- The Washington Times - Monday, March 14, 2005

Steaming is a healthful way to cook, but it can also make some foods a little bland.

The latter is not true with this preparation of curried apricot chicken, which adds the low-fat advantage of steaming to a smart series of measures to keep the taste at a high level.

The recipe is from the April issue of Fitness magazine, in a feature that explains how steaming can be superfast and seriously diet-friendly. If you have a large, deep wok or skillet; a steamer basket; and a roll of aluminum foil, you’re good to go.

However, one item can make steaming even easier ” a bamboo steamer set. Available in kitchen and department stores, as well as Asian markets, it usually comes with two stackable, slatted rounds that fit together atop a wok or skillet filled with water, plus a cover. The bamboo absorbs most of the condensation, so foods never get soggy.

Food writer Victoria Riccardi suggests serving this chicken with quick-cooking brown rice, which will soak up the delicious apricot-curry sauce. The sauce would also be a great fat-free spread for turkey sandwiches, so make extra and chill before using.

Curried apricot chicken packs

1/4 cup all-fruit apricot preserves

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

½ teaspoon curry powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

4 cups baby spinach leaves

1 pound chicken tenders

1/4 cup golden raisins

2 tablespoons sweetened coconut, lightly toasted

Place a large skillet filled with 2 inches of water over high heat; cover and bring to a boil.

In a bowl, stir together apricot preserves, vinegar, curry powder, cayenne and salt to make the sauce.

Lay out 4 10-by-12-inch pieces of aluminum foil. In the center of each piece, mound 1 cup of spinach; top each with chicken tenders.

Spoon on some apricot sauce; sprinkle with golden raisins. Bring up sides of foil to meet over chicken, crimp edges together, and fold over a few times to create a packet. Seal sides.

Place chicken packets in bottom and top sections of a bamboo steamer or other steamer basket. Set steamer in skillet, reduce heat to low, cover and steam 12 minutes, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked, switching layers halfway trough.

When packets are cool enough to handle, open and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 204 calories, 28 g protein, 16 g carbohydrate, 3 g fat, 4 g fiber.

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