Tumeric Chicken with Mixed Sweet Peppers and Spinach [Dairy free, Gluten free, Grains free, Low Carb, Sugar Free]
Cooking with powdered tumeric is a ritual in our home and those homes who cook traditional Indian food on a daily basis. It’s a base Indian spice that has been handed down in practice from generation to generation, and is used in all things Ayurvedic, promoting it’s healing qualities through continued use. I’m often more amused than enlightened recently about how Tumeric is trending, and smile to myself when new-age foodie enthusiasts gush about how Tumeric has changed their lives – being Indian, and a pukka one at that, Tumeric is often my default for cuts, skin care, golden tumeric “milk”when there’s colds and flu in our family, and also for cleansing and prayer practices.
The recipe that I used to zhoosh up chicken breasts is an old family one – my maternal family who are primarily Muslim in origin, rarely used much “red”masala in their cooking, opting for green masala (garlic, ginger, fresh coriander, fresh mint and green chilli all finely ground) and I fondly recall my dearest (late) mum, very often using tumeric as the main spice ingredient in her rice and braised dishes, with whole cloves for pungency and pairing spices of freshly ground coriander and garam (hot) masala powders. Garam masala is also used to “finish” a curry, by sprinkling a small quantity over the cooked curry after you turn off the stove top heat and while the curry is still simmering.
Now readily available from supermarket chains and spice stores, garam masala also forms the foundation of many Indian meals. Sometime back I blogged about making your own home made garam masala and it’s relatively easy, by combining measured equal quantities of coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom seeds, peppercorns, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, cloves, and dry red chilli in a small pan over medium-low heat. Toast until fragrant, about 2 minutes. You could also slow roast them in a low conventional oven. Grind the toasted spices in a clean coffee grinder or spice mill to a fine powder.
I enjoyed the blend of the spinach and sweet tri-coloured baby peppers in this make. The onions, slow braised, provided the “right” moisture to ensure that it did not dry out, further enhanced by the water releasing properties of freshly harvested spinach. I used 150g chicken breast for this meal, and you may adjust then spice quantities based on the quantity of chicken used. However go easy on the tumeric powder, as blended incorrectly, it may cause bitterness to your meal – for every quarter teaspoon of tumeric powder, mix with half a teaspoon of coriander and garam masala powders. You may also use this recipe for beef or lamb dishes and alter the veggies, ensuring the softer cooking variety is used, for maximum eating pleasure.
For a meat-free and vegetarian version, omit any meats and increase the spinach and baby peppers. I would add sliced mushrooms too and round it off with 2-3 tablespoons of coconut cream if preferred.
You will need
150g Chicken breast, sliced into bite sized pieces
1-1½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil/clarified butter /ghee
½ tsp cumin (Shah Jeera) seeds
½ a large onion, finely sliced
a few curry leaves (you may omit)
½ tsp freshly ground garlic and ginger OR garlic paste (this tenderises the chicken/meat and enhances flavour)
1 green chilli, finely diced (you may om1it)
1-2 whole cloves (If extra pungency is required and it may replace the green chilli. It may be omitted)
¼ tsp tumeric powder
½ tsp coriander (dhania) powder
½ tsp garam masala
150g loosely packed chopped fresh spinach
6 tri-coloured sweet baby peppers, thinly sliced
Himalayan or sea salt to taste
Fresh coriander leaves and stalks, chopped for garnish
- Wash and pat dry the chicken breasts, slice as desired.
- In a (preferably waterless or non-stick) pot, add in the oil of choice and heat on medium, high stove top heat)
- Add in the cumin seeds, and as they begin to sizzle, add in the onions, green chilli and curry leaves and allow to cook until the onions become translucent, now stir in the ground garlic / garlic and ginger and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes, then add in the tumeric powder, coriander powder and garam masala, and stir well to combine these spices with the onion mixture.
- Add in the chicken breast pieces, cover with the pot lid, and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes.
- Now add in the spinach, mixed peppers and salt to taste. Allow to cook for a further 3-4 minutes, uncovered, until the spinach has wilted and the peppers softened.
- Turn off the heat and add in the chopped fresh coriander. Serve as desired or on it’s own.