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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Curried Chicken with Coconut Rice

I have been cohabitating with boyfriend for just over a year now and while we have lots of fun and it's great to see him every day, there are some things that I miss...

My mess.  When living on your own, any mess you make is your own mess.  It's your own responsibility to clean up, or not clean up, your living space.  My apartment was tiny, so it got dirty and cluttered pretty quickly.  During the week, I would treat my apartment as a landing pad.  I would throw down my stuff, eat a bowl of salad, change into my PJs and go to bed.  Things would pile up.  Dishes, clothes, books.  Come Sunday I would clean it all up and start fresh.  Now there is my mess and boyfriends mess.  You don't even want to see our apartment right now.

My big fluffy bed.  I bought a grown-up bed my second year of graduate school.  It was a full size, double-pillowtop cloud of a bed.  I had to climb into it at night and jump down in the morning.  I piled it high with pillows and covered it in a white, king size, down comforter.  While it was the most amazing bed ever sewn, it would be a little cozy for two people.  I sold my beautiful bed to a fellow grad student and moved my fluffy pillows to New Jersey.

My all day cooking sessions in my tiny studio kitchen.  When living in 300-square feet, with a kitchen that took up half of that space, the cooking took over the entire living space.  I would have marshmallows setting on my TV stand, a cutting board on my tiny cafe table and two burners running on my stovetop.  With working long hours in the lab all week long, I had to cram all my cooking into one day.  These days I can cook dinner every night and spend my weekends with boyfriend.

All in all, I'll take the two-person mess, less fluffy bed and spread out cooking schedule.  Boyfriend is a pretty fun roommate.

One Year Ago: Gorgonzola Pasta

Curried Chicken with Coconut Rice
Adapted from Everyday Food

This was a fast and delicious meal that gave me tons of leftovers (the single apartment dwellers dream!).  Use your favorite curry powder to make this dish your own.  I went with a sweet curry this time, but I think next time I'll change it up and use my hot curry! 

I used a smallish chicken, about 5 pounds, so it cooked quickly in the oven.  If you use a larger chicken, you may need to cook the chicken for 5 minutes longer in the Dutch oven before removing and adding the rice.
1 whole chicken - cut into 10 pieces
4 tsp sweet curry powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups basmati rice
1 can unsweetened, lite coconut milk
fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 350 and put rack in lowest position, you want to be able to fit your Dutch oven in there.

Toss chicken in the curry powder, cayenne pepper and salt.  Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add chicken a few pieces at a time and brown on all sides.  Once chicken is browned, transfer to a plate.  Continue until all the chicken is browned.

Reduce heat to medium and add 1 tbsp olive oil to the Dutch oven and add onion, garlic and ginger.  Stir to coat in oil and allow to cook for 5 minutes, or until onions are softened.  Add tomato paste and cook for another minute.  Add rice and stir to coat with oil, cook for 1 minute.  Add coconut milk and 2 cups filtered water, bring to a boil.  Add chicken back to the pot, arranging into one layer.

Cover Dutch oven with a lid and place in the oven for 20 minutes.  Chicken should be cooked through and the liquid all absorbed into the rice.  Sprinkle with cilantro and chow down!
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