Tamarind and Chick Peas

9ūüé∂¬† THREE’S¬† THE¬† CHARM¬† ūüé∂ ¬†
(1) TAMARIND (2) SPINACH (3) CHICK PEAS
I had this dish years ago, without all the spices and was not impressed.¬† The spices in this recipe enhance the key flavour of¬† the tamarind.¬† Surprisingly, the 3 jalape√Īo peppers are not hot in this dish.¬† An EASY 30 MINUTE meal packed with protein and flavour.¬† Leftovers makes a great lunch at the office!¬† Another¬† winner!


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INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¬Ĺ tsp nigella seeds
1¬Ĺ tsp fennel seeds¬† ( or¬† anise seeds)
1 medium onion ( chopped )
400 g can chopped tomatoes (san marzano)
3 green jalae√Īo peppers, seeded and cut into quarter lengths
2-3 tsp monk fruit sweetener ( or stevia, truvia, etc. )
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
410 g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1-2 tbsp tamarind paste ( adjust to taste )
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
half a 250g/9oz bag of organic baby spinach leaves
Serving suggestion:  natural yogurt and chapatis

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Fry the nigella and fennel seeds for about 10 second. Add the onion and cook gently for 8-10 minutes until golden.

2. Mix in the tomatoes,¬† jalape√Īos,¬† sweetener ( Monk fruit ), paprika, turmeric and¬† chickpeas. Bring to a boil,¬† then simmer for 10 minutes.¬† Make sure your dish is stew-like; not too dry. Add water if needed.

3. Stir in the tamarind and coriander. ( (You need to do a taste test here. Add more tamerind to get  that tamerind sweet and sour flavour).  Add the spinach leaves and stir gently until they’ve just wilted. You can serve as a main course with yogurt and chapatis or as a side dish.

Tamarind paste

Tamarind Paste

Tamarind Chick Peas

Tamarind and Chick Peas

COOKING TIP:¬† Before starting to cook, do all your chopping and rinse out the chick peas. Check your spice rack to make sure you have all your spices¬† measured and placed in¬† small dishes. ahead of time. This “mise en place”¬† technique makes cooking time much faster.

WARNING: Do not buy tamarind without reading the ingredients on the label. I bought tamarind in a bottle at the grocery store. I neglected to read the label as I was in a hurry. The main ingredient was syrup. Tamarind was the fourth ingredient! I was disappointed. Do not accept substitutes or a bogus spice seller that claims to be tamarind. Without ‘true’ tamarind, this recipe is so – so. I soaked my tamerind block in water¬† took the seeds out and ladled the liquid into the dish. ( About 1 cup ) The difference was like night and day.

DID YOU KNOW? The recipe for WORCESTERSHIRE Sauce contains tamarind?  The one ingredient that sets Worcestershire sauce apart  is tamarind  fruit. The sweetness in this fruit  is balanced by its high content of acid, giving it that sweet-sour taste.

TAMARIND is a condiment, a spice and a fruit. Its extract, which tastes deliciously tangy, is one of the most highly valued foods in Asian and Indian cuisine. ( Origin: Africa )

TAMARIND contains an impressive amount of essential minerals such as thiamine, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Some of its other prominent nutrients include niacin, calcium, vitamin C, copper, fiber and pyridoxine.

Tamarind treats both constipation and diarrhea naturally by increasing the effectiveness of the digestive tract.  Tamarind has long been considered a natural laxative.  It stimulates your metabolism and also keeps your digestive system strong and improves blood circulation. Good for weight loss. Boost your immune system. Also, it has anti-inflammatory properties.

Tamarind Pods and Beverage

Dirty Dozen ~ Don’t Panic Buy Organic!

