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Rising to the Challenge - A Different Tasting Curry

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January 29, 2018 / African / By
Anna

Looks like a curry; smells like a curry; but it's the peanut butter and coconut milk that make the difference to the taste.

I am not the best cook in our extended family. Both my daughter and daughter-in-law are more imaginative and in many ways, more skilled. The men in the family all have their areas of specialization; in the The Tall Guy's case, it is risotto. I will post an orzo (barley risotto) recipe of his soon.

Despite my ordinary skills, over the extended Christmas period, which lasted for a month this year and ranged from Venice, to Umbria and then back to the young folks' homebase of Dubai, I was the designated cook. Italy was no challenge as we have many vegetable options preserved in various ways as well as the fresh winter greens from the garden. And, yes, I did travel by train to Venice with leeks, a Christmas cake and at least one preprepared meat dish in my suitcase.

But heading to Dubai, where much of the food has massive food miles attached and little flavor, I knew it was going to be a challenge. The advantage I had there though, was plenty of spices. This filling curry saved the day on more than one occasion and was pronounced delicious by my discerning/hard to please daughter.

Peanut, Coconut Milk, and Chicken Curry

  • 150 gms peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
  • 2 diced onions50 gms peeled ginger
  • 1 tspn ground cumin
  • 2 tspns ground coriander
  • 1 tspn ground tumeric
  • 1 tspn cayenne pepper
  • 1 small red chilli (adds heat, so leave out if you don't like it hot)
  • Cooking oil (peanut or as you prefer)
  • 1 vegetable or chicken stock cube crumbled
  • 6-8 chicken thighs (skinned)
  • 500 gms sweet potatoes cut into large chunks
  • Coriander (fresh) chopped
  • More red chilli chopped (optional)
  • Lime slices

Mix the peanut butter with 400 mls of boiling water. Process the onion, ginger, spices and chilli until they form a paste. Some peanut water can be added to add the process.

Heat the oil and gently fry the paste until fragrant. Then add pepper to taste.
Stir in the coconut milk, peanut water and add the stock cube and chicken thighs. Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add the sweet potatoes and cook uncovered for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Take care not to let the sweet potatoes cook down to a mush.

If it is too wet, cook down more; if too dry, add a little water. You want enough sauce to soak into the rice.

Top with the fresh coriander and chill. Serve with rice and lime slices.

With all the good press that coconut oil is getting in terms of producing the right kind of cholesterol, this has a creamy taste but can be eaten guilt-free.

Other options:
You could definitely leave the chicken out of this dish and still have a delicious flavor, so that makes it suitable for vegetarians and vegans, as long as you use vegetable stock. Other vegetables could be added. I have used egg plant and at other times both carrot and pumpkin because they are more readily available than sweet potatoes, especially in Italy.

And, by the way, how are your rice cooking skills? 

Too wet and rice-puddingy? Too dry and sticky? To get a perfectly cooked rice side dish every time, you could just buy a rice-cooker and follow the instructions. or you could hone your cookery skills by reading Adrian's Guide to Perfectly Cooked Rice, published on the site and accessible here.


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Country: United Arab Emirates

Province/State: Dubayy

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Address: N/A

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Price Guide:N/A (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

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