I have to make a confession. There are a lot of days when I hate cooking around our allergies. Hate. It. As in, I would rather run screaming out of the house than try to think of something to cook for dinner that all three of us can eat without ending up in the emergency room. A good friend of mine who hasn’t been doing the allergy cooking thing as long as me (her husband is allergic to vinegar, of all things), told me the other day that she admires my stamina. I had to laugh, because there are so many days when I have no stamina at all. I look at all the other families we know who can go out to eat wherever they want, or can grocery shop in less than an hour because they don’t have to read every single label, and I want to cry.
I don’t meant this to be a pity party, but I know there are other parents, family members, and friends out there of people with severe food allergies who can relate. Family holidays can be a minefield of coordination and pre-planning, and I still bring along extra food just in case. Birthday parties stress me out to no end, because I have no control over what’s offered, or how well the other parents wash their children’s hands after eating dairy-filled cake. When you have allergies, you tend to think about everything you can’t do.
But on the good days when I can truly look at our diet and think of all the things we CAN do, it’s really liberating. I think of how far I’ve come in terms of being able to take a recipe in a cookbook and transform it into something that all three of us can eat and love. I think of how I can help educate family and friends about food allergies. I think of how knowledgeable I’ve become on our food system, and the pitfalls of modern eating in America. It’s a challenge, but a good one.
Which brings us to today’s recipe. Yum! This chicken curry was loosely based on a recipe I found online, but I had to make many modifications for our family. The end result is a super tasty (and quick!) curry that is allergy friendly and budget friendly. I served this with homemade naan bread using this recipe from Holy Cow! A Vegan Recipe Blog. I modified that recipe by using coconut milk instead of soy milk, and cooking the bread on a griddle greased with olive oil instead of on the grill. It was delicious!
Coconut Chicken Curry
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. diced chicken breast
1/2 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. curry powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 (8 oz). container coconut Greek yogurt (I use So Delicious brand)
1 (14.5 oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 c. golden raisins
2 c. frozen peas
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Cooked jasmine rice for serving
Heat olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add chicken, onion, and garlic, and cook until the chicken is browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder, cinnamon, paprika, and ginger to the skillet and saute for about a minute or until you can smell the spices. Add bay leaf, sugar, tomato paste, coconut yogurt, and coconut milk, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Add the raisins and peas, and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the peas are heated through and the sauce has thickened. Stir in lemon juice just before taking the curry off the heat. Remove the bay leaf, then serve over rice and enjoy!