Curry, without the Hurry
Last night was so much fun! Z and I met my family friend and went to a reception at Harvard’s Kennedy School, followed by lots of socializing and dinner. I love having such an unexpected treat during the week! However, that also meant that we didn’t get home until 11:30 pm, and boy am I tired today!
My tiredness = a lazy dinner. But lazy doesn’t mean bad! Lazy means I knew I had some frozen stir fry veggies in the freezer, chicken tenders in the fridge, and a can of on sale light coconut milk in the cupboard. Curry, anyone?
I only just recently started experimenting making my own curries. I L-O-V-E Thai and Indian curries, and I almost always order them at restaurants. What is not to love about the sweet coconut milk and medley of vegetables and spices? But I had always been a little nervous about making them myself. Every curry recipe has a list a mile long of ingredients (mostly spices) and it always seemed complicated. That is until a few months ago, when I stumbled upon a blog post (which blog it was has long since left my mind – sorry fellow blogger!) who made a curry dish literally by throwing some curry powder, coconut milk, and vegetables into a pot. I stepped back and thought about this; maybe its not so hard!
My first attempt was a little sad: I literally threw everything into a pot and let it cook. I only used curry powder so the sauce lacked dimension, and the vegetables turned to mush while waiting for the chicken to be done. So next time I made everything separately, and it turned out a little better. The next I tried some more spices. The next I added mushrooms to the mix. Little by little, my curry began to develop, and I think it will continue to change and grow every time I make it. That’s whats so great about cooking, you get to see things come into their own. Now my little curry is ready to step out into the world!
The number of steps to make this may seem the opposite of lazy, but really it is beyond easy. I do one thing at a time, and am able to check blogs or chat with Z and then run back to the kitchen for the next step. Or you can stand over the stove and stir therapeutically, letting the aromas take you away for a little while.
Coconut Chicken Curry
1/2 lb chicken tenders
1/2 teaspoon of all of the following spices, or whichever ones you have:
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Thai chili pepper, chopped
1 can light coconut milk
1/2 bag frozen stir fry veggies
1 big handful baby spinach
1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Salt and pepper
Brown rice to serve
Mix all of your herbs and spices together in a bowl. Cut up the chicken tenders into 1 inch pieces. Toss them with the spice mix and set aside.
Follow the instructions for the rice and put on to cook. (I use brown rice that takes about 30 minutes to cook. If you are using instant rice, make it at the end)
Saute the onion and garlic in a large pan until soft. Turn the heat to low and add the frozen veggies and chili pepper. Cook them slowly until the veggies have thawed. Put in a bowl and set aside.
In the same pan, saute the chicken until cooked through. The spices will give a nice brown color on the outside. Set aside.
Occupy yourself until the rice is cooked 🙂
Once the rice is cooked, add the coconut milk and cornstarch mix to the same pan the rice and veggies were cooked in and bring to a boil. Let cook for a few minutes to thicken up into a saucy consistency. Add the soy sauce.
Add the chicken and vegetables into the coconut milk and heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Throw in the baby spinach and stir through until softened.
Serve the curry on a bed of the rice.
I think this attempt may have been the perfection of my curry recipe! The vegetables stayed nice and crisp, and the sauce was flavorful. I may have added 2 Thai chilis instead of one, and Z and I had to eat the meal with a glass of water in one hand, but at least it kicked the tiredness out of me 🙂 Cooking everything separately allowed each component to develop its own flavor, and then when they are eaten together it really becomes something special. And the meal only took a half hour to cook, which is exactly what I needed tonight.
As I was enjoying my last few creamy bites of rice Z said to me, “There is nothing like a home cooked dinner.” I never considered my food “home cooking”, that’s what I go to my Mom’s house for! I was so touched that he gave me such a wonderful compliment. If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then the way to a woman’s is through complimenting her food 🙂
We are now off to catch up with our TV shows online (we don’t have a TV, gasp!). Modern Family was hilarious, and I’m excited to see the Office! I’m loving this lazy Thursday.
Do you have a recipe that you are constantly trying to perfect?