One of the things about cooking at I am still way off getting to grips with is spices and how they combine. Spices can make such a difference to the way a meal tastes and they are a great way to get flavour in your food without adding the calories you see with other flavour adding favourites like cheese and cream (not that I think you should give up cheese or cream – I certainly am not).
I read this interesting article about why Indian food tastes different. And it is all down to how they combine flavours and of courses spices play a big part in Indian food. The main difference is that Indian cooking pairs flavours that are dissimilar whilst here in the west we pair flavours that are similar. So if like me your struggle with Indian food, this could be part of the reason why.
After reading this article I saw this recipe for Turmeric chicken. Turmeric is never a spice I think of as the hero of a dish so I was keen to try it out and see what it was like. I had also been chatting to my Mum about some of the supplements she uses for her arthritis and Turmeric was one she felt had made a difference – some of the others she wasn’t so sure about. Turmeric has lots of amazing benefits, so I figure it can’t hurt to eat it every now and again and it may help. The studies are based on much higher levels of turmeric than you are ever likely to find in a recipe so I am not saying this recipe is really going to help that much!
I have made some minor changes to the recipe to make it a quicker stirfry and to use the fried shallots as a garnish at the end to preserve their crunch – because I love the crunchiness of friend shallots. The original recipe didn’t list the amount of oil to use. I only used 1 tsp of olive oil so I don’t have the oiliness that looks fabulous in the original recipe but it does keep the calories lower. The recipe is pretty low calorie, you could up the oil if you wanted to and still have a pretty low calorie dinner.
The turmeric is actually not that powerful in the dish, I think the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves have a strong taste, which is fine by me as they are two of my favourite flavours. There are lovely citrus undertones coming through that the turmeric probably helps moderate.
Aside from great flavours and possible health benefits, the recipe is also super quick and low calorie. It has about 250 calories in a serve and is ready in under half an hour.
- 1 tsp of olive oil
- 130g of skinless chicken breast cut into thin strips
- 1/2 tsp of minced garlic
- 2 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
- 1 tbs lemongrass paste (I preferred the paste to the fresh lemongrass in this case)
- 1 tsp of turmeric
- 1 tbs of fried shallots
- 1/2 tsp of sugar
- Heal olive oil in a skillet on a medium heat
- Add garlic and fry until garlic starts to go golden, a couple of minutes
- Add lemongrass paste and kaffir lime leaves and fry until fragrant, about 1 minute
- Add sugar to the skillet and stir into lemongrass and garlic
- Add chicken strips and turmeric and stirfry until cooked, about 5 minutes. It can be a bit tricky to tell when the chicken is cooked because the turmeric adds such a strong colour but with a bit of care you can tell.
- Garnish with fried shallots.