Friday, August 14, 2009

A low-fat chicken curry that is rather good

A strange thing happened to me on Wednesday night. I was preparing a butternut squash for roasting and, after I had peeled it, I noticed that my hands were becoming most uncomfortable. Sort of tight and dry. No amount of hand cream or washing would relieve the feeling. I then watched with some alarm as the skin of my hands started to peel off. It was revolting and rather unnerving. Thank heaven for google! I raced to the computer and typed in 'strange skin reaction to butternut squash'. It seems that this is a quite common problem - many people experience the tightness but the peeling skin is quite a strong reaction. Oddly, I've handled butternut plenty of times before with no ill effect... I wonder if anyone else has experienced this? One article likened the effect to that of a chemical peel - perhaps I should be grateful for the now soft and rejuvenated skin on my and?

Anyway, moving swiftly on. The flower-sender and I are trying to eat a little more healthily in order to shift a few pounds before the wedding in May. We are keeping this a secret as I don't want to feel under any pressure to transform myself into someone I'm not. Frankly, we both love food far too much to ever be as thin as we might wish. I'm not planning to give up my love of cake just so I can fit into a smaller wedding dress. But it would be nice to be a little healthier and so we are trying to change a few things.

One of our initiatives is to try and make healthier versions of favourite high-fat dishes without compromising on taste. We are particularly pleased with this recipe which we found in a Weight Watchers cookbook called
'Delicious'. We loved the creamy, rich-tasting tomato-based sauce and the aromatic flavour of the ginger and lime leaves. We tinkered a little with the recipe, adding some extra vegetables. We made this with left-over roast chicken which worked very well, but the recipe below gives directions for cooking the chicken. If you want to use leftovers, add the chicken to the pan once the initial veggies have softened - just before you add the liquid. The addition of thinly sliced mange tout is far more than just a garnish - the refreshing crunch really adds something to this curry.

Fragrant Chicken Curry
Based on recipe from
Weight Watchers Delicious cookbook
Serves 4

low fat cooking spray (or tbsp oil)
600g skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 red pepper, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
150g sliced mushrooms
1 bag spinach
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 freeze dried lime leaves
1 tsp mild or hot chilli powder
1 tbsp mild curry powder
50g low-fat soft cheese
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
150ml chicken stock
handful chopped fresh coriander
large handful mange tout, shredded finely lengthways

1. Heat a non-stick saucepan or wok and spray with cooking spray/add oil. Add chicken chunks and cook for around 5 mins until sealed all over. Remove and set to one side.

2. Spray/add a little more oil if necessary and add the pepper, onion, mushrooms, ginger, garlic and lime leaves. Cook for a minute or so until starting to soften. Stir in the chilli powder and curry powder and return the chicken to the pan, stirring constantly for a minute.

3. Add the soft cheese, tomatoes and stock. Bring to boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes until thickened and the chicken is cooked. Serve with rice, topped with the coriander and shredded mange tout.

For anyone who is interested and knows how Weight Watchers works, this curry (without rice) is amazingly just 2.5 points per portion. And the portion was pretty generous - we felt very full afterwards.


Helen said...

This looks lovely!

I only recently started to read your blog, and made your fish pie - my first time ever eating, or making, fish pie - a couple of nights ago. It was absolutely wonderful. Thank for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

This sounds good, we'll have some leftover chicken on Monday and I've been wondering what to do with it.

How strange about the butternut, I wonder if it will happen again.

Abitofafoodie said...

Hello Helen! So pleased that the fish pie worked out well - it is one of my favourite dishes. You've reminded me that I haven't had it for ages!

Ginger - very strange - I'm a little nervous to try. Someone suggested I should try wearing rubber gloves to peel them (apparantly it is the substance just under the skin that causes the reaction).

tracieMoo said...

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Sam said...

This looks really tasty, and a great way to use up leftover chicken. It's good that it's healthy too!

Caleb said...

I found your food blog going through a few links. Glad I ran into it. Didn’t know that the food blog/recipe community was so big online. I love your posts!

I was wondering if you would like to exchange links. I’ll drop yours on my site and you drop mine on yours. Email at or stop by my site and drop a comment. Let me know if you would like to do a link exchange.


Clare said...

I have the same reaction to butternut squash (and also in a milder form to courgettes and marrows) - it's nice to hear I'm not the only one. The curry sounds yummy.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

A recipe with 'Weightwatchers' in the title wouldn't usually get my attention - but since you recommend it, well...

♥Rosie♥ said...

Hi Antonia, sorry I haven't been called by in a while due to holidays etc.

Oh you poor love having such a reaction with the butternut squash. I do hope all is aok now!! Your chicken curry certainly looks divine.

Anonymous said...

Yum, looks really good. I had one of the best thai green chicken curry's ever when I went to The Kitchen in Parsons Green (south west London) last week. Michelin Star chef, Thierry Laborde's secret curry sauce - definitely worth trying. If you haven't heard of this place, it's a really cool new food concept where you get to prepare your meals to take away (

Palidor said...

Wow, that must have been scary to see your skin peel off. I've not had that reaction to squash, thankfully. The curry looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

Can you freeze this?