Spicy chicken recipe to warm the inside on chilly April days

Weekend Foodie recipes: Di Curtin rustles up Spicy Chicken in Coconut Milk, followed by Penna Cotta with Mixed Berry Compote
Spicy chicken recipe to warm the inside on chilly April days

Spicy Chicken in Coconut Milk, by Di Curtin - see the recipe here

AS the first quarter of the year is over and we are in the run up to summer, we’d like to be seeing the weather behaving a bit more like it!

But April, 2023, has made an entrance amid blasts of wind and lashing rain.

Oh well, ‘April showers bring forth May flowers’ as the saying goes. That’s if the torrential downpours haven’t drowned all the bulbs in the garden!

As we are not quite at the point where we can talk about the lighter foods of the early summer season, I’m playing it a little bit safe this weekend with a dish that doesn’t carry the big weight of gutsy winter dishes, but does have some depth and heat to warm you from the inside out during this ‘in-between’ period.

This spicy chicken and butternut squash in a creamy coconut sauce hits the right balance this month. Full of big flavours, sustaining and colourful, all in one bowl.

For dessert, after a spicy main, my offering this weekend is a cooling and creamy Panna Cotta.

The name of this simple pud translates as ‘cooked cream’ which is exactly what it is.

The cream is heated and gelatine added, before pouring the mix into moulds and chilling to set. Very simple and would go well with fresh berries in season.

But as we haven’t quite hit the time for homegrown berries just yet, I’m making a compote of convenient frozen mixed berries instead.

This pud really does remind us that warmer weather is on the way.


Main dish

Butternut Squash €1.09

Chicken mini fillets 400g €4.99

Coconut milk 400mls €2.29

Thai Red Curry Paste 113g €2.55

Green beans 220g €1.19

Total: €12.11


Gelatin sachets 3 x 12g pack €2.45

Cream x 500mls €2.49

Vanilla Extract x 35ml €2.55

Mixed frozen berries 340g €1.43

Total: €8.92


Spicy Chicken in Coconut Milk

Ingredients (serves 4) 2 tbsp olive oil 350g mini chicken fillets, chopped 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 1 fat finger fresh rootginger, grated 1 medium butternut squash, halved, seeded, peeled and chopped 2 tsp Thai red curry paste 1 tbsp tomato puree 400mls vegetable stock Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 100g green beans, topped tailed and chopped 400ml can coconut milk Basil leaves and green chilli slices for decoration (optional) Method Heat the oil in a pan and cook the chicken to brown all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a heavy bottomed saucepan.

Add another splash of oil to the pan and add the garlic, ginger and squash. Cook for a few minutes, stirring, but don’t let the garlic and ginger burn.

Add the squash mix to the chicken in the pan. Stir in the curry paste and cook for a minute. Add the tomato puree and stock and bring to bubbling. Season.

Add the green beans, stir in the coconut milk and simmer gently for about 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and the squash is tender.

Check seasoning, then serve in warmed bowls decorated with basil and fresh green chilli slices if you wish.

Penna Cotta with Mixed Berry Compote

Ingredients (serves 4) 1 x 12g sachet gelatine 500mls cream 3-4 tbsp caster sugar (to taste) Few drops vanilla extract mixed berries 1 tbsp icing sugar, sifted Method Line four ramekins smoothly with cling film, leaving some draping over the side. Brush the inside inside of each mould lightly with oil.

Dissolve gelatin in about 8 tbsp hot water, stirring to dissolve thoroughly.

Meanwhile, heat the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a pan until just about to boil. Remove from heat.

Stir gelatin briskly into the heated cream, making sure it is thoroughly combined.

Pour the mixture into the four ramekins. Cover the tops with the excess film.

Cool then chill until set.

For the compote, place berries in a pan with a splash of water. Heat gently till defrosted and bubbling. Press the berries down gently with a wooden spoon so they break up slightly but stlll have texture.

Remove from heat and cool.

To serve, unwrap the film from the top of each mould and turn out the Panna Cottas onto four dessert plates. Carefully peel off the film.

Top each with some berry compote to serve.


HOW about an Irish home brew to go with your Asian influenced curry this weekend? And at a great price for a pint!

Foxes Rock Gluten Free Lager is a craft brewed Irish lager from County Louth. This lager takes its name from the magnificent Cooley Mountains of Co. Louth.

Made with pure Irish spring water, malted barley and hops, this packs a vibrant punch of refreshing flavour with depth of character too.

It has 4.5% alcohol by volume, making it a midweight lager capable of handling the spices in this flavourful main course. Great news for gluten intolerant diners as well, who can safely partake of a glass of this with their meal without a worry.

A generous 500mls bottle will cost you €2.50 at Supervalu stores.

A quality pint at a cheap price!

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