clay pot chicken and vegetables with brown rice

i’ve been obsessed with clay pot cooking (more like eating) ever since i took my first bite of clay pot chicken at the corner vietnamese restaurant during my freshman year in college. whenever my friends and i wanted to treat ourselves to a good meal away from the cafeteria (which was quite often, come to think of it), we headed there and ordered the deliciously fragrant dish before we even looked at the menu. i had never tasted vietnamese food before moving to California, and this delicate combination of flavors and textures was a wonderfully welcome surprise to my taste buds- as i remember it (unfortunately the restaurant is no longer there), the dish combined an assortment of mushrooms, fish sauce, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, spicy peppers, and cilantro with fragrant jasmine rice and tender chicken. these ingredients were slowly steamed together in a small clay pot to create an intoxicating combination of aroma and flavor. it could have been that we were simply hungry students with cafeteria food as our other option, or perhaps it tasted as delicately delicious as i remember it. when i came across a blue clay pot at the store a few days ago, i had no choice but to bring it home, and today i made my very own version of clay pot chicken with brown rice flavored with kaffir lime leaves and coconut milk. The resulting dish was good enough to share:)
ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 1 cup brown rice, parboiled 
  • (cooked until just tender with 2 cups of water for about 20-25 minutes until water is absorbed)
  • 2 organic chicken breasts, cubed * for vegetarian option omit chicken and reduce baking time to 30 minutes-you may also substitute chicken with sprouted organic cubed tofu)*
  • 2 small red bell peppers, cubed
  • 10-12 mushrooms, cubed
  • 1 small onion, cubed
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 3-4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2-1 cup light coconut milk
  • 3-4 tbs soy sauce *(braggs aminos for gluten free)
  • 1 sliver fresh ginger, thinly sliced or minced (about 1 tsp)
  • 2 tsp unrefined virgin coconut oil
  • 1-2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 3-4 thai peppers, thinly sliced (spicy)
  • a few sprigs of fresh cilantro
  • 5-10 baby roma or cherry tomatoes, sliced (optional)
1. in a small wok or medium sauce pan quickly stir fry together with the heated oil (combination of both oils) on high heat: minced garlic, onions, red peppers, mushrooms, peas, ginger, and sliced thai peppers until tender for about 5 minutes. add the lime leaves and most of the soy sauce and stir fry for another 2-3 minutes.
2. add par boiled (almost cooked) brown rice to the clay pot (or dutch oven), then add the cooked vegetable mixture and mix well with the rice.

3. add the cubed uncooked chicken to the rice and vegetables and combine to distribute evenly, then pour the coconut milk and remaining soy sauce with a touch of sesame oil over the rice and chicken combination. stir everything together carefully, then cover firmly.

4. bake in a 350-375 degree preheated oven for about 45 minutes. you won’t believe the aroma when you remove the lid! carefully remove the lime leaves and sprinkle with cilantro leaves and sliced tomatoes before serving.

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how to whip up a simply green {curry} sauce that saves the day {or meal}

how to make an easy green curry sauce

it’s so hard to believe the holidays are over, and as much as i enjoy the {oh so wonderful} break from routine, it often takes quite a toll on our diets and waistlines (but oh how good it was while it lasted). it took me a few reluctant days in the new year (happyhappy new year!) to realize (or accept) it was time to make changes to the way were eating. time to get back to eating more real, unprocessed, lighter, let’s just call it “g r e e n” foods. yes, that meant back to green smoothies, other smoothies, kale in (almost) everything, lettuce wraps, quinoaquinoaquinoa, salads, salads, and more salads, hello, arugula! hard boiled eggs, and endless amounts of tuna salad! but a family has to eat a nice warm meal once in a while (especially the ones who behaved over the holidays). that’s why this light and green (seriously delicious) curry sauce/paste came about to accompany the simple chicken tenders and vegetables planned for dinner. some of us enjoyed the resulting warm, satisfying, comfort-giving curry with a side of jasmine rice while others (me) had a few spoonfuls of fluffy steamed quinoa instead (not bad at all after a day of just greens). this versatile sauce can be used with any meat, fish, or vegetables to create a “curry” that will always satisfy beyond imagination. add a few kefir lime leaves to the pot while simmering to take it to another level. the smell that surrounds you while it cooks? as delicious as every bite. noosh-e-jan!

