Sri Lankan Curry

Many little things still shock me since losing the weight, and the most significant one to date is just how  much I feel the cold lately! Intellectually, I understand that fat keeps the body warm; I just didn’t realise how much insulation I used to carry around! I’ve been complaining about the cold all week, so yesterday morning, when I told the husband that I wanted to go to the Richmond Good Food Market (Richmond being renowned as a particularly chilly part of Sydney at 8am on a Winter morning), he side-eyed me, and, undoubtedly braced himself for a few hours of me complaining about how I couldn’t feel my hands.

However, he needn’t have bothered. I mean, it was cold, but I had enough to occupy me at the little stalls to keep me from whingeing (too much). From spice rubs to jams and pickles, to gourmet bagels to chilli honey (I may never eat honey any other way again), to delectable coffee blends, I sniffed and nibbled my way down the market in a flurry of little wooden spoons and taster cups.

As is so often the way with these things, the stall that stood out the most was one I didn’t intend on visiting. A lone Sri Lankan cuisine stall stood in the middle, smelling like heaven, but hardly seeming like where I would be sourcing my breakfast. However, I got to talking to the very friendly and engaging Sheila from Six Spicy Spoons, and she offered Master 10 and I a taste of her delightful homemade curries and chutney. We were instantly hooked. Pan rolls and samosas for breakfast, it was! I also wasn’t leaving without purchasing a tub of her curry paste and date chutney. Dinner for tonight was sorted.

Sheila was also lovely enough to provide me with some recipes so that I could get started – an absolute necessity, as I’d never cooked Sri Lankan before. Of course, I changed it up a bit, so I cannot speak for the absolute authenticity of my adaptations, but it was declared 5 stars by the same daughter of mine who was determined not to actually enjoy it, and an absolute winner by my husband, son, and self.

I followed the recipe in terms of how much curry paste to use, as I didn’t want to blow anybody’s head off, and next time, I’ll probably up the ante a little. However, it was pleasingly warming – the spices where there and they were bold, and even though I made it 5 hours ago, the house still has the most delectable aroma about it. I had places to be between making the curry and eating it, and when I came home, walking into the house was walking into comfort personified. Thankfully, I’d forgotten to separate the kilo of chicken I bought last week before freezing it, so I made a double portion. I’m looking forward to eating this for lunch for the next couple of days (I’m a total leftovers fiend), because these flavours will definitely improve with age! At 420 calories a serve, it’s a heavier lunch, but sometimes, it’s just worth it.

Serves 8

Ingredients

3tsp olive oil                                                            

1kg chicken breast fillets, cubed

300g cauliflower, cut into small florets

3 celery sticks, diced

2 carrots, diced

1/2 cup frozen peas

500g potato, cubed (or, omit and serve with brown rice)

75g curry paste

1.5 cup chicken stock

1tsp conflour

 

Method

  1. Heat half the oil in a large, deep frypan. Add vegetables and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until softened. Remove from pan and set aside in a large bowl.
  2. Heat remaining oil and brown chicken. Add vegetables back to pan and stir to combine.
  3. Combine stock and curry paste in a jug.  Pour into chicken and vegetables. Bring to boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove lid, and sprinkle cornflour into the curry. Stir well, increase heat to medium, and cook, stirring for a further 5-10 minutes, until thickened.
  5. Serve with naan, or over steamed brown rice.
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