Very sadly my longtime friend and renowned curry expert Raghavan Iyer passed away shortly after I interviewed him about his new book, "On the Curry Trail."
After our chat, I was hungry for a quick curry dinner. One of his points was that he made his own curry powder mixture. I asked him about using prepared curry powder from the market, and he gave his OK. But he said it's important to make sure the bottle is new for maximum flavor. I've adapted one of his recipes for this easy dinner.
Using microwaveable brown rice helps speed the preparation.
› You can use madras curry powder instead of curry powder. It will bring more heat to the dish.
› You can use broccoli, peas or green beans instead of snow peas.
› You can use 4 garlic cloves instead of minced garlic.
› To buy: 1 package microwaveable brown rice, 3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 1 red bell pepper, 1 jar minced garlic, 1 bottle curry powder, 1 can reduced-sodium diced tomatoes, 1 can lite coconut milk, 6 ounces snow peas, 1 box raisins, 1 bag unsweetened coconut.
› Staples: canola oil, onion, salt, black peppercorns.
Curried Coconut Chicken With Peppers
1 1/2 cups microwaveable brown rice
1 tablespoon canola oil
3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup sliced onion
1 cup sliced red bell pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 cup reduced-sodium canned diced tomatoes with its juice
1/2 cup lite coconut milk
3 cups snow peas (about 6 ounces)
1/4 cup raisins
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
Microwave brown rice according to package instructions. Measure 1 1/2 cups, and save any extra for another meal. Divide the rice between two dinner plates. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, and brown 5 minutes, turn and brown second side 2 minutes. Remove from the skillet. Add the onion, red pepper, garlic and curry powder to the skillet. Saute 3 to 4 minutes. Add the diced tomato with their juice, the coconut milk, snow peas and raisins. Return chicken to the skillet with the raisins. Bring to a simmer, and cook 5 minutes. A meat thermometer should read 175 degrees F. Add salt and pepper to taste. Divide in half, and spoon over the rice. Sprinkle shredded coconut on top.
Yield: 2 servings.
Per serving: 512 calories (35% from fat), 19.9 grams fat (6.6 grams saturated, 6.6 grams monounsaturated), 156 milligrams cholesterol, 40.4 grams protein, 44.7 grams carbohydrates, 10.9 grams fiber, 230 milligrams sodium.
— Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer
Linda Gassenheimer is the author of over 30 cookbooks, including her newest, "The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook."