I was tempted to title this post "in which I dazzle my loyal few with my new photography prowess" or "new lens, delicious dish" or "the one where I finally take a great picture" but somehow I felt it might be better to stick with my usual routine, naming the posts after the recipes. As you MUST see, the pictures of this most delightful plate are considerably better than any I've taken. Contrary to what you might think, I did not, in fact, spend a few hours immersed in tutorials on Adobe Light Room in order to enhance my photography skills, despite the many millions of times my SH has admonished me to do so (for the record, I DO plan on building up my photo shop knowledge-PW and McMama both have lots of good hints and helpful posts, and I can also check on with my dear cousin Tyne, who is quite a photographer).
All it took for me to finally capture a food photo that was finally bordering on acceptable and pleasing was a new lens. Granted, the miraculous piece of black plastic is not cheap. You have to save up for these fancy accessories! However, I must tell you that it is worth every penny. Two words sum it up best: zero effort. I cannot wait to take more food pictures. I'm practically INSPIRED by this lens!
It is fitting that I chose this dish for my inaugural photo. Lots of great color, what with the rich orange, creamy curry sauce and delicately green cilantro leaves. I've been longing to try the recipe for quite a while. I use one of Jamie's recipes for chicken tikka masala, but I found myself drawn to the idea of adding a mild, simple curry (as Jamie describes it in the cookbook) to my repertoire. The final result is wonderful, a hearty, yet delicately-spiced curry. We swirled the yogurt into the warm flood of sauce cascading over the rice, and savored every delectable bite. I'm already trying to justify making it again.
1 3/4 pounds skinless chicken breasts, preferably free-range or organic
2 medium onions
optional: 1 fresh green chile
a thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger
a small bunch of fresh cilantro
1 15 oz can of garbanzo beans
peanut or vegetable oil
a pat of butter
1/2 cup korma or mild curry paste, such as Patak's (I was easily able to find Patak's at my local grocery, and Jamie has also included recipes for several different curry pastes in his book)
1 14 oz can of coconut milk (Lots of grocery stores carry reduced fat coconut milk now-a nice added bonus)
a small handful of sliced almonds, plus extra for serving
2 heaped tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups natural yogurt (I used my standby, 2% Greek yogurt)
To prepare your curry:
Cut the chicken into approximately 1-inch pieces. Peel, halve, and finely slice your onions. Halve, seed, and finely slice the chile if you're using it. Peel and finely chop the ginger. Pick the cilantro leaves and finely chop the stalks. Drain the garbanzo beans.
To make your curry:
Put a large casserole-type pan on a high heat and add a couple of lugs of oil. Add the onions, chile, ginger, and cilantro stalks with the butter. Keep stirring it enough so it doesn't catch and burn but turns evenly golden. Cook for around 10 minutes. Add the curry paste, coconut milk, half your sliced almonds, the drained garbanzo beans, unsweetened shredded coconut, and sliced chicken breasts. Half fill the empty can with water, pour it into the pan, and stir again. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on. Check the curry regularly to make sure it's not drying out, and add extra water if necessary. When the chicken is tender and cooked, taste and season with salt and pepper-please season carefully.
To serve your curry:
*Jamie suggests serving the curry with any of his rice recipes (contained in Jamie's Food Revolution and several other cookbooks). I was pressed for time, so I quickly tossed some basmati in my trusty old rice cooker before starting the curry.
Add a few spoonfuls of natural yogurt dolloped on top, and sprinkle over the rest of the sliced almonds. Finish by scattering over the cilantro leaves, and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over.