Tag Archives: healthy

Chana Masala

Chana Masala

For a long time now, my good friend and I have been planning on having a cooking day where he would show me how to make some of his amazing authentic Indian recipes. When I say a long time, I mean we’ve been talking about this for close to 2 years now, but haven’t set aside a day to make it happen…..until now. This past week we finally got together and cooked up an incredible Indian feast. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing the recipes we used, starting with this one for Chana Masala.

Before I really delve into the recipe, it’s important to point out that a lot of the measurements give you a range to work with and a lot of the instructions give you an estimate of time. This is because with authentic dishes like this, there really is no recipe. There’s only a general idea of the steps involved and the ingredients used. From there you create your own dish.

The term masala refers to the base of the cooking method, which is onions, ginger and garlic, cooked beyond the caramelization point until it almost becomes a paste. This method forms the base of many Indian dishes. If you’re familiar with French or Italian cooking, masala could be considered India’s answer to mirepoix and sofritto, respectively.

This dish is incredibly healthy, full of flavour and at this time of year, it makes for some serious comfort food. Enjoy!

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

4 onions, finely chopped

2″ piece of ginger, minced

8 – 10 cloves of garlic, minced

2 –  3 tbsp tumeric

4 tbsp coriander

4 tbsp garam masala

4 – 398mL cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

water to cover

2 bay leaves

salt to taste

cayenne to add some heat (optional)

Start by heating the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions to the pot and begin to saute, adding a splash of water when the onions start to stick. Keep cooking and deglazing with water until the onions are very soft and brown, at least 15 – 20 minutes. It’s important during this phase to keep an eye on the pot to prevent the onions from drying out and to be stirring fairly often.

Once the onions are ready, add the ginger and cook for about 5 minutes, again, adding a little splash of water if it gets to dry. Then add the garlic and cook for a minute or two, before adding the tumeric, coriander and garam masala. Stir the spices into the onion mixture and allow to cook for another minute, until fragrant.

Stir in the chickpeas and add enough water to cover by at least 1 inch. Add the bay leaves and a little salt. If you’re adding cayenne, you can add that now, as well. Stir and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally until the water is reduced to a “stew”like consistancy. This is a great time to taste the dish and add more salt if necessary.

Using the back of a spoon, mash up some of the chickpeas in the pot to help thicken the dish. Continue simmering for another 10 – 15 minutes, until thickened. Serve with rice or naan.

Serves 4 – 6

I’ll be sharing this dish at the Fiesta Friday blog party. Pop by if you’re interested in finding other delicious recipes.

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Applesauce Muffins

Applesauce Muffins

Can you believe it’s the first day of Autumn?! What happened to September?! It’s not like I didn’t see the warning signs; apples at the market, the arrival of pumpkin spice lattes and the need to wear a cozy sweater in the morning, it’s just that I kept telling myself that it was still summer. I was convinced that everything was just early this year. Apparently I was just late :/

Since it is Autumn, though, and since I found myself with an abundance of fresh picked Honeycrisp apples from the market, I felt a strong urge to make something with them. Applesauce seemed like the best place to start. It’s hard to imagine anything more comforting than the smell of applesauce stewing on the stove. It’s basically Autumn in a pot. Once the sauce was made, I started dreaming of all the ways I could use it. I have a few ideas in mind, but because muffins are a weekly staple at our house, they’re the first thing that the applesauce was added to. They’re easy to make and a deliciously healthy option to quickly throw into my kids lunch bags. I hope you enjoy these Autumn inspired applesauce muffins 🙂

Applesauce:

1 1/2 Cups  sweet apples, peeled, cored and diced (I prefer Honeycrisp or galas)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 Cup water

Simmer over low – medium heat until softened. Remove from the heat and mash with a potato masher until desired consistency. I like to leave a few chunks in it, but if you prefer a smoother sauce, then go for it. Set aside to cool.

Muffins:

2 Cups whole wheat flour

1/2 Cup sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 egg

1 Cup milk

1 Cup applesauce

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg until frothy. Add the milk and applesauce and stir until well combined.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Pour in the applesauce mixture and stir gently until just combined.

Evenly divide the batter between 12 greased muffin cups. Bake for 20 -25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

 

 

Grilled Chicken Lettuce Wraps

 

Grilled chicken wraps

Grilled chicken lettuce wraps

I don’t know about you guys, but this summer has gone by in a flash for me. We’ve been keeping pretty busy and have had a bit more time away than usual, which was wonderful, but I always find that, no matter how fun a vacation is, it’s always really great to be back home. With school starting in just less than two short weeks, it’s great to be able to settle back in and start getting prepared for the chaos that comes with getting two little kids ready for school each day. After being away in Portland last week and eating out for every (delicious) meal, it’s also great to get back in my kitchen.

The recipe I’m sharing today was well received by everyone in my house, including my 4 year old. When she’s the first one done dinner, you know it’s gotta be great. It’s not that she’s picky exactly, she just doesn’t do dinner. At least not while sitting still, nor in a reasonable amount of time. She’s more of grazer and could happily snack all day long. I can’t really complain though, she gladly eats almost any fruit or vegetable I give her, which makes my world a little easier than most parents. Setting the meal up as I’ve pictured above allowed the kids to choose which vegetables they wanted to include and, for my daughter, made her feel like she was at a snack buffet. Maybe that’s why she ate so well.

I hope you enjoy these grilled chicken lettuce wraps as much as we all did 🙂

 

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2″ piece of ginger, minced

1/4 Cup rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 Cup tamari (or other soy sauce)

1/4 Cup brown sugar, plus 1 tbsp reserved

2 tsp fish sauce

1/4 – 1/2 tsp chili flakes

1 lbs chicken breast

1/2 Cup carrots, julienned

1/2 Cup red peppers, julienned

1/2 Cup cucumbers, julienned

1 head of butter lettuce, cleaned and separated

Whisk together the first 8 ingredients. Set aside.

Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and place in a shallow bowl or casserole dish. Pour the soy sauce mixture over the chicken and toss, ensuring that the chicken is evenly coated. Set in the refrigerator to marinate for 2-4 hours.

After the chicken has been allowed to marinate remove it from the fridge and begin preheating the bbq. Thread the chicken onto skewers, reserving the marinade, and place it on the grill for 15 – 20 minutes until it’s been cooked through.

While the chicken is cooking, pour the remaining marinade into a small sauce pan. Whisk in the reserved 1 tbsp of brown sugar and bring to a simmer over low-medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes until slightly thickened.

Serve the chicken alongside the julienned vegetables, lettuce and sauce.

 

Summer Market Salad

Summer Market Salad

This past week we were able to get away for a few days vacation at our family cabin. About a 4 hour drive away, our cabin has been in my husbands family for about 50 years. Aside from a few renovations, much of the cabin is still the same and old family photos line the walls. Our kids love our vacations at the cabin. They look forward to it all year long, sometimes going as far as attempting to pack their suitcases a few months in advance. With very limited cell phone and internet service, it’s the perfect place to go to relax. Unfortunately, it’s also the perfect place to overindulge in food and drink and we often come back feeling a little sluggish. This week, it’s time to Continue reading

Mediterranean 4 layer dip

Mediterranean 4 layer dip

Mediterranean 4 layer dip

This past week I had the amazing opportunity to participate in the Vancouver Avocado Showdown at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. The goal was to create a dish to showcase the delicious versatility of avocados. Specifically, Avocados from Mexico, as they make up about 80% of the avocados sold in Canada.

This was my first media/food blog event, so to say I was  a little nervous would definitely be an understatement. I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t really know any of the other participants. Continue reading

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