Thursday, April 22, 2010

Indian Spiced Chicken with Lentils

Are you sick of eating the same old flavors? Tired of eating out and always having Mexican or Italian? Why not spice up your life with Indian food!

Indian food is a delicious and usually very healthy option. However, many people have a fear and/or hatred of Indian food. They think that it is strange, smells funny, and will cause them indigestion. In fact, look what showed up when I Googled "indian food funny":

It doesn't have to be this way, my friends! I found a fantastic recipe for Indian Spiced Chicken with Lentils in a South Beach Quick and Easy Cookbook. I adapted the recipe to account for the fact that I am a complete wimp with spicy foods.

This recipe is easy, full of interesting flavor, and makes enough for 2-3 meals. Go on, give it a try. I dare ya ;)

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast. This recipe can easily be adapted for vegetarians by skipping the chicken and adding more cauliflower.
  • 2 cups frozen cauliflower florets. No need to thaw.
  • 1/2 can light coconut milk
  • 1 can low sodium chicken broth. Obviously if you are making this vegetarian, use vegetable broth!
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice. This was not in the original recipe, but I feel like it adds a nice brightness of flavor.
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic, divided
  • 2 tsp. curry powder, divided. Feel free to add more if you like it hot, but this is right at my personal threshold.
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • Olive oil
  • Parsley to garnish. Optional.
Yeah yeah, this has more ingredients than some of my other recipes and takes more time. But it is a nice change of pace, and like I said, this makes enough for at least a couple meals. Worth it!


Peel and dice up your onion. Reserve half for the chicken, and put the other half in a small saucepan with some olive oil over medium high heat.

Let the onion cook for a couple minutes until it becomes soft and translucent. This is known as "sweating the onion." Not really sure whose bright idea it was to call it that, cause it makes me think of body odor. GROSS!

Once it has sweated, stir in 1/2 tsp. curry powder and 1 tsp. minced garlic.

Pour in 3/4 of your can of chicken broth and your cup of lentils into the saucepan. Stir to combine and cover with a lid. When the liquid starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium so it is at a simmer (small, occasional bubbles instead of rapid big ones).

Now, just fuhgeddaboutit! The lentils will take about 35 minutes to become tender, and the chicken only takes about fifteen minutes to make. According to my calculations, that leaves you twenty minutes to do whatever you want! In this time, you can:

A) Set the table if you have guests arriving for dinner.

B) Watch an episode of Family Guy on your DVR.

C) Drink. **

**DISCLAIMER: Stacy Chudwin assumes no liability if you get drunk and burn your house down.

Now, back to work! Time to make the chicken while your lentils are simmering away. Cut up your chicken breast into bite sized pieces and throw them in a large sautee pan with some olive oil at medium high heat.

Once the chicken is slightly browned on the outside (but not cooked all the way through), remove it from the pan and put it on a plate to hang out for a few minutes. Add the rest of your onion, garlic, curry powder, and ginger to the pan. Stir to combine.

When the onion has sweated and the spices are nice and fragrant, pour in the half can of coconut milk, the rest of your broth, the lime juice, and the frozen cauliflower.

Let the mixture cook and reduce for a couple minutes, and then add your chicken back to the pan. Mix it into the sauce, and let everything simmer at medium heat until your lentils are done. The lentils are done when they are nice and tender and don't taste like you are eating small discs of cardboard.

Pour the lentils in a bowl, top with the chicken and sauce, and garnish with the fresh parsley. Dig in!

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