This week’s exciting new recipe was a chicken curry from Lorraine Pascale’s cookbook ‘Fast Fresh and Easy’. I’ve had this book for about a decade now, it was one of the ones I used to draw quite heavily on when I first met Ignacio and I wanted to cook meals to impress him!

Now I am more interested in getting a meal on the table so we don’t go hungry or get bored with the food we eat. I also wanted to make something that could be easily put together, while working from home, between dictating and correcting letters, answering e-mail and S1 tasks and MS Teams meetings. I flipped through this book to find something to make that would be both interesting and simple and felt this combination of cashews nuts with rice and coconut milk and chicken might hit the spot.

We pretty much had all the ingredients except for the garam masala. So I substituted by adding a 1/4 teaspoon each of ground cloves, ground coriander, ground allspice and ground nutmeg. I couldn’t be bothered to get my scales out and weight anything so I decided off the bat that the rice, cashews nuts and frozen peas were all going to be 1 cup each. I guessed that that would be enough for the two of us for one meal. I also decided that I was going to use my newly acquired rice boiler and cook the rice in that and then add the other ingredients later which seemed to work just fine. And of course, being ever mindful of the palates in our household – I missed out the chilli powder.

I’m not sure if my adaptations to the recipe have changed the ‘Sri Lankanessness’ of the dish! I do not know anything about Sri Lankan food or culture to understand if that is the case. It will be something I will slowly research over the next few weeks and months. If anyone of Sri Lankan heritage or with good knowledge of Sri Lankan food, has information for me, please feel free to share in the comments box.

Ingredients

Rice

  • 1 cup cashew nuts (not roasted or salted)
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 teaspoons mild curry powder
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Curry

  • 2 tablespoons mild curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Vegetable oil
  • 400ml tin of coconut milk
  • 200ml water
  • 1 bunch of spring onions
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • Small handful of fresh coriander
  • Salt and freshly grond black pepper

Instructions

Toasted cashew nuts
  1. Cook the rice in the rice cooker.
  2. Next, put a medium saute pan on a high heat and throw in the cashew nuts (without any oil). Cook for 3-4 minutes, tossing from time to time, until golden. Tip into a small bowl and set aside. Leave the dry pan on a low heat for the curry.
  3. To make the curry, to the hot pan (without any oil), add the curry powder, cloves, coriander, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until you start to really smell the spices, tossing regularly.
  4. While they toast, cut the chicken into big bite-sized chunks with and season them well with salt and pepper. Pour a good drizzle of oil into the spice pan and turn the heat up to high. Add the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes, tossing the pieces from time to time so they brown all over.
  5. Going back to the curry, remove the pan from the heat while you pour in the coconut milk in along with the water. Return it to the heat, turn it up and let it bubble away for a few minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, trim and finely chop the spring onions (both the green and the white bits) and peel and finely chop the garlic. Add them to the curry and leave to cook for 2-3 minutes, reducing the heat if bubbling too hard and giving it a stir from time to time.
  7. Place curry powder, peas, cashew nuts in a pot. Drizzle over some oil, heat and mix until the peas and cashew nuts are coated in the oil and curry powder.
  8. Add the boiled rice and mix mix everything together. Turn of the heat and place the lid on the pot and allow it to keep warm and rest until the curry is cooked and ready to serve.
  9. Check that the chicken is cooked by piercing with a knife – there should be no pinkness remaining. Then have a taste of the curry, adjusting the seasoning and adding the sugar, if liked.
  10. Divide the rice between four serving plates, top with the curry, tear the coriander leaves over and serve.

This was actually a real joy to make! I made the decision that I was just going to take the time to make this dish in the most relaxed way possible, while still getting my work done. I had a meeting at 1300 (training in occupational therapy intervention in motor disorders) and a 1430 meeting that I was chairing (we are presenting at an autism conference next month, this was the planning meeting). So I really to be done and dusted by the latest 1400. Easily done it seems in a sunshine filled kitchen and something interesting to listen to in the background.

The finished product came out quite nice. I added some cornflour to my curry at the end because it felt just a little to watery for me. So that thickened it up a little and gave it a bit more of a silky texture.

There was enough rice left for me to take to work the next for my lunch.

The curry that keeps giving…

This was my lunch on the weekend after a long, much needed and delicious lie-in.

It went very nicely with some boiled vegetables.

I feel like this is a recipe that I am going to come back to again, mainly because of taste but also I have such a positive memory of the planning and execution of it. Weird huh…!

Reference: Adapted from Lorraine Pascale’s Fast, Fresh and Easy Food. Pages 95 and 96.


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