Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Vietnamese Chicken & Vegetable Curry

No, I haven’t disappeared! And thanks to those who have e-mailed me, wondering why I haven’t posted in over a week. It’s a nice feeling to be missed!

We had a stretch of decent weather, so I spent as much time outdoors as I could. There’s a ton of stuff to do and invariably I would come in the house around 6pm, make dinner, have a glass of wine, and collapse, unable to do much more than retrieve my e-mail.

Yes, I still manage to prepare the required three meals a day, but it is during these times I wonder why I don’t just break down and buy some convenience foods. Last night Jack said “I bet you wish we had a box of Stouffer’s in the freezer to throw in the microwave for dinner.” Astute, the man is. ;) But what I came up with was quick, and delicious, and took only about 45 minutes from start-to-finish.

A very generous friend gave me an electric wok for my birthday and I have found it is perfect for using in hot weather rather than turning on the stove.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Vietnamese Chicken and Vegetable Curry

Recipe By :Vicci

Servings: 2

Preparation Time:0:45

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

10 ounces chicken breast, no skin, no bone, R-T-C -- (RTC means Ready To Cook in MasterCook lingo) cut into 1" cubes

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (I use Penzey’s mild)

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons canola oil

2 cloves garlic -- crushed

2 ounces onion -- sliced into small wedges

1 teaspoon fresh lemongrass -- white part of bulb only, minced

1/2 cup water

1 large carrot -- halved lengthwise, then cut into 1" pieces

6 ounces red bell pepper -- chopped into 1" pieces

6 ounces asparagus -- cut into 1" pieces

1/3 cup light coconut milk

1/2 cup skim milk

2 teaspoons fish sauce

1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

1 cup hot cooked rice

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

2 lime wedges

In a small bowl combine the curry powder through salt, add the chicken cubes, toss to coat, and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 1/2 - 2 hours.

Drizzle oil into a heated wok, toss in garlic for a few seconds, then add lemongrass and chicken cubes. Stir fry until chicken has browned a bit. Add the water and bring to a boil; add carrot, cover and turn down heat to low. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Stir; add the bell pepper, asparagus, coconut milk, skim milk, and fish sauce. Turn up heat until mixture comes to a boil again, turn down heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut extract.

Serve over hot cooked rice. Sprinkle with cilantro, squeeze lime over.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per serving: 445 Calories (kcal); 11g Total Fat; (22% calories from fat); 40g Protein; 47g Carbohydrate; 88mg Cholesterol; 921mg Sodium

Food Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 4 1/2 Lean Meat; 2 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 15 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

NOTES : Other vegetables such as green beans, broccoli, etc. can be subbed or added . Chicken can be omitted if more veggies are used.

I have to note that since I have been exploring the cuisines of Asia, I have found it difficult to keep fresh lemongrass on hand. Our local grocery store carries it only sporadically. I had a plant for 2 years which did well enough, but I didn’t use it as often as I should have and it became overgrown and crowded the pot and died. So I found, in the produce section of the grocery store, lemongrass-in-a-tube. I tried not to look at the ingredients, but did anyway. In addition to lemongrass is canola oil and dextrose, and a few other things. For as infrequently as I need lemongrass, I now forget about the added ingredients and use the tube. I keep it in the freezer, and take it out when I start to make dinner. In about 15 minutes it’s thawed enough to squeeze out a teaspoonful. Jack’s comment was “What next? Already peeled potatoes?” :)

A big plus about working outside has been the sounds emanating from our little pond. I
turn on the waterfall and, accompanying the sound of falling water, our resident toads and frogs trill and croak. Here’s one relatively friendly little one:

Just floating among the rush plant... I would have liked to join him!

Yes, my back feels like I have a knife stuck in it, my hands are dry and need constant applications of lotion, and I am so tired that I’m dragging by the end of the day, but the sounds of nature finally awakening make it all (almost) worthwhile.

I will try to keep up with this blog better than I have lately. I have lots of recipes to post, but need to type them into MasterCook first and hope that I will be able to do so in the next few days.