After several recipes that involve frying, it’s time for some healthier, figure-friendly ones. After all, it is summer and there are no jackets and sweaters to hide under. When I began my weight loss journey, there were a few recipes that were sure-fire “eat-this-and-the-scale-will-smile-upon-me” dishes.
My scale, by the way, is named Pandora. I chose this name because when I step on her, I never know what horrors may fly out at me but at the bottom, there is always hope!
Lately I’ve been going to the local Farmer’s Market every weekend. My main reason for going is to get the beautiful, freshly picked, organic vegetables.
But I have to admit that what I really look forward to is getting a delicious lunch from one of the vendors. There are a lot of vendors selling food, most of which have some Vegan option, but not gluten-free. There is a vendor that sells Vegan macrobiotic food but other than the salad, again not gluten-free. Then there is my favorite vendor who makes Sri Lankan food that is BOTH Vegan and gluten-free. Pay dirt!!
The woman who runs the booth is so sweet and kind. We have talked a lot and she likes me so much, she has offered to adopt me. Now I call her “Mom” and she calls me her daughter. But that means she also feeds me like a Mom does. Tom and I both get the lunch special. He gets the one with all the amazing fried goodies: potato samosas, cauliflower and eggplant pakora, spinach and lentil fritters. OMG! I try to be better behaved and get the “low-fat” lunch special which has dal, curried veggies, rice, coconut chutney, etc. “Mom” knows how much we love her food and she fills our plates like we are going on a week-long journey! We end up taking a lot of it home but we also end up eating way too much.
So while my new “Mom” might love me, Pandora has not been as happy with me. That means it’s time to break out the guaranteed success recipes again. This Indian Veggie Stew is one of those recipes. It’s all vegetables and chickpeas so it’s filling and guilt-free. The fragrant spices – ginger, garlic, curry, coriander, cumin, garam masala – give it a rich, deep, spicy Indian flavor.
If you have your own garden, it’s the perfect recipe to use up some of those extra eggplants, zucchinis, squashes and tomatoes you don’t know what to do with (of course, you could give them to me because I am so jealous!). I got this beautiful variety of eggplants at the Farmer’s Market. Honestly, I didn’t know eggplants came in so many different shapes, sizes, and colors.
|Eggplant makes me happy 🙂|
This Indian Veggie Stew can be served over rice or quinoa (my favorite) but Tom likes it best when I make Chickpea Scallion Crepes to roll the stew up in with a dollop of Vegan sour cream or yogurt. This is really one of my favorite recipes. It’s an exotic, beautiful bounty of colorful vegetables with savory, aromatic spices. And it makes Pandora happy and if Pandora’s happy, I’m happy.
Indian Vegetable Stew
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped,
1 Tbs. fresh ginger, minced or grated
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 Tbs. curry powder
1 tsp. coriander
1 Tbs. cumin
1 tsp. garam masala (or pinches of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves)
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes or about 3 fresh tomatoes
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth,
2 medium eggplants, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large zucchini, cut into chunks
1 yellow squash, cut into chunks
2 large carrots, cut into chunks
2 medium red potatoes, cut into chunks
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 (10 oz) box frozen cauliflower, thawed or fresh
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Mint, cilantro or parsley for garnish (optional)
Vegan sour cream or yogurt (optional)
Heat oil in a large pot over low heat. Add onion, ginger, and garlic. Cook, stirring, about 3-4 minutes. Add curry powder and cook for 1 minute. Add coriander, cumin and garam masala (or cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves). The aroma of the spices should be filling your kitchen.
Add the tomatoes and broth. Raise the heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Add the eggplant, zucchini, squash, carrots, potatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer covered, stirring occasionally, until the veggies have softened, about 20 – 30 minutes. Add the cauliflower and chickpeas. Simmer, covered, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with mint, cilantro or parsley.
Variation: if you aren’t worried about calories, you can add coconut milk to make the stew creamy!
Chickpea Scallion Crepes
(Makes about 6 crepes)
1 cup chickpea flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
½ – 1 Tbsp. curry powder (depending on your spice taste)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 ½ – 2 cups water, room temperature
3 medium scallion(s), sliced thinly, both green and white parts
Combine dry ingredients (flour, salt, turmeric, curry powder) into a large bowl. Add the oil and mix with a fork until it feels like wet sand. Add water very slowly, a little bit at a time, whisking until you get the right consistency of batter. It should be very loose (you may need to add more water than stated). Add scallions. Let batter rest for 10 – 20 minutes (it can also sit overnight).
Spray an 8 inch skillet with cooking spray (or use non-stick pan) and let it get well-heated.
Pour 1/3 cup of batter into the pan and slowly move pan in circles until the batter thinly coats the pan. Let cook until the edges lift and the crepe moves when you shake the pan. Carefully flip the crepe and let other side cook about 1 minute. Slide the crepe off pan onto a platter. Keep warm in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve.
Note: Keep in mind that the hotter the pan gets, the faster the crepes will cook as you go along. Be sure to keep an eye on them; don’t walk away.
Note: There is a saying that the first crepe never comes out right. I have often found that to be true. The good news is that you then have a delicious, albeit messed up, crepe to munch on while you make the rest.