Vasantha Prasad

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- Vasantha Prasad, author of “Indian Vegetarian Cooking from an American Kitchen.”

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Pistachio Chicken

This dish is very delicate in taste and eye-catching because of its creamy, light green color. I’m just nuts about pistachios.  This nut is naturally trans-fat and cholesterol free, low in calories and fat, and a good source of antioxidants.  The taste and flavor is what makes this dish distinctive and delicious.   Make sure to use good quality pistachios.

Prep Time:  15 minutes Cooking Time: 40 minutes  Serves:  4

3 Tbsp. extra light olive oil

2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cleaned and fat deposits trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 c. shelled pistachio nuts

4 green chilies

1/4 c. light cream

2 onions chopped

1/2 inch ginger, peeled and chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp. garam masala

1/8 tsp. ground turmeric

1 inch cinnamon stick

3/4 tsp. black pepper

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tomato chopped

1/2 c. yogurt, whisked

7 oz. can chicken broth

salt to taste


2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

1. In a medium skillet, heat oil over a medium flame.  Add chicken and fry for 5–8 minutes, until chicken is lightly golden. Turn off heat.  Remove chicken and set aside.

2. In a blender fitted with a steel blade or food processor, grind the pistachios, chilies, and light cream into a paste. (Add 2 Tbsp. of water if consistency is not pasty enough.)

3. In the same skillet, over a medium flame, add onions and sauté until lightly golden brown.  Reduce heat to low, add ginger, garlic, garam masala, turmeric, cinnamon, and pepper.  Fry for 2 minutes.  Add pistachio paste and fry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Increase heat to medium-high; add chicken and sauté for 5 minutes.  Lower flame, add brown sugar, tomato, yogurt, and chicken broth; cover and cook until chicken is done (about 10–15 minutes).  

5. Salt to taste. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with coconut rice or chapati.

What’s good for you besides chicken:

v Pistachios are the most heart-healthy of all nuts. They are nutrient dense, full of fiber, antioxidants, vitamin B6, and copper, which helps increase energy. Pistachios are high in “good” fat, which lowers cholesterol and risk of heart disease, and has been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes.