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Eat. Train. Race. Travel.

Welcome to Athlete Food - our continuous adventure to seek out healthy food around the globe and at our own dinner tables. Hope you are inspired to get on a plane or get out the plates and cook a healthy dinner tonight!

Updating a childhood classic: Javanese Curry Grain Bowls


Just in time for a weekend project, we have a retro recipe for you today. Consider making a big batch of this on Saturday or Sunday and freezing some of the week ahead. --Team AF

When my mother-in-law was a newlywed in Toronto the early 60's, she took a cooking course called International Cuisine, taught by Pearl Geneen, mother of Globe and Mail columnist and cookbook author Lucy Waverman. The course covered basics like making stock and deboning chicken, but also branched out with a few classes on "exotic cooking." We'd probably call these classes something like "Global Cooking" these days as they featured recipes like Indian Curry, Mexican Rice and a recipe called Chicken Javanese. 

Chicken Javanese was a family favorite and staple in SJ's house growing up. It was also the meal served at my first meet-the-parents visit in Toronto. SJ and I had driven up to Canada and stopped in for the night on our way to the Caledon ITU triathlon. When we arrived, we were greeted with this warm and comforting tomato-based curry and chicken dish.

A few visits later, I got the nerve to ask SJ's mom to look through her recipe book and came across the original recipe for Chicken Javanese. To my surprise, it was actually healthy and the recipe fairly uncomplicated. I returned to NY with a scanned copy of the recipe and emailed it to Melissa asking for her recommendations to modernize it with an Athlete Food flair. There were some obvious upgrades needed, like eliminating the MSG. Melissa also suggested using boneless chicken thighs or breasts instead of the "fryers" noted in the recipe. We also decided to enhance the spices and serve the dish with lime flavored quinoa instead of white rice.


We also changed the way the dish is served from one big platter to individually plated bowls. Because if you haven't noticed, we like eating out of bowls. This dish freezes well, so any extra can be saved for another day. 



Javanese Curry Grain Bowls

makes 2-4 bowls 

For the Curry:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 teaspoon coconut oil

1 tablespoon Athlete Food's Caribbean Green Seasoning (or 1 garlic clove, crushed and 1 medium onion, chopped)

1 1/2 cups sliced white button mushrooms

1 green pepper, chopped

1 14.5 oz. can of chopped tomatoes 

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

1/3 cup currants

To Serve:

Lime Scented Quinoa (recipe follows)

1/4 cup almonds, blanched and sliced

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped


Preheat oven to 325 F. 

Rinse chicken, trim any excess fat, skin or white stuff, and cut into roughly 3/4” in pieces. Season with a few pinches of salt and set aside. 

Heat oil in a dutch oven** (or any stovetop and ovenproof dish) over medium-high heat. 

When oil is melted, add chicken and cook until pieces turn white on the outside, 2-3 minutes. They will still be raw inside. Remove chicken to a plate lined with a paper towel. 

Add Green Seasoning, mushrooms, and green peppers to the pan and cook 2-3 minutes. 

Add salt, curry powder, thyme, and cayenne (if using) and cook another 1-2 minutes. 

Add tomatoes and currants and stir to combine. 

Transfer dutch oven to the oven using oven mitts or kitchen towels (the handles will be hot!)

Bake for 30 minutes. 

To serve:

Fill each bowl with Lime Quinoa (or rice), top with curry, almonds, and fresh parsley.  

**My mother-in-law always cooks this meal in a cast iron Dutch Oven that she purchased while taking that cooking course -- her teacher was Cananda's only importer of Le Crueset cookware at the time. When she downsized and moved to a condo over the summer, she gave me this dish along with her entire set of original Le Crueset, still in great condition. Score!

Lime Scented Quinoa

serves 4

time 20 min. prep/45 min. cook time

Lime Quinoa

serves 4

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

zest of 1 lime

juice of 1 lime


Cook quinoa according to package. When finished turn off heat and mix in zest, lime juice, salt and pepper.

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