Cinnamon Mint Curry with Chicken and Corn is a fast and delicious weeknight dish, and Roasted Cauliflower with Chaat Masala rounds the meal out into something healthy and even more tasty! Affiliate links have been used to link to items I am discussing.
This is not the prettiest meal, but what it lacks in appearance it more than makes up for with serious flavor and ease of preparation. I am almost mortified to tell you that the curry half of it is also adapted from a dish in John Gregory-Smith’s Mighty Spice Express Cookbook: Fast, Fresh, and Full-on Flavors from Street Foods to the Spectacular. When I was looking for some inspiration in the kitchen today, I literally forbade myself from looking in Mighty Spice. Don’t get me wrong, there are still bazillions of recipes bookmarked, but I think from here on out you guys need to just buy the book yourselves!
My main change to the Cinnamon Mint Curry with Chicken is to add corn. Because it is that time of year. Some other time, I would consider greens, cauliflower, peas… heck I even wonder if cucumber thrown in at the end might be tasty. In other words, don’t feel married to the corn–but also know that because it is late summer sweet corn, of course it made it that much better.
Sweet corn is also the lie we children of the 1980s were raised with. Corn is a vegetable. Do you know they are still spouting that back in rural southwest Ohio? Oy. It is true corn is a plant, but it is a grain we have bred to have loads of sugar. I know diabetics for whom the decision to have corn on the cob means forgoing dessert for the day. None of which is really my point, except for the fact that for me this meal still needed a veggie–and one that could be whipped up quickly because the beauty of this Cinnamon Mint Curry with Chicken and Corn is that it whips up fast fast fast.
Roasted Cauliflower with Chaat Masala is this stupid simple gem of a dish that I have hidden from you because it is so simple that it feels stupid to share it with you. But then I met a kid the other day who told me he loved roasted cauliflower–but had never heard of putting chaat masala on it. And I knew that I had an obligation to share this with you guys. This is the vegetable my family fights over. I have to actually carefully ration out how much cauliflower each person gets or there will be fighting. (Or in the case of John, he will come home a few minutes late and discover all of the cauliflower has been eaten. It’s a real problem, people.) This dish is the reason I always have chaat masala in my house. If you do not want to make it, then at least go buy some!
- 3 green chile peppers seeded, or 1 small sweet bell pepper (we do the latter because Alex cannot eat anything spicy)
- 6-8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 large bunch cilantro, including tender stems, roughly chopped
- 2 large handfuls of mint leaves
- 2 t Ceylon cinnamon
- 1 t freshly ground black pepper
- 1 T sugar
- 1 1/2 T Worcestershire sauce
- 2- inch piece ginger roughly chopped (or 2 heaping T ginger paste)
- juice of 2 juicy limes
- 1 t sea salt, use a larger flake--I use a kosher sea salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 T vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken (I use 1/2 thighs and 1/2 breasts), cut into bite sized pieces
- corn from 2 large cobs
- Basmati rice for serving
- Combine the first 12 ingredients in a blender and puree into a loose paste.
- Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the oil--when it shimmers, add the onions with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until beginning to caramelize, about 10-12 minutes.
- Add the chicken and stir fry it to lightly brown it.
- Add the herb puree to the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Add the corn. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer briskly for 5 minutes. Check the chicken--if it is cooked through, it is done. If not, simmer a few minutes longer and add a splash of water if it looks dry.
- Serve with Basmati rice.
- 1 large head of cauliflower broken into florets
- around 1 T vegetable oil
- around 1 t chaat masala
- Preheat the oven to 450 F.
- Place the cauliflower florets in a large bowl. Drizzle half of the oil over the florets and toss. Then drizzle the remaining oil and toss again.
- Sprinkle 1/2 of a teaspoon of chaat masala over the florets. Toss several times to spread the spice mixture out. Sprinkle another 1/2 teaspoon and toss again. You want all of the florets to be pretty well dusted with chaat masala--go ahead and use a bit more if you need to.
- Spread the cauliflower florets onto a rimmed half sheet (cookie sheet). They should spread out in one layer. Place them into the oven.
- Roast for 15 minutes. Take a peek--you want the chaat masala to be browning but not burnt. Place the florets back in the oven at 3-5 minute increments until they are browned.
- Remove the cauliflower from the oven and tell your kids to stay out of them until they are served with dinner (truly--this dish inspires more thievery from my kids than just about any other).
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