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Curry for Kids

By Christine O'Connor, April 6, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Christine O'Connor

In this ongoing blog series, Christine, a budget-minded first-time mom and Whole Foods Market® team member, explores ways to create healthy, organic foods that appeal to both toddler and husband. Read the other posts in her ongoing series.

I used to think that a curry dish actually had to have curry spice in it. But now I know that “curry” is a generic term that applies to a wide range of dishes originating from India, Pakistan, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries.

I also know that my family loves “curry-for-dinner” night at our house. It all started one evening when I ordered take-out from an Indian restaurant. As my husband and I dived into our curry dinner, my son looked up from his plate of bland chicken and carrots and eyed our food with envy.

He then started muttering, “curry, curry, curry.” So I let him taste some of the the spinach saag curry, tandoori chicken and rice, doubting he’d like it.

I was wrong — he absolutely loved it! I was so excited that my toddler enjoyed such an exotic dish. So I challenged myself: re-create this dish at home using fresh, organic ingredients. I also wanted it to be easy on the wallet, so I chose spices that would taste good in both the chicken and vegetable dish. Also, I used whole milk, instead of cream, since that’s what was in my fridge; it worked surprising well, in my opinion.

Brown basmati rice and steamed broccoli rounded out the meal, but the dish would also pair nicely with peas. Here’s my take on an Indian-inspired chicken and spinach saag curry dish that are easy to make at home.

Yogurt-Marinated Chicken

  • 1 pound organic skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 ounces organic, non-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon organic tomato paste
  • 1 handful fresh, organic cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Spinach Saag Curry

  • 1/2 large organic onion
  • 1 medium-sized organic tomato
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 5-ounce bags of organic baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup organic whole milk
  • 1/4 cup organic, low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons organic tomato paste
  • 1 handful fresh, organic cilantro

The first step in making this dish was a trip to the market. I visited the bulk spice section of my local Whole Foods Market and only purchased the amount I needed. Other spices that would be good in this dish are garlic, garam masala and red pepper flakes (if you want to add some heat). Personally, I wanted to keep it simple, so I picked a few of my favorites: cumin, paprika and turmeric.

Back at home, I trimmed the excess fat off the chicken and chopped the meat into bite-sized chunks. I think tofu would also be really good in this recipe. In a medium bowl I combined the yogurt, my spice mix and the tomato paste. I brushed the yogurt mixture on the chicken and placed it in the fridge to marinate for 1-2 hours.

After a couple of hours, I got back to the kitchen and started on the spinach saag curry by chopping the onion and tomato. I heated the oil in a pan and added the cumin, paprika and turmeric. Wow! It smelled spectacular!

After a minute, I added the onion and tomato to the pan and cooked them for about 5-7 minutes until they softened. Then I added the two bags of spinach. The spinach practically overflowed the pot, but in a matter of minutes it began to cook down nicely. At that point, I stirred in the milk, broth, cilantro and tomato paste. I let the curry simmer, while I went back to the chicken.

The chicken was so easy to cook! I heated the oil in a pan, added the chicken and sautéed for about 7-9 minutes until it was fully cooked and browned on all sides. I plated the chicken and topped it with fresh cilantro. By this time my spinach curry had thickened and it was ready to serve as well.

As an extra step, I put the spinach in a blender for a few seconds, to purée any rogue spinach stems and smooth out the texture. However, you could skip this step if you think your family would prefer a chunkier texture. I served the dish with rice and broccoli and it was a hit! My son, who has recently started putting together short two- and three-word sentences, loved his curry so much that he wanted to share it.

After he took his first bite he smiled, looked at my husband and me and said, “Mommy curry? Daddy curry?” We both took bites of the delicious curry and smiled back. So there you have it, curry for kids. The spinach saag curry was my first attempt at making curry at home.

Do any of you have ideas for what my next curry dish should be? I’d love to hear them.

 

2 Comments

Comments

Pamela Bensley says ...
Try dhal( lentils). my 7 month old grandson loves it. I do it in the pressure cooker. Saute onion , mustard seeds and curry leaf ( available in Indian stores) in a little olive oil. When onions are golden, add ginger and garlic paste, chop fresh tomato and add, wash the red lentils and add them to the cooker, salt to taste, and some chopped cilantro. Add water and pressure cook for 9-10 minutes. When cooked and pressure cooker is open use ladle to puree the mixture . Can be eaten with rice, naan or plain as a soup. Very nutritious. Enjoy.
04/06/2012 12:49:47 PM CDT
Shelly says ...
Also try fish curry, saute chopped onions+tomatoes+garlic +ginger in a little oil. Add paprika,garam masala (little goes a long way) and salt to taste. Place fish fillets (i use tilapia), stir once and cover and cook for about 5-7 minutes. Add a sprinkle of water to prevent sticking if needed. Finish with quarter cup of coconut milk and cilatro. Yum!
04/06/2012 1:21:11 PM CDT