Monday, March 27, 2006

The Spice is Right #1: Ancient Spices - Curried Chicken in Boston Lettuce Cups

Curry Powder is based largely on four spices: coriander, cumin, fenugreek and turmeric, with the possibility of many other ingredients including: Cloves, Garlic , Curry Leaves, Fennel Seeds, Ginger, Chillies, Mustard, Red Pepper, Salt, Cassia, Black Pepper, Poppy Seeds, Anise, Bengal Gram, Cardamom, Cassia buds, Celery Seed, Cinnamon, Dill Seed, Mace, Nagkeser, Nutmeg, Onion, Trifala, and White Pepper

Reasons for chosing curry powder - #1
I love the absolute smell of this spice. The second you smell it, you know what it is, and one never forgets the smell. It really is so unique, and has the power to completely transform the foods with which it is working. I don't consider it a spice that enhances, I consider it a spice that defines.

Reasons for choosing curry powder - #2
A July 11th article on titled Curry Spice Shuts Down Melanoma states that “Curcumin, the ingredient that gives curry its yellow hue, blocked the growth of melanoma tumor cells and even stimulated their death in the laboratory, researchers report.” The article then went on to highlight all the research that has been conducted about the spice and its documented cancer fighting abilities.

There have also been a number of articles describing the link between curry and decreased incidents of Alzheimers disease. Curry powder is largely composed of
turmeric. Turmeric is the source of Curcumin, among many other compounds. The other spices and herbs in curry powder, almost every one, are known from early times for improving mental functioning. This may help explain why India has one of the lowest rates of Alzheimers disease in the world.

It seems that right now, all signs point to including curry in your diet. Some unpleasantness may be noticed if one suffers from advanced gall bladder trouble, since curry powder stimulates the gall bladder. But if you do not suffer from gallbladder ailments, load it on and help your body fight disease in more ways than one. It seems this ancient spice is a wonder drug in and of itself.

Curried Chicken in Boston Lettuce Cups
I watched Dave Lieberman make this recipe and thought that it looked extremely easy and delicious and it is. I use the left over stock from cooking the chicken thighs to cook rice, cous cous or orzo. It gives more flavor than if I just used water, and it’s a great alternative to just throwing away the stock pot.

4 whole chicken thighs

1 lemon, quartered
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro stems
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
3/4 cup halved seedless red grapes

Boston Bib lettuce leaves, for serving

Put the chicken thighs, lemon, cilantro leaves and stems into a skillet or saucepan. Fill with water just to cover the chicken and season generously with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer. Cook until the chicken is tender and falling from the bones, about 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid and allow to cool. When cool, remove the skin and strip the meat from the bones, discarding the skin and bones. Reserve the meat.

In a bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, curry, honey, and lemon juice. Stir in the scallions, celery, and grapes until combined. Add the cooled chicken meat and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve heaping portions of the salad in butter lettuce leaves.

Want to play along in the next Spice is Right Blog Event? See information at Tigers and Strawberries website.


Genevieve said...

Ah, that looks yummy. I absolutely love curried chicken salad. Whoever thought grape, mayo, and curry would work together is genius. :)

Jasmine said...

Great post and the picture looks delicious :)


ejm said...

I love putting grapes into curried chicken salad too! We often add toasted almonds as well.