Slow Cooker Indian Curried Chickpeas (Super Healthy!)

 

This is a super healthy, slow cooker version of curried chickpeas made from scratch with the dry beans. Curried chickpeas is one of my favorite snack foods on the planet!   I call this recipe “Indian Comfort Food”.   Cook up a big batch of this and then store in your fridge for a fast quick snack or meal on the go.  Tastes awesome  topped with chopped cilantro and red onions, or cooled with an organic Greek yogurt or healthy cashew cream.  Some people love these served as the main protein in a Middle Eastern wrap dish.

I have been on quite the Indian food kick lately.  That’s a good thing because Indian food has a flavor profile filled with lots of yummy  spices and aromatics which are packed with nutrition, cancer and disease fighting properties.   With a slow cooker you just take the dried beans or peas,  throw in the additional ingredients, set the heat and timer, and your done.  Couldn’t be easier!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of dried chickpeas
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 tomato (optional) diced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic peeled and minced
  • 3 green chilies (serrano, habanero, or cayenne) stems removed chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds ground
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1/2 tablespoon red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 6 cups of water
  • Optional:
  • a couple tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • low fat or non fat plain organic Greek yogurt or cashew cream
  • lime wedges for garnish

Directions:

  • Put the chickpeas, onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, green chilies, spices and water into the slow cooker (I use a 3 1/2 quart cooker, but you can use are larger one if you like)
  •  You have two cooking options: Cook on “High” for the first 6 hours, stir, and then on “Low”  until the beans are cooked to your desired tenderness.  Or you can cook it on “Low” for 12  hours or until the beans are to your desired tenderness.
  • To serve, add the chopped cilantro and stir in a little Greek Yogurt or stir in some cashew cream to give the beans an added delicious little creaminess.

Serve and enjoy!   Keep a container for easy snacking in the fridge. These are so yummy, I know you will love this recipe.

 

 

 

 



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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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Vietnamese Spicy Beef

When I was going through chemotherapy I ate a lot of Vietnamese food because the heat and the distinct acidic, salty, sweet flavor profiles would neutralize the chemo taste in my mouth. Recipes like this one were just the trick to add some flavor to my palate. I wouldn’t say this is a super “disease fighting” dish, but I did make sure it was as healthy as possible by cutting out as much fat and calories as I could.  And, I made sure to use grass fed certified organic raised beef from Stemple Creek Ranch that I personally picked up from the ranch myself.

At the local farmer’s market this past Sunday, I found myself craving all these Vietnamese flavors like lime, lemongrass, basil, garlic, and mint found in many traditional dishes. One of the my favorite restaurants in San Francisco is a Vietnamese restaurant called “The Slanted Door”, with one of their signature dishes being “Shaking Beef”.  I looked online and found several recipes for “Shaking Beef” and other random Vietnamese beef dishes that sounded really tasty.

I came up with my own version of “Shaking Beef” by utilizing the online recipes I found as a guideline.  The marinade I made is different from the standard “Shaking Beef” marinade, but I stuck with the original cooking method, a similar vinaigrette, and dipping sauce.  My boyfriend absolutely loved the pickled red onions and days later, still is talking about them.

Marinade:

  • 1 lb Top Sirloin, fat trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
  • juice of one average sized lime
  • 3 Tablespoons fish sauce (see in photo above)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracaha sauce (see in photo above) or hot chili garlic sauce
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons grape-seed oil (or any neutral oil that can tolerate high heat)

 

Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Dipping Sauce:

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 small bunch watercress, long stems trimmed
  • 1 small tomato thinly sliced

Directions:

  1. Whisk together marinade ingredients and set aside
  2. place beef and marinade into a plastic bag and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or overnight
  3. Thinly slice the red onion and use a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette to pickle. Cover and set aside in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
  4. Prepare the bed of watercress and tomatoes on a serving plate and set aside
  5. Turn on vent fan and heat a large pan or wok over medium high  heat and add 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil
  6. Add 1/2 of the beef on an even layer in the pan and allow to sear a minute or so, and then “shake” to sear the opposite side.  Transfer to serving plate on the bed of watercress and tomatoes  Do not overcook, you want the beef to be browned on the outside and then medium rare and tender on the inside.Repeat with second half of beef.
  7. Drizzle another tablespoon of the vinaigrette over the beef and and greens and then top with the pickled onions.
  8. Squeeze juice of one lime in a small ramekin and add the salt and pepper
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Adapted from San Francisco Gourmet, July 2005

*Notes: I don’t have the specific nutritional breakdown of this dish at this time, but a 4  oz. serving is around 300 calories, and depending on the cut of beef you use, can be very low in fat.  If you use grass fed beef you have significantly cut down on the “bad fat” and increased the CLA and Omega’s.



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Healthy Slow Cooker Indian Chicken Vindaloo

I love Indian food! Indian food is one of my favorite types of food to eat now, but I really liked it when I was going through chemotherapy. The really powerful flavor profiles in some Indian foods, and the “heat”, helped to mask some of the annoying “chemo tastes” in my mouth while eating. My boyfriend used to hate Indian food and this is one of the dishes I used to convert him into a Indian food fan. Its so healthy because it utilizes a variety of spices which are enhanced by the added bonus that they not only really boost flavor, they come with multiple health benefits as well. This is such an easy recipe, high in nutrient density, chock full of spices with multiple health benefits, simply cooks in a crock pot over 5 to 6 hours, and will “wow” even the pickiest eater. This can also be cooked slowly over low heat on the stove in a dutch oven or large pot as well. It can be made with Chicken, Pork, Lamb or Veggies. The spices and “heat” can easily be adjusted to your own personal taste as well. I personally like my food really spicy and with a lot of heat, but the recipe below is the “mild” version.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsps vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (I use shallots because my boyfriend is allergic to garlic)
  • 1 1/2 tbsps of fresh ginger grated
  • 3/4 tbsps curry powder (mild)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1.4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1.4 tsp cayenne or hot pepper
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 3 tbsps of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsps of ground cinnamon initially or 1 cinnamon stick added to the pot
  • 1 can of tomato paste with 2 equal cans filled of water
  • 1 small white or yellow onion chopped
  • 1 lb of skinless organic chicken breasts or thighs quartered or cubed
  • (Optional) 1/2 of a small cauliflower cut into bite size piece

Directions:

  1. Puree the first 10 ingredients in a blender
  2. Pour puree, into the crock pot, add the tomato paste, water, cinnamon stick and stir
  3. In non stick skillet use 1 tablespoon olive oil and saute onions until soft, then brown chicken on all sides
  4. Add Chicken and Onions, (Cauliflower if using) to Crock Pot, stir and then cover
  5. Cook on low in a Crock Pot for 5 to 6 hours, or over the stove on medium low in a Dutch Oven or large pot
  6. Serve with Indian Saffron Brown Basmati Rice, with sauteed spinach, or by itself.
  7. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

  • Servings per recipe: 3
  • Calories: aprox 300 calories, 100 calories from fat
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