Take an Old Recipe…


Yep, what it says. This particular photo will serve as my example of how to make a recipe your own. You should take this anecdote and be able to apply it to your general approach toward cooking any recipe.

Here you are looking at my most delicious Coconut Curry Chicken Stew yet – I add the word “yet”because this dish has gotten better and better with changes I’ve incorporated each time I’ve made it. I’ll walk you step-by-step through what I mean exactly.

I first tasted this goodness as a kid. My dad is a phenomenal cook and I was blessed enough to have mouth-watering dinners served on a daily basis.

Flash-forward to becoming an adult and living on my own, my dad sent me his loose recipe (loose because he made it up and didn’t provide any real measurement guidance) on how to make what I grew up loving to eat. I found that his method required a lot of hard work – and remember, I’m lazy. The “hard work” I’m referring to involved cutting up chicken wings, and then marinating them overnight or storing them in the freezer. I had meat scissors for the task but I found it difficult to find the exact right spot to separate the wings. I also felt pretty lazy about the marinating in advance. My first shot at the dish was ok but definitely not as good as I’d remembered it to be, and too much work went into it for it to come out mediocre.

As a result of my unwillingness to be so diligent in cutting up chicken wings, I resorted to using skinless chicken thighs which were much easier to cut. I also felt that they took on flavor in a more lasting way than did the wings when submerged into coconut cream.

I later came across Pioneer Woman’s recipe on Coconut Shrimp Curry. Reading it gave me ideas on how to revise what I’d been doing with my dad’s chicken recipe. She introduced to me the idea of adding lime, which today has been one of my favorite tweaks.

Using my dad’s recipe as a base, adding in some tips I’d learned from Pioneer Woman, and then experimenting with additional spices such as cardamom have all led up to making for an amazing dish I can now call my own. Inspired by others, but my own.

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