Tonight I had some extra time to prepare dinner. The Kid was working late in Gwinnett County, so I had several hours after work. It’s not often that I arrive home so much earlier than him, so I decided to put on a dinner that would be hot, filling, and relaxing after a long day of work. This curry has a mellow, lingering warmth – spiced, but not spicy. The rice is my latest creation for the month of the cucumber: a lovely turmeric rice pilaf. The smoky, aromatic spices and the freshness of the cucumber compliment each other beautifully. This is one of the most gratifying and delicious meals I have cooked lately, and the effort for it isn’t overwhelming. Enjoy this when you have an hour to leisurely arrange your ingredients and let the curry simmer to perfection. Prepare the rice first, then while it simmers assemble the curry.
Cucumber & Turmeric Rice
- 1 T canola oil
- 1 tsp. each of coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and mustard seeds
- 1/2 red onion, chopped, with 2 T reserved
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 serrano pepper, opt.
- 1 C rice
- 1/4 C crushed cashews
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1 1/2 C chicken broth
- 1 cucumber, chopped
- zest of 1 lemon
Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the seeds, and fry until they beging to pop. Add the red onion, garlic, bell pepper, and serrano (if using). Season with salt to prevent the garlic from sticking to the pan. Saute for 5 minutes until the onion is soft and clear. Add the rice, cashews, and turmeric. Stir to coat in the onion mixture, then allow it to toast for about two minutes. Pour in the chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Cover the rice and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender, stirring occasionally. When the rice has absorbed all liquid, remove from heat. Stir in cucumbers and lemon zest. If not serving with curry, garnish with cilantro.
The chicken can be whatever cut you like in this dish: thighs, skinless cutlets, or even those tender cuts for curry some grocers carry. Initial browning time will vary, and larger pieces will need a longer period initially to ensure they cook thoroughly.
- 2 T canola oil
- 1 lbs. chicken, cut in bite-sized pieces, unless using thighs
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Vidalia onion, chopped
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 C chicken stock
- 1 1/2 T curry powder
- 1/2 T turmeric
- 1 can lite coconut milk
- Sea salt
- Chopped red onion, and torn fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and brown lightly, until the chicken takes on a golden tone. Add the garlic and onion, and season with the ginger. Salt the mixture to prevent the onion from sticking. Watch the heat carefully, and stir frequently to make sure the garlic does not burn. When the onions are clear and tender, after 5-6 minutes, add the stock. Bring to a strong simmer, and season the chicken with the curry powder and turmeric. Stir until the spices are well mixed into the liquid. Pour in the coconut milk, and reduce heat to low. Simmer, checking for seasoning periodically. Salt if necessary. Serve over cucumber and turmeric rice, and garnish is diced raw red onion and cilantro. For a real treat, thrown in some pineapple chunks and crushed cashews. Serve with some garlic naan for ultimate deliciousness.
Serves 2 with just enough to fight over for lunch.