Friday, September 6, 2013

Quick and Easy Indian

Indian is one of my favorite food types, because the dishes have so much flavor and and can be incredibly healthy.  They are often chock-full of disease fighting spices like ginger, turmeric, and curry.  Since many of the recipes rely on coconut milk (rather than dairy products) to give them their creamy texture, there are also tons of vegan options.

Chana masala is a popular vegetarian Indian dish that centers around chickpeas in a spicy, citrus-y tomato based sauce.  I love making it at home, because it comes together entirely from ingredients that I always keep on-hand in my pantry and fridge.  The recipe I've developed is roughly inspired from others I have seen online, but adjusted to my own tastes and preferences.  It is probably not authentic in the least, but it is super easy and tastes pretty darn amazing!
In addition, this dish contains some of the healthiest spices in the world!

Ginger has been proven to be more effective against bacterial staph infections than antibiotics. It can kill cancer cells. Its anti-inflammatory effects are famous. It can resolve brain inflammations and ease or cure a variety of gut problems.

Turmeric is a safe yet extremely potent anti-inflammatory.  It provides relief for arthritis and cystic fibrosis.  It helps to prevent cancer and inhibits cell growth and metastases.  It also improves liver function, protects against heart disease, lowers cholesterol, even prevents Alzheimers!  I try to use this mild peppery spice as much as I possibly can!

Curry contains turmeric, so it has many similar health benefits.  It has been shown to improve cognitive function and protect against many types of cancers.  It can be used as an inexpensive and effective treatment for autoimmune disorders.  Also, when used in place of tobacco in hookah pipes, curry powder helped to offset the detrimental effects of tobacco smoking by reducing the concentration of inhaled chemicals.  

Now for the recipe...

Quick and Easy Indian Chana Masala

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger, minced
6 oz. can of tomato paste
1/2 cup coconut milk (or more to taste)
1 can of chickpeas
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp curry powder
2 tsp turmeric
Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

1. Heat oil on medium heat. Fry onions until slightly browned.

2. Add garlic and stir for 30 more seconds or until fragrant.

3. Add curry, turmeric, tomato paste, and coconut milk. Simmer for a couple more minutes.

4. Add chickpeas, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. Simmer 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Add red pepper flakes to taste.

6. Serve over brown rice.

When I made this the other night, I also added in some green peas with the chick peas to amp up the veggie content.
It is such an easy, tasty dish, and I love that it incorporates so many powerful super spices.  This dinner will definitely remain a regular one in our house!


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