Traverse City Record-Eagle

Food

February 14, 2013

Chicken curry that's speedy, delicious

It didn’t seem too much to ask for. I wanted a coconut chicken curry that is fast, delicious and not loaded with fat. Turned out to be easier than I expected.

Let’s start with the sauce. The key is to make it rich and flavorful without resorting to the usual culprit — full-fat coconut milk. I considered using light coconut milk, but generally have found curries made with it to be thin and uninspiring. Fat, after all, is mighty yummy.

My solution was to start with a small amount of light coconut milk, but then doctor it up. Pureeing into it a jar of roasted red peppers and a small onion was just the trick. This provided the sauce with body, as well as both sweet and savory flavors. A hefty dose of curry powder and some lemon grass added during cooking rounded it all out.

To cook, all I did was bring my sauce to a simmer in a large saute pan, then add my chicken. To bulk out the recipe with good lean protein, I also added a can of chickpeas. I tasted it as it cooked and felt it was missing something ... sweet. But I wanted to avoid the obvious — sugar, honey, etc. — if I could. So I tried added grated carrots. Perfect! More healthy veggies and just the right amount of natural sweetness.

While you could use boneless, skinless chicken breasts in this recipe, I prefer thighs. They have a richer flavor and don’t get tough the way breasts can.

Speedy and Light Chicken Curry

12-oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 c. chicken broth

1/2 c. light coconut milk

2 t. curry powder

Three 3-inch lengths fresh lemon grass

15-oz. can chickpeas, drained

1 c. grated carrots

13/4 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs

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