In the middle of the day last Thursday, I realized that the dinner I had planned to make was not going to work without a trip to the store. I had already used some of the key ingredients to make it earlier in the week. (I hate when this happens. I write down “cilantro” on the grocery list, not remembering that I need to purchase enough for two dishes, and then I come home with just a single bunch, screwing myself out of the second dish. I only had a smidgen left. So much for planning meals out for the week.) I did not have the desire to go to the store, and I didn’t have the time or the creativity to consider creating something out of the available pantry ingredients at home. I was headed down the road towards a) frozen gluten-free pizza, or b) take-out. Neither of which sounded like a winner.
And then I receive an email. Actually, two emails, from my wonderful grandmother. (Yes, that grandmother.) She was looking through a magazine and found two recipes she thought I would like to try. One was a flourless almond torte, (which I will have to make soon!) and the other? A chicken curry. I looked through the recipe, and realized I had all of the ingredients on hand. It looked as though it was a quick dish to throw together too…an added bonus on a weeknight.
This recipe just goes to show you that you don’t always have to spend hours in the kitchen, or have a long list of ingredients and complicated steps to make a delicious dish. This curry was bright, with a good amount of heat to it (but not too much!). The flavors of the masala made this dish feel as though it was a comfort dish I’d turn to time and time again, without the heavy, calorie-laden sauces that accompany most “comfort dishes.”
A big thanks to Grandma, as she saved the day!
Adapted from Guideposts:
2 lbs chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 t masala (recipe follows)
1 t fresh ginger, grated
2 t fresh garlic, grated
1 small onion, diced
4 T olive oil
salt, to taste
1 small tomato, chopped
1 c frozen peas
A few sprigs of cilantro leaves
Combine chicken, masala, ginger, garlic, and onion in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add salt. Mix well, making sure chicken is fully coated. Set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.
Over medium heat, warm the remaining oil in a large skillet. Add the marinated chicken and cover skillet. After about 10 minutes, stir chicken, and add tomato and peas. Allow ingredients to simmer over medium heat until fully cooked, 5-10 minutes more (depends on the size of your chicken pieces).
Serve over steamed Basmati rice and garnish with cilantro leaves. Serves 4.
For the masala:
1 1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 T paprika
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t ground coriander
1/4 fennel seed, crushed or ground
1/4 t garam masala
1/4 t turmeric
Combine all spices thoroughly. Store in a jar for up to three months.