Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What's So Wrong With Cooked Food? Channa Masala and Pan Fried Tofu Recipe

Here me out... My body has been my experiment for the past 6 years of my life in raw foods and the past 9+ as a vegan (go me!) Digress: It still baffles me that I became a vegan sometimes. I never knew ONE VEGETARIAN. My community in New Orleans was pro meat, pro fried, pro lazy as shit. I was always meant to be a vegan. This I know. As a small child, I would push the meat off my plate until my mom stopped giving it to me. I would eat the boiled carrots/broccoli/spinach drowned in cow juice butter and Morton's salt. I would pick the rice out from under the steak and eat it with the sugary filled green peas  before downing my sugary processed dessert with frozen cow juice ice cream. I'd wake up and start again.

During my six year experiment, I have been 100% processed vegan, 100% raw, 100% fruitarian, 100% fasting on juice, 100% cooked, and what I am now....a beautiful, melodic mixture of cooked and raw (no percentages sorry :(  ) and taking amazing supplements. I have found...drumroll puhleeze...eating from PLANTS makes the world of difference! ha! I am not sure if it is the absence of processed food that starts to make the world of difference. Yes raw foods are powerful. I would NEVER say they aren't! I just know the power is in the plant!!! Growing from the ground! Optimally, living in the Ecuadorian rainforest eating mangos would be my best life ever, but reality check...I'm living on a frozen block of ice on the East Coast! I know that eating cooked simple vegan does my tummy better than overly processed (80 ingredient) raw "treats"...not that they aren't aweeeeeeeeeessssssssssooooooooommmmmmmmeeeeeeeeee when I take money from Kennedy's college fund to pay for them!

I love cooked food---gasp----I do. It is intoxicating, aromatic, delicious and especially tasty. I agree with most healthy vegans that there are many-a-trap awaiting us. I am past the unchicken nuggets, fake bbq strips, boca burger stage. But it was important in my evolution. I wouldn't take those unchicken days back! It eased my transition into the plant based world. Back to the point...when I think of my favorite cooked foods: Thai, Indian, Mediterranean, Moroccan, etc...I would be so sad to never eat them again!

Speaking of which...tonite I was really in the mood for channa masala. yummmmmmm. As it was simmering, Kennedy came in and said "it smells like an Indian Wonderland in here mom!" :-) Music to my ears! I will post the pix tomorow. I am stil have technical difficulty :(

ChanaChana Masala from an awesome site I found: Smitten Kitten
chana masala

Adapted from a Madhur Jaffrey recipe, which was adapted over here because much to my frustration, I own two Madhur Jaffrey books and this is in neither

This is an intensely spiced bright orange chana masala with a sourish bite that reminded of us the best restaurant versions we’ve tasted. I’m thrilled to finally have a good recipe for it at home.

The major changes I made were simplifying the addition of spices, adding more tomatoes and oh, the recipe calls for a tablespoon of amchoor powder, which I did not have. I looked it up and learned that it was dried unripe mango powder (which sounds so delicious to me, I’m buying it next time I go to Kalustyan’s, who also sells it online), which is clearly a sour flavor, so I upped the lemon juice i used instead. The dish had a nice sour snap at the end, so I will presume this is a good swap.

1tablespoon vegetable oil

2 medium onions, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1 fresh, hot green chili pepper, minced

1 tablespoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (I used a quarter of this because my cayenne is extremely hot)

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground

1 tablespoon amchoor powder (see note)

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon garam masala

2 cups tomatoes, chopped small or 1 15-ounce can of whole tomatoes with their juices, chopped small

2/3 cup water

4 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 lemon (juiced) (see note; I used a whole lemon to swap for the amchoor powder)

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic, ginger and pepper and sauté over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Turn heat down to medium-low and add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, cumin seeds, amchoor (if using it), paprika and garam masala. Cook onion mixture with spiced for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes and any accumulated juices, scraping up any bits that have stuck to the pan. Add the water and chickpeas. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir in salt and lemon juice.

Eat up or put a lid on it and reheat it when needed. Curries such as this reheat very well, later or or in the days that follow, should it last that long

I ate it wit pan-fried tofu....

*Take 16 oz extra firm tofu
*Wrapped in a paper towel then a real towel and put a large book on top to soak up the moisture.
*Cut into cubes and dipped into my curry/garam masala/cumin mixture and coated with garbanzo bean flour.
*Pan fried in 2 tbsps of olive oil and mixed into the channa masala

Today I had a smoothie with hempseeds, almond milk, 2 bananas, spinach and ice.
Protein Oats


 Making frozen ice cream tonite with chocolate almond milk and hempseeds

All raw vegan romaine with spirallized zucchini with cherry tomatoes and Kristen's Cheezy Nacho Sauce 

I am off to hang with Kay as the blankets of snow fall out of the sky and make my HUGE MASSIVE BOWL of banana ice cream and hibernate.

Go raw. Go cooked. JUST EAT PLANTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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