Friday night fakeaway: chicken jalfrezi

Cooking just for myself is such a treat.

I can have ANYTHING I want and no-one else to consider ... and what I want is a curry.

But I'm being more conscious about what I eat at the moment so I'm certainly not ordering a takeaway - besides, I like cooking too much to do that.  

So I'm returning to what is now a favourite recipe - a really easy, delicious and spicy chicken jalfrezi using the Hairy Bikers  'fakeaway' recipe from their excellent cookbook, The Hairy Dieters.

Note: I didn't scale down exactly pro rata so it's my spicy version ... 

This genuinely has all the taste - and more - of a standard recipe, but with far fewer calories.

I'm not calorie counting on my Tiniest Thai diet, but this recipe fits in with all the principles of TTT and I love it!

Here's how I made my spicy curry for one (and if you make it for more, no one would EVER know it was 'diet' food!).

You'll need:

3  long green chillies

1 skinless chicken breast

cooking oil 

I garlic clove, finely chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

2 scant/level tsp ground cumin 

2 scant/leveltsp garam masala

1/2 tsp turmeric (I found I'd run out so just left it out)

1 tsp caster or white sugar

1/2 tsp sea salt 

a couple of sloshes of cold water (maybe 100-150 ml)

1 tbspn natural yogurt

1/4 onion, cut into a few wedges

about 1/3 green pepper, cut into chunks

1 tomato, cut into quarters or eighths

1 tsp cornflour

a little water, maybe 1/2-1 tbspn 

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder chicken jalfrezi

And here's how you make it.  

Finely chop 2 of the chillies, and then with the third, cut off the stalk and make a slit down the whole chilli from stalk to tip without opening or removing the seeds.

I then add the garlic, tomatoes and spices to the chopped chillies so it's all ready to throw in the pan.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder chicken jalfrezi

 Cut the chicken breast into bite-sized chunks.

Heat about a tbspn of oil in a pan over a high heat.

Add the garlic, chopped chillies, chopped tomatoes, cumin, garam masala, turmeric, sugar and salt, then stir-fry for 3–4 minutes until the vegetables soften.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder chicken jalfrezi

Don’t let the garlic or spices burn or they will add a bitter flavour to the sauce. Add a splash of water if you need to - it doesn't make any difference overall!

Next, add the chicken pieces and whole chilli and cook for 3 minutes, turning the chicken regularly.

Pour over the water, stir in the yoghurt and reduce the heat only slightly – you want the sauce to simmer.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder chicken jalfrezi

Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until the chicken is tender and cooked through and the sauce has reduced by about a third. (The yoghurt may separate to begin with but will disappear into the sauce.)

While the chicken is cooking, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a clean pan and stir-fry the onion and pepper over a high heat for 3–4 minutes until lightly browned.

Add the tomato and fry for 2–3 minutes more, stirring until the vegetables are just tender.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder chicken jalfrezi

Mix the cornflour with the tablespoon of water to form a smooth paste.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder chicken jalfrezi

When the chicken is cooked, stir in the cornflour mixture and simmer for a few seconds until the sauce thickens, stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat, add the hot stir-fried vegetables and toss together - then serve with rice and maybe a carrot salad.

Rachel Redlaw chicken jalfrezi

And then the Hairy Bikers say: 'Just in case you were wondering – don’t eat the whole chillies!'.

I have to disagree.

Eat the whole chilli and be happy, that's what I say!