Ceylonese chicken curry

Food mean different things to different people, personally food is health, food is habit, culture, identity, comfort, nourishment, colour, beautiful and tasty!

My love for good food goes beyond borders, firstly nourishment but tasty too! if you know me personally this won’t be news to you.

This recipe is a healthy twist to the regular chicken ceylon. I have tweaked it to suit our nutritional needs and taste buds ( spicey!), I added legume (chickpeas) a good source of protein and fibre, frozen peas , a case of making the best of your store cupboard and fridge essentials.

I was a bit unsure if the kids would like it, as they would not normally have peas or any strong texture in their curry. But as a parent i take it seriously to let my kids learn how to appreciate and enjoy meal times. Interestingly, it worked so well. They loved it and my 5 years old who would normally pick out any sign of vegetable in his plate was happy with it and said ”peas” are my favourite vegetables mummy.. phew! We’ve gone from being allergic to vegetables to ”favourites” now… so glad ( will save you the story today).. As a mom with former picky eaters ( fingers crossed) I can say that exposing kids enough times to different flavours and textures the right way will more likely make them try new foods. Don’t be afraid to play around with textures and flavours, that’s a good way to get started.

Other vegetables in this recipe are; onions, fresh turmeric, celery, carrots, ginger, garlic , peppers and tomatoes. these work well for that perfect home made curry paste. trust me once you’ve tried making your base from scratch, you’ll never go back to the shop bought ones.

Fresh vegetables
Home made curry paste

This recipe is loaded with aromatic spices and a lovely mixture of coconut and cashew flavour with chilli ! gives this dish it’s dreamy creamy texture you won’t forget in a hurry, please if you do cook this curry be sure not to miss the coconut and cashew unless you have nut allergies.

It’s a good combination of nutrition and taste.. healthy is not boring and bland!

Unsalted Cashew nuts

We know life can be so busy and it is no doubt taking its toll on our health and wellbeing, eating a nutritious diet and maintaining a healthy weight is increasingly difficult for most of us thanks to takeaways too. This is not to make it normal or judge anyone but just to recognise how our fast paced life impacts our health and wellbeing. Eating out all the time not only affects our budget but has serious health implications like not meeting recommended dietary intakes of key nutrients which can later lead to nutrient deficiencies and weakened immune systems .

It’s no news that poor diet low in fruits and vegetables can predispose one to diet related conditions e.g type 2 diabetes, heart problems , stroke, high blood pressure and some types of cancer. I can’t share my story of type 2 diabetes enough, one of the reasons i started this platform was to share my food experience and journey with the hope to inspire a positive shift in food culture as well as keep myself accountable.

As a busy working mom of 3 , One of the ways i have managed to keep on top my diet and that of my family is to plan our meals, I am a big believer of batch cooking and freezing, you not only save cost, you save kitchen time and importantly able to eat a nutritious balanced meal at least few times a week depending on batch size. Any way of squeezing in more vegetables into your diet counts!

This recipe is freezer friendly and loaded with more than 5 of your at least 5 servings of vegetables. Let’s get cooking!

Note: Play around with the strength of the spices to suit you.

Ingredients

  1. pack of chicken breast fillets(500g)
  2. 1 tsp chilli ( adjust heat as you like)
  3. 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  4. 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  5. 1/2 tsp fenugreek or mustard seeds
  6. 1/4 tsp ground fennel
  7. 1/4 tsp cloves
  8. 1/4 tsp cardamom
  9. 1 stick dry cinnamon
  10. tbsp olive oil
  11. fresh curry leaves
  12. 2 organic reduced salt chicken stock cubes
  13. Tin canned chickpeas
  14. 300g frozen peas

Paste: 2 medium onion, 4 cloves fresh garlic, 2cm fresh ginger, 2cm fresh turmeric, 4 carrots, 3 sticks celery, 1 red bell pepper, canned tomatoes and 2 tbsp tomato paste. put all these together in a food processor, add 1 tbsp olive oil and blend to a smooth paste and set aside. You can add the cashews and blend together or blend separately (whatever works for you)

Blended cashew and coconut cream

You can make this in batch and freeze for future use .(saves time)

Method

  1. Heat the remaining olive oil in a pan, add curry leaves and fenugreek or mustard seeds, fry till fragrant , then add chicken breast pieces and coat all over, cook for about 5 mins.
  2. Transfer paste into, throw in cinnamon stick cover pot and simmer for 10 mins .
Curry paste
  1. then pour in coconut cream, blended cashew nut, chickpeas and peas cook for further 5 mins and take off the hob.
  1. Enjoy with your meal base of choice. Rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice, beans, potatoes, chapati, naan bread or pitta bread.

