Last week in my Instagram account some of you may have seen a photo I posted of a vegan chicken curry recipe I had made. I have been wanting to share this recipe for the past week!
The recipe is my take on my dad’s chicken curry recipe which he used to make when I was a kid. We didn’t eat a lot of meat in the house (like ever, since my mom is a vegetarian and did the majority of cooking) but every now and then he would bust out the pressure cooker, some chicken, his spices and spend hours making this delicious curry.
My dad is incredibly charismatic, hardworking, serious but still has his silly and fun side and he instilled so many characteristics my sister and I carry with us today.
My parents are now jet-setters. I think I might have mentioned that once or twice before, but they are. My dad is a professor of engineering at a private technical school up here in Michigan and he takes a sabbatical every year and teaches overseas. My mom, retired from secondary education, goes with him because, well, why would she stay here in the cold by herself? So I pretty much don’t see my parents from about December-June each year. It’s hard, sure, but I just think of how they finally get to have time together, seeing the world! Plus he gets to teach in a far more relaxed environment every where else in the world than America where stress and long hours are the norm.
I miss my parents a lot – a little more than usual – and realized that I missed just having a comfort meal with them. My sister and I can each probably name off 10 things my mom makes that we absolutely love that we consider comfort food. But for both of us, my dad’s chicken curry was by far our favorite thing he made for us (well, ok aside from his famous Sunday French Toast).
I emailed my dad and asked for his recipe, but he’s been so busy teaching, so I decided to try to take a stab at making his curry with vegan chicken. And I have to say, it turned out pretty well! I used Gardein Chicken Scallopini as the protein, but you could easily use tofu if that isn’t your thing. Meatatarians can of course use chicken.
Just a few simple ingredients and this was ready to eat in about 45 min., including inactive time. I remember it took my dad a few hours to put his chicken curry together since he’d let the chicken marinade, then cook in the pressure cooker, he’d also make the garam masala fresh. I always make a giant batch of masala so I had that on hand, and using vegan chicken meant no pressure cooker!
So my version might not be exactly like his, but it certainly was comfort food for me and reminded me of Saturday night dinners at home.
And, it felt like maybe all of us weren’t so far away from each other.
- 2 cups meatless chicken breast protein (Gardein Chicken Scallopini or similar; about four scallopini pieces), thawed slightly and cut into cubes/pieces
- 2 tbsp lemon, juiced
- 1 large garlic clove, grated
- ½-inch piece ginger, grated
- ½ tsp red chili powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp olive oil
- ½ cup yellow onion, chopped (1 small onion or ½ medium onion)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 tsp ginger, grated
- ½ tsp (or more if you desire!) garam masala (make your own or buy store bought)
- 1¼ cup tomato sauce (3/4 of a 15-oz. can)
- ½ cup lite coconut milk
- Salt to taste
- Cilantro leaves for garnish
- For the marinade:
- Combine chicken pieces, garlic and ginger paste, turmeric powder, chili powder, cumin powder, lemon juice and salt into a small bowl. Stir to coat all pieces. Cover bowl with saran wrap and set aside for 15-20 min.
- For the curry:
- Add olive oil in a saucepan or large skillet until heated. Add onion and sprinkle with pinch of salt to help sweat them out. Cook until 2-3 minutes until onion is soft and translucent.
- Next add the garlic and ginger and cook 1-2 minutes.
- Add tomato sauce and garam masala. Cover and cook 5 minutes until simmering. Give it a quick taste, add more garam masala if needed.
- Add chicken pieces back in, leftover marinade and all, stir, cover and cook 5-8
- Add the coconut milk, stir, give it another taste and add more salt or spices as needed. Leave uncovered and cook another 5 minutes.
- Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve over rice, quinoa or grain of choice.
Could use chicken instead of vegan chicken for the carnivores!
What comfort foods remind you of home?