Mmmm…Indian food. There is just something so warm and comforting about the magical blend of spices in so many Indian dishes. The aroma is exotically enticing and never fails to make my mouth water and my tummy rumble. I can’t necessarily handle a lot of heat (being Canadian and all), but bring on the savoury curries and I’m butter (ghee?) in your hands. Give me a dish I can throw together in just one pan (or pot) and give me authentic Indian takeout taste without any tummy troubles (from dairy or other unknown ingredients), well…I can’t tell you what happens then. But I *can* (and will) share this easy, healthy recipe with you – no one will believe it’s dairy-free, either! There’s even an option to make this grain-free, low-carb & Paleo!
In the same vein as my Simple Southwestern Chicken Skillet (but representing a different culture this time), this meal is also, in my humble opinion, delicious, nutritious, FAST, and family-pleasing. You might need to do a little specialty store (or at least specialty section of the store) shopping to get all of the spices to really get the full depth of flavour for this dish, but after spices & olive oil (and who doesn’t have olive oil in the kitchen already? Ok, don’t answer that – just make sure you pick some up on your next grocery run) there are only FOUR ingredients in this dish (and guess what? Two of them can be the canned version and no one will ever be the wiser!).
You can, of course, use fresh ingredients to substitute for some or all of the canned items mentioned but you will need to have prepared these in advance or expect to spend more time in the kitchen getting this meal together – still faster than waiting for Indian food takeout delivery (at least in my neck of the woods), and infinitely more rewarding (right?). I will be suitably impressed if you make your own coconut milk from a raw coconut fresh off of the tree! (Take a photo and tag #thegoldengrahamgirl on Instagram if you do, or get it to me in one of my other forms of social media contacts, below).
One of my healthy meal-prepping tips is to prepare several servings of versatile “base” ingredients on the weekend (or whatever day/time is most convenient for your schedule). For example, I will cook a large pot of brown rice on Sunday, and then measure individual servings into reusable containers to be stored in the fridge or freezer. I will also bake up to a dozen chicken breasts with various seasonings to be used in various meals throughout the week. And of course there is vegetable chopping if I’m really ambitious. Not coincidentally, brown rice and chicken breast both feature in the recipe. And while I’m not a fan of white Minute Rice, there ARE some good options out there for quick brown rice products (check out Uncle Ben’s Instant Brown Rice – note that even with “instant” in the name, it still takes about 10 minutes to prepare). As a grain-free, low-carb, Paleo alternative, you can substitute cauliflower “rice” (lightly steam cauliflower florets and pulse in a food processor until you have a fine, rice-like texture).
OK? Prepped and ready to go? Ready or not, here it comes:
Easy Weeknight Chicken Curry with Brown Rice (Dairy-free, Gluten-free)
A family-friendly Indian-inspired curry dish, this healthy dairy-free dish features creamy coconut milk and a warm and enticing blend of spices that is not too hot (but just hot enough)!
Author: The Golden Graham Girl
1 tsp (5mL) extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion (50g), chopped
1, 12-oz (340g) can of chicken breast meat, packed in water, drained and shredded with a fork or 1-2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
3/4 cup (100g) cooked brown rice OR 3/4 cup cauliflower “rice”
1, 13.5-oz (400mL) can full-fat coconut milk, blended (this just means to shake the can thoroughly before opening to ensure that the coconut cream has not separated from the watery coconut milk)
1 tbsp (6g) curry powder
2 tsp (4g) ground cumin
1 tsp (2g) ground coriander
1/2 – 1 tsp (1-2g) garam masala (this adds some heat to the dish – adjust to suit your taste)
1 tsp sea salt
Optional 1/2 cup (80g) currants or raisins if you want to add some sweetness
1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan or skillet over medium heat.
2. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent.
3. Add the chicken and brown rice and heat through.
4. Add the coconut milk and all spices except for sea salt and bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes (sauce should thicken as liquid is absorbed by the rice/evaporates).
5. If adding currants or raisins, stir in while sauce is simmering.
6. Once sauce has thickened, add the sea salt to taste.
7. Serve and wow your family/friends/dinner guests.
NUTRITION INFORMATION (with brown rice; without currants/raisins)
Calories: 314 Fat: 20.7g Carbohydrates: 15.8g Sugar: 2.7g Fiber: 0.8g Protein: 20.5g
Enjoy immediately or refrigerate in a covered container. A stand-alone meal in and of itself, you can also pair this with naan bread and/or your favourite Indian vegetable side dish.