Tag Archives: Coconut milk

Crispy Tilapia in Curry Sauce

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Crispy Tilapia in Curry Sauce

This one is DEFINITELY going on the regular rotation at our house.

Do you see this deliciousness?

Crispy fried tilapia with a sweet and spicy coconut-curry sauce on a bed of fluffy jasmine rice.

Oh.

My.

Heavens.

Crispy Tilapia in Curry Sauce from If Looks Could Kale food blog.

See this Pin on Pinterest!

Have I already told you about my tilapia obsession? I haven’t?

Let me count the ways I love tilapia:

  1. It’s abundant. I don’t think I’ve ever had trouble finding tilapia in a grocery store. You may not think this is a big deal,  but to me it really is. Doesn’t it drive you nuts when you have EVERYTHING you need for a meal in your cart but come to find out that the store doesn’t have some crucial ingredient? Granted, some of you may say that tilapia is easily substituted because white fish is white fish is white fish, but I disagree. Tilapia is not only white fish,  (wait for it)…
  2. It’s cheap. Mega-cheap. My mom is always telling me that back in “the day,” fish was very inexpensive and was considered a “working man’s food.” Of course as people started buying more and more of it (because it was cheap), the price has inflated over the years. I’m so glad I took those graduate-level economics classes so I could gain a basic grasp of supply and demand. While “fresh” tilapia can certainly set you back a pretty penny if you’re buying out of the fish case at a Whole Foods, I’ll let you in on a little secret… (wait for it)…
  3. It’s freezer-friendly. Aren’t we all a little obsessed with freezing things lately? It seems like 90% of the recipes I see re-pinned over and over again are either crockpot recipes or freezer recipes. I buy four-pound bags of frozen fillets at my local Fred Meyer (Kroger) for about $10. Each fillet is about 4 oz, which means that for about $10 the husband and I can each eat four fish dinners (yay, math!). Other than being incredibly cheap, frozen tilapia provides me an extra advantage in the kitchen…
  4. It’s quick to thaw, and quick to cook! *Technically* I don’t think the food-governing-lords recommend thawing fish any other way than overnight in a fridge (seriously, who has the foresight for that?), but I like to just toss mine in the sink, cover it in room temperature water, and let the magic happen. I’ve been using this method for years and have never had any issues. It thaws in about 5-10 minutes, which means I can have absolutely NOTHING planned for dinner, then 10 minutes later I am cooking away.

Which brings us to today’s special presentation of Crispy Tilapia in Curry Sauce. This meal rocks my world in so many ways.

Crispy Tilapia in Curry Sauce from If Looks Could Kale food blog.

Let’s make another list, shall we?

  1. Tilapia (see above).
  2. Thai Food (duh).
  3. Under 30 minutes.
  4. Low-Calorie.
  5. Delicious.
  6. Every ingredient comes from either the freezer or the pantry. Which means I can put absolutely no forethought into making it. <— This is KEY.

Ready for the magic?

Let’s begin.

Makes: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 (4 oz) tilapia fillets
  • 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. wok oil (grapeseed or vegetable oil work great, too)
  • 1 (14oz) can light coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp. panang curry paste (or any red curry paste)
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 Tbsp. palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2-4 whole wild lime leaves
  • Jasmine rice, cilantro and lime wedges for serving

Directions:

  1. Pat each of the fish fillets dry with a paper towel, then cut into quarters. Stir together the flour and pepper in a pie plate or shallow dish. Place the fish pieces into the pie plate a few at a time and coat them with the flour mixture. Shake off any excess flour and set aside.
  2. Heat the wok or vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, lay half of the fish pieces to the pan in a single layer. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side, until crisp and brown. The fish doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through at this point because it is going to simmer later on. Once crisp, remove from pan and set aside. Repeat this process with the remaining half of the fish pieces.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and wipe out any excess oil in the pan, then add half a can of coconut milk. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the coconut milk is hot and foamy. Add in the curry paste and stir for about 2 minutes to work it into the coconut milk, using the back of a wooden spoon to break up any large pieces.
  4. Add the rest of the coconut milk, as well as the water, sugar, fish sauce, and lime leaves (if using). Stir for one minute, then return the fish pieces to the pan. Spoon the curry sauce over the top of the fish. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until fish has cooked through. Discard lime leaves.
  5. Garnish with cilantro, and serve on a bed of jasmine rice with lime wedges for squeezing.

