Chicken Curry with Blueberries and Cinnamon
Having so many blueberry anthocyanins, which aid memory power and promote fat loss, jutting around in a chicken curry, is something quite wonderful. A whopping amount of cinnamon, one of the top three of the world’s most powerful antioxidising foods, further blasts this recipe into its superfood status. Yogurt and fresh coriander help you to stay in tip-top shape by expediting the body’s digestive processes. You may assume this curry to be sweet in taste, but nothing could be further from the truth. The tart yogurt and superspices negate much of the natural blueberry sweetness and what we are left with is a light, yet traditional and tangy-tasting, curry.
This recipe was also part of the ‘world’s healthiest meal’ that I created in 2009, which became an overnight hit when BBC Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans declared live on-air that it was ‘the best curry I’ve ever tasted’.
7oz fresh or frozen blueberries (200g)
¾ oz bunch of fresh coriander, coarsely chopped (20g)
2 tablespoons grated (peeled) fresh root ginger
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 cups low-fat Greek yogurt (500g)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon chilli powder
17oz skinless, chicken breast meat, cut into bite-size pieces (500g)
1 teaspoon garam masala
extra chopped fresh coriander, to garnish
1) In a food processor, blend together the blueberries, chopped coriander, ginger, salt and yogurt to make a purée.
2) Set aside.
3) Place the garlic in a deep saucepan with the olive oil and cook over a low-medium heat until the garlic starts to turn a brown colour – this should take no longer than 1–2 minutes. Add the turmeric, mix well and cook for about 20 seconds. Stir in the cinnamon and chilli powder and cook for a further 20 seconds.
4) Add the chicken meat, and mix well, cook until the chicken is sealed all over – stirring all the time. Now slowly pour in the yogurt mixture, mixing it into the chicken, and then bring to a simmer over a low heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time. Mix through the garam masala.
5) Garnish with the extra chopped coriander and serve with Goji Berry and Green Pea Pilau.
Goji Berry and Green Pea Pilau
This is pretty much the basic pilau recipe my Mum fed me on from a young age. It was how I thought all rice was made until I was much older. In fact, Punjabis possess a queer snobbery for their pilau recipe. Rather peculiar, considering we have never been the traditional connoisseurs of rice. I remember my grandmother was once served plain boiled rice. She threw it back at her servants, saying that boiled rice was for the labourers and not for her. Even my Mum would ‘snarl’ at rice cooked in any other way than the traditional Punjabi method, saying the pure white grains of boiled rice would remind her of teeth and, therefore, put her off her dinner.
For a people who rarely eat rice, the Punjabi obsession with their pilau is nothing short of baffling. But, once you experience its multifaceted flavours, you will be able to appreciate, just a little, where the burning passion takes root from. Like most of their foods, it’s very satisfying indeed; enough so that you can even enjoy it by itself with just a knob of butter or a dollop of natural yogurt.
I remember it was the first rice dish I taught myself to cook when leaving home. It took me years to get it right, so, I thought I’d share it with you. You can also throw in a few black cardamom pods for added depth of flavour – I remember Mum doing so on special occasions. The superfood twist is brought into full swing with the inclusion of ruby-coloured goji berries which add loads of vitamin C, as well as a wonderful and slightly fruity, almost tea like flavour.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 heaped teaspoon cumin seeds
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, grated
1 cup basmati rice
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
a small handful of dried goji berries
a handful of green peas (fresh or frozen)
1) Pour the olive oil into a deep saucepan, add and cumin seeds and cook over a low-medium heat until the seeds begin to pop – this should take no more than 2–3 minutes. Add the onion and cook until it is soft, stirring frequently – this should take no more than 5 minutes. As soon as the onion is soft, add the carrot and cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring frequently.
2) Place the onion mixture, rice, salt and 1 ¾ cup boiling water into a large microwave safe bowl and mix with a fork.
3) Microwave, uncovered, for 4 minutes on HIGH at 700W, or for 31/2 minutes on HIGH at 800W or for 3 minutes on HIGH at 900W.
4) Mix with a fork. Microwave, uncovered, for a further 4 minutes on HIGH at 700W, or for a further 31/2 minutes on HIGH at 800W, or for a further 3 minutes on HIGH at 900W.
5) Mix with a fork. Cover the bowl and microwave for a further 4 minutes on HIGH at 700W, or for a further 31/2 minutes on HIGH at 800W, or for a further 3 minutes on HIGH at 900W.
6) Take the pilau out of the microwave, add the goji berries and peas on top of the rice and leave it to stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
7) Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.
For more information on Gurpareet Bains and his book, Indian Superfood, visit : http://www.gurpareetbains.co.uk/
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