Even if a book isn’t thematically-related to food, I love to cook, so all my characters end up making delectable dishes over the course of a story. Today, I’m going to share two of my personal recipes. The first is the chicken curry that Grace makes Asha and Ian. This is based on an Indian butter chicken recipe that I’ve tweaked so many times, it barely resembles the original; it’s now closer to a standard curry or masala than butter chicken.
Indian Chicken Coconut Curry
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 2 pounds chicken thighs, cubed
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 1 15-oz can coconut milk, full fat
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 2 teaspoons tandoori masala (see recipe link below)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala (I prefer Frontier brand)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, dependent on heat level of curry powder)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Heat oil and butter in a large skillet or medium Dutch oven, preferably enameled cast-iron. Saute onions until they begin to become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken pieces and saute until golden brown.
- Meanwhile, blend spices, tomato paste, and coconut milk in a food processor. Add to the chicken in the pan and turn down the heat to low. Simmer for 45 minutes, partially covered, until the chicken is tender and cooked through and the sauce has reduced slightly.
- Serve over cooked basmati rice or cauliflower rice.
The second recipe is Filipino adobo, a recipe that doesn’t appear in the story, but most definitely would have become part of Grace’s repertoire when she spent time in Manila. Every Filipino lola has their special version of the Philippines’ national dish, so I’d like to believe this would have been the one shared with Grace.
Filipino Chicken Adobo (Adobong Manok)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces, skin-on
- 1/4 cup palm vinegar (Datu Puti or Marca Pina brand)
- 2 tablespoons garlic, crushed
- 1 bay leaf, crushed
- 3 tablespoons Filipino soy sauce (Datu Puti or Silver Swan brand)
- 1/2-1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- Heat oil in a large skillet. Fry chicken pieces until golden brown on all sides. Drain any excess oil from pan.
- Add vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaf, salt, and pepper to the pan. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, up to one hour, until chicken is cooked through and fall-off-the-bone tender.
- Serve over cooked jasmine rice. Serve with fresh tomatoes and atsarra, if desired.
I hope you enjoy these recipes. If you make any of them, be sure to come back and let me know what you thought!