When I think about what I want to make for dinner, I don’t think of a recipe, and then rush out for the ingredients. I absolutely hate feeling boxed in by what cookbook recipes call for. My usual trend is to look through my cupboards and in the fridge to see what is available.
I spy something I have a craving for, and build the entire dish around it. It can be something as simple as a bag of baby carrot or a little more obscure like tamarind paste or a frozen octopus. When I see it, I become determined.
Don’t get me wrong, I consult cookbooks for the best ways of doing things, and general advice on how certain ingredients should be treated to get the best results (yes, I like word-y cookbooks!), but then I do my own thing. I like ad-libbing and taking chances.
This particular night I opened up the pantry and rifled through my countless bags of spices. I swooned when I smelled this green curry powder. It smelled of heat and dirt (if that makes sence).
I gathered everything that I had available to me to make this baby soar, and, this is the dinner we ended up with.
You will need: 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 3 chicken fillets, sliced into large bite-sized pieces, 1 sweet onion, diced, 1 yellow or red pepper, diced, 1 celery rib including leaves, diced, 3 cups chopped chard leaves, (red or white chard), 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced, 2 tsp hot curry powder (green if you have it, but another type will do also), 4 sprigs thyme, 2 1/2 cups chicken broth (or 1 bouillon cube and 3 cups water), 1/2 cup heavy cream, 6 cups cooked basmati rice.
*for the rice: use 2 1/2 cups for stove top method and 3 cups using rice cooker and rice cooker measure. Cook as directed on the package. Set aside*
1 – Prep all ingredients before you begin to cook (or you might panic a little!)
2 – Put big pan on medium heat and add oil. When it warms, add onions, peppers, celery and garlic. Saute for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped chard and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
3 – Add curry powder and thyme, and stir for 1 minute to incorporate.
4 – Add broth (or bouillon and water) and bring to a boil. Add the chicken slices, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Remove lid and stir in the cream. Taste for addition of salt and pepper, and add according to your taste.
5 – Add cooked rice and stir.
I served this dish in warmed shallow bowls with a dollop of hot sauce, topped off with a delectable tablespoon of chile relish (I used a relish from the Patak company. You can find this in ethnic shops or good quality supermarkets in the International section).