Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Low FODMAP Chicken Curry

This recipe contains no garlic or onions but utilizes carrots, radish and fennel to approximate the consistency of real curry. Curry is after all, so much more than just a pungent and spicy stew - it's the perfect marriage of color, spice and texture. Gruel-like curries are nauseatingly inauthentic, so please use a good quality, creamy coconut milk to achieve the beautiful sandiness of crimson hued curdled fat globules. I use Aroy-D's 100% coconut milk that comes in a Tetra-Pak - use what is necessary and freeze the leftovers.

My great-grandmother was a noodle hawker who made the best chicken curry laksa in the world (in my own very small world, she was a legendary cook) and my mother's own interpretation of this classic Malaysian dish is a phenomenal second.  I therefore, am blessed with the advice of two marvelous cooks on making the perfect Malaysian chicken curry - always use candlenuts, lemongrass and curry leaves, and always use the best chilies you can find. I like using Korean chilies because they resemble Southeast Asian chilies the most, the South American/Mexican kind tend to have thicker skins that do not blend well. In a pinch, you can use gochugaru (Korean dried chili flakes) - about 1/4 cup of gochugaru soaked in 2 tablespoons water will yield about 25 dried chilies.

My mother uses Babas curry powder which she swears differs completely from your regular Indian curry powder (she lugs a whole boxful of Babas in several varieties every time she visits), but in case you have no one to bring you that perfect curry powder from half-way across the world, my experience tells me that a good Madras-style curry powder that contains no garlic or onion powder works equally well.

I realize after my spiel about authenticity that a food processor and boneless/skinless thighs may not help my case, but it does make things somewhat easier to chuck everything in a processor than grinding away on a mortar and pestle (and honestly, it really doesn't make an ounce of discernible difference). Please use bone-in chicken cut into small pieces if you can, it really does make for a much tastier dish - I only use boneless/skinless thighs because they defrost and cook really fast. I've adapted the recipe for a quick dinner, though it still takes about 90 minutes total from start to finish.

Low FODMAP Malaysian Chicken Curry
Makes about 6 servings

Curry base
2 medium carrots (about 5 oz. total)
1 small daikon radish (about 3 oz.)
1 small fennel, fronds removed
1 thumb-sized ginger, peeled
3 candlenuts (or sub. macadamia nuts)
25 dried Korean chilies, soaked in hot water for twenty minutes then discard the water

2 tablespoons ghee (if going dairy free, sub with equal amount avocado oil)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon hot curry powder
1 teaspoon asafetida
2 stalk lemon grass, cut into thirds
10 curry leaves
20 oz. coconut milk

1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed
4 medium Yukon gold potatoes (about 1.25 lbs), cubed
2 teaspoons coconut sugar (or regular brown sugar)
Salt to taste (about 2 - 3 teaspoons)

Blitz all the curry base ingredients in a processor until very fine.

Heat the ghee and coconut oil over medium heat and add the curry base, curry powder and asafetida. Fry until the mixture is fragrant and slightly golden, about 20 minutes. Add coconut milk, lemongrass and curry leaves - bring to a gentle simmer for a few minutes.

Add chicken and potatoes. Simmer, covered for about 25 - 30 minutes until potatoes are soft but not mushy. Stir in the sugar and season with salt to taste. Serve with basmati rice cooked in ghee and black mustard seeds.


Bowls: vintage; Cocotte: Staub; Clay Pot: La Chamba; Spoons: Cutipol 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Spelt Spaghetti with Tomato Pesto

This is in no way low FODMAP, but spelt seems to sit well with my husband so I make this quite often for a quick supper. You can always substitute the spelt spaghetti with corn or quinoa pasta and leave out the garlic. Sliced fennel and radishes served on the side instead of asparagus would make up for the sweet bite that garlic gives. 

Inspiration gleaned from David Tanis' Midnight Pasta, Nigella Kitchen's Slut Spaghetti, and Nigellissima's Spelt Spaghetti with Green Olives and Anchovies. 

Spelt spaghetti with an easy tomato pesto
Serves one hungry person

2 pieces sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
1 ripe roma tomato, coarsely chopped
1 handful parsley
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
1 tablespoon capers, drained
2 small pieces anchovies in olive oil, drained *
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons olive oil
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Flaked sea salt to taste (I don't add salt until the end because anchovies and capers are salty)

3 oz.  spelt pasta

Blitz all pesto ingredients together in a mini-chopper or handheld blender. Toss with cooked spelt pasta. Serve with blanched asparagus, fried egg, truffle salt and pepper.

* For vegetarians or as Nigella puts it, anchovy-phobes, substitute with two tablespoons grated parmesan


Bowl: Heath Ceramics; Enamel plate: Falcon via Ebay; Salt dish: Rina Ono Egg Cup; Forks: Cutipol