{easy, light, delicious green curry sauce for about 4-6 servings}:

blend together until smooth:

easy green curry recipe

  • 1 large bunch (1-1.5 cups) organic cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper or other hot pepper of choice (use according to taste for spiciness)
  • 1 lime, freshly squeezed
  • a chunk of fresh ginger, peeled (about 2-3 tbs)
  • 3-4
    cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 small shallot, peeled
  • 3-4 stalks of lemongrass (remove the outer rough parts)
  • 1/2-1 cup coconut milk
  • 2-3 tsp raw honey or brown cane sugar
  • 2-3 tbs fish sauce or soy sauce (or a pinch of sea salt)

sauté the meat/vegetables of choice on high for about 7-10 minutes in 1 tbs virgin unfiltered coconut oil, then add the green sauce and 5-8 kefir lime leaves. bring to a soft boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30-40 minutes. for best results sauté (fry) the sauce separately in 1-2 tsp coconut oil for about 5 minutes on high heat while stirring before adding to meats/vegetables. sprinkle with fresh cilantro prior to serving with jasmine rice or steamed quinoa.

easy green chicken curry

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a simple chicken curry with potatoes and peas

20 minute dinners

chicken curry is one of those go-to meals i {go to} when i’ve run out of ideas for quick and easy meals involving chicken. i have no fixed recipe and make no exact measurements, so it all depends on what’s available, my mood, and how much time i’m willing to spend on preparing the meal. after taking inventory of possible ingredients, i make a quick “paste” in the blender before simmering the (sauteed) chicken and vegetables in it for about 30-45 minutes. sometimes the resulting curry comes out so spicy it is almost difficult to eat (not really), but often times it is surprisingly well balanced and delicious despite the rather casual process involved in making it happen. more often than not we are perfectly satisfied and happyhappy after polishing off the steaming bowl of curry topped with loads of chopped cilantro and a side of fluffy basmati rice (or steamed quinoa if i’m being good). i’m pretty sure if (when) you make this curry and taste the results you’ll be {going to it} as often as i do.

quick & easy curry ingredients for 4-6:

 

anti-inflammatory curry

  • 6-8 organic chicken tenders (or about six-eight pieces of chicken)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 cup (more or less) frozen peas (or fresh)
  • 3-4 small young potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tbs virgin unrefined coconut oil
  • 3-4 stalks lemongrass
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • fresh ginger, a good nice chunk (about 1 tbs)
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2-3 tbs good quality curry powder
  • 1 cup (or slightly more) coconut milk
  • 4-6 lime leaves
  • 1-2 tsp raw sugar
  • a small bunch of chopped fresh cilantro
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper (to taste)

anti-inflammatory curry

1. make your paste: add to the blender the softer parts of the lemon grass (peel, trim, cut in smaller pieces), ginger, shallot, garlic, powders (cinnamon, curry, turmeric, cumin), sugar, jalapeño pepper (adjust amount to taste for spiciness), sea salt, pepper, fresh lime juice, and 1/2 of the coconut milk. blend until you have a smooth paste.

2. in a dutch oven or skillet sautee chicken and onions in 1 tbs coconut oil. remove from pot, then heat the remaining coconut oil and add the paste to the hot oil. allow the sauce  to cook and start to thicken slightly (bubbles a bit) while stirring. add the chicken and onions back to the pot with the heated paste, along with the potatoes, lime leaves, and about 1-2 cups water. bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until chicken and potatoes are fully cooked. make sure to adjust water if necessary.

3. about 15-20 minutes before serving add remaining coconut milk and peas, stir carefully. serve with fresh chopped cilantro on top (or drizzled with this green sauce) and steamed rice on the side. s-p-i-c-y, right?

cooking minette's curry

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