Easy chicken curry recipe for the family

I’m all for keeping recipes easy, quick and unfussy and this fits the bill. My eldest daughter asked me to make it as I haven’t for a while and thought would share it as it’s obviously passed the taste test.

If you don’t eat meat it’s easy to do a separate curry with the same ingredients, and just leave the chicken out – use about 300g of the lentils and vegetable stock.

Chicken and green lentil curry

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Serves 4

You will need…

2 tablespoons olive oil
400g organic chicken breasts cut into 1 cm pieces
100-150g dried green lentils
1 good sized onion
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
half a teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 cloves of garlic crushed or finely chopped
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
200ml chicken stock
2 tablespoons organic Greek yogurt
Fresh coriander
Basmati rice or cauliflower rice

How to…

  • Heat the olive oil and fry the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes on a medium heat.
  • Add all the spices, keep stirring so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • After about a minute or two add the chicken pieces and keep stirring until the outside of the chicken is sealed.
  • Add the lentils, chopped tomatoes and chicken stock and cook for 25 minutes stirring every so often.
  • Cook the rice or cauliflower rice during this time.
  • Check the lentils are cooked through – if still a little hard cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • Add two tablespoons of yogurt to the curry stir well and serve with rice and poppadoms and coriander.

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Chicken kebabs with jewelled cous cous

This is a version of a recipe I cut out of a magazine years ago, and I can’t remember what the magazine was so can’t credit it (am very honest about where my recipes come from – I always credit the source and link to original recipe – unless have devised it myself).

bedjewelled cous cous

I’ve made this meal a couple of times in the last few weeks and it goes down really well. For my youngest daughter I take the chicken off the kebab as, even if I cut off the pointy end of the skewer, accidents are still likely to happen.

In the last week my 7 year old has decided she’d prefer plain cous cous.  It’s easy enough to put some to one side when you’re making it to keep it plain.

This cous cous salad is great for bbq’s, picnics, goes well with home made burgers or you could add cubes of feta cheese and serve with corn on the cob for a vegetarian option. 

To make chicken kebabs you will need…

400g organic free range chicken breasts cut into cubes*
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 skewers soaked in water for 10 minutes or so

How to…

Cut the chicken breasts into cubes about 2cm cubed and put in a bowl
Mix together the olive oil and lemon juice.
Add the marinade to the bowl and stir the chicken so it’s all covered.
Cover and put in the fridge for at least half an hour to 2 hours (but don’t worry if you don’t have time!)
Take out of the fridge and put on skewers.
Grill on a medium to hot heat for about 10 minutes, turning so that the chicken is cooked through.
If it’s cooked on the outside and still pink in the middle turn down the heat a little and continue to cook for a few minutes until ready.

To make the cous cous you will need…

200g cous cous (wholegrain is best)
300ml water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
6 organic dried apricots**
50g pinenuts
40 raisins or sultanas (I use raisins as they’re high in iron)
handful (about 15g) of mint chopped
2-3 spring onions sliced

How to…

Put the cous cous in a bowl.
Mix the olive oil and lemon juice together and stir through the cous cous along with the water.
Leave to stand for 15 minutes.
Toast the pine nuts either in a grill or in the bottom of a saucepan – keep an eye on them as they start to brown very quickly.
As soon as they’ve toasted put them in a bowl as otherwise they’ll continue to cook in the pan/baking try.
Chop the sun dried tomatoes and dried apricots and add to the pine nuts along with the sultanas/raisins.
Add the mint and onions.
Now with a fork fluff up the cous cous then add all the ingredients and mix well.

Serve with a green salad (don’t dress the salad keep the dressing in a bowl so people can have it they want to). For this salad I just did a simple olive oil balsamic vinegar one (3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil to about 2 tablespoons of balsamic mixed with a fork).

We had courgettes and courgette flowers shallow fried in olive oil with a squeeze of lemon judge along with steamed green beans (all from the garden) along with a rocket, tomato and avocado salad.

Chicken kebabs and cous cous

 

*400g is about enough for a child between 1-4 years, another between 5-11 years and two adults (with a little left over). This is based on portion size guidance from First Steps Nutrition which is based on guideline recommended intakes of protein.

So before you cook the chicken (as this results in weight/water loss) weigh what you need based on:

65g uncooked chicken for children aged between 1-4 years
75g uncooked chicken for children aged between 5-11 years
About 120g chicken for adults

**Organic apricots do not have sulphur added (which some children can have an adverse reaction to) which is why they are brown rather than orange.

