It has been some time since I have felt energised enough to do anything but the most basic cooking on autopilot. Last year, last decade ended up with me being completely exhausted, mostly my own fault for overworking. I am trying to take a more sustainable approach to work and it has, for at least the past two weeks, yielded good results (maybe it’s a January thing, who knows?). What have I been doing exactly? I think it’s a matter of what I have not been doing.
I’ve tried to be more consistent in when I leave work. I’ve been better at downing tools and leaving on time. I’ve had to suppress the feelings of guilt, and thoughts about the number of reports that I have to dictated and check, and embrace the feeling that this no more than me and my patients deserve, a well rested and happier doctor. I’ve also been more disciplined about going bed on time. But I am still getting up early, silly early. All this has resulted in a more energised version of myself. It’s nice. The heavy fog that had descended on me has started to lift. The process started during my annual leave (shout out to my in-laws) where I rested, slept, walked in the sunshine and ate good food.
It was an incredibly restorative time. I feel lucky and blessed that I had that I had that opportunity. I had time to think about the way I have been living my work-life and the negative effect it has been having on my health, especially in more recent month. I had even considered applying for another job, but somehow came to the conclusion, that that would not solve the inherent issues that I have about the value I place on work in relation to my own well-being. Instead, I needed to think about properly looking after myself and then taking care of others. I need to learn to keep well, while working in a system that’s underfunded and over-stretched. To most people, I suppose, it’s a no brainer but I’ve found it difficult to implement. However, having worked for 20 years in this system, if I want to survive and be useful for another 20 years, I need to make changes. I need to be sensible with the use of my time and energy. It’s all too easy to burnout.
So with this new found energy and positivity, this Saturday, I finally got round to making the chicken and mango curry I have been wanting to make for a while (yes – my vegetarian days are well and truly over, for now). The recipe is not difficult and the ingredients are easy to source, most of which I had in my kitchen cupboards, apart from the chicken stock, tomato purée, thyme, chicken and ginger.
I started by getting all the ingredients ready, something I do not normally do. Normally I am adding one ingredient at a time, doing the cooking while cutting up and it can sometimes feel a little chaotic. After all the chopping, slicing and dicing – everything just seemed to flow quite smoothly. I found that I enjoyed the process of actually cooking the food. I might have to do this more often. I wonder if this is how everyone else cooks?
I was extremely pleased with the final result. It was so tasty, freaking delicious in fact. So comforting and just hit the right spot. I would highly recommend this curry.
2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
a pinch of salt
3 cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 carrot, finely diced
1 teaspoon tomato puree
2 teaspoons hot or mild Jamaican curry powder (make mild curry powder hotter by adding 1/4 teaspoon hot chilli powder)
600g skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
200 ml hot chicken stock
1 Scotch bonnet chilli, left whole, or 2 hot red chillies, slit down one side
3 sprigs thyme
1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 2 cm cubes
400 ml full-fat coconut milk from a well-shaken can
1/2 – 1 mango (depending on size and sweetness), peeled and cut into 2 cm piece
Coconut Rice ‘n’ Peas or plain rice, to serve
1.Heat the oil in a large deep saucepan with a lid, set over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 8 minutes, until beginning to soften and brown. Add a generous pinch of salt along with the garlic, ginger, carrot and tomato puree and cook for 1 minute, stirring, then the curry powder. Cook, stirring all the time, for 2 minutes, then add the chicken and saute for 4 minutes, thoroughly coating it in the spice mixture.
2. Pour the stock into to pan, add the chilli, thyme and potato and bring up to a simmer. Cover and cook until the chicken has cooked through and the potato is tender, about 20 – 25 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and add the mango pieces, then stir well and bring back to a simmer.
3. Taste for salt and spice and remove the chillies if it is fiery enough for you, or add a pinch of hot chilli powder of not. Remove the chillies and the sprigs of thyme before serving. Serve with coconut rice and peas or plain rice.
Reference: Leon Happy Curries
Publication Date: 03/10/2019