Coconut Curried Chickpeas

By all my recent Facebook posts and photos one might easily imagine I am some major chickpea fan.  It seems like lately I’ve been putting chickpeas in everything.  The truth is  I only recently made chickpeas from scratch for the very first time.  I, for the first time ever, did the whole “soaking overnight and then finishing  on the stove” thing.  After eating chickpeas made from scratch I have a whole new appreciation for this little ingredient, which by the way, I had never really liked at all (except for pureed in hummus) prior.

I have heard the argument that there is really no difference between soaking/cooking peas yourself or just buying them ready to eat in a can, but my taste buds and “brain” don’t believe that to be true At all.  I find chickpeas soaked overnight and cooked from scratch can have really amazing flavor and texture which I find totally lacking in canned chickpeas.  I love  cooking them to just barely  “el dente” after soaking them over night and then sauteing them in a variety of herbs, spices and sauces.

I came up this really healthy and tasty little curry dish on the fly the other day,  and it tasted amazing!  You can use canned chickpeas, but I highly recommend, if you have the time and don’t mind the planning, utilizing chickpeas made from scratch.  This is great to make ahead snack/dish and will keep well in the fridge for a couple of day.  This reheats well in the microwave.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh cooked chickpeas or 2 15 ounce cans of chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or oil or your choice)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots peeled and sliced
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of cayenne (to your desired “heat”, I used 2 tsp because I loved hot spicy food)
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon yellow curry
  • 4 coconut milk cubes or 1/3 cup lite or regular organic coconut milk

Directions:

  1. Heat oil over medium heat until hot
  2. Add garlic and ginger and saute for 2 to 3 minutes
  3. Add onions and carrots and begin to saute
  4.  About 2 minutes in, add the garam masala, cayenne and curry and mix in well, allowing the flavors to infuse in well with the carrots and onions.  About 3  minutes or until the onions soft and carrots with still a bit of crunch.
  5. Add chickpeas and saute  a couple minutes until heated through anl flavors well distributed to chickpeas
  6. Add tomatoes and stir a minute or too, again until ingredients heated through and flavors well distributed
  7. Finish by adding coconut milk “cubes” or or coconut milk and stir until heated through  brought to a slight simmer or slightly “steaming”
  8. Serve and enjoy!  Can be eaten alone, in a roti, or as a side dish

 

 

 



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Healthy Chocolate Almond Butter “Milkshake”: Vegan or Organic Dairy

This shake is packed with protein and and healthy fats.  Super fast, easy to make, filling and great for recovery after working out.  I used almond butter because I like its flavor better than peanut butter, but you can substitute peanut butter if that’s what you prefer.  For me this is super “decadent” tasting, so I make a batch and split it into 2 servings of 8 ounces each.  Works out to about 210 calories each with over 25 grams of protein.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender (I use my vitamix) until well blended.
  • Sprinkle with a little cocoa powder on top
  • Serves 2.  Enjoy 🙂

 

 

 

 

 



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Raw Coconut Banana Chai Spiced “Shake” (Vegan, Raw)

I love healthy smoothies. and I’ve been tooling around for years coming up with all different flavors and ingredients.  I thought I would share my new favorite.

My two favorite thickeners are coconut “cubes” (just coconut milk frozen in an ice cube tray) and frozen banana slices.   I also like to have the following items in my freezer at all times, frozen pureed fruit, almond milk, coconut milk, chicken stock, tomato purees, and wine (yes I even freeze leftover wine to make cubes for sautes).

The frozen coconut cubes and the bananas both give a really creamy depth that can make almost any  smoothie taste like a “real” shake made with ice cream.  When I am craving something sweet like soft serve ice cream I pop  a bunch of frozen and unfrozen banana slices with cinnamon and nutmeg into the high speed blender to make a bowl of  creamy goodness, which you would swear is made with real cream.

So imagine my “I can’t believe I didn’t think of this” moment a couple of weeks ago when “The Diva Dish”  blogger posted a recipe for a “Coconut Vanilla Chai Milkshake” , containing lots of ingredients I usually use in smoothies.  I embedded the link to “The Diva Dish”  recipe as well, but posted my own version with a few alterations here.  Thanks Diva!

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk (regular or low calorie… I used low calorie)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 6 coconut milk ices cubes
  • 1 tsp ginger (fresh or powdered)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp allspice or pumpkin pie spice

Optional Add Ins or Exchanges:

  • For a much richer and creamier shake use 1 cup coconut milk instead of almond milk
  • For a healthier drink with protein add in 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder. I use Tera’s Whey from Whole Foods
  • For more  Omega 3’s and antioxidants 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds or White Chia Seeds
  • To make a little sweeter add some  liquid stevia, powdered stevia or certified organic agave nectar
  • Reduce  coconut/almond milk or add more bananas for a thicker shake, or add more coconut/almond milk for a less thick shake

Directions:

  • Blend all ingredients in a blender or Vita Mix until creamy.  Sprinkle with Cinnamon and Enjoy




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Thai Green Curry Shrimp and Vegetables


I had been wanting to try out some new coconut green curry recipes and found a version of this recipe posted on the “Epicurious” FB page last week. (Click here for Epicurious Recipe)  This particular recipe had all the flavors I loved, seemed fairly quick and easy. This made it a perfect base for a “Chicken Green Curry” or a “Vegetarian Green Curry” to come up with of my own.

So over this past weekend I tried out the recipe three ways.  With chicken, with shrimp, and then, a “Super Veggie” version. I found the vegetarian version, on this particular occasion, to be my favorite of the three, and was still eating the delicious leftovers from it, 2 days later.

