I love this dish. Why? 1. Because it's Indian - and I love anything Indian. 2. It's rich in cilantro flavor. 3. It's meditative to make. Taking this recipe from the goddess of Indian Cooking, Chef Madhur Jaffrey, we tweaked it ever so slightly and humbly to make it a little less time consuming and equally enjoyable.
Chef Jaffrey calls for 7oz of cilantro leaves - that's just the leaves, which means you need to remove the leaves from the stems. One bunch of cilantro yields about 1 oz of leaves.
To remove the leaves, try this handy kitchen hack - take a fork and turn it upside down with prongs facing down. Push the fork into the bunch at the top of the stems below where the leaves start and run the fork up the bunch to quickly remove a hunk of leaves at once. See photos. This works for any herbs when a recipe calls even for a handful.
After you've cleared most of the leaves from the stems, you need to go back in and pick out the rest by hand. You can look at this as frustrating or time consuming or you can look at this as meditative and cathartic. Opting for the latter? Stay connected to your breath, don't rush, and be mindful of your actions. It should take about 20 minutes to clear 7oz and you'll end up with a large salad bowl full of cilantro. BUT...if that is out of the question, do 5 oz of cilantro and 2 oz of spinach, which is what we did here.
Fun "Fact": Rumor has it when Jaffrey's book came out in London featuring this recipe on the cover, the city experienced a shortage of the herb!
Cilantro, also called coriander or Chinese Parsley, is rich in Vitamin K, an essential vitamin that directs calcium to your bones, and has also been shown to control blood sugar levels and contain antibiotic compounds.
6 T avocado oil
2 pieces (1-inch cubes) fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup water
2 lbs - boneless and skinless chicken breast and thighs mixed or 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
7 oz cilantro or 5 oz cilantro, 2 oz spinach
1/2 jalapeno, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp Kosher salt
2 T lemon juice
Heat oil over medium-high heat in wide, heavy pan.
Season chicken with salt and pepper.
When the oil is hot, put in as many chicken pieces as the pan will hold in a single layer and brown on both sides. Chicken will cook through later. Remove the chicken pieces with a slotted spoon and put them in a bowl. Sear all the chicken pieces this way.
Add the garlic to the hot oil. As soon as the pieces turn a medium-brown color, turn heat to medium and add ginger. Stir-fry it for a minute. Add the fresh coriander, jalapeno, cayenne, cumin, coriander, turmeric and salt. Stir and cook for a minute.
Put in all the chicken pieces as well as any liquid that might have accumulated in the chicken bowl. Add 2/3 cup water and the lemon juice. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover tightly, turn heat to low and cook for 10 minutes.
Turn the chicken pieces over. Cover again and cook another 10 minutes or until the chicken is tender. If the sauce is too thin, uncover the pan and boil some of it away over a slightly higher heat.
Serve with basmati rice, quinoa and/or naan if you eat gluten.
Time: 75 minutes with cilantro prep
HEARTFUL RECIPE – One of our real food recipes that focuses on veggies, protein, healthy fats and/or healthy carbs and doesn't include gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar, corn or peanuts.
Write-up by Pam.