At least two times a week I am surrounded by the delicious, pungent and seductive smells of Indian spices. As a medical social worker at a refugee resettlement agency, I work with a lot of Bhutanese clients. These are the Lhotshampa people, ethnically Nepali people who were forced out of Bhutan and have lived for over 20 years in refugee camps in Nepal. I just love working with them. They bring with them an incredibly tight knit community, amazing hospitality, great work ethic and amazing cooking (among other things). A couple of times a week I will go to do a home visit and spend an hour or so inhaling the most incredible smells of their cooking. They share a lot of the spices I commonly associate with Indian cooking. B.C (before Crohn’s), I ate my weight in Nepali food– huge mounds of white jasmine rice, Aloo Achar (potato salad) and lentil curries. So delicious! Now I have to refuse the hospitality of my hosts using my limited Nepali to explain that I’m so sorry (mauf garnus) but I have food allergies! Explaining the SCD bacteria theory is a little beyond me for now.
A post by Jenni from Urban Poser on Indian “fried” rice made me think about trying to recreate a basic Nepali curry recipe. I followed her instructions for making the rice pretty closely. More Nepali delicacies to follow but for now, try this out! Make sure to look at Jenni’s original recipe as well. Her photos are out of this world!
Indian “Fried” Rice:
- 1 medium head cauliflower
- 3 tsp coconut oil
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 serrano chili, finely chopped
- 1 medium sized carrot, chopped in small pieces
- 1 cup peas
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp whole yellow mustard seed
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp corriander
- 1/8 tsp chili powder
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 TBSP cilantro, finely chopped
- 1/2 lime, squeezed
- Wash and chop cauliflower and put it in food processor. Pulse until it resembles rice. See Jenni’s recipe for recommendations on hand grating.
- Heat 1 TBSP of coconut oil in 10 inch skillet. Once it’s hot, put a layer of the pulsed cauliflower over the oil. Watch it carefully and scrape to keep from burning. When it starts to brown and almost burn, remove from heat and put on the next layer, adding coconut oil as needed. Keep warm.
- Once finished, add 1 TBSP of coconut oil. Once hot, add carrots and serrano chili. After 2 minutes, add chopped onion. Stir to keep from burning. After 5 minutes, add peas and lower heat. Add the “rice” back in.
- Mix all the spices together and stir. Once well combined, add to the hot “rice” mixture and stir in 1 tsp honey.
- Finish with 2 TBSP of cilantro and squeeze lime over it.
Coconut Chicken Curry:
- 1lb boneless skinless chicken breast
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 medium carrots
- 1/2 medium onion
- 3 peppers (I use 1 yellow and 2 smaller red)
- 2 tsp curry powder*
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1 can coconut milk (Make sure it is SCD legal. I use Aroy-D, Trader Joe’s or Natural Valley)
- 2 tbsp cilantro (or more!)
- Cut chicken into 1 in pieces.
- Combine salt and pepper.
- Coat chicken in 1/2 of it.
- Cook chicken in skillet with coconut oil. Set chicken aside.
- Add more oil to skillet and saute carrots, peppers, and onion for 5 minutes or until tender crisp, stirring occasionally.
- Stir curry powder, raisins, coconut milk, and remaining salt/pepper mixture and add to skillet.
- Add chicken and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken.
*Curry powders can very from company to company. Make sure that you know all of the ingredients in yours! I recommend Penzey’s or The Spice Hunter.
Serve while hot! The cauliflower rice will absorb the coconut milk so don’t combine, rather pour over to keep the rice texture. Dari Ramro (so good)!