Tag Archives: curry

Praise and a Side of Curry

30 Oct

A confession: I spend an embarrassing amount of time every day reading about food, mainly on Twitter and on blogs. I’m not going to give you an exact number, because if I write it down, I will be forced take my laptop and throw it off my fourth-floor balcony onto the footpath below my building. And I don’t want to kill some poor, innocent pedestrian because I can’t cope with my internet habit.

But anyway. With the sheer volume of food-related information being produced on the web these days, sometimes it’s a little hard to get excited about the latest hamburger joint in Soho or the best pizza in Queens. But there are a few blogs where I always perk up when I see a new post. One of them is Eat Like a Girl, written by Niamh Shields.

Eat Like a Girl is largely a recipe blog, with restaurant reviews and travel writing mixed in here and there. The prose is evocative without being florid, and she writes recipes clearly and logically. She also has similar tastes to me – big flavours and influences from around the world. And even though she has an undying love for all things piggy, I can still read those recipes and appreciate her joy in experimenting with new combinations, even if I can’t partake in the results. I’m booked on to a class with her to learn to make different kinds of candy, and I’m sure I will come away with both good understanding and some very tasty treats!

So I was sold on her butternut squash-chickpea-spinach curry before I even made it. Butternut squash is a special favourite of mine at this time of year – it’s just so sweet and tender and ORANGE. It also takes especially well to spicy, bold flavours, which this curry has in spades. The cumin and coriander seeds especially give it serious oomph. The method is straightforward as for all relatives of stew and soup: sauté aromatics, add solids, add liquids, simmer until reduced and/or tender. And as with stew, it’s better after some aging time in the fridge.

The end result! And a bonus hand.

My only change this time around was to use a red chili in place of green, because that’s what my greengrocer had. It’s milder with a red chili, but you lose that herbal, citrusy note that green ones give. Next time I also might tinker with the spices and try it with some fennel or brown mustard seeds.

(You can find the recipe on Eat Like a Girl. Niamh also has a terrific cookbook called Comfort and Spice, which you should also check out!)

Fit for a Queen

5 Mar

Coronation Chicken was originally invented in the early 1950s to commemorate Elizabeth II’s ascent to the throne, and even in these more affluent and cosmopolitan times, the recipe is a tiny time-warp to 60 years ago. The stuff is a sandwich filling standby in the UK – go into any sandwich shop and you’ll see a fluorescent yellow mound of mayonnaise-laden, curry and chutney-spiked chicken salad studded with raisins.

My version of Coronation Chicken substitutes yogurt for mayonnaise for both health and taste reasons (there’s a future entry in my mixed emotions about mayo), uses turmeric and garam masala in place of curry powder, and ratchets up the flavor with sautéed onions and garlic. The apple and the raisins add sweetness and texture contrast to the creamy chicken. It makes a splendid lunch by itself or on toast, and is my favourite way to use up any leftover roast chicken!

Diamond Jubilee Chicken Salad (inspired by Gourmet’s Curried Chicken Salad with Spiced Chickpeas and Raita)

Serves 2

2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon garam masala
0.5 teaspoon turmeric
0.5 teaspoon salt
2 roasted chicken breasts or chicken thighs, shredded (from a store-bought rotisserie chicken, or you can make your own awesome roast chicken)
200g/1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 Braeburn apple (or another sweet and crisp fruit), cored and diced
2 tablespoons raisins/sultanas

Heat the oil over a medium flame, then add the onions. Fry until translucent and turning soft, 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic, garam masala, turmeric, and salt, and sauté for another minute.

Scrape the mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the chicken and toss until the meat is well-coated, then stir in the yogurt until everything is creamy and yellow. Add the apple and raisins, stir, and serve.