Easy Indian Inspired Dairy Free Curry Chicken and Rice Recipe
When I think of curry, I think of India. Perhaps most people are like me in that sense. Each brand and mix of curry powder tastes slightly different. That’s because curry is not just one spice, but a blend of different spices (I haven’t always known that). In my years of cooking, I have used dozens of different brands and mixes of curry. Because of the variety in each blend, sometimes there can be a slight difference in the taste of a dish. Some of the mixes are really spicy, while others are very mild. For me, a blend of aromatic spices, is what makes a delicious dish. I find myself quoting the awesome movie 100 foot journey, while trying to teach my two younger sons some cooking. In the movie the father of the main character says at one point “don’t sprinkle ! (speaking of seasoning a dish) spoon it in!!”. So today I want to share my personal Indian inspired chicken curry and rice recipe. And we will not be sprinkling the spices, but we will spoon them in for ultimate aroma and flavors.
In general, curry is a combination of some of the most common spices used in Asia, specifically India, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries. All curry powders have 4 common spices in them, and then depending on the brand, they will have their own choice of additional seasonings in the blend. You will discover that the coriander and turmeric are generally the first two ingredients in a curry powder. Coriander that gives that distinct mild nutty flavor, and the turmeric, that delivers the beautiful bright yellow color. Turmeric is more than just a color, because of it’s health benefits, it really deserves an article on its own (I’ll work on that). Usually the third flavor is cumin. Lastly, this one can have a slight variation, but frequently there is a form of red chili or pepper. Beyond these four spices, I have seen black pepper, ginger, onion, garlic, fenugreek, mustard seed and nutmeg. I’m sure there might be other variations out there as well. But this gives you an idea of the endless possibilities of a curry powder. Due to my high sensitivity to black pepper, I always have to make sure I buy a mix that doesn’t have black or white pepper in it. Try different brands, and you’ll find the one you’ll love. Or even better create you own blend. That’s my next project!
I want to mention curry paste, because I’ve always thought that I can replace curry paste with curry powder. But in recent time, I’ve learned that they are not the same thing. Curry paste is traditionally used in Thai food, while the powder is more common in Indian foods. I speak from experience when I say, do NOT substitute the same amount of paste as a powder in a dish. Paste is (generally) spicier than powder. Paste comes in different heat levels, hot (red), medium (green)and mild(yellow). I struggle even with the mildest one (at least my gut does). Unlike the curry seasoning, that gives more of a lasting gentle flavor in our taste buds, the curry paste offers an instant kick of heat and flavors.
Variety Of Rice
I love rice! Probably because I grew up with eating it 5-6 days a week. Unfortunately white rice is not the best carbohydrate out there, specially if you are trying to control blood sugar. Anymore it is really easy to find the different types of rice varieties. Following are varieties I have enjoyed and cooked, brown, traditional white, jasmine, basmati, arborio, black, wild and red rice. There are bunch more of other less common rice varieties, and each are slightly different in flavor and texture. Although some varieties are a little more money when purchased, rice in of itself is a very inexpensive carbohydrate. It’s good to remember that the less a rice has been proceeded and outer layer hulled the higher in nutrients. Growing up my mom and grandmother always put a spoon of butter and some salt when cooking their rice. I have a always enjoyed that extra flavor. But as I discovered that dairy and other products where the root cause of my gut problems, I started using coconut oil instead of butter. To my surprise, I found that substituting coconut oil with butter made the rice taste even better.
Recipe and Tips
- The curry seasoning I use here, contains organic coriander, turmeric, cumin, red pepper and onion powder.
- When the recipe calls for coconut milk, you can either use canned (creamier) or unsweetened refrigerator fresh coconut milk. If I double the serving l’ll use both kinds.
- This recipe is real easy to double for more servings. I usually have to do that.
- You do not need a rice cooker (never used one), a regular pot with lid works perfect.
- If you start your rice about the same time as your chicken curry, you should have your entire meal ready in 45 minutes
Easy Chicken Curry
Yield: 4 Servings Prep Time: 15 min Cook Time: 25-30 min
1/2 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
24 Oz. Bite Size Diced Chicken Breast
1/2 Chopped Large Yellow Onion
1 Tablespoon Curry
1/2 Tablespoon Garlic
1/4 Teaspoon Ginger Powder (or 1″ Fresh Grated Ginger)
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
2 Cups Coconut Milk
1/2 Fresh Peeled and Diced Apple
1 Cinnamon Stick
1/2 Teaspoon Salt (As needed)
1/4-1/2 Cup Fresh Chopped Parley or Cilantro (Optional For Garnish)
In a skillet (needs a lid) melt the coconut oil and add the diced chicken breast. Stir it and let it cook for few minutes and then add the chopped onion. One at a time start adding the seasonings, curry, garlic, ginger, nutmeg and some salt. At this point pour half the coconut milk 1 Cup and the cinnamon stick and let it all simmer on low with the lid on for about 10 minutes. If you feel you’d like extra sauce, just add a little extra coconut milk while simmering. Take the lid off and add the remaining cup of milk and mix in the chopped fresh apple in the skillet. Add some extra salt, if needed. Let it cook for another 10 minutes. Meanwhile chop your herb and stir it in right before you serve your meal. Enjoy!!
Jasmine Rice With Cumin Seeds
Yield: 4 Cups Prep Time: 5 min Cook Time: 25 min
2 Cups Jasmine Rice (Rinsed and Drained)
3 1/2 Cup Water
1/4 – 1/3 Cup Coconut Oil (I know that seems like lot, but it’s worth it ;-).)
4 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
1 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
Measure water and rinsed rice and add to a pot (preferably non-stick, but I use stainless all the time). Add the coconut oil, salt and the cumin seeds and stir. Bring it all to boil on high. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat down to the lowest setting and let it cook under a lid for 20 min. Remove the lid after that time and gently fluff your rice and it is ready to be served.
The rich flavors, colors and aroma of the cumin rice and the chicken curry, makes this meal a feast for all the senses. Feel free to serve a green salad or some steamed broccoli on the side. If you are lucky enough, and end up with leftovers for lunch the next day, then just heat it up for couple of minutes and it will taste just as good. Stores great in refrigerator for 3-4 days. Let me know what you think?