Free of gluten, lactose, fish & crustaceans. The chicken can be replaced by another vegetable source of protein, like tofu, tempeh or any legume (beans, chickpeas, lentils) to turn this recipe into a vegetarian and vegan feed. This meal can be made for under $10 per person. Infact a serving for 3 people cost less than $20!
Once we finished 2 months of work at the roadhouse in the dry as country, having eaten red meat, bacon and eggs almost everyday (not complaining here), we were looking forward to see some green scenery, feel the rain all around us and eat some fresh veggies and chicken. Platypus bush camp in Finch Hutton gave us exactly what we asked for: the most luscious rainforest, beautiful waterfalls and rock pools (with platypus in it!!), and it was raining cats and dogs when we arrived. No one was there, just us and Wazza the creator and owner of this place.
Wazza is an all star champ aussie who is the embodiment of bush. He has built this place from scratch up with his own hands and the hands of many who having come down here have fallen in love with the place and giving their skills to Wazza in exchange for accommodation. The place has 3 bush huts and a main house built at the top of the trees, a state of the art workshop for wood and metal, two rainforest showers (with hot water) and clean dunnies, all of it surrounded by rainforest and rockpools (platypus and all) and powered by solar, every little bit of it made out of recycled material. (for more info on the place and a review of the facilities please go here)
The place is a dream and the owner a nice guy that on our second day of our stay brought some fresh chicken, put in on top of my table and said, I thought you could make us some dinner tonight. So I felt obliged to make something from scratch up for Wazza’s dinner. He mentioned tomato, capsicum and chilli did not set good in his tummy but he loves Indian flavours, so I strive to make a chicken curry from scratch for Wazza, full of flavour but low in acidity and very mild in hotness level.
Wazza is got the nicest outdoorkitchen I’ve ever used before, its all made of recycled materials and wood and its right in the middle of the rainforest. Wazza grows ginger and garlic so I used these as the base of the curry. Here is what you need.
Ingredients (to feed three people)
- 1 big tablespoon of finely chopped ginger
- 1 big tablespoon of finely chopped garlic
- 1 heaped teaspoon of ground turmeric
- 1 heaped teaspoon of ground cumin seeds
- 1 heaped teaspoon of ground coriander
- 1 leveled teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1 heaped tablespoon of ground paprika (sweet and smoked)
- 1 table spoon of raw sugar
- salt to taste.
- Half a teaspoon of lemon rind chopped finely
- 2 kaffir lime leaves
- 3 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 1 can of organic light coconut cream
- 450 grams of chicken breast roughly chopped
- 400 grams of pumpkin (jap or butternut) chopped in 1cm sticks
- 200 grams of green beans, washed, cleaned and cut in half.
I served this curry with basmati rice, which is what I made first to see how to make rice read my previous rant by clicking here.
Put one 1 ½ tablespoons of oil into a big pan, in high heat let it warm up well, before the point of smoking chuck the garlic and the ginger in, give it a good stir and let it fry up for a minute. Then add all the ground spices and ½ tablespoon of coconut oil if the fry spices seem to overcome it, give it a good stir mixing up the spices with the oil, you should be frying now a red paste with a strong smell of everything. Fry up for good 3 minutes stirring and add the sugar, keep frying at high temperature until the paste seems to start separating and the spices making little chunks, (another couple of min).
Then chuck in the pumpkin and the beans, add the remaining oil if necessary. Give it a good stir so the veggies are well coated with the paste, keep cooking at high heat for another 3 to 5 minutes, stirring once in a while to avoid the spices to fully stick to the pan, its ok if the spices seem to burn a little bit provided that you keep stirring them up and mixing them into the veggies.
Once the veggies have soften up a little bit you can add the chicken. Please make sure the pan is still very hot before you add the chicken, the idea is to fry the chicken in it and for it to be ready at the same time as the pumpkin and the beans are, if the pan is not hot enough the chicken will drop the juices and it might water down the strong smokey flavours we are trying to achieve here. Give it a good toss so the chicken is also coated in the red paste, cook and stir once in a while until everything is just about to be ready, then taste and adjust the salt to it.
Now lower down the heat to a bit lower than medium and let the pan cool down a little bit before you add the coconut cream. If the pan in too hot the cream might split and again water down all your efforts, mix it well with the veggies and the spices making sure you scratch up all the bit stucked to the pan, these will add up and extra punch of flavour to the sauce, simmer in very low heat for another five minutes tasting the sauce and adjusting your flavours (salt, sugar and pepper).
When it has heat up thoroughly and the flavour have been fully catched in the cream turn off and let it cool down, I’ve found that when lots of spices are mixed in, cooling the sauce down will allow the flavours to set, and be twice as flavourful when heated up again. When you heat it up again do it in slow heat and make sure by all means that the cream doesn’t come to a boil or it will thin down, if it doesn’t boil it will be extra thick and creamy, just how you like it. You can do this or you can serve as soon as it has cool down a bit. I find you get the best flavour by letting it cool down and reheated slowly again, but if you are very hungry or low on gas there is no sin in skipping this step, your curry will be not as good as it could be with the extra effort, but it will be better than any pre made shit you would have bought at the supermarket anyways. I wish I had a picture for the finished dish, unfurtunetly while I cook Monique takes pictures, but by the time the food is ready we are both starving and we tend to fully forget about the article, the blog and the camera so no final picture is taken, like pablo Neruda once said “it is takes so long to cook and so little to eat it” or was it “love is so short and forgetting so long” sorry peeps, will try to get better at it next time and have some pics for ya!.