Monday, August 19, 2013

Chickpea, Okra and Mango Curry

Good Monday morning!  I am going to be a total grumpasauras this week because it's going to be super hot and humid.  Blech!

I will have a few posts about the CAN FIT PRO conference to share with you the latest and greatest and not so great fitness products and trends, but today I'll share a recipe.  One of the things that came up in several different contexts was the health benefits of turmeric (among other things its a potent anti-carcinogen).  It's not a spicy spice, so it's safe for folks who like their foods mild. The bright yellow colour, actually, is a lot stronger than it's flavour.  It's traditional in Indian cuisine, but you could add it to all sorts of things for a little health boost.

Okra is another frequently overlooked nutrition superstar.  Okra is one of those things you either love or hate.  Haters tell me it's a texture thing - that it's slimy.  Okra contains a substance that naturally thickens your dish, which is why its a great addition to soups, stews and curries.  I love it and I don't find is slimy.  One of the best okra dishes was one Adam and I had in an Indian restaurant in Manhattan, which also had mango in it.  This curry is completely made up by me and not really 'authentic'.  But I don't care.  It's delicious.

Okra is incredibly healthy too, with a good amount of protein for a vegetable (12g/10 ounces), and an abundance of vitamins and minerals (vitamins A, C, K, folate, choline, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese). 

If you've never tried them, you really should!  They are readily available in the grocery store either fresh or frozen.  Okra virgins might want to start by tossing them with a bit of olive oil and your favorite spices and roasting them, since that will do the best job of keeping them from releasing their slightly gelatinous insides.  Or, just make this dish, it's super yum.

Chickpea, Okra and Mango Curry

1 tsp coconut oil
1 onion, peeled and quartered
Chunk of fresh ginger, peeled
3 cloves garlic
2 cups frozen mango + 1/2 cup water, pureed
1 tbls garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
Crushed red chili flakes, to taste (optional)
2 tbls cider vinegar
2-300g bags frozen, sliced okra (or 4 cups fresh)
1 cauliflower, cut into florets*
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas)
1 cup plain yogurt (dairy, soy or coconut)

Brown basmati rice, quinoa or millet

In a large skillet or fry pan, saute onion, ginger garlic, mango puree, vinegar and spices in oil for about 5 minutes.  Add okra, cauliflower and chickpeas and simmer until veggies are tender.  Stir in yogurt.  Serve on top of grain of choice.

*I like to roast the cauliflower with some garlic and oil first, but that step is optional.

This recipe was submitted to Vegetarian Mamma's Gluten-Free Friday and the last Wellness Weekend for this summer.