Crispy Tilapia in Curry Sauce from If Looks Could Kale food blog.

See this Pin on Pinterest!

 

Nutrition (includes fish and sauce):

275 calories, 14 g. fat, 23 g. protein, 15 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 7

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Tropical Thai Chicken Curry

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Tropical Thai Chicken Curry

Have I mentioned lately how much I adore mango? Or pineapple? Or Thai Food? It seems like it has been a few days so I figured I had better bring it up again, just to really drive my point home.

After my amazing and life-changing trip to my neighborhood “Oriental Supermarket” I am absurdly stocked up on awesome ingredients for some upcoming Asian and Indian dishes.

I wasn’t planning on writing a post about this Tropical Thai Chicken Curry, but after I started eating it I realized that it needed to be shared with all of you. This afterthought explains why these photos aren’t particularly awesome, or well-light, or in-focus, as I was hurrying to get them done so I could continue eating.

Anyway, you can just use your imagination and believe me when I tell you that it tastes good and looks good “in real life,” as they say.

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Ready to send your taste buds on an epic journey? Okay, let’s begin.

As always, start by prepping your ingredients.

Before anything else, get your rice going.

Then, cut up about a cup of fresh pineapple using your handy-dandy pineapple tool. Or, if it’s the middle of winter and/or you’re lazy like me, you can use the canned stuff.

Core a mango with your handy-dandy mango corer and dice the mango into bite-sized pieces. Or, do it the old fashioned way by holding the mango upright so it is balancing on the end opposite the stem, then use a sharp knife to slice from top to bottom along one of the flat sides of the mango, pressing inward toward the pit to save as much flesh as possible. Repeat on the opposite side, then turn the mango and remove the flesh from  the remaining two ends. Pick up one of the two larger pieces you cut and score it using your knife in a grid pattern, being careful not to cut through the skin. Use both hands to turn the piece of mango inside out to push all of the scored pieces up away from the skin. Use your knife to simply slice them off the skin. Repeat with remaining pieces.

Slice your chicken against the grain into the thinnest pieces you can manage.

Now, get out a wok or heavy-bottomed skillet and heat over medium-high. Pour in half a can of coconut milk and let it begin to foam as it heats. Add some red curry paste and stir to get it all worked in. Add in some fish sauce and palm sugar (brown sugar works nicely as a substitute), as well as a few whole lime leaves. I’m using wild lime leaves, but if you don’t have any just extract the juice from half a lime and set it aside for later. If you’re using lime juice, wait until you turn off the heat to add it in so it doesn’t turn bitter.

Add the rest of the can of coconut milk and some water and give it a good stir. Let it cook for a few minutes while you prepare some fresh basil. Simply stack a few basil leaves on top of one another, then roll them up tightly before slicing them lengthwise into ribbons. Set aside.

Add the chicken, pineapple, and mango to the curry and reduce heat to a gentle simmer (medium-low or low heat, just enough to keep the surface stirring but not at a boil). Let the curry cook for another five minutes or so until the chicken is cooked all the way through.

Turn off the heat, remove the lime leaves, then add the fresh basil leaves (and lime juice if using). Serve alongside lots of jasmine rice.

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Here’s the handy recipe:

Makes: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 (14oz) can of Coconut Milk, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. Red Curry Paste
  • 2 Tbsp. Fish Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Palm Sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 4 Wild Lime Leaves (or juice from half a lime)
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 Lb. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast, sliced thin
  • 1 c. Fresh Pineapple, chunked
  • 1 Fresh Mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 c.  Fresh Basil Leaves, sliced

Directions:

  1. Heat half a can of coconut milk in a wok or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until foaming.
  2. Add curry paste and stir to combine. Add fish sauce, sugar, and lime leaves* and let cook for one minute. Add remaining coconut milk and water.
  3. Add chicken, pineapple, and mango to the curry and let cook for 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to simmer and continue to cook for five minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Remove from heat. Remove wild lime leaves* and stir in the sliced basil. Serve with jasmine rice.

