As I continue to learn and improve my cooking skills, I find myself incorporating aspects of different recipes I come across on the internet or in my collection of cookbooks to create what I referred to in one of my first posts as a “franken-dish”. I think I’m getting better at this and I like that this is helping to reduce my prep and cooking time. When I first started cooking with greater frequency it would take me forever. I would spend a ton of time either googling recipes or flipping through a recipe book to find something I felt like cooking. This would be followed by at least a couple hours of prep (chopping, dicing, grating, etc.) and cooking. I absolutely love, love, love cookbooks (an addiction of mine) but have learned that they are not always that practical to use unless I plan my meals further ahead of time than I usually do. Planning meals ahead of time is still something I need to work on! It would certainly help reduce the number of times I grocery shop per week at the very least!
I finally managed to plan slightly ahead of time for last night’ meal. While pushing a cart through a grocery store the day before yesterday, I decided I would make a chicken curry of some kind the next day when I noticed that boneless, skinless chicken breasts were on sale. I knew I had a package of mild yellow curry paste, a couple of red peppers, some sweet onions, and some organic red potatoes at home – all items I figured I would use for dinner the next day. I picked up a package of the chicken breasts and three Chinese eggplants.
Since I was actually planning ahead for once, I decided to also do a bit of prep in advance. I chopped the eggplant and red pepper then diced an onion so they would be ready to go the next day.
That left me with just the chicken and potatoes to deal with today. I chopped the chicken into approximately 3/4-inch cubes.
I then washed, peeled and chopped the potatoes.
It was then time to start cooking – my favourite part! A number of my friends had mentioned their use of coconut oil in cooking so, inspired by those conversations and my love for coconut, I recently purchased a 860 mL jar of coconut oil.
I decided to use the coconut oil to sauté the onion. I sauteed it just until it started to soften (about 3 minutes) then added the chicken, which I allowed to cook until raw parts were no longer visible.
Maybe it’s cheating but I decided to use the mild yellow curry paste I had purchased awhile ago to flavour the curry. I’ve used this brand of curry paste a few times and quite like it. Also, there do not appear to be any unnatural sounding ingredients listed on the packaging.
I added the paste next, stirred it around and let it cook for another minute or so.
The next step was to add a can of tomatoes. I decided to use some “no salt added” tomatoes and let it cook for another minute.
When I make tomato sauce, I like to add a bit of sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes so I did that here as well. I added roughly a teaspoon and a half of coconut sugar (though any type of sugar would work).
The next step was to add the red peppers and eggplant and stir them in.
I actually realized at this point that I had forgotten about the potatoes. Since potatoes usually take a bit longer to cook and soften, in the future, I would probably add them earlier than I did this time. I added the potatoes and stirred them in.
Now that all the ingredients had been added and stirred in, I put a lid on and let it simmer for about half an hour. Really, it just needed to simmer long enough to soften up the potatoes and other vegetables.
I usually like to have jasmine rice as a side with Thai-inspired curries but since I didn’t have any on hand, I used a sprouted rice and quinoa blend I purchased at Costco. I’m sure it must be much healthier than a white rice and I like the slight nuttiness and texture of the blend.
I prepared the rice in advance and let it cook on a separate range while I made the curry to ensure it would be done by the time the curry was done. Normally I use a rice cooker to steam rice but after an unfortunate incident where a metal shelf my husband had installed very high up collapsed while my rice cooker sat on it, I resorted to using a regular pot. If anyone is looking for an excellent rice cooker, I highly recommend the ones made by Zojirushi. Some of them even have a special setting that makes the tastiest rice! Believe me! It does make a difference.
It was then finally time to serve dinner! I was pretty happy with the finished product and, considering the huge portion I made, it’s a good thing it turned out well. My husband and I will have some for lunch today and more on the weekend!
Ingredients (for about 6-8 servings):
- 5 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 3 small Chinese eggplants
- 2 red bell peppers
- 3 large potatoes (I used 9 very small potatoes.)
- 1 large sweet onion
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
- 1 can of coconut milk
- Approx. 1-2 tbsp. of coconut oil
- 3 cups of sprouted rice and quinoa blend
- Approx. 1.5 tsp. of coconut sugar (or regular granulated sugar)
- 1 package of curry paste
- salt to taste (optional)
I’m open to suggestions on how to improve this recipe and I’d be happy to hear about similar recipes I could try! 🙂