Three weeks ago, the first step on the road towards [possible] transformation was taken.
I’d seen friend Melissa a couple of weeks prior and she was…glowing, serene. She told of a body, mind, heart, and soul 28-day Ayurvedic cleanse at Elemental Om. Skeptical me acknowledged and dismissed the idea of attending….until the night before the next session was scheduled to begin. Wine was most assuredly involved in the 11:30pm registration process for me and my partner-in-crime. But register we did, and found ourselves barefoot in lycra capris and flowy cotton t-shirts sitting cross-legged on a wood floor the next day for an hour of restorative yoga and a two-hour lecture. Thus began our processed foods-, caffeine-, alcohol-, meat- and dairy-free journey to improved digestion. This coupled with daily meditation, yoga classes, determining one’s dosha (discover yours here), and facing our demons is proving to be a challenging, yet rewarding, road. I like the idea of getting rid of bad habits and clearing out the last of the negative cobwebs from my mind and heart.
Over the last three weeks we have been giving up a third of our bad habits each week and are moving to a vegetarian diet with the emphasis on beans, rice, cooked veggies, spices – in that order. Ethnic foods are encouraged, and Indian food really fits the bill. While I love Indian food, I’ve only dabbled in preparing it and not with exclusively vegetarian dishes. On the prowl for something curry-ish and coconut-y, I happened across a wonderful website, OhMyVeggies.com.
Here, Kiersten Frase tells a story of yearning for comfort foods despite warm outside temperatures. That really resonated, as it was the warmest day of the year at 94 degrees. So I closed up the windows, turned on the AC and began to make her Cauliflower and Chick Pea Coconut Curry.
Here’s how it goes:
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-inch ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon garam masala (See NOTE 3 below)
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 3 cups cooked chickpeas)
- 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
- 1 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Cooked rice or naan for serving (NOTE 2 below)
Heat the coconut oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook until softened, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the spices and cook until they’re fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, coconut milk, and cauliflower. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover and cook 5 minutes more, or until sauce has thickened slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish each serving with cilantro.
Ugh, totally out of canned tomatoes. A nice italian girl like me without them? I know, right? So I added about a cup of vegetable broth and a cup of diced grape tomatoes. Also tossed in some frozen peas at the last sec for color and some hot red pepper flakes. This recipe is spicy, but not particularly hot – and I do love me some heat.
Indian basmati rice with toasted cumin seeds is really tasty with this dish.
Also found myself with a scant half teaspoon of garam masala so, with the help of Epicurious, whipped up a batch. Here’s how:
- 1 tablespoon dried miniature rosebuds (optional)
- A 1-inch piece cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup cumin seeds
- 1/3 cup coriander seeds **
- 1 tablespoon green cardamom pods
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons whole cloves
- 1 dried red chile
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground mace **
If the roses have stems, break them off and discard. Heat the roses with the cinnamon, bay leaves, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cardamom pods, whole peppercorns, cloves, and chile in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the cumin becomes brown, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder or coffee mill, add the nutmeg and mace, and grind until powder fine. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 months.
** Missing ingredients [again. *sigh*], I substituted ground coriander for the seeds and added a bit more nutmeg for the mace.
The finished garam masala is pictured above, top right. The other spices are turmeric, cumin, and coriander. It’s a boatload of spices, but again…it’s spicy, not hot.
So here I sit. Cross legged on the floor under the AC vent with a happy belly full of fire. Ommmmm.