Aaliyah is a massive fan of chicken and rice. When I say chicken and rice, I mean chicken curry with rice. It’s her staple. I know if I’m serving this up for dinner, there will be no complaints – no little fussy pointy fingers coming out – ‘mummy what’s that?’, she’ll gobble it down and will have a full satisfied little belly. Not just Aaliyah’s though – the hubby’s too.
Whilst this is great, I’m not overly keen on feeding Aaliyah the same meals; I don’t want her to get ‘comfortable’ with what she knows. I’m trying my best to keep meals interesting for her so I decided to cook up a variation of chicken and rice.
Introducing my BIG FAT FAMILY PAELLA! This is delicious! It includes two of Aaliyah’s favourite ingredients – chicken and rice, but it’s a totally different cuisine. And the fact that paella’s are so bright and colourful is really appealing to kids. I’m not going to lie – this does create some extra washing but it is totally worth it.
Aaliyah’s verdict – well initially she looked at her bowl and said ‘where’s the REAL chicken and rice’ but as you know Aaliyah is not a fussy eater; she’ll happily try new things. She ate, scoffed and loved! Another one to add to the list!
Total preparation and cooking time: 35-40mins
Serves family of 4
425g (15oz) white basmati rice
1 litre (1¾ pints) chicken stock – reduced salt variety
½ tsp ground turmeric
Pinch of saffron
30ml (1fl oz) vegetable oil
700g (1lb 9oz) chicken breast fillets – skinless, boneless, cubed
6 cloves of garlic – peeled, minced
Salt to taste (optional)
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 chillies – red and green (optional) – stems chopped, pounded to paste
2 bell peppers (green and red) – washed, deseeded, chopped
Fresh coriander (cilantro) or parsley for garnish – chopped
Add the rice, stock, turmeric, saffron and oil to a large pot and stir. Bring to the boil and simmer (covered) on low heat for 10-12mins until the rice is tender.
Whilst the rice is cooking, stir-fry the chicken cubes with garlic, salt to taste (if you wish), black pepper and chillies (if you like a little heat). Stir-fry until tender and set aside.
Finally, grill the peppers on a griddle pan for a few minutes to give them a lovely smoky flavour. I like to do this at the same time as stir-frying the chicken to save time.
Combine everything and garnish with a little chopped parsley or coriander. Serve immediately.