Saturday, 2 April 2011

Rice, Daal and mild curried chicken or tofu or soya chunks

I am originally from Chennai, India and my husband is from Trinidad in the Caribbean. So rice, daal and curry is an important (& regular) part of our diet. Here is a version that our toddler enjoys very much. This recipe is again very forgiving and you can modify as per your taste. Since this needs a lot of effort, I make a large portion and freeze them in small bowls to use when needed.

You will need:
1 breast of chicken or a packet of firm tofu or soya chunks (1 cup)
1/2 cup cooked rice
1 knob of butter
For Daal I use a mix of yellow pigeon peas, yellow lentils and split peas - 1/4 cup each
Madras curry powder (mild) 1 tbsp (and a 1 tsp  to marinate): Any brand from the grocery will do.
onion 1/4 chopped finely
1 tomato finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic crushed
1 stalk of green onion finely chopped
1 stalk of celery finely chopped
1/8 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cumin
salt and black pepper to taste.
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp oil
1tsp coriander leaves chopped finely

For Daal, pressure cook the mixture for 6-8 mins with salt. Melt the butter in a sauce pan and sauté 1 tsp of onion, 3 cloves of garlic (crushed) and 1/2 tomato in a pan. Add the cooked Daal, turmeric, ground cumin and black pepper to taste. Now your Daal is ready!

For the curry, wash, clean and cut the chicken breast (or tofu or soya chunks) into small bite size cubes. If using soya chunks, soak them in hot water for 15 mins to soften them up before cutting them into small pieces. Add lemon juice to chicken/tofu/soya and rinse out with water. Season chicken/tofu/soya with onions, garlic, tomato, celery, green onions, 1tsp of mild curry powder, salt and black pepper and leave it to marinate for 30 mins. If using soya chunks you can use 2 tbsp of vegetable stock to the marinade to add extra flavour. The veggie stock, if used, will also help keep the chicken/tofu/soya moist while adding great flavour. When ready, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a heavy pan. Add 5 tbsps of water to the curry powder and add it to the butter and cook for 3 mins until the raw smell disappears. Add extra water if needed. Add the marinated  chicken/tofu/soya and cook in medium heat and cook thoroughly. Chicken will take at least 25-30 mins while tofu and soya will take approximately 5-7 mins. Add coriander leaves, a minute, before turning off the stove.

Now to put them together: We adults just mix cooked rice with daal and eat with curry and when giving it to Anjalie we just mix all three together. Some times, if we have enough time to clean up after, we give Anjalie a Naan bread and let her dip them into daal and curry mixture which she loves!

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