As I mentioned last week, we’re expecting a L’il Spark in about a month. One of the first things I investigated at the beginning of the pregnancy, of course, was exactly what I was and wasn’t supposed to be eating. Clearly alcohol and caffeine were off limits, but I didn’t know much beyond that- say, that unpasteurized juices are to be avoided or that bean sprouts are a no-no. And while there are a few things that I miss (primarily gorgonzola and the other moldy cheeses), it’s hardly been a restrictive diet and I think I’ve done a good job of maintaining a reasonable attitude about the whole thing. Dylan has been similarly supportive, happily eating the blue cheese out of my salads on the occasion a piece slips in, not fussing when I have a little caffeine, and indulging my one craving, pizza.
His one strange hang-up came recently, when I was up in Northern California for a two day conference. I returned home to find that in that short time span, he had eaten every piece of tilapia in the house, having deciding that bottom-feeding fish were probably best avoided until the baby was born. I don’t know how many pieces had been in our freezer, but suffice to say, despite his sizeable appetite, even Dylan admitted that he was feeling rather ill after all of that fish. So the house has been a tilapia-free zone since then, and in fact, we’ve been left with nothing but frozen chicken cutlets as animal protein after that. Although I’d happily skip the animal protein altogether, I’ve been trying to make sure to include some in our diet, both for the baby and for my meat-lovin’ husband.
Hence this mango chicken curry from Simply Recipes, which includes chicken, but is really all about mango, ginger, and all of the tasty spices. It’s mild enough for even the most timid curry eater, so you can serve it with no worries about offending sensitive palates. And the mango makes it just a little different and more interesting than your average curry. Strangely enough, after mixing a good helping of rice in, I ended up bringing it to a concert picnic potluck a couple of weekends ago. Not the most obvious thing to bring perhaps, but amid baguettes, cheese, and an assortment of Trader Joe’s prepared foods, I think our friends were more than happy to have a little home cooking.
Mango chicken curry (serves 4)
3 Tbsp (or more) of vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped (1 1/2 to 2 cups)
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp fresh minced ginger
2 Tbsp yellow curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 mangos, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp cider vinegar or white vinegar
1 1/4 cup water
1 1/4 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup golden raisins (I omitted these)
1/2 cup heavy cream (can substitute all or partially with coconut milk- I used light coconut milk)
Salt and pepper
Cilantro for garnish
1. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the red bell pepper and another tablespoon of oil, cook for a couple more minutes. Add the curry powder and cumin, cook for a few more minutes. The spices will absorb some of the oil, so if anything begins to stick too much to the bottom of the pan, add a little more oil to the pan. Add the ginger and garlic, cook for one minute more.
2. Add the vinegar, water, and a 1/2 of the chopped mango to the pan. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain a low simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat. Scoop the sauce into a blender. Purée the sauce, pulsing until smooth. Return the sauce to the pan.
3. Add chicken pieces and raisins to the pan. Return to a low simmer. Cover the pan and let cook for 8-10 minutes. Chicken should be just cooked through. Use a knife to cut open the largest piece to check.
4. Add remaining mango pieces to the pan. Stir in the cream. Let cook at a very low temperature for another minute or two, uncovered. Do not let boil! Or the cream may curdle. Adjust seasonings. If a little too sweet, add a little more vinegar. If not sweet enough, you can add a dash of sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over rice. Garnish with cilantro.