This is one of those recipes that you can definitely play around with all the flavors and ingredients to suit your own liking. For a healthier version, I cut down on  the “unnecessary” calories  by using light coconut milk. less oil and omitting the noodles. (However, having tried this recipe, I can vouch it would taste pretty awesome with noodles)  I really amped up the flavor and the heat by using a bit more lemon grass, cilantro, ginger, and curry paste. If you prefer a more “tame” dish, perhaps stick to the measurements from the original Epicurious recipe tagged above.

As a little side note for anyone going through chemotherapy, or if your cooking for someone who is.  One of my absolute favorite things to eat during the 2 years I was having chemo was Asian curries.  This is a really great curry base with the kind of powerful flavors that really help neutralize that yucky chemo taste in the mouth one gets.   The tasty flavor profile and the aromatics like the ginger, lemongrass and cilantro have great healing properties and health and healing properties for the oncology patient.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped shallots (about 4 medium sized shallots)
  • 2 or 3 fresh lemongrass stalks, with the outer 1 or 2 leaves discarded and the lower 6 inches of the stalks thinly sliced * note: if you don’t have access to fresh lemongrass, use a tablespoon of lemongrass paste from the fresh produce section of your grocery store (or you can bypass this ingredient all together since there is a little bit of lemongrass in the green curry paste)
  • 4 large garlic clove, chopped (you can use less if your not a fan of garlic)
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh cilantro stems
  • 3 tablespoons bottled Asian green curry paste (click here for example)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/4 cup of water (preferably filtered)
  • 2  to 3 tablespoons of grape-seed oil or coconut oil (or any neutral oil for high heat cooking)
  • 1 can of light coconut milk
  • 1 3/4 cups of non fat chicken broth or chicken stock (preferably low sodium)
  • 1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp ( If making chicken curry 1 lb chicken breast;  if making vegetarian curry, use 3 to 4 cups of chopped veggies (i.e.  broccoli,  onion, mushrooms, carrots, snap peas, etc.)
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced Shitake mushrooms (or white mushrooms is OK)
  • 2 carrots peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 onion chopped

Directions:

  • Puree shallots, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, and cilantro stems in a blender or a food processor with the curry paste, salt, turmeric and water until as smooth as possible.  About 1 minute
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in pan over moderate heat and stir fry veggies until just cooked or al dente.  Start with onions, cook for 3 minutes until soft, add carrots and, and mushrooms.  If doing the vegetarian curry, cook all the veggies until just barely cooked.  Do not over cook or they will be too mushy after going in the curry. Removed veggies and set aside.

  • Heat the remaining oil in a large pot or dutch oven over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook the curry paste mix mixture, stirring frequently, until it just begins to stick to the bottoms of the pot, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Do not let it brown – than it’s starting to burn.
  • Add coconut milk  and chicken broth to the curry past mixture stir and let simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 3 1/2 cups, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Depending on which type of curry you made add in shrimp or chicken and stir until protein is cooked. 2 to 3 minutes  for shrimp and a few extra minutes for chicken.  Take a shrimp or chicken out and cut through checking to make sure its cooked all the way through.

  • Stir in veggies and stir in fish sauce, salt and pepper.

 

Serve and enjoy



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Spicy Thai Butternut Squash/Coconut Soup with Shrimp


This is a variation of a soup recipe I found on the Whole Foods recipe site, yet wanted to make it a little different.  This soup came out really nice and velvety, and although I really added extra heat, I will, add even more next time I make it.  I used already cubed butternut squash that is sold at Whole foods and then “light” coconut milk and nonfat organic chicken broth with some red Thai curry paste as the base.  I cooked the prawn separately and added them in at the end, but next time I make this I think I will add cubed chicken breast cooked ahead as well.  This dish can definitely tolerate more protein than the original recipe I was working with.  Also depending on your own personal tastes, play around with the garlic, red chili paste, and chili flakes to your specific likes.

I love Thai food in general, but it tasted especially good during chemo.  The heat and the spices kind of cover up that chemical flavor in your mouth, and soups were, for whatever reason, much easier to eat than whole foods.

Ingredients:

  • aprox 3 to 4 cups of cubed butternut squash
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped and used generously for soup base and shrimp stir fry
  • 3 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
  • 3 teaspoons red curry paste (more to taste if you like… I like super spicy myself)
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cups non fat chicken broth
  • 1 (14 ounce) can of light coconut milk
  • Red chili flakes (as desired…. I like lots because I love spicy food)
  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • optional: 1 chicken breast pre cooked 1 inch cubed
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges

Directions:

1.  Take the butternut squash cubes and mix with a bit of olive oil and salt/pepper, and roast in oven @ 425 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes.  You want it cooked enough to bring out the flavor, but not browned.  Pull from oven set aside.


2.  Heat oil in a large soup pot, oer medium high heat.  Add onion, garlic, and ginger.  Cook, stirring frequently, until “fragrant”, and the onion is translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Stir in curry past (more if you want it spicier), sugar, and salt, stir and cook about a minute or two longer.

3.  Stir in the roasted squash, broth and coconut milk and bring to a low boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

4.  Take the soup, and pureed in batches in high speed blender and return to soup pot.

5.  In stir fry pan, heat oil with garlic and some chili flakes to stir fry shrimp in batches until done.

6.  Take shrimp and if using optional cubed chicken, add to the soup base

7.  Ladle into soup bowls, and sprinkle with the chopped cilantro and lime wedges

Nutrition per 17 oz serving:  250 calories, 60 from fat, 23 grams of protein, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 175 of cholesterol, 480 of sodium


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