Friday, July 11, 2014

Chicken Curry with Basil Leaves

Copyright 2014 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Chicken curry is a very common dish in the Philippines during fiestas or special occasions. Well, in my family anyway.This curry dish although very simple is quite unique in the sense that this is the first time that I am cooking a curry dish from scratch. I used to buy a packet of Madras curry powder mix back in the US while here in the Philippines, I use the curry mix sold in the market that is a bit sweeter in terms of taste once cooked in coconut cream. I am aware that for Indians, they actually prepare their own curry mix based on the region that they come from. I made the mistake of asking which brand of curry powder mix they bought for a dish that they had cooked that I loved. Never will I ask again.

Anyway, this is a very simple curry dish but make sure that you have the best powdered spice for this dish to actually work. The result was a creamy dish although the sauce is still a bit loose and not too thick. The basil leaves are the perfect aromatic foil to this otherwise rich dish and gives it some sense of balance in terms of flavor and aroma. The recipe is an adaptation from the blog, Simply Recipes.   

Chicken Curry with Basil Leaves - Adapted*

2 lbs chicken, cut into smaller pieces
1 onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ginger, peeled and sliced
1 finger chili
2 tbsp margarine + 2 tbsp coconut oil
2 cups fresh coconut cream
20 basil leaves
salt and pepper
Curry Mix:
1/2 tsp celery powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1. In a deep pan, heat the margarine with the oil over medium high heat.
    Saute the garlic, ginger, and onions until softened. Season with salt and

2. Add the chicken pieces and cook until browned. Season with salt and 

3. Add the coconut cream and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat
    to medium low and simmer covered for 10 minutes. 

4. Add the curry mix and the finger chili. Simmer covered for another 15 to
    20 minutes or until the chicken pieces are thoroughly cooked.  Add a 
    small amount of hot water if it starts to thicken a bit too quickly.

5. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Mix in the basil leaves and 
    stir until just wilted. Serve immediately with steamed white rice. 

*Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce, Simply Recipes blog. 

Corkscrew Pasta with Shrimps in Creamy Pesto Sauce

Copyright 2014 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Shrimps plus pesto equals magic! Really! This is what I have been dreaming of for the last few weeks. I was saving a good batch of shrimps for a friend who loves them but I needed to practice on a recipe that he specifically asked for so that I can do it perfectly this time. However, with the bad weather, good shrimps are hard to find. It was probably my luck when my brother who came for a visit brought with him a bag of fresh shrimps. At that time, I knew it was time to make pesto. It wasn't the recipe I was planning to make but I had a big bunch of organic basil leaves in my fridge so it had to be a pesto dish.

The recipe is a combination of Emeril's take on a pasta dish with shrimps and a creamy pesto sauce. I had to change the recipe a bit as I wanted a much lighter dressing on my pasta. Overall, the longest preparation time is when you cook the pasta. The rest of the dish was quite easy to put together with tremendous results.

Corkscrew Pasta with Shrimps in Creamy Pesto Sauce - Adapted*

Seasoning Mix:
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp Spanish paprika
1/8 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp dried thyme

2 lbs fresh shrimps, peeled and deveined
1 lb corkscrew pasta
1/2 cup pesto
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 unsalted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, diced
2 tbsp chopped parsley

1. Cook the pasta as per packet instructions. Cook until al dente. Set aside. 
    Save some of the pasta water.

2. Season the shrimps with the seasoning mix and allow to sit for 5 minutes. 

3. In a large pan, melt the butter in the olive oil over medium high heat. Add
    the shrimps and cook until it turns salmon pink. Remove from the pan and 
    set aside. 

4. Saute the onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened. Add
    the garlic and continue to saute until the garlic turns golden brown. 

5. Add the cream and the pesto. Stir quickly and cook until it simmers. Add
    the cooked pasta and stir until the sauce has coated the pasta. Mix in the
    cooked shrimps. If the pasta is a bit dry, loosen with the pasta water. 

6. Turn off the heat and sprinkle in the cheese and the parsley. Serve 

 *Lagasse, E.; Shrimp with Linguini in a Creamy Pesto Sauce.