*If you don’t have access to wild lime leaves, simply use the juice from one half of a fresh lime. Add it at the very end, after removing the curry from heat.

Nutrition (per serving):

442 calories, 27 g. fat, 28 g. protein, 27 g. carbs, 7.5 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 10

Peanut Panang Beef Curry

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Peanut Panang Beef Curry

The thing I love most about Thai cooking (other than devouring the end result) is how incredibly easy it is. Very few recipes call for techniques more advanced than basic knife work, mixing, and stir-frying.

Maybe that’s why I never really got into French cooking; it’s simply too much work! Plus I don’t like French food.

Once you have the basic methods down for making a stir-fry, soup, fried rice, and curry you can exercise your own creative tendencies and make just about anything you like.

The majority of recipes calling for curry paste can easily be adjusted to accommodate whichever kind you have in your cupboard. I try to keep five different varieties on hand: Red, Green, Yellow, Massaman, and Panang.

This Peanut Panang Beef Curry is delicious, simple, and richly satisfying.

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While I’ve listed traditional Thai ingredients below, I’ve also included substitutions for those without access to all of the items listed.

You’ll want to serve this dish with rice to soak up all of the peanutty-goodness, so be sure to get a pot going before you start on the beef as the curry comes together very quickly. See my tip below about using the leftover coconut milk to make the rice! A green salad on the sides makes this a complete meal.

Makes: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. coconut milk, divided*
  • 2 Tbsp. Panang curry paste**
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. palm sugar***
  • 3 wild lime leaves****
  • 1/2 lb. boneless beef (such as tri-tip), very thinly sliced crosswise into 2-inch strips
  • 3 Tbsp. ground peanuts*****
  • 1/4 c. basil leaves, preferably “Thai” or “Holy” basil, roughly chopped

Directions:

  1. Pour a half cup of coconut milk into a wok or skillet set over medium-high heat. Once hot and foaming, add the Panang curry paste and use the back of a wooden spoon to break apart any large chunks. Stir the curry paste and the coconut milk until fully combined.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the rest of the coconut milk as well as the water, fish sauce, palm sugar, and lime leaves. Let simmer for a few minutes then add the thinly sliced beef and stir.
  3. Cook the beef, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the ground peanuts and reduce the heat to low. Stir to combine the peanuts with the curry.
  4. Just before serving, turn off the heat and remove the wild lime leaves. Add the basil leaves and stir. Serve with rice.

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*When I have a recipe that calls for just part of a can of coconut milk, I like to use the leftovers to replace part of the water used to make rice. It really adds delicious flavor and texture to the rice and keeps me from finding wasted Tupperware containers of coconut milk in the back of my fridge.

** Substitute red curry paste or Massaman curry paste if you don’t have Panang.

*** Use brown sugar if you don’t have palm sugar.

**** Wild lime leaves make all the difference in the world, but the curry will still taste delicious without them. If you can’t find any, substitute 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice.  If using lime juice instead, add it at the very end along with the basil.

***** I threw some peanuts in my food processor until ground, but you could also use regular peanut butter.

Nutrition (per serving):

292 calories, 22 g. fat, 15 g. protein, 12 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 8

Indian Chicken Korma

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Indian Chicken Korma

In the interest of full disclosure, I feel that I must confess to you that this is NOT a “light” recipe. This is not vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, paleo, or dairy-free.

But it is dee-lish-shuss. For reals.

No joke.

Seriously, you guys.

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Trust me on this one.

Chicken Korma is one of those magical dishes that seems to fill up 95% of my plate whenever I visit an Indian food buffet. It is rich, creamy, full of spices and flavor, and just begs to be soaked up by a piece of fresh naan. If you’ve never tried your hand at making Indian food at home, this should definitely be your starter recipe. It’s much easier than you’d think, as long as you have a few basic Indian spices in your pantry.

The chicken does like to marinate for a while, so get it set in the morning before heading to work.

The ingredient list does look a bit long but DON’T FREAK OUT. Most of it is spices, and if you are missing any of them I’d highly suggest investing in a bottle (or buy in bulk, like me!). Nothing will open up your kitchen to more possibilities than a well-stocked spice cabinet!