 

 

 

 

5 minute oriental chicken soup

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This is probably our favourite dish at the moment. With the light evenings the girls have been going to bed late so we have less time in the evening. This soup is perfect, because it literally takes 5 minutes to cook (and 5 minutes tops to prepare) is healthy and delicious.

I haven’t had time recently to make my own stock. I buy organic free range stock cubes, firstly because I know organic free range farming has higher animal welfare standards compared to factory farming as the chickens have access to outdoors and are kept in a lower stocking density (less chickens per square metre). Also organic farmers are not per permitted to use antibiotics. Finally under organic standards, additives such as MSG are not permitted for use. So organic is a label you can trust.

You can use a very low salt stock cube, I don’t, because I don’t eat processed foods and don’t add salt to my food, so I know i don’t have much added salt in my diet.

I often make this dish it on a day when I am making chicken stirfry for the girls, so i can use the same ingredients for both meals. Usually I just have tat soi (my favourite Chinese greens at the moment), mushrooms and sometimes purple spouting broccoli, it all depends on what I have in the fridge. Anyway, experiment and see what flavours work for you. I sometimes have a few sliced chillies on top, if you like hot food you can add it to the stock, but this makes it all too spicy for me as it infuses the whole soup. My husband has noodles in his soup but I prefer it without.

I have made a version of this with Wild Alaskan salmon which I will post soon, and will try to make it with tofu too as that will work well.

You will need…

Serves 2

2 organic skinless chicken breasts (about 200g in total)

1 organic chicken stock cube or 600ml homemade chicken stock

200g of pak choi or tat soi Washed and sliced

2-3 garlic cloves sliced

A thumbnail chunk of ginger peeled and sliced

Handful of chestnut mushrooms sliced

Half a pepper sliced (optional)

2-4 spring onions (optional)

Free range egg noodles (optional)

How to…

Bring the stock to the boil in a pan.

Add the ginger, garlic and chicken breasts whole to the stock.

The chicken needs to cook for 5 minutes and not much more otherwise it starts to toughen up.

Add the noodles to the pan and put the lid on.

A minute later add purple sprouting broccoli, spring onions and/or mushrooms.

A minute before the end add the tat soi or pak choi.

Put the lid on and allow to steam.

Divide the soup between bowls.

Slice the chicken (check that its cooked through) and arrange on top of the soup.

Sprinkle with coriander and serve with a dash of soy sauce.

Chicken Tikka Masala recipe from the Can Cook team in Liverpool


This is a great weekend family dish – its not too hot at all – my 5 year old daughter loves it.

I got this recipe from the Can Cook Healthier recipe book and we’ve made it several times. Can Cook is a innovative social enterprise in Liverpool that employs chefs delivering practical cooking sessions that inspire and impart good cooking skills. I was lucky enough to work with Can Cook when I was at the Centre of Food Policy, City University.

They recently launched their Teaching Liverpool to Cook campaign where chefs will be delivering cooking sessions all over Liverpool to community groups, schools, and businesses.

You will need…

250-300g organic chicken breast cubed*
2 tablespoons olive oil
200ml plain yogurt (I use full fat)
3 cloves garlic crushed
2 teaspoons grated ginger
3 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
Juice from half a lime
400g tinned tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek
15g chilled butter
1/2 vinegar
20ml single cream
2 tablespoons fresh coriander chopped

How to…

Mix yoghurt, garlic, ginger, two teaspoons of paprika, ground coriander, ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon garam masala and lime juice.
Add the cubed chicken, mix well and leave to marinate for 2 hours in the fridge (but if you have less time don’t worry).
Heat the oil in a large pan and add the chicken and the marinade, cook on a medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring until the chicken is tender.
In another pan add the tomatoes and ground fenugreek, then cook for 5 minutes, until some of the liquid has evaporated.
Add the chilled butter, one teaspoon of paprika, half a teaspoon of gram masala, the vinegar and single cream, and cook for an extra minute.
Add the sauce to the chicken, stir in the fresh coriander
Season and serve with brown rice.

*I weighed what I was using on Saturday and it was just over 260 raw – so about 60g for my 5 year old daughter and then about 100g for adults. I had enough for a left over lunch for me today too.

Based on giving a quarter of the amount made here to a 5 year old and using brown rice – this meal will provide high levels of potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B3 and B6 and about a half of their recommended iron intake, a third of their recommended intake of vitamin B1 and vitamin B2 and calcium…not bad!

