Mrs. Jackson Cooks

Life through food

South Indian chicken curry

on November 23, 2011

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As I write this, I’m eating my lunchbox salad of beetroots, green beans and goats cheese. And very nice it is too. Perfect for lunches as it’s low in carbs and high in protein – giving me the boost for this afternoon and not making me sleepy! Whilst the dieting mantra is no carbs after 5, actually this doesn’t make sense in terms of how your body functions. You want to avoid carbs at lunch as they’ll make you sleepy and stock up on protein to give you a boost, and eat carbs for dinner to slow you down and give you a good nights sleep (and to avoid a glucose crash in the middle of the night, waking up with a headache). This will be my next post (the salad, not dieting tips – I’m not sure I have any of them, I just use common sense – this being one such example).

Now, for those of you who are dieting (I’m not, by the way, I don’t do diets, I just try to eat sensibly) this is a very good option. It even has coconut milk in it, which normally is a ‘no no’ for dieters, but according to the recipe, it’s only 320 calories. Have it with a bit of rice or a chappatti, and you’ve got a very healthy 500 calorie-ish meal. Perfect for dinner. The only thing I would say is, I made half of this recipe for 2 people and we ate all of it. So 6 servings is probably unrealistic unless you are very committed to your diet. So probably 450 calories is more realistic – which still isn’t bad. If you use reduced fat coconut milk you could probably lose a few more too.

For those of you not dieting, don’t worry, it’s full of flavours and utterly delicious. I think I may even prefer it to the chicken and cashew nut curry I posted last week.

I do not love the name though, because it suggests that this is the only South Indian Chicken curry, when of course there are many, and I’m not sure I ever ate one in the 2 years I lived there that had coconut milk in it. Maybe it’s more of a Keralan version. Anyway, as it’s a very generic title I’m not sure what else to call it and have kept the unsatisfactory name.

Here’s the original recipe, but I of course changed it a bit. Not by much though:

South Indian Chicken Curry

Serves 2

  • 1 small green chilli, roughly chopped (de seed if you don’t want too spicy, add another if you like a good kick)
  • 5cm piece root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and one roughly chopped, the other sliced
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp oil (groundnut, sunflower, vegetable, rapeseed – whatever)
  • 5 curry leaves (can be bought from most Indian and some Chinese supermarkets, and often local Indian corner shops – keep in freezer and take out when needed)
  • 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts (or 1 large if from a butcher), chopped into bitesized pieces
  • vegetables – I used mushrooms but carrots, peppers, peas, beans – whatever you have, will work just as well
  • 1/2 tin coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 large green chillis, chopped on the diagonal (de seed if you want – they aren’t very hot anyway)
  • handful of chopped fresh coriander
  1. Wizz the chopped onion, garlic, ginger, ground spices, salt and small chillis in a food processor or blender to make a paste (or you can do it by hand with a pestle and mortar). Add a bit of the oil if it’s sticking and not very pasty (the recipe suggests water – I found that this made it too watery and when adding to the hot oil in the pan, made it spit at me).
  2. Heat the oil in the pan. Add the paste and cook out for a couple of minutes.
  3. Then add the onions. Cook until starting to brown. Then add the chicken, stiring well to coat in the paste.
  4. Cook until the chicken turns white on the outside before chucking in your vege, mixing again.
  5. Cook for a further couple of minutes until the veges start to soften.
  6. Add the coconut milk, tamarind paste and lime juice.
  7. Cook for a few minutes until you have a nice thick curry sauce and the chicken is cooked through.
  8. Toss in the coriander and chillis, stirring through.
  9. Serve immediately with boiled rice, naans or chappatis.
  10. Enjoy!

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