February 13, 2013 11:12:40 AM
It didn't seem too much to ask for. I wanted a coconut chicken curry that is fast, delicious and not loaded with fat. Turned out to be easier than I expected.
Let's start with the sauce. The key is to make it rich and flavorful without resorting to the usual culprit -- full-fat coconut milk. I considered using light coconut milk, but generally have found curries made with it to be thin and uninspiring. Fat, after all, is mighty yummy.
My solution was to start with a small amount of light coconut milk, but then doctor it up. Puréeing into it a jar of roasted red peppers and a small onion was just the trick. This provided the sauce with body, as well as both sweet and savory flavors. A hefty dose of curry powder and some lemon grass added during cooking rounded it all out.
To cook, all I did was bring my sauce to a simmer in a large sauté pan, then add my chicken. To bulk out the recipe with good lean protein, I also added a can of chickpeas. I tasted it as it cooked and felt it was missing something... sweet. But I wanted to avoid the obvious -- sugar, honey, etc. -- if I could. So I tried adding grated carrots. Perfect! More healthy veggies and just the right amount of natural sweetness.
While you could use boneless, skinless chicken breasts in this recipe, I prefer thighs. They have a richer flavor and don't get tough the way breasts can.
SPEEDY AND LIGHT CHICKEN CURRY
Start to finish: 30 minutes
Makes 6 servings
12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup light coconut milk
2 teaspoons curry powder
Three 3-inch lengths fresh lemon grass
15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
1 cup grated carrots
1 3/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Nutrition information per serving: 320 calories; 110 calories from fat (34 percent of total calories); 12 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 90 mg cholesterol; 23 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 30 g protein; 600 mg sodium.