It didn’t quite get the memo that “never sleeps” really just implies staying out really late, destroying your liver, and then sleeping in until 1 or 2 to replenish it. An energetic kind of insomnia.
Instead, it decided to take the whole thing at face value. By 8 AM. I am up without fail. Whether I went to bed at 11 or at 4 (although if I went to bed at 11, odds are I was up by 6).
And all my friends wonder why I absolutely refuse to stay out past 3. It’s not just about my intrinsic lameness (although I’m willing to bet that is a key factor.) It’s physiological. (Anatomy may be over. But we have a physiology exam left. Followed by spring break and 8 more weeks of immunology. So “it’s over” but not really. Just like “I sleep” but not really.)
Now I bet you’re saying. Um. Joanne. I really like hearing about your Circadian rhythms. In detail. Seriously. I’m…uhhhh…fascinated. But…I came for the food. So what does this have to do with curry?
Funny you should ask.
Because the answer is. Everything.
Fun fact of the day that may someday help you when you are on Jeopardy or Who Wants To Be A Millionaire or Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader (I watch that show at the gym sometimes…way more depressing than anything else on the air. Apparently my academic potential peaked. At age 10.)
Mangoes are high in tryptophan. (That molecule in turkey that your Uncle Bill raves about on Thanksgiving every year. Yeah. You know what I’m talking about.) So high in fact that, unlike turkey (sorry Uncle Bill!), they actually have somnolent effects (whereas the post Thanksgiving dinner nap is probably due to the massive amount of carbs and alcohol. And not the poultry.)
So, you know, if you’re like me and are completely adverse to taking any medication. And you have sleep issues. This dish is worth a try. Plus it tastes way better than Lunesta or Ambien or whatever meds you’re on. Which is, I guess, an added benefit.
And if you end up winning one of the aforementioned game shows due to this useless trivia that I’ve inoculated you with this morning. I take Paypal. And checks. And gift cards to Trader Joe’s.
I’m pretty sure this curry is Burmese in origin, which really means that it is a mixture of everything southeast Asian (though mostly Thai and Indian, in this case). It is bursting with flavor from the spice of the curry powder, sweetness of the mango and raisins, fat from the coconut milk and acidity from the vinegar. The chicken is poached in the mango curry sauce rather than fried separately and so it is smooth and silky. Moist and delicious. As, you know, good chicken should be.
Mango Chicken Curry
Serves 4, adapted from Simply Recipes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 tbsp yellow curry powder
1/2 tsp cumin
2 mangoes, peeled and diced
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup water
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless, chicken thighs cut into small pieces
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup lite coconut milk
salt, sugar, and pepper, to taste
cilantro to garnish
1 Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the red bell pepper and cook for a couple more minutes. Add the curry powder and cumin, cook for a few more minutes. The spices will absorb some of the oil, so if anything begins to stick too much to the bottom of the pan, add a little more oil to the pan. Add the ginger and garlic, cook for one minute more.
2 Add the vinegar, water, and a 1/2 of the chopped mango to the pan. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain a low simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat. Scoop the sauce into a blender. Purée the sauce, pulsing until smooth. Return the sauce to the pan.
3 Add chicken pieces and raisins to the pan. Return to a low simmer. Cover the pan and let cook for 8-10 minutes. Chicken should be just cooked through. Use a knife to cut open the largest piece to check.
4 Add remaining mango pieces to the pan. Stir in the coconut milk. Let cook at a very low temperature for another minute or two, uncovered. Do not let boil! Or the cream may curdle. Adjust seasonings. If a little too sweet, add a little more vinegar. If not sweet enough, you can add a dash of sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with rice and garnish with cilantro.