ProBiol

Pursing a pro-biological lifestyle

Goodbye Thai Chicken Curry February 24, 2015

Filed under: Recipes — Krystyna @ 4:54 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Before leaving my wonderful Dutch family my brother-in-law Henny had a  huge request: curry.  As a  young man he lived in India as an exchange worker for some time and grew to love this dish.  Now I must admit that  I  did not  eat or cook a great deal of Indian food  even  as a student,  even though I had quite a few Indian and East Asian friends.  Being Polish, and mingling with an eclectic group of ethnicities during my college years,  my friends and I ate in a largely fused kitchen, mixing spices and elements from many cuisines.  Many of us had a staple favorite though – a small Thai restaurant offshooting from our campus – serving great pad Thai,  amazing bubble teas  and a great coconut chicken curry.

So I dug in my tastbud’s memories  to  recreate one of my favorite dishes from my late teens and early 20s, which included chicken, potatoes, a medly of vegetables including onions, which are high in phenolics and flavonoids – potent anticancer antioxidants, and bell peppers, which a Spanish study concluded  have the most Vitamin A, Vitamin C,  and carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin) of all fruits and vegetables, alongside tomatoes.  Carrots add even more carotenoids to this dish.

Along with coconut milk, which gives a good dose of medium chain fatty acids -which gives us quick energy – and lauric acid,  which is  very antifungal and antiviral, we have a creamy base for the curry to simmer in.  A generous addition of  basil and cilantro make for a perfect seasoning combo,  adding a mound of favor as well as a great antibacterial and vitamin filled due.   The starchy carbohydrate in this case is the potato, which, contrary to many’s belief, is a very healthy addition, packed full of potassium, vitamin B6, copper, and vitamin C,  and of course gluten free.

Ingredients:

1/2 pound (about 1/4 kilo) chicken – any part, I used deskinned legs and thighs that simmered in the chicken broth

3 potatoes – we used red skinned

2 medium onions

2 bell peppers – any color

3/4 pound (about 10 medium) carrots

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 can ( about 300 ml) coconut milk  – if you  have fresh coconut milk more power to you!

2 tablespoons curcumin powder

1 teaspoon basil ( I  used dried, fresh is great too)

1 teaspoon cilantro – dried or fresh

salt to taste ( I used about 1 a teaspoon and a half, Himalayan)

pepper to taste ( about 1/2 teaspoon)

A large pan or wok

Total time: 50 minutes to 1 hour

Instructions:

To make this faster, I  had already pre-cooked the chicken in  broth.  Cooking the potatoes in advance is also better.  In any case, carrots and  onions are diced into small pieces and fried  in a dollop of coconut oil, onions first – until glossy, and then the carrots, also sliced and diced.  I added a bit of salt with every vegetable to  seal in every individual flavor.  That takes about 15 minutes. Then add the washed and diced bell peppers, for another  5-7 minutes in the pan.  Then in go the potatoes and chicken,  along with the basil and cilantro.  Let that heat for another few minutes.

The coconut milk goes in next, and a bit of simmering happens.  Top that off with the curcumin ( or curry) powder and pepper, and let that simmer for another few minutes. Voila!  A real feast all in the confines of one dish.  Top with fresh basil or cilanto and serve.  Cheers and good health!

curry veg                                      coconut milk

all the vegetables looked glorious together                        the coconut milk that looked the most trustworthy at the local store

curry final

meal in a pan

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Fat Tuesday Pudding Cheesecake February 19, 2015

Filed under: Recipes — Krystyna @ 7:13 am

So I’m visiting my Dutch family ( my sister Gosia is married to Henny, who is 100% Dutch, and has lived here for a long time) in the Netherlands – the country known for it’s tulips,  windmills,  massive scale bicyling.  What I also noticed about the Dutch  is  that  they  know and love their cheese.  Jonge kaas – young cheese,  Belage kaas – aged cheese (gaining firmness and  flavor with time),  Geitenkaas (goat milk cheese), Maasdam,  Edam, Rotterdam, Old Amsterdam – many of their cities have their specific cheese – and of  course  Gouda.  With the ending of  Carnival,  what better  way to celebrate Fat Tuesday than to make a rich cheesecake, and for easy fun a no bake version?

Looking at  recipes, I saw that a lot of them  used cream cheese, and using my google translate I  found out that the Dutch counterpart is  roomkaas.  The crust was made with cookie crumbs and grass-fed butter,  since it is one of the healthiest fats around.  Grasboter, as  grass-fed butter is  called in the Netherlands, is full of important  fat soluable vitamins like Vitamin A (butter is best source) and Vitamin E,  necessary for good eye (Vit. A),  as well as endocrine (thyroid gland)  health.  Both  also help with the immune system,  making us  more resistant to  infections, toxins, and diseases in general.  Butter lowers the risk of heart disease, as a new study  at the University of Cambridge shows, circulating  fatty acids from dairy  reduced heart disease risk.

Butter prevents weight gain,  by, contrary to many’s belief,  providing fatty acids for quick energy and not being  stored in fatty tissue,  since butter  provides mostly  short and medium chain fatty acids.  Full fat dairy actually lowers problems with metabolism and  obesity, as shown in this multi-study analysis.   Butter provides energy  for out intestinal flora prevents fungal (like Candida albicans) growth, and contain the highest know amount of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which reduces the risk of colon, stomach, skin and breast  cancer, and prevents cancer growth in children that ate CLA.   Butter is high in  omega-3 fatty acids, which  are known to fight inflammation and prevent many diseases like cancer, heart disease, and arthritis.  Butter also helps prevent osteoporosis by giving the necessary factors to  absorb calcium like Vitamin K2.  Butter even lowers the risk of developing asthma.

Margarine  and other synthetically produced  fats,  which are high in omega-6 fatty acids,  do the opposite by  slowing the thyroid, and causing inflammation.  Cancer risk increases with intake of margarine and other polyunsaturated fats,  as  well as obesity, and heart disease.  Even  infertility is linked to these fats,  so why not just use the butter instead?

Well we did.  This ultra-rich dessert is only for special occasions, and should be eaten in moderation:

 

Total  time:  1 and 1/2 hour

Preparation time:  about  15 minutes

 

Ingredients:

 

500 g Roomkaas or cream cheese ( we used the Dutch brand Campina,  but I want to make my own, and found this easy recipe: http://www.instructables.com/id/Dead-Easy-Cream-Cheese/ )

 

1/2 (50 g) packet vanilla pudding

 

1/2 liter milk (for the pudding)

 

1 cup  sugar of  choice ( we used cane,  but  Muscovado, coconut palm, or any  other is fine)

 

150 g ( about 5 ounces) cookies or graham crackers, crumbled completely

 

3  tablespoons  Grasboter or grass-fed butter

 

Strawberries, another fruit,  coconut flakes or chocolate for decorations, I used  about  150 g strawberries – not in season,  but my niece Maaike really wanted them 😉

 

A pie pan

 

Instructions:

 

Make the 1/2 package of pudding,  and set aside to cool for a bit.

 

Mash the graham cracker or  cookies ( best to get gluten free and  without trans fats).  Melt the  3 tablespoons of butter and  mix together  and set aside.

 

Next get the  cream cheese, add sugar  and whisk together in order to mix in the cooled pudding.

 

Spread the buttered cookie or graham cracker mixture in a pie pan,  spreading it evenly.

 

Then fill the pie crust with the  cheese and pudding mixture,  put in the fridge or a  cool place to  set  for at least 1  hour.   Then decorate with desired  fruit or topping and  serve.  Yum!

photos courtsey of my sister Gosia

 

 
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