I lost my mojo with regard to writing more recipes for the BBQ this past week, because when the weather turns cold, wet and windy, I really don’t want to eat outside thank you. This means the Halloumi & Vegetable Skewers promised in my last blog post will just have to wait, because I’m now more in the mood for something hot and spicy, like Stir-Fried Masala Chicken.
A packet of organic chicken thighs left too long in the fridge was actually intended for Sushi (my cat), but ended up being far too near its sell-by date for her to deign to eat them! Feeling under some obligation not to waste good food, Stir-Fried Masala Chicken just had to be! Accompanied by Crash Hot Bombay Sweet Potatoes, some baby salad leaves and a fresh, green, zingy, Coriander & Mint Chutney it has the cheer-up factor of spring with a little bit of heat for comfort. An all round winner I’d say, especially as Sushi got some fresh organic chicken breasts to compensate for her loss!
If you’re thinking “Is it okay to drink a lager/beer/cider with my curry when you’re following the Primal diet?” the answer is that none of these alcoholic drinks are strictly Primal (they also contain about 10-15 grams of carbohydrate per glass). However, an occasional, gluten-free, ‘light’ beer or lager (only 3-6 grams carbohydrate a glass) can be considered a bit of a ‘cheat’ and is obviously better for you than regular beers and lagers.
Anyway, I’m off on a tangent because the drink shown in the picture below (just above Notes) is not alcoholic. It is a deliciously different and refreshing drink made from Thorncroft Detox Cordial and San Pellegrino Sparkling Mineral Water. Having no artificial flavours or preservatives, no refined sugar and being a great detox to boot, this is how I manage to drink my full quotient of water every day! As a bonus for cider lovers, if you add 1-2 tablespoons of raw, organic apple cider vinegar (also recommended for detox and cleansing) you'll end up with a non-alcoholic cider that not only tastes good, but does you good!
For ease, I have kept the recipes for the Stir-Fried Masala Chicken, Crash Hot Bombay Sweet Potatoes and Coriander & Mint Chutney separate. However, these dishes brought together on one plate work brilliantly. For those of us committed to a low-carbohydrate, grain-free Primal/Paleo diet, it’s safe to say that the rest of you can keep your traditional naan bread accompaniment, because when compared to this flavourful made-in-curry-heaven combination, it won’t even come close!
To help you avoid any last-minute kitchen frenzy, the Coriander & Mint Chutney can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days, the sweet potatoes can be part-cooked, spiced and 'oven-ready' for a final roasting and the chicken sliced, all in advance. Then, with a pre-heated oven on standby, dinner can be on the table within half an hour or so.
Ingredients - for the Stir-Fried Masala Chicken (Serves 3)
4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1-2 green chillies, finely chopped
1 tsp (about 2.5cm / 1inch piece) fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp organic curry powder (or garam masala)
1 tsp Marigold organic bouillon powder
6 x free-range, organic chicken thigh fillets, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces / strips (alternatively, 2 organic chicken breasts, cut into strips)
2 tsp organic tomato puree
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Baby green or mixed leaf salad, to serve
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a moderate heat. Add the onion and fry for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the chillies and continue to fry for another 3-4 minutes until the mixture begins to turn golden brown.
Add the grated ginger, bouillon powder, curry powder (or garam masala), coriander and cumin to the pan. Stir until well combined and continue cooking for 2 more minutes until the mixture is thick and fragrant (take care that it doesn’t burn).
Stir in the tomato puree, then add the chicken to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and over a medium/high heat dry-fry for 4-5 minutes, stirring continuously until the chicken is cooked through and a deep reddish brown. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Serve immediately with baby green leaf salad.
Ingredients - for the Crash Hot Bombay Sweet Potatoes (Serves 3)
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp turmeric
Freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 250℃ / 480℉ / Gas mark 9. Boil a kettle of water.
Peel the sweet potatoes then cut them into approx 2.5cm x 5cm (1in x 2in) pieces and put into the top half of a steamer.
