This week is special

It happened  sometime this week when without me realizing it,  my children decided to put food pickiness aside. It feels like a major achievement every dinner this week was not just tolerated but dare I say enjoyed by the whole family. Admittedly it was a short week, maybe its a fluke. I’m taking credit, could it be planning ahead works….

Since January, before the week gets underway, we take a minute, to divvy up the days and plan some meals. No more midweek indecision, no more meal time malaise. For the most part in 2015 we have avoided being too tired and busy to think about what to eat let alone procuring the supplies for the evenings meal. No more dragging uncooperative children through the grocery isle. Its a revelation, it shouldn’t be, but it is.

What happened? Is it really as simple as taking a few minutes to think through the weeks activities and plan meals accordingly that makes the difference. Sort of. I don’t really think its the planning that’s made them eat, or my parenting – Just thst I have more energy to roll with the evening’s chaos because I haven’t used up my reserves getting the food to the table.

My most recent success, now filed under a growing new section in my recipe box titled “family favorite” is our take on Roti. Caribbean inspired curry folded up in a warm flat bread.

Our Roti:
Total cook time is about 3 hrs. But its only a few steps with lots of waiting in between. If you’re using a slow cooker you’ll need about 15 min to wash, chop and prep the meal before it goes into the slowcooker and another 20-30 min before eating if you are making your flat bread form scratch.
I made the dough and washed, chopped and prepped the curry in the morning while the kids were eating breakfast. I let it all simmer & cook together while I rolled out and fried the roti (expect to spend about 20-30 min on the flat bread). If instead you throw everything in the slowcooker in the morning it can cook all day and be ready to eat on store bought flour tortillas the moment you walk through the door at the end of the day.

2 chicken breasts, skinless boneless

5 tb plain yogurt
1 lime’s juice
4 tb curry powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tb garam masala
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp ginger
(1 tsp mustard seed)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pepper

1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic,minced
(1 scotch bonnet pepper)

1c chicken stock/water
1c coconut milk

1 can chick pea
1 potato cubed

1c cilantro, chopped

Roti Dough (part 1)

4c flour
2 tb baking powder
1 c water
1 Tsp salt
2 Tb butter/ghee melted or veg. Oil

Combine dry ingredients for roti flat bread; baking powder, flour, & salt. Using hands or stand mixer with dough hook, knead in water a little at a time then the butter/oil.
Knead until smooth and elastic about 5 min.
Break into 6 pieces and roll into ball with hands. I greased up my hands with oil. Cover and set aside to rest at least 1 hr

(Ideally,  spices should be roasted in a dry hot pan until just fragrant but they still work off the shelf…crush/grind and combine spices)

CURRY Stove top:
Combine spices with lime juice and yogurt.
Cube chicken add to mix. Set aside.
dice onion, mince garlic.
Sweat onions and garlic (& pepper) in a med hot pan with a little vegetable oil. Only use the pepper if you want it spicy. I omitted it for my kids.
Meanwhile, dice potato (1cm) and drain and rinse chick peas.
Add chicken & sauce to pan with onions and cook, stir in chick peas and potato, add stock and coconut milk. Reduce heat to med-low cover and let slowly simmer.

Slow cooker:
dice onion, mince garlic.
Sweat onions and garlic in a med hot pan. Add to slowcooker with all remaining. make sure there is enough liquid to cover all ingredients add water if needed. Cook on medium 6hrs.

Serve on flat bread. Garnish with cilantro.

Roti flat bread (part 2)

Roll each ball out on a floured surface until quite thin – this may take 2 rounds of rolling.
Roll 1 ball, set aside, continue for each ball. roll to about 12″ across & 1/8″ thick.
Heat a 12″ (or larger) pan to med-high. Brush with a little vegetable oil fry flat bread until bubble form and turn brown, then flip (about 1.5 min/side).
Keep warm under a damp tea towel until ready to serve.

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