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"I love making this one-pan dish on autumn evenings," Dr. Aujla says. "The turmeric and mustard seeds deliver delicious earthy notes, while the onion and chili bring heat, resulting in a well-balanced, complex flavor. I like to serve this dish with a simple green side salad, and it also makes a great lunch the next day."
"Vibrant color is key to figuring out if something is healthy for you," Dr. Aujla continues, referring to nutrient-dense sweet potatoes. "Variety is very, very important."
And according to the doc, the variety in this dish provides many additional nutritional benefits, including:
- Garlic is great for gut microbiota, which has a significant connection to cardiovascular health.
- Peas and potatoes provide nutrient density and fiber. Fiber is super important to overall health. Having plenty of fiber sources reduces inflammation and can help prevent heart problems.
- Ginger and turmeric may play a role in immune support as they have been shown in small studies to reduce gut inflammation.
- Greens, like spinach, can impact multiple systems of the body, including the brain, and are one of the most important parts of a healthy diet. Inflammation is a key component of why brain processes can become disrupted, leading to symptoms of fatigue and sometimes low mood. Dark, leafy greens are also a source of fiber that could benefit gut bacteria, which is also involved in regulation of inflammation in the body.
Pro Tip: Dr. Aujla likes to garnish the dish with toasted coconut flakes or toasted almonds for added crunch and texture.
Adapted from Eat To Beat Illness by Dr. Rupy Aujla. Copyright © 2019 by Dr. Rupy Aujla. Used with permission by HarperOne. All rights reserved.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 red chile, seeded and roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
- One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- Salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 ¼-inch cinnamon stick, or ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- ¾ cup coconut milk
- ¾ cup vegetable stock (use a stock cube dissolved in water if needed)
- 7 ounces peas, fresh or thawed
- 18 ounces peeled sweet potato, cut into 1 ¼ -inch cubes
- 3 ½ ounces spinach, roughly chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ ounce fresh cilantro, finely chopped, to serve
Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
Melt the coconut oil in a large ovenproof saucepan or casserole dish over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, chile, mustard seeds and ginger with some salt and pepper, and sauté for 3-4 minutes, then stir in the turmeric and cinnamon, and cook for a minute. Add chicken, skin side down. Fry the chicken gently for 5-6 minutes, stirring every now and again to ensure the onions don’t burn, until the skin lightly browns. Flip the chicken thighs over, and pour in the coconut milk and stock. Add the peas, sweet potato cubes, and spinach, making sure they are all covered in the coconut sauce. Cover with a lid, and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through (the juices run clear when you pierce the thighs with a sharp knife) and the sweet potato is soft. Remove from the oven, and serve garnished with the cilantro.