I don’t know about you, but Halloween is one of my favourite holidays. I get so excited about all the candy and the trick-or-treaters, the pumpkins and the creepy decorations and of course, the scary movies and the costume parties. It’s so much fun and I for one cannot wait to have children and celebrate it with them. I find it to be a lot more fun than Christmas and Easter; and any chance to dress up, you can count me in; gives me a chance to release my inner child.
Now, contrary to popular belief Halloween, also know as All Hallows Eve, actually stems from Christian beliefs and is the time dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers. Though in modern culture it is celebrated in the ways I have described above; in many parts of the world, the Christian celebrations including; attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, remain popular. So, that’s an interesting fact for you before you start accusing me of glorifying evil or demonic beliefs and witchcraft.
Now onto the food part…and it’s all about pumpkins. Pumpkins come in all shapes and sizes, and different colours, and most importantly you can do so much with them, and use them in many different dishes. Whilst most are orange others are green; but for Halloween we traditionally use orange pumpkins. To honour Halloween I decided to carve out some scary faces onto my pumpkins; and instead of wasting the tasty fleshy parts I decided to use them in my cooking throughout this week. So hold tight and enjoy the pumpkin adventure!!
Today’s yummy dish is Curry Rice with Pumpkin Butter Chicken; perfect for your family’s Halloween meal.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Serves: 4 people (or more depending on portion size)
For the chicken
- 8 pieces of Chicken, thighs and legs, with the skin on
- 3 tbsp Chicken seasoning
- 2 tbsp powdered garlic
- 2 tbsp Soy sauce
- A handful of Coriander leaves
- Bay leaves
For the rice
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 teaspoons curry powder
- 2 cups (370g) long-grain white rice
- 3 ¼ cups (769ml) water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- A handful or 2 of raisins
For the pumpkin sauce
- 500g Pumpkin, chopped & deseeded
- 350ml Vegetable stock
- 121ml Double cream
- 40g (2 tbsp) Butter
Marinate the chicken with the seasoning; powdered garlic, chicken seasoning and soy sauce, then leave aside to soak in whilst you cook the rice.
Cook the onion and garlic in oil in a deep set, heavy saucepan over a low heat, stirring, until softened. Add curry powder and rice and continue to cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add water and salt and boil whilst uncovered, for about 8 minutes; without stirring, until the surface of rice is covered with steam holes and the grains at the top appear dry. Reduce the heat to as low as possible, and cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid – cook for 15 more minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the rice stand for 5 minutes. Then fluff with a fork and mix in your raisins, replace the lid and allow the rice to stand until ready to serve.
Now prepare your pumpkin butter sauce. Cut a whole pumpkin, remove any seeds and fibrous parts and cut the flesh into bite sized pieces. Heat the butter in a large pan and fry the onion for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden, then add your pumpkin and continue cooking for 8-10 minutes. Pour 350ml vegetable stock into the pan, then season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil; simmer for 10 minutes until the pumpkin is very soft. Pour the 142ml of double cream into the pan; bring back to the boil, then purée with a blender.
On a pan add your chicken and cook on a medium to low heat, until the chicken pieces are brown on each side and cooked through. No need to add oil to the pan, as the chicken skin has enough of its own oil. Now pour in your pumpkin soup, stir and cover the pan with a lid, allow it to simmer for about 10 minutes or until it thickens. Throw in your coriander leaves and stir once more. Remove from the heat and prepare to serve.
Plate up you rice, add your creamy pumpkin chicken and garnish with bay leaves for decoration. Enjoy with your beverage of choice.
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