Saturday, May 11, 2013

Garam Masala Yams, Cauliflower, and Chickpeas

This Indian vegetable dish is a complete meal in itself or it can be served over rice. The recipe makes a large quantity – perfect to take to a potluck. Cook it up in a big stew pot. I have divided the steps into three phases.


2 tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil
½ onion, chopped (about ¾ cup) or 1½ tbsp. onion powder
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 tbsp. fresh ginger (peeled and chopped fine)
2 tbsp. coriander
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. turmeric
1 tbsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. clove
¼ tsp. cayenne or 1 tsp. chili pepper flakes (optional – see note about spiciness below under directions)
Salt to taste (or use none – can always be added later by individuals)
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 14-ounce can stewed diced tomatoes (or 3 medium-sized peeled chopped fresh tomatoes)
1 c. water
1 c. coconut milk
1 smallish head of cauliflower broken up into pieces (no larger than 1½ inches)
3 sliced carrots (not thin-sliced, more chunky)
2 large garnet yams peeled and chopped into cubes (no larger than ¾-inch) – equivalent of about 3½ cups
1 15-ounce can of chickpeas
2 limes
1 tbsp. orange peel
½ c. raisins
8 ounces baby spinach (washed and chopped coarsely)


PHASE ONE. Heat the oil in a large stew pot until frying-hot then add the onion and fry it for a few minutes until it becomes transparent. Turn off the heat. Combine the water, tomatoes, tomato paste, and all the herbs and spices listed in Phase One in the stew pot. I usually do not put cayenne or hot pepper in anything I cook since it can always be added later and some people have trouble with spicy food. (Sambal Oelek is an excellent hot spicy addition that can be served separately.) I also do not cook with salt because that too can be added later and some people can’t tolerate salt. Turn the heat on low and simmer the spices and herbs in the tomato “soup” (covered) for about five or ten minutes. If you are not done cutting up the vegetables by then just turn off the heat until you are ready to add the veggies.

PHASE TWO. Slice the carrots. Peel the garnet yams and cut into chunks or cubes. Break up the cauliflower into bite-size pieces. Add these vegetables to the stew pot along with the coconut milk. Cook the vegetables over low heat, covered, for about 20 minutes (until the veggies are soft but still firm, not mushy). Be sure to stir the veggies frequently so that they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.

PHASE THREE. Juice 2 limes. Rinse the chickpeas with water in a colander. Coarsely chop the spinach. Once the vegetables are cooked, add the chickpeas, lime juice, orange peel, and raisins to the stew and mix them in. Then place the spinach on top and cover the pot. Cook on low heat for about 5 minutes to steam the spinach until it wilts.

I like to serve this dish with chopped cilantro and fresh mango. The cilantro can be sprinkled on top. Mango should be chopped into bite-sized pieces and served on the side. Additionally, yogurt or a raita of yogurt and chopped cucumbers goes very well with this meal.

 Eat well, be well, live deliciously!

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