Monday, 8 August 2011

Cummings-McLean's Sweet and Spicy Chemo Curry

Hmm! Now doesn't that sound DELICIOUS? But as regular readers know, I am in Italy visiting Hilary, who has had two bouts of chemo and has a third one coming up. I do the cooking, and it is not easy finding my way around Another Woman's Kitchen, believe you me. Things aren't where I put them at home, and although the local produce is marvellous, Hilary's cookbooks are all for England.

Hilary, who believes very firmly in REALITY, does not want to be a fake Italian, but a real British (and Canadian) expatriate, and what is more British than CURRY? (Believe me on this.) And since I am married to a Scotsman, I know how to make a good curry from scratch. I generally follow the directions on the back of the curry powder jar.

That recipe I have memorized, but Hilary's kitchen did not have what I needed today, so I had to wing it. Normally I disapprove of winging it, unless one has made a dish so many times that one really can intelligently substitute this for that. And, happily, my noon-time experiment worked out so well that Hilary asked for the recipe.

Hilary, incidentally, does not believe in flattery.

The reason why I call this Chemo Curry is a chemo patient's abstention from pasta, bread, rice and potatoes. I served this on barley and various kinds of lettuce, and it really worked. The nuttiness of the barley substitutes for almonds, so this recipe really doesn't need almonds.

Cummings-McLeans Sweet and Spicy Chemo Curry*

one onion
chicken breasts (defrosted is fine) for two cut up
2 Tbsp curry powder with chili powder added to taste
1 cup yogurt
some cream if you have any, milk if not
1/4-1/3 cup chicken stock (made from powder)
big (2 Tbsp?) spoonful coconut cream
2 squirts tomato paste

1. Dice onion and cook till golden in olive oil.
2. Cook pieces of chicken for 2.5 minutes either side.
3. Throw in curry powder and cook for 2 minutes, coating chicken and onions with it.
4. Pour in yogurt, cream (or milk), chicken stock.
5. Throw in coconut cream and squirt tomato paste squirts.
6. Mix gently to incorporate tomato paste and coconut into sauce.
7. Bring to boil, lower heat and put on lid.
8. Simmer for 20 minutes.


1. Put 1 teacup of barley in 3 teacups of water and smidge of chicken stock powder. Set to boil.
2. Boil for 20-25 minutes. Test for chewiness.
3. If sufficiently yummy, pour off any water remaining.

In Italy, barley is called orzo.


If the chicken curry sauce seems a bit too thin, let boil for another 3-5 minutes with the lid off.

Put mixed salad greens in shallow soup plate. Heap barley in centre. Spoon chicken onto barley. Pour curry sauce over chicken.

The cancer patient should drink water with lemon. The cook-carer, however, should have a lovely cold glass of dry white wine.

*Not doctor approved. I am not a doctor! Heaven knows if chemo patients are really supposed to be eating coconut cream.


Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

It would also, in my opinino, be good with peas. I like peas in curry.

Sheila said...

I seem to remember coconuts have cancer-fighting properties! I know for sure that they fight infections. In any event, they're so good for you I'm sure they will do Hilary some good.

I can't imagine anything better to have when you're sick than a loving friend making you curry. :)

Jam said...

I could almost enjoy eating mixed greens with something tasty like this over top ;)

Catherine said...

Tried this recipe last night, and had the leftovers for lunch today - loved it! Thanks for sharing! Sending prayers for your friend.

berenike said...

I think I am going to have to learn to make curry. Patak's sauces are horribly expensive, and the others aren't that nice. This is the first curry recipe I've seen that doesn't scare me off with too many ingredients.

The only question is - will I find curry powder?

theobromophile said...

and what is more British than CURRY? (Believe me on this.)

That explains why the curry was found under "British foods" in the supermarket that I went to today. :)

You could also throw veggies and cashews in there instead of chicken and make a nice Lent-appropriate meal.

Very happy to hear that you're around to help Hilary. Hilary: hoping for a full and quick recovery.

Coconut cream for chemo patients: from what I understand, it is fine; they should avoid foods that are very, very anti-oxidant laden. Normally, it's good to have anti-oxidants, but it diminishes the efficacy of the chemotherapy treatments.

Sinéad. said...

And grilled courgette and mushrooms. But mostly it's really important to add a big spoonful of turmeric to any curry or carrot soup etc. you make. It doesn't taste of much but will colour your food slightly brown/orange. It's known as the garlic of the east and is the most powerful of anti-cancer foods. You will rarely see Asians with cancer of the gastrointestinal system unless they follow a western diet. Add it with a little warm oil and freshly ground black pepper to activate its magic best. Turmeric turmeric turmeric, little jar from Schwartz could save your life if used regularly.

Kate P said...

I think you have made something appealing to eat, and that is always good for someone on chemo. Peas might be even more comforting--not to mention nutritious--so that's a good idea, too! (On top of the fact that it pleases Hilary!)

Seraphic said...

YES to tumeric. I would certainly have thrown some in, but Hilary didn't have any.

I'm glad the recipe worked for you, Catherine!

Adam's Rib said...

Instead of lettuce/salad, try cabbage. In Sri Lanka, they have this awesome chopped cabbage dish that is served with curry.
And cabbage is really good for you!YUM!!!