Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Effortlessly Exotic: Curried Chicken Stir Fry with Basmati Rice

Anyone else suffer from Target Syndrome? You know, you go into Target to buy shampoo & deodorant and come out with shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, a scrapbooking kit, bbq grill, storage bins, bed sheets, dvds, teeth whitening strips, and adorable throw pillows for a couch you don't own? If you're unfamiliar with this phenomenon, then you 1) have insurmountable will power, OR 2) aren't human. I succumb to the 'Syndrome' almost every time I step foot into that wonder-store. Now, my neighborhood Target has introduced a full-on supermarket section.

While meandering down this section's isles, I stumbled across my newest obsession: Archer Farms Mango Curry Grilling Sauce. Archer Farms is an in-house brand of Target's, reasonably priced & pretty darn good across the board. They even have their own Organic line of products as well. Bottom line, this particular bottle looked yummy, wooed me with a pretty orange hue &, most importantly, it was on sale. So, off I went with my bag(s) full and my culinary imagination wheel spinning...

In my personal experience, discussions over the stereo-typically strong-smelling dishes of "Curry (anything)" have rivaled the most heated religious or political debates. The majority of people I know are vehement haters of the stuff, without ever having tasted it!   ::cough:: ignorant fools! ::cough::    Let me take a moment out to dispel your fears. Curry is actually a blend of spices. The word curry/curried is also used to refer to a type of dish where a protein (chicken, beef, goat, fish) is slow cooked in a thick pungent sauce flavored with the spice mix & served over rice or with a flatbread of some sort (think Indian naan, or Caribbean roti) to sop it all up. To make things even more confusing, another style of curry dish includes the spice mix used as a dry rub on meats, such as kebabs. Curry spice blends vary drastically in color, flavor, and heat level depending on their origin (Thai, Indian, Caribbean, Sri Lankan etc). By & large, most curry powders contain coriander, tumeric, cumin, fenugreek, & chile pepper. As a convert to curry myself, I suggest trying the different types from varying regions before you make a decision regarding loving or hating the dish. The recipe I'm sharing with you today is more of a quasi-curry, if that. Its not overly pungent in flavor or heat, but rather a warm, mild blend with a sweet note to it.

My first thought that came to mind was throwing a defrosted chicken breast in to a Ziploc with some of my new grilling sauce. Done & done. Okay, now what? Well, more often than not I have come across different versions of "curried chicken salad" but never dared to re-create them at home. With some left over roasted chicken (which seems to be a staple at my house) I tweaked my own chicken salad recipe by adding a few tablespoons of grilling sauce & 1/4 teaspoon of cumin to the dressing. Pretty darm delicious, I must say. (Sorry guys no pics of the altered chicken salad. Although deelicious, didn't think it was gonna make it to the blog as a post...)

Found these flatbreads at my local grocery store. They have the thinness and feel of roti, or a very thin wrap & completely satisfying

A couple busy days later, I realized my poor chicken breast was STILL marinating in the fridge! Thanks to some end-of-the-world-looking thunderstorms & torrential downpours, grilling was, once again, not a viable option. My eyes darted around the kitchen & took a quick survey of supplies: onions, garlic, celery, fresh (but wilting) dill, flatbreads, & leftover "sauce" from the previously made chicken salad. And look at that! A fresh, unopened bag of Basmati rice! Carms got all ethnic on me and I hadn't a clue. With a few more additions, I turned a bunch of rag-tag ingredients into a savory & mind-blowing Indian inspired meal!

Curried Chicken Stir-Fry
Yields 2 servings; 400 Calories per serving; 4.7g Fat per serving
(1 flat bread included in serving)

  • 1 lg boneless & skinless chicken breast, sliced into strips
  • 1 lg onion, sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup Basmati rice, uncooked
  • 1/4 C nonfat, Greek yogurt, plain
  • 3 Tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbs Mango-Curry grilling sauce
  • 1tsp mustard
  • 1tsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp celery salt 
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper 
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes (optional)
Directions: Marinate chicken breast in ziploc bag with mango-curry grilling sauce up to a day ahead. Cook Basmati rice per package directions. In a large skillet, saute onions, celery & garlic on medium-high heat, until slightly tender. Add chicken and sauce to pan. Continue to saute until sauce thickens & chicken is just cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Serve over rice and with flat bread.

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