The only thing you might have a hard time finding in your local grocery store is Garam Masala. You can try an Asian foods specialty store, or I’ve even had luck finding it at Cost Plus World Market. More recently I’ve been purchasing it on Amazon – you can find the link on my Products page.

Ready?

Okay, Go:

Makes: 6 servings

Ingredients:

[For the Chicken Marinade]

  • 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tsp mild yellow curry powder
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

[For the Sauce]

  • 2 white onions, peeled
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 c. water
  • 3 large tomatoes, diced small
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger root
  • 1/2 c. ground almonds (food processor works great)
  • 1 c. coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 c. plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 small red chili, de-seeded and minced (I used dried, but fresh works, too)
  • 2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 4 tsp. mild yellow curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander seed
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Drizzle the chicken with the oil and sprinkle on the spices, salt and pepper. Massage into the meat and cover, leaving to marinate for at least a couple of hours or overnight.
  2. Grill the chicken until fully cooked but not dried out. Set aside.
  3. For the sauce begin by pureeing together: 2 white onions , 6 cloves garlic, 1 cup water.
  4. In a large saucepan heat 3 tbsp olive oil (or ghee if you prefer).
  5. Add the pureed onion mixture and cook over medium heat for a few minutes stirring constantly. Add: tomatoes, ginger, ground almonds, coconut milk, yogurt, red chili, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, curry powder, nutmeg, salt, pepper, ground coriander, garam masala, cloves, cumin, and brown sugar.
  6. Simmer slowly for about 30-40 minutes then add the chicken and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and/or naan.

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Nutrition (per serving):

362 calories, 25 g. fat, 19 g. protein, 20 g. carbs, 5 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 10

Green Curry Mung Beans with Spinach

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Green Curry Mung Beans with Spinach

If you’re anything like me, you probably read the title of this post and are likely quickly losing interest in this recipe because you have no idea what mung beans are. But wait! Fear not, my child. I promise you that you can find mung beans in most any grocery store and they are very cheap and easy to cook. Most importantly, they do not need to be pre-soaked! I buy them in bulk at the grocery store, keep them in a mason jar in my pantry, and pull them out when I need to throw together a quick meal with no fuss.

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These little beauties are found mainly in Asian cuisines, particularly in Thai, Indian, and Filipino dishes. They are packed with all sorts of good-for-you nutrients, protein, and fiber. You can use them as you would green split peas or lentils (my favorite!). They have a slightly sweet flavor which works perfectly with the delicate coconut milk in this recipe.

As with most recipes calling for curry paste, feel free to swap out the green curry paste in this recipe with whatever you happen to have. Alternatively you can use regular curry powder if your pantry is looking a little bare; start with a few teaspoons, taste, and add more if needed. I typically purchase Thai Kitchen curry pastes which aren’t terrible expensive and are easy to find on the ethnic food aisle.

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I used two tablespoons to this dish as green curry paste is pretty mild. If you are using red, massaman, or panang, you may want to start with a little less and work your way up. Remember, it is always easier to add more than to try to take it out!

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I’ve also taken to purchasing coconut milk in these adorable little two-thirds-cup cans rather than the usual 15 oz. size. It’s the perfect amount for a dish like this and then I’m not trying to find a way to use up the leftovers from a full size can (like the time I attempted to make pina coladas – total fail!).

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This recipe is really a cinch to make. Simply saute an onion in oil until semi-translucent and slightly brown…

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Add in some ginger and garlic…

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Add your mung beans and let them toast…

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Then add three cups of water, bring it to a boil, reduce it to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 20 minutes.

IMG_0040This is my adorable little 3-quart enameled cast iron dutch oven. Isn’t she beautiful?

After twenty minutes, stir in some chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, curry paste, and seasonings, then re-cover and let cook for another few minutes until your mung beans are tender.

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Here are the beans when they are not-quite done…

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…and here they are when they are split and tender…

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They lose a bit of their vibrant green color by the time they are tender and look a little more like cooked green split peas.

Once the beans are tender, stir in some fresh spinach leaves…

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and let them wilt. Once they are dark green and wilted, taste the dish and adjust salt and pepper to your liking.

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Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro!

