Birthday Yum: Indonesian chicken curry

Another year, another birthday! This is not a "big number" for me, just a regular number. I celebrated mostly with good food and lovely family. One great (quiet) birthday gift was simply observing my daughter caught up in reading library books for most of the day. She is becoming a big-time reader just like both of her parents.

Before I get to the chicken curry, here are some other food highlights from my weekend.

Pre-birthday date night! Vermont hamburger with cheddar and mushrooms at Fireworks restaurant. We usually come here whenever we go out and we are always satisfied. They have a new presentation including a little tin for the fries and a KNIFE that holds the burger together.

This morning, a treat of mother-daughter-granddaughter brunch at duo. Above is my Bloody Hot Mary, which is extra spicy and features jalapeño-stuffed olives. I love duo so much! (It is a new restaurant in town that is both friendly and fancy, just what Brattleboro needs if you ask me.)

"Sweet Sunday" is an Eggs Florentine-esque breakfast that has mushrooms and caramelized onions hiding under there, too.

Chocolate Semifreddo: ice cream and dense brownie with candied ginger. I also had a caffe latte.

Later, for a little personal cocktail hour I had a single serving of sparkling wine (thanks to the 4-can packs of SOFIA from Francis Coppola's winery), a Vermont Farmstead Lillé cheese, and crackers.

And I decided to cook my own birthday dinner, inspired by a jar of Trader Joe's Sambal Matah Indonesian Salsa that we were given for Christmas (thanks Auntie A!). Here is my totally made-up Indonesian Chicken Curry...

  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken thighs, just cut in half
  • 1 t turmeric powder
  • 1/2 t cumin powder
  • 4 T Trader Joe's Sambal Matah
  • 1 box chicken broth (32 ounces)
  • 3 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup red lentils

Melt the coconut oil in a Dutch oven and add onion. Stir on medium heat for about 5 minutes until the onion starts to get transparent.

Add chicken thighs and stir/turn to just cook on the outside: a few more minutes.

Stir in cumin and turmeric. Let the heat release the spice aroma!

Add dollops of Sambal Matah and stir until heated through and smelling great.

Pour in chicken broth...

Add cubed potatoes...

Add chopped garlic...

Add red lentils, cover and bring to a boil. Then turn to low and simmer until lentils have disintegrated and potatoes are soft, about 45 minutes.

When I think of authentic curry, I think of meat in odd chunks as if cut with an axe. Definitely NOT in tidy cubes. To get a little of that axe effect, I pulled the chicken thighs with a fork once they were cooked.

Remove cooked chunks from pot, and with at least one fork, pull each piece apart to shred it.

Shredded! Return to the curry and stir together.

I served my birthday curry over white rice with a side of spinach. We were very pleased with the result: nicely spiced and very filling!

I also whipped up some bacon-wrapped scallops. Because birthday.

Happy January to you! I love this month, so full of good intentions and possibility and taking care of oneself!

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