Happy cooking!

CHICKEN TAGINE

Turn up the heat with this delicious healthy homemade chicken tagine made with aromatic spices from North Africa.

If spice is your thing then you’d definitely love this pot. Ras el hanout is a north African spice (Algeria,morocco) A mixture of the best spice you can ever imagine, I love the intensity of the flavour and how it goes well with coriander. However if you can’t find it, you can use garam masala or curry powder with coriander powder or leaves.

The lovely thing about this recipe is that it is easily adaptable vegetarian or vegan recipe, just skip the chicken and add more chickpeas, butter beans or kidney beans. You can also add quorn or tofu just about any other vegan alternative will work well in this recipe

You can batch cook and fridge or freeze you save kitchen time and cost of weekly lunch or dinner. plus you get the opportunity to add more vegetables to your diet…hello fibre!

Serve with brown rice, cauliflower rice, bulgur wheat or quinoa for a perfect balanced diet.

Keeping it really quick and simple today until next time.

Please do not forget to let me know how you get on!

Happy cooking

Ingredients

1. Fresh chicken breast or chicken off the bone , cut into bits

2. 2-3 red bell pepper ( chopped)

3. 2 courgette (chopped)

4. Carrots( optional)

4. Green bean ( optional)

5. 2 chicken stock cube

6. 2 tins chopped tomatoes

7. 2 tins butter beans or chickpeas

8. 3 onions chopped

9. 2Tsp fresh ginger

10. 4 cloves garlic

11. 3Tbspn coriander

12. 2tbspn ras el hanout

13. 1 Tbspn freshly squeezed lemon

14. 4 Tbspn olive oil

15. 1 Tspn chilli or paprika ( optional)

Method

1. If using chicken off the bone cook it first and set aside( add seasoning of choice) if using chicken breast skip this stage.

Heat oil in a pan and saute onions, garlic and ginger

2 . Add chicken to the mix and cook properly if using chicken breast( 8mins) or just add your already cooked meat.

3. Add courgette, tomatoes, peppers, beans and all the seasonings including lemon

4. cook on low heat for 25-30 mins , taste add more seasoning if required then simmer for a further 5mins to allow flavours to come together.

Serve with brown rice , quinoa , bulgur, or cauliflower rice.

Enjoy!

Muffin potato croquettes

This is another delicious way of using up leftover mashed potatoes and bits of not very happy bread in your bread jar, or if you are tired of same old mash and want to switch things up a bit. While we all understand the importance of reducing food waste not many of us can help it, but would love to given the opportunity.

The two foods that gets wasted the most in my house are potatoes and bread, because they are a major staple and always ends up in my basket for every grocery (big savers! especially if you’ve got little ones)

However, I find that i always have potatoes sprouting away in my food basket and bread going out of date and they sadly end up in the bin . This recipe is a good way of recycling these staples, I have grated sad looking bread in my jar to make homemade breadcrumbs! and saved some potatoes from sprouting!

Breadcrumbs

I love creative ways of cooking the same ingredients differently as this not only adds to our growing family menu but also gives me that satisfaction of trying something new!

My kids will eat anything in a muffin tin, so this is a brilliant opportunity to make the fussy eaters happy (if you’ve got one). We love mash potatoes but like everything else , eating the same thing repeatedly can be boring some times. So this is an exciting addition to our menu, my kids love it and have asked to be on repeat! (Gla..d!)

I have adapted this recipe from ” love food hate waste” to suit our eating preference. The joy of cooking for me is being able to adapt or recreate recipes to suit our dietary and taste preferences.

I have increased the heat (spice) and flavour by adding garlic, basil, onion, red chilli powder and English mustard to bring this recipe to life.

It is a complete meal with a good combination of all food types, carbohydrate, protein, and fat. serve with any savoury or sweet dip for best experience. I served it with homemade sour cream dip with chives (for the kids) and extra spicy pepper and basil sauce..because the hotter the better!

However, feel free to keep it mild and enjoy on its own or with a mild sauce of choice.

Finally, I have also saved portions for the week as always, served with veggies and a combination of the white and pepper sauce for a quick cold or hot lunch. having meals prepped ahead means you are not leaving your food choices to chance.

