Monday, March 28, 2011

Turkey Curry

What a tasty and easy meal this is.  Extra vegetables make it a one-pot meal with lots of protein (turkey), a variety of vegetables (phytonutrients and bulk), other fiber (shredded coconut), curry spices (anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories like turmeric), and good fats (coconut oil), just to name a few of the nutritional benefits going on here. But the best part is how quick and easy this dish is to make, with it's light but creamy sauce full of the most divine flavors:  ginger, coconut, garlic, and curry.  Enjoy!

Key to Making Fast Food:  The key to making great food -- fast -- is to cut the vegetables (and meat, if it's not ground) in smaller pieces so they cook faster.  Then add them in order of their firmness to cook so they all come out about equal and none are soggy (e.g., add carrots first and zuccini last).  Frozen green peas can almost be added at the end just to sit in the pot with the heat off for a few minutes.

½ white onion
3 cloves garlic
2-3 slices fresh ginger, chopped
red or green bell pepper, chopped in medium triangle shapes (or just chopped)
1 lb. ground turkey
1-2 tsp. curry powder
1 carrot, chopped in small pieces (optional vegs: zucchini pieces or cauliflower florets)
½ cup green frozen peas
2-3 T. shredded coconut (unsweetened)
¼ - ½ cup raisins, dark or light
1-2 T. coconut oil (optional:  instead of coconut oil, add 1/2 a can or so of coconut milk, if desired)
Kosher salt, fresh pepper

Saute the onion in butter/ghee on low heat, or a combination of butter and olive oil for a few minutes in a heavy skillet (make sure the pan and oil are heated first). Smash, peel, and lightly chop the garlic, add to skillet. Add a sprinkle of kosher salt and pepper. Saute for a minute or two, then move all to the sides.

Unwrap the ground turkey and salt both sides. Lay the entire pound into the middle of the pan, then sprinkle everything with curry powder (to taste, more can also be added later). Turn the heat up a bit, and let the turkey brown.  After it's somewhat browned on the first side, separate the turkey into big chunks with a wooden spoon, but don’t stir it. Flip the big pieces over and brown on the other side. Juices will be coming out at this point, so it won’t brown as well on the second side. That's why browning it on the first side will help improve the flavor of this dish - it really does.

After the turkey is mostly cooked (it only takes 5-6 minutes total), add small carrot pieces and a minute or two after, add the green peas, shredded coconut, a handful of raisins, and the coconut oil. Let everything simmer lightly (not a hard boil) for just a minute or so, enough to have the carrots somewhat softened. They don’t need to be cooked long if they’re chopped in very small pieces – this is the key to fast food cooking.
Optional: I sometimes add a big spoon of chutney into the pot at the end, but this dish tastes plenty good without it.

Serving suggestions:
  • Great all by itself in a pasta bowl, can add a dollup of plain yogurt
  • Over basmati rice
  • Over cooked and mashed cauliflower
  • Over baked and shredded spaghetti squash

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