After four years of vegie-smuggling, I think I now have a way to get almost any vegie into my kids. Obviously some dishes are more popular than others, but my kids also realize each night that what you get is what you get and if you’re hungry then you just have to eat, since having a whinge and complain isn’t going to get you anywhere.
So what I’m working on now is pushing the boundaries on the spice front. Mr Meat & Potatoes is no problem at all. I can already see him as a drunken young adult ordering a curry or kebab with chilli sauce. Miss Fruitarian, however, is another story. She just can’t handle anything too spicy on her tongue. This is a bummer, since you can’t really hide spice, can you? Something is either spicy or it isn’t.
Usually I just make dishes like the pho that I can just add heat or extra spice to after I’ve served out the kid’s portions, but I’m also on a mission to get her to suck it up and handle of bit more flavour and heat. My starting places are mild tandoori chicken dishes and coconut cream curries. But to be honest, I get to add such insipid amounts of curry paste that my best friend and I are never too awestruck by these culinary adventures.
I do like this chicken curry recipe though. It’s based on one in Bill Granger’s Everyday cookbook. I like his family cooking. Unlike the boring-as-hell Tania Ramsey books, which are full of smiling photos of… err…. Tania and the odd recipe that my kids would just NEVER eat, you get the feeling that Bill actually DOES cook for his kids and isn’t just cashing in on a safe market.
So it was a Bill’s recipe where I saw this slightly unexpected mix of Indian and Asian flavours that results in something mild enough for fussy kids but interesting enough for the grown ups (especially with some coriander over the top). And of course it doesn’t hurt to serve this with pappadums – another lure ingredient.
I’m on the lookout for recipes to move onto after this one – ones that push the boundaries just a little further. Make sure you let me know if you’ve got any you enjoy.
Gentle chicken curry
1 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, finely diced
1–2 tsp cumin powder
1–2 tsp coriander powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger, minced
500g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed, cubed
1 cup finely diced pumpkin (little 5mm cubes)
1 zucchini, finely diced (peeled first if you prefer)
400g can chopped tomatoes
¼ cup water
2 tsp brown sugar
Juice of ½ lime
Handful green beans, ends trimmed, sliced
Chopped coriander (optional)
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Fry the onion for 4–5 minutes until soft. Use a quantity of spice that will suit your family. Add the spices, garlic and ginger for a minute before adding the chicken. Stir and brown for 2 minutes then add the pumpkin and zucchini and continue stirring for another 3 minutes until the chicken is brown and the vegies are starting to soften.
Add the tomatoes and water. Cover and bring to a simmer, lower the heat and simmer away for 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
Add the sugar, lime juice and beans and stir through for a minute or so (I like my beans nice and crunchy). Serve with rice and pappadums. Sprinkle with coriander (if using).
SERVES 2 ADULTS & 2 KIDS