Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry - Love at First Bite

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Isn't it funny where the inspiration for a meal comes from. I had been all set to make a simple grilled chicken salad with sweet potato wedges when I spotted the sad lonely bowl of coconut, left over from some dipped toffee apples I had made earlier in the day. Stand back, said the cooking area of my brain, I'll deal with this.

On the spice trail...

Before I knew what was happening, out came the wok ( my wok) and a selection of spices ( spices), some Greek yoghurt ( Greek yoghurt) and a few other bits and pieces. There was stirring. There was frying - all to find a suitable home for the poor leftover coconut. About 30 minutes later, I was ready to serve up this light, fragrant curry. It doesn't in any way claim to be the authentic cuisine of any curry country, but I love it.

For 2 - 3 servings you will need...
2 tablespoons light oil such as peanut or sunflower
300g chicken breast, diced into 2cm (½ inch) pieces
1 onion, halved and sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon mild chilli powder
3 tablespoons dessicated coconut
200mls chicken stock
250g Greek yoghurt
1 medium sweet potato (about the size of two tennis balls), diced into 2cm (½ inch) pieces
2 curry leaves (optional)

Fine table salt to taste

An alium by any other name...

1          Heat the oil in a wok or a medium saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook for about 2 minutes until golden on all sides. (Don't overcrowd the pan or you'll end up with sad grey boiled chicken and miss out on the gorgeous carmelized flavours that frying adds.) Transfer to a bowl.  
2          Add the onion to the wok or saucepan and stir fry until lightly golden (about 4 minutes). Add in the garlic, ginger, turmeric and chilli powder and cook for a further 30 seconds. Then add the dessicated coconut, chicken stock, and Greek yoghurt and stir until combined.
3          Add the chicken to this sauce along with the sweet potato and the curry leaves (if using). Cover and simmer gently for about 30 minutes or until the sweet potato is easily pierced with a fork and the chicken is cooked through.
4          Taste and add salt if necessary before serving with basmati rice.

Love at first bite... yum!

I've since made a vegetarian version of this curry: heat the oil and proceed from step 2 above, using vegetarian stock, and adding zucchini and aubergine along with the sweet potato, and fresh spinach leaves and sugar snap peas about 5 minutes before the end.

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