Coconut Pistachio Chicken and Rice

coconut pistachio chicken
I think this is another of those dishes that doesn’t look very beautiful, but tastes delicious… Originally from here, this dish takes only about 35 minutes to put together, and has great flavor. For those living in Japan, there are a few ingredients you may have to hunt down (coconut milk, green peas, and pistachios — check import stores and local supermarkets), but I think it’s worth it!

Ingredients (serves 4)
2 chicken breasts, cut into 5cm / 2-inch pieces
salt and pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
1 onion, minced
1-1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups uncooked rice*
3 cloves garlic, minced
660mL (2-3/4 cups) chicken/vegetable broth
1 can (400mL / 14oz) coconut milk
1 cup green peas
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped

*Rice: I used short-grain Japanese rice and it turned out fine

Instructions
Sprinkle the chicken pieces lightly with salt and pepper, and coat them in the flour. Using a large frying pan, saute in the oil for a few minutes on each side until light brown. (They don’t need to be cooked through at this point.) Remove chicken to a plate.

In the same pan, add the minced onion, garam masala, and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions soften. Stir frequently to make sure the spices don’t burn.

Add the rice, minced garlic, chicken or veggie broth, and coconut milk, and stir. Cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally, or the rice will stick to the bottom.

Add the chicken back into the rice, cover again, and cook for 10 more minutes. Continue to stir once in a while.

Finally, add the peas (you can add them frozen directly into the pan) and pistachios. Stir to combine (and warm the peas, if they’re frozen), and serve!

Coconut Cashew Curry

IMG_7439I’m always trying out new recipes for curry. This is my latest one, and we really enjoyed it. It ended up being very flavorful and a good, inexpensive, filling dinner that included plenty of leftovers for the next day’s lunch. I sometimes leave out the chicken or replace it with tofu, in which case this recipe is vegan.

Ingredients
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped tomato (canned diced tomato is fine)
3/4 cup cashews, divided
2 cups (480 mL) vegetable broth (chicken would be OK too)
2 to 2-1/2 cups vegetables of your choice, sliced or chopped into bite-size pieces
2 chicken breasts (optional – leave out or replace with cubes of 木綿/firm tofu)
1 can coconut milk
1/2 tsp each cumin, coriander, cardamom, turmeric, fennel, and kaffir lime powder**
1/4 tsp each cayenne pepper, allspice, cinnamon, and black pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp cornstarch (optional; see recipe)
Rice for serving

* Vegetables: really, you can use whatever you like here. I always use what I have on hand or what is on sale or in season at the moment. Some of my favorites are asparagus, green beans, zucchini, carrots, and… daikon, which is great in curry and has a similar taste and texture to potato when cooked.

** Kaffir lime powder is a seasoning I found here in Japan but have never seen elsewhere, so i don’t know how common it is. You can leave it out, or add a little extra lemon or lime juice if you like instead.

Instructions

Heat the vegetable oil in a 2 or 3 quart saucepan. Saute the sliced onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes until the onion is translucent, then add the tomato. Cook for about 5 more minutes, stirring frequently, until the tomato has broken down and most of the juice is gone.

Meanwhile, toast the cashews in the oven or in a dry pan over medium heat on the stove.

Let cool for a few minutes, then scrape the mixture into a food processor or blender. Add 1/2 cup toasted cashews and some of the vegetable broth (depending on how much your appliance can hold) so the mixture will blend. Process until smooth.

Return to the pot with the remaining vegetable broth and heat to a simmer. Add any vegetables that need time to cook (for example, daikon, carrot). Simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the sliced chicken and coconut milk and stir. Simmer for about 10 more minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

Add the spices and lemon juice and mix well. If the curry is not thick enough, you can add the cornstarch, mixed with a tablespoon of water, and cook for two to three minutes until thickened.

Taste and add salt if necessary (it depends how salty your broth is).

Serve over white or brown rice, with the remaining 1/4 cup toasted cashews sprinkled on top!