If you have ever spent much time walking the markets of India, you would know that there is a vast wealth of fresh vegetables available. But if you have ever spent much time eating typical North Indian food, you would also know that there are few fresh green salads available beyond the basic cucumber, tomato and onion salads. When I lived in New Delhi for two years, I loved the well-seasoned and well-cooked vegetables but often found myself craving an American-style salad buffet with raw vegetables from time to time. That is why I recommend pairing chicken curry with a fresh spinach salad to round complete a healthy meal.
The crunch of the raw vegetables set against the textures of the creamy curry sauce and the sweet flavors of a raspberry vinagrette dressing contrast so nicely with the spicy layers of flavor in the curry. The nutritional value of the spinach salad can be further boosted by raw pecans, mushrooms, carrots, bell peppers, or other vegetables.
The Spinach and Candied Pecan Salad recipe yields multiple 1-cup servings of salad, so wait to shave the raw red onion into each portion of salad immediately before serving. Does anyone really prefer to have raw onion sitting in the fridge picking up greater pungency overnight in a batch of leftovers? Or soggy spinach drenched in dressing? I certainly don’t.
(Short)cut and Paste for Chicken Curry in a Hurry
I took a shortcut with this recipe and used Patak’s Madras Spice Paste. I do advocate making the full 8 servings that my recipe calls for because I have found that cooking a large batch of healthy food once per week makes it easier to portion out proper serving sizes for the rest of the week.
Do you like the look of the naan bread in the photos? This was my first attempt at making them and they turned out nicely. They contain a little yogurt and milk to achieve a soft, pillowy interior.
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 teaspoons ginger, grated or minced
- 2 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
- 1 jar Madras spice paste
- 1 (14 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- ½ cup chicken stock or water
- 2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
- 2 teaspoons cilantro, chopped
- Remove any skin on chicken and cut meat into bite-sized pieces.
- Heat oil in a pot on medium-high until shimmering. Add mustard seeds to hot oil and heat until they begin to pop, then add chopped onions. Sautée onions until soft and lightly browned.
- Add ginger and garlic and sautée for 30 seconds. Add spice paste and sautée for 30 more seconds.
- Add tomatoes, water and chopped chicken to pot. Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through (approximately 15 - 20 minutes).
- Uncover and continue to simmer until liquid has reduced to preferred consistency (approximately 5 minutes). Serve over basmati rice and garnish with chopped cilantro.