At my house growing up we ate a pretty standard rural Ontario diet. A mixed British - Scottish and Irish background meant that meat and potatoes and at least one veggie were on my dinner plate almost every night, except for those occasions where we had spaghetti, lasagna, or a stirfry. Every Sunday, rain or shine, we had a roast of some sort, usually beef, but sometimes pork, or chicken.
Peterborough in those days didn’t offer a whole lot of ethnic food choices - you could order Chinese food, or Pizza. Those were your takeout options. So when I moved to Ottawa for school, I was intrigued by the plethora of different food choices that were right at my door, and I went to work, sometimes a little hesitantly, at expanding my palate.
Curry sounds exotic, and the sound of it can sometimes be intimidating for those of us who have never tried it before. But when you get right down to it, at its most basic level, its really just a stew. The elements that make it exotic are the flavourings and spices used to give it its robust taste. Now admittedly, I’m not a big fan of things super spicy, so I tend to stick to the milder varieties, but you could always throw in a bit more spice if you wanted. Curry doesn’t have to be spicy, and the recipe for the one below is mild. Super spicy curries do exist, I tried one by accident while we were China this past June. If you see Jon, ask him about it. The whole table was laughing at the expression on my face, and I’m pretty sure my eyes were watering! Note to self: the spice levels in Asia, are not the same as in Canada! That’s for sure!
This recipe is adapted from a cookbook called Eat, Shrink and Be Merry by Janet and Greta Podeleski. The recipe can be found on the Food Network website, here. Interestingly enough, the recipe that is listed in the cookbook is a bit different than this one, although they're called the same thing. I've sort of melded the two together and made my own changes as well.
To speed up the recipe a bit, I’ve opted not to marinate the chicken. This choice also cuts down on the spice factor. I also prefer to use all white meat, this is just a personal preference. There is no reason not to use what you’ve got on hand, or what you prefer. You could speed up the recipe even further by using a store bought rotisserie chicken. This option is actually probably more cost effective as well, as you don’t need to pay for the electricity to cook it, boneless skinless chicken is like gold these days, and if you purchase the whole chicken, you also have the bones for stock. (II’ll publish a posting on the virtues of using a whole chicken later this fall.)
You may note that this recipe doesn't in fact have curry in it and you may be wondering why I'm calling it a curry...we'll I guess it isn't, but I think it belongs in the same food family, and for that reason I lump it in with curries.
2 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts roughly chopped, or 2 c. of left-over chicken
2 tbsp. butter
|Colourfully beautiful spices!|
1 can (28 oz/798 mL) diced tomatoes, including juice
2 tbsp. brown sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste
2/3 c. sour cream (I used fat-free, use whatever you have in the fridge - plain yogourt would also work)
1/2 c. milk (I used skim)
1tbsp. peanut butter
1 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro, or 1 tsp. dried
Hot cooked rice
Before you get started, a few notes on Ginger...
- Keeping your ginger in the freezer allows it to be more easily grated. You don’t even need to peel it. It also allows you to keep some on hand without worrying about needing to use it before it goes bad.
- If your ginger is fresh, you can easily peel it with a teaspoon. This will allow you to get around all of the knobs, and you won’t lose any of the flesh either.
- You can purchase pre-peeled and minced ginger in the salad section of your grocery store. Garlic also comes like this. Some of you might be wrinkling your noses at the thought of using prepared items like this, but really there is no shame in it. Its a time saver, and your time is precious.
|I sauteed my chicken with spices used in the rest of the dish.|
3. When the onions are translucent add the ginger, chili powder, turmeric, ground coriander, cinnamon and cumin. Cook for another minute.
|Smells super yummy!|
5. Stir in sour cream, milk, pb and cilantro. Add cut-up chicken and mix well.
6. Cook just until chicken is hot. Serve over rice.