When  should you buy organic!
You might wonder if the nutrients in organic food are higher than those in non-organic food. We assume they are higher.¬† Especially since they cost more to buy.¬† But, it is not always the case. Crop-Duster Spraying FieldSweet bell peppers have about the same amount of vitamin C in both camps; organic and conventional produce.¬† Tomatoes rank slightly higher on the organic side. Potato farmers will not eat conventional potatoes. They grow a small crop of organic potatoes for themselves.¬†¬† Some potatoes farmers will¬† go on record to say that there is no difference.¬† Of course he would say that. Farming is big business.¬† I noticed the younger farmers support organic while the older farmers didn’t.¬† Why is that? What we are really talking about are pesticides.¬† Do we spray our produce with poisonous chemicals or not.¬† It all began¬†4,500 years ago in ancient Mesapotania,¬† where the first known (organic) pesticide was elemental sulfur dusting.¬† In 1959,¬† the dominant arsenic spray used to preserve the orange groves in Florida was on the decline as organic sprays were emerging again.¬† We were still left with residual arsenic in the soil and other synthetic pesticides are still being used.

DIRTY DOZEN
All fruits and vegetables are good but some are better than others.
dirty-dozen-clean-fifteen
Download this FREE Brochure. Paste it on your fridge and give to your friends. Keep a copy in your wallet for your grocery shopping trips.¬† Your friends and your body will thank you for it.—> CLICK HERE-(to download/print the PDF). It’s fantastic!

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) have generously provided us with this excellent shopping guide. dirty-dozenThey studied 46 conventionally grown fruits and vegetables over a ten year period and have listed the ones with the most pesticide contaminants and those with the least amount of pesticides.Their so-called “Dirty Dozen” have the most contaminants and it would be best to buy organic produce in this category. The clean fifteen has the least contaminants in both organic and conventional produce. YAHOO!

Results:¬†You can drop your pesticide exposure by 90% when you follow the EWG guidelines.¬†¬† I always bring my “Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen” chart to the grocery store with me.¬† When I didn’t see blueberries on their short list, I went to the EWG site.¬†mr-potato Blueberries don’t have to be organic. I can buy conventional blueberries.¬† Visit www.EWG.org to rate your plate.
KING SPUD
White potatoes have such a high amount of ¬†pesticides that the potato farmer will not eat them but have a separate potato patch for their family consumption. ¬†The interesting Michael Pollan film “Botany of Desire” (available on YouTube) explains this in length.

THE JOY OF A FRESH TOMATO
Let us  examine the tomato. tomatoesFood chemists at the University of California have found that organically grown tomatoes have significantly higher amounts of vitamin C than their non organic counterparts.  (see organic vs conventions chart below).  My favorite tomato is the Kumato (green/purple) tomato from Spain. I really like the taste. It reminds me of tomatoes when I was a kid. Kumatoes are not genetically modified but a cross breeding of tomatoes and are grown hydroponically.  Note: GMO ( genetically modified organism) produce; using genetic engineering techniques  were designed build a better tomato and thwart pests. They do not have to be labeled in your grocery store either and may have unknown allergens.

BELL PEPPERS ARE EQUAL in VITAMIN C
Sweet bell pepper are so tasty. You can munch on them like an apple. The amount of vitamin C is about the same for both organic and non-organic peppers. But the non-organic sweet bell peppers are sprayed many times during its growth cycle. We are looking at 49 possible carcinogens, nine suspected hormone disruptors and nine neurotoxins.¬† They are on the “DIRTY DOZEN” list.peppers_mini

Pediatricians Don’t All Agree

A new report claims that organic food does not have “any meaningful nutritional benefits or deficits.” Conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the report recommends that pediatricians take the findings of the report into account when giving nutritional advice to parents. from www.naturallySavvy.com

A study showed that on average organic produce had 27% more vitamin C, 21% more iron, 27% more magnesium and more than 13% more phosphorous than conventional produce. These can be referenced in Dr. John La Puma’s book “Chef MD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine“.

Organic chart provided by ecochildsplay.com organic_chart_conventional
Stay tuned for more “organic” recipes from Simply Splendid Food.