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I shift from baking to cooking, from breads to curries, advancing in the alphabet, so to speak. When I acquired a chicken curry recipe a month ago I had to wait to cook it, as my house-guest was vegetarian. I bought some more coconut milk a week ago, but I was out of cauliflower, so instead substituted carrots and potatoes ... over a bed of rice it was excellent. I bought a head of cauliflower the other day, so last night I prepared the original recipe.
For this recipe I needed a few ingredients that did not fit into the fresh-produce category. This brand of coconut milk costs 79 cents at my neighborhood market; there are several varieties, so less expensive and some more, at my local Asian market. SPAR did not have any fresh chicken breasts, so I picked up 500g of frozen breast for under 2 Euros. The other day I finished my bottle of rapeseed oil and restocked with a liter of sunflower oil. I do not have any freshly made or canned chicken stock, so I just used Maggi and some water.
95 cents got me a large bag of ground ginger—I originally purchased it in December for making gingerbread. After last making this recipe I almost ran out of curry powder, so picked up another container at the store. My salt and pepper are likewise rather generic.
I picked up a head of cauliflower Monday afternoon with the intention of making the curry that evening, but after an afternoon snack I lost my appetite for anything hot, so I put off making it until today. I did not have any regular white onions, but I had a few shallots left over in a bag. I always have several cloves of garlic on hand.
Here we see the vegetables before preparation.
And then we see them after preparation.
This was perhaps a bit more than a “small head” of cauliflower, but you can never really have too much cauliflower. I decided to use it all.
After this preparation it was just a matter of mixing things at the right time and waiting.
3 tablespoons of curry powder and 1 teaspoon are added to the skillet. After a minute or so 2 tablespoons of oil are mixed in to create a brown paste.
The garlic and onion are added to the hot pan and left to soften for a few minutes. My range has seven settings: 1–6 and “off” ... I usually heat the pan on 4, cook most things on 3, and simmer on 2, or 1 if I am using a small saucepan.
While this was going on I sliced the chicken breasts (three smaller ones) into chunks and strips.
I simply dumped them into the pan and stirred them with the curried onions and garlic until everything was brown. I left the pan to cook for about ten minutes; I turned the chicken chunks once or twice during the period.
At this point I added the head of cauliflower, poured in the broth and coconut milk, and seasoned liberally with salt and pepper. I stirred things only to the extent that the spices were well distributed and each piece of cauliflower was moistened. I put the lid on the skillet, and once it began to bubble I lowered it to a simmer.
I prepared a half cup of white rice to use as a bed for the chicken-cauliflower curry. The result was savory and rather mild; it is a good comfort food. Last week when I had no cauliflower I used my remaining carrots and a potato instead; I had halved the recipe insofar as I only used 250g of chicken. The sweetness of the carrots helped to make that batch truly stunning—the halved recipe is also about right for one person (at least for someone with a big appetite); the full batch can feed several people ... I just have left-overs.
—June 21 2006