Saturday, November 04, 2006

Curry Up!

Ethnic food is pretty limited out here on the prairie. Taco John's passes for Mexican. Pizza Hut claims to be Italian. We once had a local Vietnamese family open a restaurant on Main Street, but their lunch specials were more likely to be hot lunch versions of turkey and dressing than to be Asian-inspired. However, I have tried to broaden my horizons and include flavors and ingredients that aren't common in our corner grocery markets. Curry seems to fall into that "new horizon" category for me.

Several months ago, I tried a Thai-Style Ground Beef recipe that included curry and coconut milk. It had been featured in Cooking Light magazine, and was promoted as a new version of sloppy joes. Sloppy joes are simple enough, and non-threatening to simple folks, right? It was my initiation into curry. The ground beef was good. We really like it on a bed of rice with a simple salad on the side. I have since made it many times. But, with that use of curry and coconut milk under my belt, I soon looked for another recipe to test these ingredients on our palates.

Enter Garlic Curry Chicken and Spinach. Garlic? Yum. Chicken? One of Hubby's favorites. Spinach? Just call me Popeye. Curry? Why not? This recipe also incorporates coconut milk, and is so simple that you can almost make it with your eyes closed. I don't recommend it, though. The stove is hot, and knives should be sharp. Someone might get hurt...besides, half of the initial pleasure of the food is how good it looks, right? Better keep your eyes open and fully enjoy a new flavor sensation.

Garlic Curry Chicken and Spinach
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch wide strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 cup coconut milk
6 cups fresh spinach, cut into strips
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking.
Add chicken and cook and stir about 4-6 minutes or until browned.
Add garlic and curry and cook, stirring, about 30 seconds.
Stir in coconut milk; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 3-4 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
Add spinach; toss and mix to wilt spinach. Cook just until spinach is wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with hot cooked rice. (Serves 4)

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