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I like to mold my rice into little bowls them turn them out onto the plate to impress the husband.

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I think it makes him feel special.

Be sure to take some out-of-focus pictures with your new lens….

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And, as always, spend so much time trying to figure out how to work your camera that the food gets cold before you can eat it.

Voila! Stay hungry, my friends.

Makes: 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. mung beans, sorted (remove any debris)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 3 c. water
  • 2/3 c. coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp. green curry paste
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. oil (I used grapseed)
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • Dash ground coriander
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a 3-quart dutch oven or large covered pot over medium-high heat.
  2. When hot, add the chopped onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until semi-translucent (about three minutes).
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute, stirring frequently so as to not burn the garlic.
  4. Add the mung beans and cook, stirring frequently, for 60 seconds until slightly toasted.
  5. Add the three cups water, stir, and bring to a boil. Let boil for 2-3 minutes then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add in the chopped tomato, curry paste, coconut milk, and seasonings, then stir, re-cover, and cook until mung beans are tender and splitting out of their shells (another 5 minutes or so).
  6. Add the spinach leaves and stir until wilted.
  7. Taste the dish and add salt and pepper as desired (I added quite a bit of both).
  8. Serve with rice and garnish with cilantro.

Nutrition (per serving):

216 calories, 9 g. fat, 10 g. protein, 26 g. carbs, 7 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 6

What’s your favorite way to cook up beans or lentils? 

Chicken & Coconut Milk Spiced with Garam Masala

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Chicken & Coconut Milk Spiced with Garam Masala

Chicken and coconut milk spiced with curry powder and Garam Masala.

Chicken & Coconut Milk spiced with Garam Masala

Chicken & Coconut Milk spiced with Garam Masala

Tonight was one of those nights where I barely got dinner on the table at all. I called the husband while I was commuting home to hint at the idea of going out to dinner. He had a long day and just wanted to sit on the couch and relax, so I pulled myself together and made dinner.

I didn’t have anything planned for tonight so I had to get creative. Among the other strange things residing in my fridge and pantry, I scrounged up some chicken breast, tomato, onion, coconut milk, rice, and spices.

I buy onions in bulk and keep them in a big bowl on my counter. I find that they are a great way to bulk up dishes without adding a lot of calories. Plus, they’re cheap!

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I had tomato leftover from making some grilled flatbread pizzas and just happened to have a chicken breast thawing in the fridge.

I seasoned the chicken with salt, pepper, and garam masala, then seared it quickly in some olive oil and chopped garlic.

I threw in some chopped tomato and sliced onion and let everything get steamy.

cozyAfter the vegetables got some good color on them I added a can of light coconut milk (feel free to use full fat if you are into that sort of thing), some curry powder, and more garam masala. I let it simmer for about fifteen minutes while my rice was cooking then adjusted salt and pepper to taste.

with milk

Quick, easy, low-fat, and delicious!

curryHere’s how I did it:

Makes: 4 servings, 1 cup each

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 oz. chicken breasts (I used one big’un)
  • One can light coconut milk
  • Half a large tomato, cut into large chunks
  • Half a large yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 Tbsp. Garam Masala
  • 2 tsp. Curry Powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil (coconut oil works great if you have it!)
  • Cilantro for garnish

Directions:

  1. Thinly slice the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces and season with salt, pepper, and 1 Tbsp. garam masala.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Once hot, add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add chicken. Sear until brown on both sides.
  4. Add tomatoes and onion and stir to coat in spices.
  5. Add additional 2 Tbsp. garam masala and the curry powder. Stir and let the spices toast in the oil.
  6. Add the can of coconut milk and stir until spices are incorporated into the liquid.
  7. Bring the mixture to a boil and let cook for about a minute.
  8. Using the back of a wooden spoon, smash the cooked tomatoes to release their juices into the coconut milk.
  9. Reduce heat to simmer and let cook for fifteen-twenty minutes or until thickened.
  10. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
  11. Garnish with cilantro and serve over rice.

Nutrition (per 1 cup serving):

194 calories, 15 g. fat, 10 g. protein, 5 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 5

What’s your go-to weeknight dish? What do you always have in your pantry for “dinner emergencies”?