Sometimes, you just need a quick dinner. I hate it when I search for a recipe online and everything that comes up calls for about a dozen spices blended together – most of which I don’t have.
I prefer simple dishes like the curried lemon coconut chicken I discovered and adapted for the Instant Pot (5 ingredients if you don’t count salt) and this one: using the curry masala blend I had.
I am testing out some spices from a fabulous company that sources amazingly well, and this curry masala blend was calling my name. I searched for chicken curry masala recipes, and every single one required me to blend a bunch of spices together. I decided to skim for ideas and strike out on my own, and the whole family loved what I came up with!
I only used two kinds of vegetables but I crammed as much in as I could to swim around in the delicious sauce. You could certainly add more if you wanted! I just needed to get dinner on the table and use up some bok choy. Adding frozen broccoli was a no-brainer too.
Why Cook with Bok Choy?
Bok choy, by the way, is an under-appreciated green vegetable. It’s soooo mild in flavor and almost has two veggies in one, the green leafy part and the white “woody” part. This is a great veggie to help kids eat their green things if you can get past their mental block.
I started my relationship with bok choy when my dad was fighting cancer and it kept showing up on lists of cancer-fighting foods – I created this Asian cancer-fighting soup with it and continued to use it at least once a month in my own cooking, just incorporating into stir-fries, this pizza breakfast hash, and anywhere else I could. I’ve even seen it used in a beautiful raw salad, but I don’t often eat it without cooking (no particular reason, just habit I guess!).
This particular time I bought a head, I didn’t have a plan for it – and you benefit!
Reader, meet bok choy.
Bok choy, Reader.
I’m sure you’ll become fine friends, especially once you try this chicken curry masala with it.
Bok Choy Nutrition
Boy choy is not only a great cancer-fighting food because of its over 70 antioxidants, but it’s also rich in Vitamin A and lutein. It’s in the cruciferous family with such powerhouses as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage.
You can also get a good serving of Vitamin C, folate (important superfood for pregnancy!) and even the rare selenium and the ubiquitous fiber. Benefits include reducing inflammation, healthy bowels, bone health, heart health and balanced blood pressure. The Vitamin C can help your skin, too, but C is heat-sensitive, so not really in this recipe.
Pack as much in your pot as you can (it cooks down wonderfully) and use any leftovers mixed in with lettuce for a salad the next night!
Now…let’s make some Indian food!
- 1 can coconut milk (full fat)
- ½ c. plain, whole milk yogurt (homemade is great)
- 1 Tbs. Cha’s curry masala
- 2 lbs. chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 2 Tbs. coconut oil (refined or virgin)
- ½ or whole large bok choy
- 3 garlic cloves
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- Frozen broccoli (as much as you want, probably a pound is good)
- ¼ c. tomato paste
- 3 Tbs. arrowroot starch
- In a medium-sized glass bowl, mix the coconut milk, yogurt and masala spice until uniform. Stir the chicken pieces around so that they are all covered in the sauce. Marinate in the refrigeration at least 30 minutes (more is fine).
- Cut the bok choy: trim off the green leafy part and set aside. After cutting off and discarding the very bottom, dice the white, woody part into 1-cm. pieces. Roughly chop the leafy part but keep them separate (they have different cooking times).
- Crush the garlic and set aside.
- After the chicken has been marinating at least 20 of the 30 minutes, turn a medium, wide-bottomed pot on medium heat. Melt the coconut oil. Add the white part of the bok choy.
- Sauté and stir a few minutes, then cover the pot and cook on low for 5 minutes.
- Add the crushed garlic, salt and pepper, the green leafy bok choy, and as much frozen broccoli as you think looks good. Cover and cook on medium 2-3 minutes, stirring if necessary. (The garlic should become fragrant and the greens wilted, but the broccoli won’t be cooked. That’s ok.)
- Add all the chicken and creamy sauce to the pot. Stirring often over medium-high heat, bring to a boil and then cover and cook on low about 10 minutes or until chicken no longer has any pink in the center.
- When the chicken is cooked, stir in ¼ cup tomato paste (about half a can, eye it up and save the rest for another recipe).
- To thicken, mix the arrowroot starch with ¼ cup cold water and stir into the hot creamy sauce. Stir around over medium heat a minute or two.
- Serve over cooked rice or zoodles. Cilantro makes a perfect garnish if you have some fresh!
Curry Masala Spice Level
You can adjust the “heat” level on the spice just by reducing it a little bit. It was spicy but even my 3-year-old went back for seconds, so the robust flavor was enough yummy-ness that none of them minded the heat.
The layers of flavor in Cha’s curry masala are just perfect, so rich, so intoxicating – and done for me. One package to buy instead of 5 or 6! Now I need to go get another bok choy and make this recipe again (or experiment with other ways of using the blend – maybe a shredded chicken in the Instant Pot like our BBQ chicken that we enjoy so much!).
Not used to flavor “to taste” and making up your own – no problem. Check out Becca’s great tips for using Asian cooking techniques to find your creative side in the kitchen!
Believe me, you’ll feel like you’re in a restaurant – minus the worry about the bill and having to keep your children quiet.