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Physician and best-selling author Will Li shares one of his favorite healthy recipes from his new book, Eat to Beat Your Diet. It combines some of his favorite metabolism-boosting and fat-burning ingredients, including turmeric, cinnamon, garlic and shallots! 

"This is a one-pot meal inspired by rice dishes from central Asia that are aromatic and satisfying. If you wish to go meatless, swap the chicken with slices of firm tofu. There will be leftovers, which you can use for lunch or dinner the next day." —Dr. Li 

For more healthy recipes from Dr. Li, check out his Longevity Pasta and Chicken Basil Stir-Fry


  • 1 ½ cups basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 pound skinless and boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • One 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 cups kale, coarsely chopped with ribs and stems removed
  • ¼ cup Calabrian chili peppers marinated in oil, sliced thinly
  • ½ lime, for juicing
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


Serves: 4


In a metal bowl, rinse rice in cold water until cloudiness disappears. Drain completely, then add water until it is 1 inch above the rice. Let soak for 45 minutes. 

Using a 12-inch-wide cast-iron pan with 2 ½-inch-tall sides (or a Dutch oven), heat olive oil over medium heat and add garlic and shallots. Cook for 3 minutes, until shallots become translucent and soft. 

Add chicken, turmeric, cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt. Cook chicken on each side for 2 minutes. Add vegetable stock and cinnamon sticks. Turn up heat until liquid boils, then immediately reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. 

Drain the rice and add to the pan with the chicken. Add coconut milk and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Add chickpeas, kale and chili peppers and stir to incorporate. 

Add the juice from ½ lime. Turn the heat to high until liquid boils, then turn off heat. Remove lid from pan and allow moisture to evaporate for 5 minutes. 

Serve while hot, with lime wedges to squeeze on each serving.

Excerpted from Eat to Beat Your Diet by William W. Li, MD. Copyright © 2023 by William W. Li, MD. Used with permission by Balance. All rights reserved.