An Open Cookbook

An Open Cookbook


Curried Cauliflower and Chicken Stirfry

Last Friday night, T invited me to a co-worker's wine bar birthday party, which happened to be conveniently down the street from me.  So this was a perfect opportunity to try out a new recipe.  I wanted to branch out for my usual suspects.  Knowing that we would be drinking wine later on in the night, I wanted to fix a filling and flavorful meal.  T has previously professed her love of cauliflower, so I based the dish around it.  Then I thought it needed some protein...hence the chicken.  And I wrapped it all together with some Israeli couscous cooked with mustard seeds and chicken broth and tossed with lots of cilantro and pepper.

I had a little bit of time to prepare, so I prepped everything in advance.  Oh my, that is so nice to be able to do that.  I had every ingredient in a little bowl or strainer, waiting to be tossed into the pan.  I cut the original recipe's amount of chicken in half and doubled the cauliflower so I could use the whole head at one time.  You could definitely make this recipe vegetarian by skipping the chicken and using vegetable broth. 

For the Israeli couscous, I prepared it similarly to the recipe I posted in October.  I toasted the couscous in a small dry saute pan...shaking it frequently to distribute the heat evenly.  I added a small handful of mustard seeds about halfway through the cooking.  Once the couscous became aromatic, I added chicken broth and water, and covered it.  It cooked for about 5-10 minutes, until the water absorbed and couscous was fully cooked.  I tossed cilantro and pepper into the mix and let sit while everything else came together.

We complemented the dinner with crackers, buttery havarti (yes you read that right, and yes, it is as good as it sounds!), olives and red wine.  Olives on top of the buttery havarti on top of a cracker is really good.  Several laughs, good conversation and a substantial better to start the weekend?

Curried Cauliflower and Chicken Stirfry
Adapted from Nancy Leson's Seattle Times December Food and Wine posting
Yields 4-6 servings

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 chicken breast, boneless, skinless, cut into small bite sized chunks
1 bunch scallions, diced into thin small circles
3 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
2-inch piece of peeled fresh ginger root, grated with microplane or grater
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp mild curry powder, or more to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1 head cauliflower, stemmed and cut into small bite-size pieces
Water, enough to cover and cook the cauliflower
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro, finely minced
Heat a large skillet or wok on medium heat.  Pour in olive oil.  Allow to heat up for a few minutes.  Carefully add the chicken.  Saute until the chicken is almost cooked through. Transfer to a clean plate and set aside.

With the skillet or wok still over medium heat, add the scallions.  Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. If the pan is dry, add a little more olive oil.  Add the garlic and ginger.  Saute for 30 seconds.  Spoon in the tomato paste, curry powder and salt to taste.  Cook for 30 seconds while stirring.
Pour in the broth.  Stir until all the ingredients are coated and mixed together. Add the cauliflower pieces and enough water to coat the cauliflower.  Cover and adjust the heat to medium or medium-low so the liquid maintains a low boil. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes (adding more water if necessary), until the cauliflower pieces are tender.
Return the chicken to the wok or skillet and stir to coat with the sauce. Add water as needed. Cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the chicken is cooked thoroughly.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro and pepper to taste. Serve with a grain such as Israeli couscous, brown rice or quinoa.  Enjoy immensely.

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