The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Toddler-approved Applesauce Chicken Curry Recipe

Yes, I fed my 2-year-old toddler some curry. And he enjoyed it! I love curry, and I also love cooking various types of curries, but since we decided that I should stop cooking separately for Zak (which I had been doing because of his food allergies), curry ceased being a regular dish at dinner-time. It had been months since I last cooked a curry dish. I've missed it, and apparently Rob also missed eating my curries because he exclaimed "I've missed your curries, Jean" while eating this fruit-based curry I cooked last week. This is not my first time cooking a sweet fruity curry, although I remember being rather apprehensive about the idea of a sweet curry. This dish turned out great, and the 2-year-old really enjoyed it (much to my relief!). Zak pulled a face while scratching his tongue only twice (no doubt due to the spiciness), but he went on to finish everything on his plate. He had been previously exposed to spices and curry, but that was when he was much younger and his taste buds and preferences had not yet fully developed. Looks like I had nothing to worry about regarding the boy being fussy about spicy food.

Zak's plate with the Applesauce curry, steamed rice and veges. He ate about half that drumstick (plenty enough protein for a toddler) and everything else on that plate as well as half a cup of milk for dinner (and a biscuit afterwards as a reward for finishing his dinner):

I briefly mentioned before about Zak's food allergies, and in addition to nut, soy and sesame, coconut is a no-no for the 2-year-old. That meant I couldn't use coconut milk or cream, which is usually used to thicken curry and give it a slightly sweet creamy note. I happened to have an open jar of unsweetened applesauce, and it worked excellently to thicken and give a certain sweet depth to the curry. An added bonus that applesauce is also healthier than the saturated fat-laden coconut milk. In addition to the curry powder for meat, I added ground cinnamon because of how well it goes with apple. Add a handful of raisins, and you have the curry that got my toddler's approval. By the way, the addition of tomato sauce (aka ketchup) may seem strange, but I've always used it in my curry ever since I found out that it is my mum's "secret ingredient" in her glorious chicken curry.

Toddler-approved Applesauce Chicken Curry


2-3 tablespoons oil (I use olive)
1 small onion (~150g), finely chopped
2 teaspoons chopped ginger
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons curry powder (I used Alagappa's brand Malay-style curry powder for meat)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1kg chicken pieces
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
3/4 cup (~170g) unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons tomato sauce (aka ketchup)
1 large potato (~300-400g), cut into pieces
a handful of raisins (or sultanas)


1. In a pot over high heat, fry the onion with the oil until the onion begins to brown.
3. Turn down the heat to medium high, add the ginger and garlic and stirfry for half a minute until gorgeously fragrant.
4. Add the curry powder and cinnamon together with the chicken pieces to the pot and stirfry for a minute to lightly toast the spices and briefly brown the chicken (some of the spices will stick to the bottom of the pot, which is fine as long as it doesn't burn).
5. Add the chicken stock, water, applesauce and tomato sauce to the pot, and stir well while scraping the bottom of the pot. At this point there should be plenty of liquid to cover the chicken chunks (if not, add more stock/water).
6. Add the potato chunks and simmer on low heat (it should be barely bubbling) for a good 30 minutes, stirring only occasionally. This helps the flavours to meld and blend together, as well as to cook the chicken and potato pieces.
8. In the last 5 minutes of the cooking, add the raisins and stir well.
9. Serve with rice and veges for a healthy and balanced meal.

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