Pour the boiling water from the kettle into the bottom of the steamer, cover with the pan lid and cook the sweet potatoes for 8-10 minutes until just tender (test with a skewer, they should just give without too much resistance). Don’t let them go too soft. Remove from the heat, drain well and set aside to steam dry.
Meanwhile heat the oil in a large frying pan. Check that the oil is hot enough by adding a sprinkling of mustard seeds (they should pop when it is) then add the rest of the mustard seeds, the chilli flakes, the turmeric and a large pinch of salt. Fry for 1 minute until the spices are well combined and fragrant.
Tip the sweet potatoes into the pan, give everything a good stir so that they are well coated in the oil, spices and mustard seeds then take the pan off the heat. Using a potato masher, squash and flatten the sweet potatoes down to about half their original size. You’re aiming for a coarsely crushed mixture that'll provide lots of crispy, roasted edges after blasting in the oven.
Tip the spiced crushed sweet potatoes onto a large non-stick baking tray and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Bake on the top shelf of the oven for 20-25 minutes until crisp and golden.
Serve hot with Stir-Fried Masala Chicken.
Ingredients- for Coriander & Mint Chutney (Serves 4-6)
100g (4oz) bunch fresh coriander, rinsed and dried (I use an OXO salad spinner)
20g fresh mint, stalks removed
2 long green chillies, finely chopped
15g fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (about 1 tsp, grated)
½ large lime or ½ medium lemon, juiced (about 30ml / 1 fl.oz juice)
1-2 drop(s) liquid stevia
Sea salt, to taste
250g organic Greek yogurt
Place the coriander, chillies, grated ginger, lime or lemon juice, a single drop of liquid stevia and a generous pinch of sea salt into a food processor or blender. Whizz together into a smooth, thick puree.
Add the coriander mixture to the yogurt. Taste and adjust seasoning and/or add another single drop of liquid stevia, if you think it needs it.
Serve as an accompaniment to Stir-Fried Masala Chicken, Crash Hot Bombay Sweet Potatoes and a baby green or mixed leaf leaf salad.
Although the recipes for Stir-Fried Masala Chicken and Crash Hot Bombay Sweet Potatoes serve 3 people, Sarah reckons she can never have too much! Therefore, I suggest that if you’ve only got two mouths to feed (and you’re both hungry), don’t reduce the quantity of ingredients but rather knock yourself out and eat the lot! Just remember, if you're trying to lose weight, you’re loading up the carbs when you eat sweet potatoes!
Skinless chicken breasts are easier to prepare than chicken thighs because there’s no fat or sinew to remove prior to cutting them into strips. Eversfield Organic Farm is Soil Association Approved, deliver nationwide and has won many awards for their organic grass-fed meat from Compassion in World Farming, Food and Drink Devon and Great Taste. They’ve also had many recommendations from top food chiefs and writers and I am now about to add Primal Plate Blog to the list! If you eat a Primal or Paleo diet you will know that only organic, pastured meat is recommended, so this is your one-stop shop for the best fresh meat and poultry you can buy.
Sweet potatoes are strong sources of beta-carotene, manganese, and copper. A small one has 22g carbs and 3g fibre, making it the perfect post-workout snack. They’re also Primal/Paleo and a lot tastier than a bland white potato (which isn’t!). In this Primal Plate recipe, they perfectly balance out the heat of the Masala Stir-fried Chicken and the fresh, green tang of the Coriander & Mint Chutney. Truly delicious!
Coriander & Mint Chutney, whilst obviously the perfect condiment for an Indian dish, also makes an utterly moreish dip for crudités and other finger-licking goodies. I’ve even recently used it as a dipping sauce for the first-of-the-season English steamed asparagus. My advice would be, never let a bunch of fresh coriander go to waste in your fridge - make some fresh coriander chutney with it instead - once tasted, you just can’t seem to get enough!
Carbohydrate 5g Protein 36g - per serving of Stir-Fried Masala Chicken
Carbohydrate 51g Protein 3g - per serving of Crash Hot Bombay Sweet Potatoes
Carbohydrate 4g Protein 2g - per serving of Coriander & Mint Chutney