Now let’s get cooking!

Makes : 16 croquettes Time: 30mins

Ingredients

  1. 500g potatoes (roughly 12 medium size) or 2.5cups mash
  2. 2 free range eggs
  3. 100g grated cheddar cheese
  4. 3tbsp chopped basil leaves or chives
  5. Homemade breadcrumbs
  6. Butter
  7. 1 onion (grated)
  8. 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  9. 1tspn mustard, chilli powder
  10. Pinch of salt (optional)

Method

  1. peel , boil potatoes with pinch of salt till tender and mash with butter, onion, mustard, whisked eggs and cheese. season with basil and pepper.
  2. Grease muffin tray with olive oil spray or butter
  3. Shape the potato mixture into croquettes and roll in breadcrumbs in a circular motion to coat well.
  4. Place croquettes the muffin tray and brush with egg and olive oil and bake in preheated oven for 15mins or till golden.
  5. Serve with sauce of choice.

Cooking Tips

  • Any strength of cheddar will work well in this recipe and if you don’t have basil you can use chives
  • Mashed potatoes vary in thickness, check consistency before adding eggs as this might make it too thin and hard to roll. helpful to make mash hard then loosen consistency with eggs
  • Be sure to level your cup when measuring leftover mash.

Happy cooking!

Trio-bean salad with garlic-dijon mustard vinaigrette and salmon fillet

I find vegetables and beans to be a pantry essential, because they are so versatile. I always have a good stock of these items either in a frozen, canned or fresh version. They are great for days you are not kitchen ready but want something nutritious, satisfying and quick.

You can cut up a bunch of raw or cooked vegetables , season it with oil and herbs to create a nutritious meal accompaniment or serve along side fish, eggs, cheese( mozzarella) or meat as a main course.

Trio beans

Beans on the other hand , is a nutritional power house . A good source of complex carbohydrate, protein, B vitamins, iron, potassium and fiber. Beans can be adapted in various ways, cooked in a tomato sauce, they make a good pizza base alternative check linkhttps://healthfulnonye.com/2018/08/06/black-eyed-beans-plantain-pizza/

Can be cooked as a pudding ( Moi-Moi) A west African dish made with black eyed beans and seasoned to perfection( future post) And can also be cooked plain and paired with bunch of vegetables to create a nutritious and satisfying meal, another way of switching up a boring salad.

Here in this recipe, I have combined 3 types of beans, the cannellini beans, the red and black beans with purple cabbage, cucumber, mixed peppers, red onions, and carpers with spiced extra virgin olive oil, added fruit for a touch of sweet and savoury and a dash of lemon juice to bring all the ingredients together. beautifully garnished with fresh herbs ( mint, parsley and basil) Incredibly refreshing!

I cooked up a pack of whole trio bean then halved it. feel free to use the canned version ( it’s easier)

purple cabbage

This purple vegetable contains chlorogenic acid, a powerful antioxidant that destroys disease causing free radicals and also packed full of fiber. Any other cabbage or cruciferous vegetable will work well , I love a pop of colour on my plate . So, have used the purple cabbage. If you are anything like me you would be going for the pur.. ply( if there’s any word like that). The choice of sweetness can also be adapted to your preference, I used ripe kiwi, I would imagine raisins can be used instead.

Capers ( from tesco)

The addition of capers to this salad is a no brainer and would strongly recommend , don’t miss it! You know that hit of lemon juice and salt and a vegetal touch? the things you’d want to add to any meal. You’ll get that and more by adding capers to this salad. There’s also no need for salt in this recipe, Carpers done the job! (Ace)

what if I don’t have capers?

That’s Ok! a pinch of sea salt , black pepper and lemon will be fine.

So, in a nutshell, this colourful bowl makes a nutritious main meal served with grilled salmon for a hit of omega 3 and additional protein source.

Salmon good source of protein and omega 3

The salad has a burst of meditterenean flavours ( so refreshing) , rich in soluble fiber, which helps control blood cholesterol level. Research suggests that LDL ( bad cholesterol ) is reduced by 10% and this is obtained by consuming 10g of soluble fiber ( 1/2 -1.5 cup of beans) nearly equivalent to the mix of vegetables and beans in this recipe . great!

