What I’ve been eating this week: Shauna Niequist’s Mango Chicken Curry

I actually ate this last weekend when I was visiting my best friend and college roommate. She made this for me and she also taught me another new food rule, and it got me thinking I should share what I’ve learned so far.

  1. If there’s a healthier option, choose it. For me, this means at the grocery store I’ll pick skim milk over whole, fat-free Greek yogurt over 2%, and whole wheat pasta over regular. This is usually not horribly difficult for me; I’m actually getting used to low-fat mayo, fat-free salad dressing, and light ice cream. I even bought fat-free creamer for my coffee (which if you know me at all, you know is UNHEARD of). After I finished that fat-free creamer I bought the full fat again (Points+ are the same)(and actually Chris bought the fat-free creamer, and his heart was in the right place but OMG don’t mess with my creamer), and it actually tasted too creamy for me. It was too rich. TOO delightful, if there is such a thing. I was just used to the fat-free. And now I’m going to buy it again. Before, I never wanted the lower-fat version of things because I didn’t think they tasted as good. But now I know that even when foods are labeled light or fat-free, the flavor is there, and it’s enough, and if it’s better for me, I’m going to do it.
  2. Desserts in moderation. I realize this is a no-duh rule for most of you, but I LOVE chocolate, cookie dough, cupcakes, frosting—all desserts really, I’m not picky. But I have learned that one piece of chocolate is as enjoyable as the whole bar. Just half of an icing sugar cookie is enough to satisfy my craving. And now that I’ve been practicing moderation with my sweets, I find that I don’t need as many of them. I can eat a scoop of ice cream, but after that I’m full. And that’s okay.
  3. Halve the meat, double the vegetables. This is the new food rule my friend Kate taught me, and it’s so smart I can’t believe I didn’t find out about it sooner. We made the Mango Curry Chicken this way, with about half the meat and double the mangoes, and it was delicious. I appreciated the flavor of the dish so much, and I didn’t miss having a piece of chicken in every bite. Plus, it still made enough to feed three adults plus leftovers for the next day. So here is Kate’s recipe, modified from Shauna’s original version, which can be found in her book, Bread & Wine.

Mango Chicken Curry

¼ cup flour
2 T curry powder
1 t sea salt
¼ t cayenne pepper
1-1½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into pieces
2 -4 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, chopped
1 T fresh ginger, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 C chicken broth
¼ cup raisins
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 mangoes, pitted and diced
1 T lime juice
3 T fresh cilantro, chopped
3 T fresh basil, chopped

Mix together the flour, curry powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Add the chicken breast pieces into the flour mixture; toss to coat.

Add 1-2 T olive oil to a Dutch oven and cook the chicken on medium-high heat until browned, about five minutes each side. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add an additional 1-2 T olive oil to the pan and cook garlic, onion, ginger and red pepper until the onion is golden, about four minutes. Add the chicken back to the pan and lower the heat. Add two cups chicken broth and simmer until the chicken is tender, being careful not to overcook it.

Add the raisins, tomatoes and mango, and cook until just heated through. Remove from heat and add lime juice, cilantro and basil. Serve over rice (Kate uses half brown rice and half white rice, which was a great combo—satisfied my craving for white rice but didn’t overfill).