Monday, March 23, 2015

Easy Chicken Coconut Curry

With three kids to feed, I need, in my recipe bank, as many healthy one pot dishes as possible. And two of those mouths only have four teeth each! My one-year old twin girls still need their food pureed down slightly. When my husbands aunt, Didi Meenu, shared this recipe with me, I thought it would make cooking for all easy! My husband and I added some red chili to spice it up! Serve over basmati rice.

And let's not forget the most important part— this coconut curry was complete, from start to finish, in 22 minutes! Using a pressure cooker did help. If you don't have a pressure cooker, then cook it on a regular pot, but it will take longer. 

1 large onion, chopped (finely mince and reserve 1/4 onion)
3 large tomatoes, chopped
8 cloves garlic, peeled
1-inch ginger, peeled
1 14-oz can coconut milk (you can use the light version too)
Green chillies, to taste (optional)
2 small pieces of cinnamon 
1 teaspoon cardamon powder
Salt, to taste

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

5–6 curry leaves

1 pound boneless, skinless, chicken breast, cut into bite-sized cubes, marinated in salt

1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 cup water

Cilantro, for garnish


  1. In a blender, blend 3/4 of the onion, along with the next nine ingredients
  2. In a pressure cooker, heat the oil, fry the curry leaves and then sauté 1/4 of the onion (minced). Add the chicken and sauté until it is slightly dried up. 
  3. Follow by adding the coconut milk mixture, coriander and turmeric powders. Add water, if needed. Cover and let it cook for two whistles.
  4. Garnish with cilantro leaves, and serve over fresh basmati rice.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Celery Soup

This last weekend we went for dinner at one of our favorite French restaurants— Deux Amis. Our sons standard order is the soup of the day, grilled calamari, and pink-fish, a.k.a salmon. So on a lovely spring evening, we sat there with our four year old son, and twin one year old girls, eating Celery Soup. Two evenings later, my son requested the same soup. I did my best to re-create it. 

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

1 bunch celery hearts, chopped
1 small white onion, chopped
1 small waxy potato
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 cups vegetable / chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh dill 
Salt, to taste

  1. In a 5qt pot, cook the first four ingredients for 8–10 minutes. Keep stirring.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and it let it cook for another 10–15 minutes.
  3. Puree to a smooth consistency. Garnish with celery leaves and sea salt.

Chicken Satay

One of our favorite meals at home, growing up, was chicken satay, with steamed vegetables (like potato, bean sprouts, spinach, cabbage, tofu) with peanut sauce. Given my sons peanut allergy, I cannot share this special meal with him— but I can make chicken satay for him. I served the chicken satay with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce, but below you will find recipes for a Faux No-Peanut Peanut Sauce, and then the real Peanut sauce (both of which I have made, and work great). 

Don't forget that you can make a large batch of the satays, put them in a zip lock bag, and freeze it for when you want them next. I freeze them in a serving portion for my family, so that gives me 6-8 skewers per bag. Works great for that weeknight meal.

Chicken Satay
6 servings, about 24 skewers

2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 stalks fresh lemongrass, thinly sliced (optional)
2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
4 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, pounced flat and cut into long strips

  1. Whisk together all the ingredients except for the chicken, in a shallow baking dish. 
  2. Add the chicken to the marinade in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  3. While the chicken marinates, soak about 24 skewers in water for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from the marinade and thread the chicken pieces onto skewers.
  5. Lightly oil a grill pan to medium-high; sear the chicken in batches until cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.

No-Peanut Peanut Sauce
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (I used fat-free) 
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
3 tablespoons honey or 2 teaspoons palm sugar or 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 clove garlic, crushed
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 cup smooth sunflower butter
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil (optional)
Black pepper, to taste
2 pinches of cumin

Chili oil, to taste (optional)

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the coconut milk, salt, lemon or lime juice, and honey.
  2. Add the balance ingredients and stir until smooth. If it is too thick, add a bit more of the coconut milk.
Real Peanut Sauce
1 kilo / 1/2 pound roasted peanuts (ground)
1 red onion (chopped finely)
4 pods of garlic (crushed)
1 inch ginger (grated)
1 cup tamarind juice
5 tablespoons dark brown sugar or 3 tablespoons honey
Salt and red pepper, to taste
3 cups of water

  • Heat oil on a high flame; add onions, ginger and garlic. Sauté until nearly burnt.
  • Add ground peanuts and sauté for approximately 5 minutes. Peanuts should have a ‘smoked’ feeling to it.
  • Add tamarind juice, brown sugar, salt and red pepper. Mix properly and stir for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add water slowly and keep stirring so that the sauce does not stick to the pan. Let it boil until the oil separates and comes to the top.
  • Cover the saucepan and let it simmer for 10–15 minutes. Remove from heat, keep it covered for another half hour or so.
To serve
  • Serve with boiled vegetables: spinach, cabbage, potatoes, tofu, bean sprouts, cucumber, fried prawn crackers (kheecha) etc.
  • To top the sauce, have deep fried and burnt finely chopped onions / red chilli powder.
Can also eat with white rice and fried shrimp crackers.