Trio bean salad with salmon fillet

Finally, the balance of complex carbohydrate and protein in this recipe means steady source of energy supply( no spike in blood glucose) instead of the sudden energy surge that happens when you eat simple carbohydrate. So, will help you stay full for longer. My first hand experience with diabetes has shaped my food theory and I tend to make food choices based on how a particular food type whether in combination or on it’s own will impact my blood sugar and over all energy level. So half of the time I spend time studying about a particular food type before introducing it to my adventurous palate , hope you find this useful too.

happy reading! let’s put it together now!


INGREDIENTS
-1 salmon fillet ( pan seared or grilled)
-1/2 Pack mixed beans ( boiled and drained) or a can of trio bean
-1 green pepper chopped

– 1 red bell pepper chopped.
-1/4 purple cabbage chopped
-1/2 cucumber diced
-1 red onions diced
-2 tbsp capers

-1tbsp each of chopped fresh parsley , mint & basil leaves.

Method
Mix all ingredients and set aside then make the dressing🔽


-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
squeeze of fresh lemon juice,

Mix all ingredients together and set aside

-1 ripe kiwi or fruit of choice( raisins) – -1tbsp extra virgin olive oil, and white or black pepper.
– Add dressing to the salad mixture, cover and fridge for a couple of mins to let all the ingredients come together.
-Then serve with salmon for extra punch of protein and omega 3 or on it’s own.

Enjoy!

Cardamom- Garlic-ginger chicken stir fry

Here’s a stir-fry recipe that takes just 20mins to put together, you’ll love it! an example of flavour explosion that you won.’t forget in a hurry, It  is Citrusy, minty, spicy, musty, herbal and sweet . thanks to the cardamom, ginger, garlic and chili , you will taste all of these flavours in every bite!  Plus the crunch of the baby corn and mangetout!( snow pea)  All these in 20 minutes!  Enjoy!

I would recommend using coconut aminos in this recipe, as it is a healthier alternative to your regular soy sauce, it is soy and gluten free ( great for people with soy and gluten allergy) and has a low GI which means your blood sugar is not spiked ,it is also packed with 17 different amino acids the building block of protein which is vital for body building and repair. Great stuff!

Remember the idea behind healthy cooking and eating lifestyle is to as much as we possibly can , eat in ways that promotes the best health for us and this might mean reading ingredients label, understand how the contents might impact us. Then swapping to closest alternative and this is what I tend to practice, again this might not be for everyone. That being said, I have used worcestershire sauce in this recipe because that’s what I had at hand ( ran out of coconut aminos)

I have also used a lot of ginger in this stirfry , this is mainly to do with my choice of base , chinese lettuce! have you ever wanted salad but didn’t want it cold? looking for a hug in poor ol salad?? this exactly how to get that much needed hug in a salad, all the flavours will mask the presence or the absence of the base. This is a go to bowl when you’re trying to stay light ( tracking your makros) or not very active. If you don’t like ginger, that’s OK!  You can still try it but go easy on the amount of ginger that you add to it. You might just end up loving it!  

Can’t manage spicy food? don’t worry just de- seed the chilli once you have cut the chili in half; and then cut them into thin strips.

Don’t have cardamom?? Ok! ginger and garlic are a good pair and would still give you a flavour burst, but the combination of cardamom, ginger and garlic in this stir fry is what makes it unique. again nothing is set on stone , cooking is all about being creative, feel free to play around with what you have at hand.

Other serving suggestions( depending on your health goals): steamed coarse bulgur wheat, quinoa, cauliflower rice, salad, brown rice, or white rice.

Let’s get cooking!!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 cardamom seeds
  • 1 onion grated
  • 100 grams chicken breast strips
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 2.5cm ginger peeled and grated
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 pack stirfry kit ( tender stem broccoli, baby corn, mangetout and bok choy/ pak choi)
  • 2 pcs fresh red and green chilies, thinly sliced.
  • 1\2bunch of chinese lettuce sliced( optional base)

Method

  1. Place a pan over medium-high heat.Add olive oil on pan.
  2. Allow oil to heat up a bit then add garlic, onion, cardamom and ginger Cook until fragrant. 3mins( save some ginger for later)
  3. Then add the chicken and cook on each side until nicely firm (about 10mins)
  4. Add worcestershire sauce and all the vegetables and Stir fry until chicken is fully cooked.( 5mins) then add the remaining ginger and stir for another 2mins
  5. Take off the hob and serve with base of choice!

enjoy!

click link for printable recipe https://sites.google.com/site/healthfulnonyecom/cardamom-garlic-ginger-chicken-stirfry