After graduating and starting my job at Accenture, a management and technology consulting firm, I lost my passion for cooking. Mainly because my job pays me per diem to eat out everyday in exchange for my travels, but also because now I have money to pay for meals I couldn’t afford as a struggling student.
Back in my college years, this 30-minute curry recipe made me a week’s worth of meals for approximately $20. Today, despite no longer living off a $900/month salary, I still enjoy this recipe for its simplicity, cost-effectiveness, and overall deliciousness. I’ll be the first to admit that this recipe is not entirely authentic to Indian or Thai cuisine, but hey, it takes 30 minutes, so I’m also not one to complain.
- 3lbs chicken thigh ($8)
- 2 white potatoes ($1)
- 3 carrot stalks ($1)
- 1 lb green beans ($2)
- 1 sweet onion ($1)
- 2-3 jalapenos based on spiciness preference ($1)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 minced garlic clove ($.25)
- 2 cans of 13.5 lbs oz light coconut milk ($3)
- 2-3 cups of water based on thickness preference
- 2 boxes of curry sauce cubes ($4)
- Here, I’ve used Golden Curry, but you can find a variety at Asian super markets
- 2 chicken bouillon cubes ($.50)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Start by chopping up the veggies (potatoes, carrots, onions, and beans) into 1 inch pieces and the jalapeno into 4 millimeter slices. If you prefer the curry spicier use 3 jalapenos. Otherwise 2 gives it a nice kick without overdoing the spice:
Cut the chicken into big chunks. I typically try to split up each of the thighs into 3-4 sections.
If you have a jar of minced garlic, I would get a teaspoon ready to use. Otherwise, mince up a clove of garlic. Once you have all of these ingredients prepped, you’re ready to start mixing it up in a huge pot. If you have a big stock pot, I would use that. If not, a regular pot will do – you may have to adjust the amount of ingredients to fit everything.
In the pot, drizzle some coconut oil or olive oil on the bottom and heat up on medium-high. After the oil heats up, throw in the onions, garlic, and chicken thighs. Stir around until the onions are slightly transparent and the chicken is browned on the outside. Put all of the remaining veggies into the pot and stir for 1-2 minutes.
Next, open up two cans of light coconut milk and pour into the pot along with 2-3 cups of water. I would go with 2 first and add a 3rd cup later if the curry is too thick.
Bring the pot to boil. Once boiled, drop the chicken bouillon cubes and bay leaves in and lower the heat to simmer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the potatoes should be tender, at which point, you’re ready to add the curry seasoning. (Yes, I’m cheating by using the packaged curry, but it’s totally worth the hour I saved in prep work.) Break up the curry block and slowly add into the curry mix while stirring. The cubes will dissolve and thicken the broth. Add salt and pepper to your liking. I typically just add pepper.
Once stirred to your liking, the curry is ready to be served! You can eat with white rice, rice noodles, or bread (e.g. naan). I personally like it over white rice.
My favorite part is packing up the leftovers for the rest of the week. 🙂 Can’t beat healthy, cheap, and flavorful meal prepping!