Anjum Anand’s Incredible Chicken Curry

There is no way to make a bowl of khaki coloured slush look appealing but you have to trust me when I tell you that this chicken curry is incredibly tasty and delicious. It is probably the best chicken curry I’ve made, and I’ve made a lot of them since I started cooking.

The recipe for it is by Anjum Anand. I recently bought one of her books, Indian Food Made Easy, and I’m totally in love with it. She has a knack for simplifying Indian cooking and making it easy for the home cook to produce complexly flavourful curries and dishes with minimal effort. I made her spinach pilaff the other night and it was a huge hit with my kids; they finished the last of the leftovers for lunch yesterday.

Having made curries numerous times before, I have learnt that the key to success when making curries is time. For one, giving the chicken pieces a night long sleep in a marinade of spices and yogurt makes for the most tender meat. And once the cooking has been done, letting the cooked curry sit overnight in the fridge makes for a tastier one; something about giving time for the spices to mingle and for the flavours to deepen. So, although the recipe doesn’t call for all the over-nighters in the fridge, I do it anyway.

I realise that making a simple curry for dinner then becomes a two day affair, but you’ll see it is well worth the wait when you tuck into such a delicious curry surrounded by a mound of fluffy rice. This actually makes dinner prep easier for me: all I have to do is cook a pot of brown rice and prepare a side of sauteed green beans while the pot of curry that has been cooked in advanced is gently reheating on the stove.

The Pioneer Woman’s Simple Sesame Noodles

When I first discovered the recipe for these Simple Sesame Noodles at The Pioneer Woman’s blog more than a year ago, it was the best thing to happen to me. At that time, I was pregnant with my son and often feeling tired and lousy. I made these noodles for dinner a lot because (1) these sesame noodles are really easy; if you don’t count boiling noodles as cooking, then this is a no-cook dish, and (2) this is well-loved by both my husband and daughter. My daughter’s terrible-twos was at its peak then and most nights, I just couldn’t bear the thought of having to see my daughter sullenly picking at her food again.

So, these sesame noodles were the ultimate dinner time solution for me. You would have thought that eating this so often would make us sick of it, but somehow, that didn’t happen. Doused with copious amounts of garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil, these noodles are nothing short of addictive.

While these noodles are good as is, I like to add thinly sliced green beans or asparagus to boost nutrition value. Tonight, I poached a couple of skinless and boneless chicken breasts and shredded the meat for my husband and son to toss into their serving of noodles. They both love their meals with meat.

And of course, this meal wouldn’t be complete without a liberal dousing of Sriracha.

Roast Chicken Thighs with Rice and Kale

Tonight, three separate dishes came together to make a great meal: roast chicken thighs, rice with vermicelli and sautéed kale.

I followed Nigella Lawson’s recipe for roasting the chicken thighs. Her recipe first appeared in How To Eat – one of my favourite cookbooks of all time – and reappeared in another form in Nigella Kitchen. All I was required to do was to marinate bone-in chicken thighs in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice and garlic before roasting them in a hot oven for 45 minutes. So easy, super delicious.

While the chicken was roasting, I prepped the kale and prepared the rice. The recipe for the rice, or Roz bil Shaghria (Rice with Vermicelli), is by Claudia Roden and comes from her book, The New Book of Middle Eastern Food. According to Claudia Roden, it is the most popular everyday Arab rice dish and my husband and I loved it. My children, on the other hand, could hardly bear to eat it, which is so strange since I know for a fact that they love rice. I suppose such oddities coming from them at the dinner table should not be surprising to me anymore since I have four years of experience raising my daughter, who is possibly one of the world’s pickiest eater. But the truth is, it still annoys the s@*!# out of me!

Lastly, the kale – cooked the way I often cook greens: simply sautéed in olive oil, a smashed clove of garlic and a generous pinch of red pepper flakes.

Chicken Dinner

Russell, my 13 month old baby, goes gaga over chicken. He once ate a quarter chicken, and he was only nine months old at that time.

Tonight’s dinner went down well with the family. Breaded chicken cutlets, sautéed asparagus and mustard roasted potatoes, a recipe from Ina Garten’s book, Barefoot Contessa At Home. My vegetarian daughter left out the chicken, which was the best part of the meal according to the boys.

My husband made a superb tasting honey mustard dip by mixing equal parts of honey and dijon mustard to go with the chicken. This is the kind of dinner he likes best.