My most successful fast days are those where I have something delicious to look forward to on my dinner plate. A reward for sticking to the program throughout the day and not giving in to a passing parade of food related whims. Since embarking on the 5-2 diet I have become acutely aware of just how food centric my life has become. Happily delicious plates of food need not always be calorie laden. I was reminded of this on the weekend after picking up a punnet of green chillies from the farmers market.
I’m not too sure what kind of chillies they really were. I may be au fait with chillies used in Asian style cooking but there’s a definite knowledge gap when it comes to Mexican cuisine. I usually buy Mexican style chillies dried and packaged as they are not so readily available here. Needless to say I was very excited to chance upon punnets of fresh green poblano and habanero chillies at the markets. Once home my son, a self appointed chilli aficionado made the observation that those poblanos looked very much like unripened habaneros. Given their size I suspect he may have been right.
No matter, they were deliciously; roasted, skinned, seeded and puréed into a green chilli sauce. Poblano style. We devoured it with soft chicken tacos and roasted corn salsa watching the rugby. Impossibly creamy yet virtually fat free save one tablespoon of olive oil used to fry the onions and garlic to translucent perfection, I squirreled away some of the gorgeously piquant sauce for my next fast day.
Sometimes it takes just one interesting element to lift an otherwise ordinary plate of food into something extraordinary. At just 17 calories per serve, this happy accidental discovery is guaranteed to spice up my poached chicken and add interest to my fast day plate.
Roasted Green Chilli Sauce
Makes 1 1/2 cups or 24 tablespoons (17 calories per tablespoon serve)
500g green chillies (200 calories)
1 large onion, chopped (60 calories)
3 large garlic cloves, finely sliced (12 calories)
1 tablespoon olive oil (120 calories)
generous pinch sea salt
125ml chicken stock (10 calories)
PREHEAT oven grill to high. Line a baking tray with non stick paper.
SPREAD whole chillies over the tray in an even layer and place under hot grill for 3-5 minutes until the skins begin to blister and char. Turn the chillies over and repeat on the other side.
TRANSFER the chillies to a plate, cover with cling film and leave to stand. This helps the skins loosen making the chillies easier to peel.
GENTLY peel off the charred skin, then slit each chilli open and remove the seed pod and stem. Coarsely chop the flesh.
HEAT oil in a heavy based pan over medium heat. Fry onion and garlic with a generous pinch of sea salt in oil until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the charred chillies, stirring to combine.
TRANSFER the mixture to a blender with chicken stock and puree until smooth. Store in a clean, dry jar in the refrigerator.