe for Country Captain in a cooking magazine. It was a sweet tomato-based chicken stew, studded with apple and infused with curry. It seemed easy to prepare with ingredients I could readily find in the Swiss suburbs, so I made it. The stew was light and fresh, pleasantly balanced with the acidity of tomato, sweetness of fruit and a nice kick of curry. For no real reason, I didn’t make it again. The recipe was filed, and over time I forgot about it – until recently, when I stumbled across a recipe for Country Captain in Saveur Magazine. As soon as I read the name, I was transported back to Geneva when I first made the stew and reminded of how much I enjoyed it.

Country Captain is a dish that originated in the American south. Influenced by the flavors of India and introduced to the U.S. by British officers, it’s a mild stew, usually garnished with currants and almonds and served with rice. It’s not overpowering and it’s heat may be adjusted according to taste, which makes it a great family dish. This recipe for Curry Chicken Stew is inspired by Country Captain, however, in my version I add more vegetables and omit many of the extra garnishes.

Curry Chicken Stew

This recipe calls for chicken off the bone, which shortens the cooking time and makes it easy to prepare as a weeknight dinner. Serves 4-6.

Olive oil
4 boneless chicken thighs, with skin
2 large boneless chicken breasts, with skin
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced
1/2 large head of cauliflower, broken into 1 inch florets
1 poblano pepper, cut in 3/4 inch pieces
1 annaheim or serrano chile pepper, stemmed seeded, sliced
3 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons grated ginger
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 – 28 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes with juices
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Basmati rice
Parsley cilantro

Preheat oven to 325 F. (170 C.) Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a deep skillet or Dutch-oven over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the chicken pieces. Add chicken in batches to the skillet without overcrowding. Cook until brown, about 3 minutes each side. Transfer to a plate. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet. Add onion and sauté 2 minutes. Add carrots, cauliflower and peppers. Saute until vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Add curry powder, ginger and garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant and the vegetables are thickly coated with the curry powder, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, bay leaf, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Simmer 10 minutes.
Return chicken to the skillet and partially nestle the pieces in the stew with the browned skin exposed. Cover with lid or foil and transfer to oven and bake, 15 minutes. Remove lid and continue to bake until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes more. Serve stew in bowls or deep dishes, spooned over basmati rice. Garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro leaves.

Simple Curry

Vegetable Curry

Perhaps inspired by the Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire, or perhaps because a little exotic flare and spice is befitting a rainy Monday evening, I am making a curry for dinner tonight.   A curry  is essentially a stew that begins as a base of simmered spices, oil and vegetables to which meat, fish or more vegetables are added. Some curries are thick and served with bread, while others are thin and served with rice.  Geography, climate and regional foods influence curries which are found throughout India and parts of Asia.

The following recipe is a simple base to which you can add chicken, lamb, fish or vegetables.  I prepared a vegetable curry, so I doubled up on the zucchini and added cauliflower.  If you are adding protein, you can omit the cauliflower.  Feel free to improvise.

Vegetable Curry
This is a basic recipe without too much heat.  Add additional spices to taste.  For more body, substitute one cup chicken stock with one cup coconut milk.

Serves 4

For the Curry Sauce:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger including juice
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground paprika
1 stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tomatoes, chopped
salt to taste, about 2 teaspoons

For the vegetables:

2 small zucchini (courgettes), sliced in 1/4″ rounds
1 large carrot, peeled, sliced in 1/4″ rounds
1 large yellow onion, peeled, halved horizontally, cut in wedges
1 small head cauliflower, ends trimmed, cut in 1″ pieces
2 cups (500 ml.) chicken stock or water

Fresh coriander/cilantro leaves for garnish

Prepare the sauce:
Heat the oil in a deep skillet or pan.  Add the onions and sauté over medium heat until deep golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant, one minute.  Add coriander, paprika, cinnamon, turmeric, garam masala and cumin.  Cook, stirring, one minute.  Add one cup water and tomatoes; cook at a simmer 20 minutes.  Add salt to taste.

Once the sauce is ready add the chicken stock and vegetables.  Bring to a boil, and cook over medium heat until vegetables are cooked to desired consistency.  Serve in a bowl with basmati rice.  Garnish with fresh coriander/cilantro leaves.

I prefer my vegetables chunky and more firm to the bite.  Traditional curries often use vegetables cut in smaller dice.  Adapt this recipe to your desired consistency.

For Chicken Curry: Add a combination of 2 breasts, 2 drumsticks and 2 thighs to the sauce.
For Lamb Curry: Add 1 lb. (500 grams) stew meat to the sauce.
For Shrimp Curry: Add 1 lb. (500 grams) shelled (tails intact) and deveined shrimp to the sauce.

When the stock and vegetables are added to the sauce, include the chicken or lamb.  Cook until done.
If you are adding shrimp, add the stock and vegetables, cook until vegetables are done, then add shrimp and cook until shrimp are cooked through, about 3 minutes.