This feature recipe is a tasty chicken treat sauteed with vegetables and herbs. The canola oil's high smoke point enables you to sear the chicken, giving it a light brown crust. This locks in the flavor and creates a crispy exterior and tender inside.

Grinding the cumin seeds releases their warm, earthy and nutty flavor. The turmeric, with its yellowish tint and peppery, pungent taste, adds to the aroma, and color of the dish. This is balanced by the sweetness of the bell pepper and the cool, fresh properties of mint. A little cornstarch thickens the sauce and ensures that the meat retains its moisture.

The peppers and carrots provide color and nutrition. The ancient carrot is widely believed to have originated in Afghanistan over 5000 years ago. Originally it came in an assortment of colors, including white, black, purple and red, but surprisingly not orange. In the 16th century, the Dutch crossbred yellow and red carrots to produce the orange variety we know today.

Healthy and easy to make, this is a great dish for deck, patio and backyard dining. It allows you to enjoy the goodness of chicken and take advantage of fresh summer vegetables. You can refrigerate extra portions for convenient leftovers.

Seared Herb Chicken and Veggies

Yield: Makes 4 servings.

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Ingredients

  • 1 tsp. each fennel seeds and cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. dried turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. coriander
  • (can also substitute 2 tsp curry powder for fennel, cumin, turmeric and coriander)
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4-1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
  • 1 small red pepper, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 large carrots, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne or red pepper, or to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 1/2-2 tsp. lime juice, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint

Directions

  1. Grind fennel and cumin seeds in pestle or spice grinder to a course texture. Place in bowl and add turmeric, coriander, oregano, cornstarch and salt and stir to combine. Add chicken and stir until coated.
  2. Preheat wok or iron skillet over high heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon oil. When oil shimmers, add bell peppers, carrots, onion, garlic and cayenne pepper and pinch of salt, to taste. Cook, stirring, until vegetables begin to brown. Transfer and set aside.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-high and add remaining tablespoon of oil to pan. Add coated chicken and cook, stirring, until no longer pink in middle, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in vegetables, lime juice and mint and cook until heated through, less than 1 minute.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
200 calories
8 g total fat
1 g saturated fat
12 g carbohydrate, 21 g protein
3 g dietary fiber
370 mg sodium