Cardamon chicken is the perfect introduction to curries for those who are a little wary of spicy food. It’s creamy sauce is enriched by cardamon, and the addition of whole green chillies, means those who like their curries a little more spicy can chop them up and add them to their plate.
We are one week into our October challenge, so the question arose whether cardamon chicken fitted within the parameters of the challenge. Now that was a hard question because we hadn’t consciously set any. The focus was on eating more healthily, but what that actually meant hadn’t been defined. Breakfast more often than not consists of muesli, that’s fine as long as the portion size is only 1/2 a cup. Easy. Lunch = a sandwich, or leftovers – another tick. The bread has to be sourdough or multigrain, but that’s what we eat. Dinner? No processed or deep fried food (we don’t eat it anyway). Rice has to be basmati or brown. We ordinarily have jasmine rice with Thai food, so have to switch that out for the month, but that won’t be hard.
So the three main meals of the day didn’t really need changing, maybe a little refining, but nothing very drastic. Which begs the question, why a challenge in the first place? One word…snacks! Its the afternoon tea. The cake, biscuits, slice you make because you like to bake. The slice of bread because you’re either bored or tired and it’s 4 pm and 3 hours til dinner. Or the chocolate bar you grab at the supermarket checkout because…because…because I can. Having identified the major reason for the challenge, drastic snack guidelines had to be introduced. Basic principle: reduce the sugar intake – no chocolate, no baked deliciousness, no store-bought juice or anything with added sweeteners. Simple. Let’s see how we go.
Now as far as cardamon chicken goes: serve with basmati rice; use light coconut milk and low fat yoghurt and it meets the guidelines. Thank goodness, because a month without cardamon chicken would be a very long month.
The recipe requires the chicken to be marinated for overnight. I’m sure it tastes really good if you do this, but I never do purely because I never think to make it the day before. If it marinates for an hour I’m lucky, but it still tastes great. Also, the browning of the chicken is a really important step. The yoghurt tends to catch a little on the bottom of the pan, but this is good because it improves the colour of the dish at the end. Otherwise it tends to be an insipid white colour that is not very appealing (still tastes good though).
- 1 kg chicken tenderloins (or chicken pieces of your choosing)
- 1 tsp ground cardamon
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3cm piece of ginger, grated
- 250 ml thick plain yoghurt
- 1½ tsps ground black pepper
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 - 2 tbs peanut oil or ghee
- 400 ml (1 tin) coconut milk
- 6 green chillies, pricked all over
- 2 tbs chopped coriander
- 2 tbs lemon juice
- In a bowl, mix the garlic, ginger with 3 tablespoons of the yoghurt. Add the cardamon, pepper and lemon zest. Add the chicken pieces, cover and leave for a couple of hours.
- Heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over a low heat and brown the chicken pieces all over. You will need to do this in batches. Once complete, return all the chicken to the pan, add the remaining yoghurt and coconut milk.
- Bring to the boil, then add the whole chillies and coriander leaves.
- Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Season with salt to taste, and stir in the lemon juice.