Coconut Gnocchi Curry With Grilled Chicken Breast by Chef Eric Njue Mithamo, H&S Chef Of The Month
H&S Chef Of The Month
Interview With H&S Magazine
Who Is Eric Njue Mithamo?
My name is Chef Eric, but many people know me more as Chef Makoti. I’m a proud husband and father of two. I’m a simple guy who finds satisfaction in making good food and, most importantly, enjoying the experience of eating.
Type Of Cuisine?
I’m a lover of meat and all things related to meat, i.e. be it grilling, smoking, and fire in general, regardless of the cuisine. I enjoy exploring how different parts of the world handle their BBQ; the flavours and changes in texture always fascinate me.
What Inspired You To Become A Chef?
I’ve always loved the kitchen since I was a kid. I never knew I could turn my love for cooking into a career as a man. Then, as a teen, I stumbled upon cooking shows, and men were in the front line looking cool with the white jackets and the controlled chaos in the kitchen, and I was instantly hooked. I knew from there this is what I wanted.
What Is The Biggest Challenge You Have Faced In The Culinary Industry?
As a chef specializing in private chef services, it has been challenging to set up kitchens in various houses or venues for different people. Although we’ve managed to navigate the system, each venue presents its unique challenges.
What’s Your Biggest Achievement In The Culinary Industry?
My biggest achievement has to be a personal one. I ventured into business (EdibleAdventures254) at 21 years old with my wife. It was a scary and confusing endeavour, but the business is still alive and kicking. I consider this to be my biggest success in the industry.
When It comes To Cooking, What Is More Important To You, The Technique, The Ingredients Or The Creativity?
I would pick all, but if I’m pressed to choose one, it would be technique. Technique is everything!
Recipe Of The Week: Coconut Gnocchi Curry With Grilled Chicken Breast
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
• 1 Tbsp ginger, minced
• 1 tsp curry powder
• ½ tsp turmeric
• 1 tsp coriander powder
• 1tsp cumin
• ½ tsp paprika
• ½ tsp garam masala
• 2 Tbsp tomato paste
• Salt to taste
• 150ml coconut cream
Tandoori Chicken Marinade
• 2 chicken breasts
• 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
• 1 tsp ground coriander
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 1 tsp ground turmeric
• 1 tsp cayenne
• 1 Tbsp garam masala
• 1 Tbsp paprika
• 1 cup plain yogurt
• 2 Tbsp lemon juice
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
• 1 tsp salt
• Fresh gnocchi 500g (homemade or store bought)
• Salt for cooking
• 1 pot of water
Preparation: The Curry Sauce
Heat the oil in a pot then add the chopped onions, garlic and ginger and sauté for a few minutes until the raw smell of all disappears. Then add in the spices and mix and cook for about a minute. Next add in the coconut milk and tomato paste and mix and cook for about 8 minutes on low heat until it’s simmering and ready. Take off heat and keep aside.
Preparation: The Tandoori Chicken Marinade
Mix all ingredients in a bowl, then coat the chicken breasts in the marinade and let it sit for at least 1hr. Once marinated, place the chicken on the grill or bake in the oven at 180° for 15 minutes. Once done, remove from grill or oven, and slice the tandoori chicken into strips.
Preparation: The Gnocchi
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the gnocchi (note: gnocchi are ready when they float to the top). Next, drain the gnocchi and add them to the cooked sauce with a little bit of the pasta water and cook for 30 seconds, gently tossing.
On a serving bowl, place the gnocchi with the curry sauce and add the chicken strips on top and serve hot!