Simple breaded chicken and rice supper for a 5 year old

Our lovely friend, Heather Shuker is staying with us for the weekend. She’s photographing a wedding at Studland. So we are having supper late when she gets back: chicken tikka masala from Can Cook’s Healthier cook book. Can Cook is a wonderful social enterprise project based in Liverpool that teaches communities and schools to cook. They are campaigning at the moment for funding to teach Liverpool to cook.

Because we are eating later, I’ve just made s simple chicken dish for my daughter. Ideally we eat together but sometimes timings just don’t work out. She loves rice, and has just got into living lettuce from the local supermarket (grown in the UK – probably in polytunnels).

Hopefully Heather won’t see this post, as am sure she will have something to say about my photography. Its tricky to take pictures in the evening when there’s no natural light.

I weighed out about 60g of raw chicken breast. The recommended amount for 5-11 year olds is around 75-90g raw weight, according to CHEW! This is guidance of course and children have different appetites and activity levels and therefore nutrition requirements.

I cut the organic chicken into 4 strips and dipped them all in flour, then beaten egg and then finally in breadcrumbs*.

Then I baked them in the oven at 200°C (gas mark 6) in a little olive oil for about 15 minutes – turning them halfway through

*I put left over bread in the food processor to make breadcrumbs and then freeze them to use as I need them.

I served the breaded chicken with plain boiled rice and vegetables. It doesn’t look that exciting and sometimes I think children just want uncomplicated dishes – and I suppose on those occasions when you aren’t eating together then that’s the time to serve such simple suppers.

Organic Catalan Chicken

My first job when I graduated was on the Organic Targets Campaign at Sustain – where I worked for the lovely, Cath Fookes. We organised a rally and lobby of MP’s to increase Organic Farming in the UK and it worked. Cath now works for the Organic Trade Board on their Why I love organic campaign – which published the Discover Organic Cook Book – which is on sale in Waitrose at the moment.

Yes I know that all sounds like a thinly-veiled plug and it is, and I don’t care because I love organic and only ever buy organic and free range meat, eggs, dairy and salmon. With fruit and veg, I buy British and organic and I grow my own – which is of course, organic.

Quality over quantity is my mantra. Yes organic is more expensive, but there are good reasons for this – the animals have more room to move about (lower stocking density), are not fed antibiotics to make them grow unnaturally fast. Milk and meat has higher levels of omega 3 fats compared to intensively farmed – because cows are fed on a natural grass diet. Another reason why we shouldn’t have mega dairies in this country.

Organic and free range chicken has 25% less fat than intensively farmed, and higher levels of healthy fats.

I bought a lovely organic chicken from the farm shop and made Catalan Chicken from the cook book – Kate Humble’s recipe – and it was delicious – my daughter loved it, though didn’t believe me when I told her it had chocolate in it…

You will need…

1 tbsp olive oil
1 finely chopped onion
1 free range organic chicken cut into 8 pieces
1 tin of plum tomatoes
small bag of prunes (I used just over 100g and ate the rest)
4 cloves of garlic crushed
two handfuls of pine nuts
1 tbsp ground almonds
1 tsp cinnamon
25 g organic dark chocolate

How to….

Heat the oil in a pan over a low heat and add the onion and cook for 15 minutes until soft, with the lid on. (I cooked mine for 10 minutes). Put the lid on the pan and bring to a simmer on a low heat.

Meanwhile brown the chicken in a pan.

Whizz the tin of tomatoes in a food processor, and add to the onions with the crushed garlic.

Cook for a further 10-15 minutes, simmering gently reducing the sauce.

This is apparently the basis of lots of Catalan dishes, and is called the sofregit.

Add the chicken to the tomatoes and onions with the ground almonds, cinnamon and prunes to the dish, stir well and season.

Meanwhile toast the pine nuts.

After about 30 minutes, when the chicken is cooked, grate the chocolate into the pan and add the toasted pine nuts.

We had ours with mashed potatoes, carrots and purple sprouting broccoli. And I’ve got some more in the fridge for tomorrow.

There are lots of lovely seasonal recipes for the family in this book: Raymond Blanc’s apple tart (well his’ maman’s) recipe, baba ganoush, tarragon baked chicken and carrots, green thai curry and some lovely pasta recipes too…o and a recipe for homemade scotch eggs from the founder of Laverstock Park Farm.

Some of the recipes are on the Why I Love Organic website too.