It has come to my attention that I don't have nearly enough "mains" in this blog. It's not that I don't make main dishes (obviously), it's just that when you don't get home until after 6 pm and you're just cooking for yourself, you're not going to make this lavish main dish that's anywhere near blog-worthy. That's not to say I make a bunch of convenience foods, either--I recently impressed even myself by making a dinner of grilled salmon (with the George Foreman), sautéed zucchini and mushrooms and couscous in just about 15, 20 minutes.
Back when I did have more time in my evenings (and also when I bought potatoes and zucchini more frequently), I used to make this yogurt-based "curry" dish that was satisfying and relatively tasty. (I remember in first year I made it for a mini rez potluck once, and one of my friends just could not stop eating it!) Still, this recipe from Florence Albernhe, Chef-proprietor of Le Grain de Riz in Cooking with Foods that Fight Cancer totally knocks my recipe out of the water, and makes me want to buy cans and cans of coconut milk so I can keep on making this sweet curry dish.
I've already talked about the cancer-fighting ingredients in this recipe, garlic (and shallots) and turmeric, in my previous entry, so I'm not going to talk about it here. Let's talk a bit about coconut milk.
I'm truly convinced that it's the secret ingredient in this recipe; it just gives it so much body and interest that my blend of yogurt, curry powder, cumin and cinnamon (a wonderful secret ingredient) just can't live up to. A lot of people worry that coconut milk is high in saturated fat (there's 27 g--just over the daily recommended intake of saturated fat--just from the coconut milk in each serving of this dish), but the difference between the saturated fat in coconuts vs. animal sources is that in coconuts, most of these fats are medium-chain (meaning that the fat molecules are about 12 carbons long) while those from animal sources are long-chain (about 16-18 carbons long). It has been argued that medium-chain fats do not react with your body's environment in the same way that long-chain fats do, and therefore do not put you at the same risk for heart disease. I personally think that this makes sense, and one of my roommates is a big proponent of cooking with coconut oil (which makes our house smell like yummy coconut sometimes, even if she's just frying an egg) However, some people have taken this a bit overboard and have written books like The Coconut Diet, claiming that it could help you lose weight.
I personally haven't done enough research to figure out if I want to make the switch from cooking with canola oil to coconut oil (probably not), but you still have to remember even though you won't be at as high a risk for heart disease as if you ate the same amount of fat in something like butter, fat is fat and it will always be 9 calories per gram. So don't gorge yourself on the stuff, but savour the lovely flavour it brings to your cooking!
From Cooking with Foods that Fight Cancer by Dr. Richard Béliveau and Dr. Richard Gingras
Makes 4 servings
- 4 whole chicken breasts, 150 g (5 oz) each, fat and skin removed
- 30 mL (2 tbsp) olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 4 shallots, sliced
- 10 mL (2 tsp) curry powder
- 5 mL (1 tsp) ground turmeric
- 30 mL (2 tbsp) fish sauce (nuoc-mâm or nam pla)
- 30 mL (2 tbsp) brown sugar
- 500 mL (2 cups) coconut milk
- Freshly ground pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet/wok over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and shallots for 2 to 3 minutes. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Let simmer slowly for approximately 20 minutes.
- Remove cooked chicken from pan and slice into thin strips; serve immediately (preferably with basmati rice) with sauce poured over top.