Friday, 26 August 2016

chicken stew for a hangover

i can never tire of my grandmother's chicken stew, which i ate just about every week, growing up. it was nothing fancy, just everyday ingredients and her good, honest cooking.

words like "provenance", "whole foods" or "unprocessed" were not part of her culinary lexicon, but if she didn't recognise an ingredient or couldn't pronounce its name, it was not allowed in her kitchen.

the hodge podge i often find in my veggie bin 

this is my low fodmap spin on her simple but gloriously fragrant stew, as i can't envision a life without it. there was lots of leftover rotisserie chicken in the fridge. in the veggie bin, a little of this, a little of that. i was nursing a slight hangover after a very indulgent meal with good friends, the day before and wanted an easy but bolstering and colourful dinner to dispel the post alcohol blahs.

my mind kept going back to my grandmother's tarnished and battered pot, simmering away on her kerosene stove and scenting the whole house with comfort and warmth.  this is what eventually came out of my pot.

it's the simplest of meals, but the best things in life, usually are.

makes 4 - 6 servings

2 -3 cinnamon sticks, each about 5 cm (2 in)
6 -8 cloves
1/2 - 2/3 teaspoon asafoetida
3 small carrots, peel and cut into chunks
12 new potatoes, peel or leave skin on
3 tablespoons brown rice flour
1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/3 teaspoon ground bay leaves
7 cups water
1 teaspoon chicken or vegetable stock powder (onion and garlic free)
1/2 small japanese (kabocha) pumpkin, peel thickly, discard seeds and pulp, cut into chunks
1/2 small red cabbage, discard core and cut into large pieces
1 1/2 rotisserie chicken, discard skin and cut into chunks
2 teaspoons salt
chopped parsley or sliced spring onion tops to garnish

  • heat 3 tablespoons oil in a pot until moderately hot
  • add the cinnamon sticks, cloves and asafoetida
  • stir for about 2 minutes, ensuring the asafoetida does not burn
  • add the carrots and potatoes and stir for about 3 or 4 minutes
  • add rice flour, ground white pepper and ground bay and stir for 3 minutes or until flour smells nutty
  • pour in water and add stock powder
  • bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer until carrots and potatoes are almost tender
  • add pumpkin and simmer for 5 minutes
  • add cabbage and chicken and stir well
  • simmer for another 4-5 minutes
  • add salt to taste
  • dish out and serve garnished with parsley or spring onion

  • take care not to overcook the pumpkin as it starts to disintegrate after just 10 minutes of cooking
  • red cabbage and cabbage in general doesn't cause my husband tummy trouble but it tends to be problematic for those with digestive issues, so if you are sensitive to it, just omit from the recipe
  • japanese or kabocha pumpkin is low in fodmaps, while regular pumpkin is moderate - high in fodmaps, depending on the serving size

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