For those of us who are perpetually dealing with arthritis adding "hot" spices to our diet can be beneficial. Spices such as turmeric, cayenne pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cumin and coriander have long been recognized for their anti-inflammatory properties. For those of us trying to change our diet by adding more vegetables and cutting back on red meat, curries can be a delicious, nourishing, and healthy addition. They are also very warm in the tummy on cold winter nights. Last night I made Chana Masala for the first time and it was wonderful for all three purposes: lots of spice, lots of veggies, warm in the tummy and delicious.
Chana Masala requires a mixture of a LOT of spices but, fortunately, I had purchased a 1 oz. bag of Chana Masal from one of my favorite online stores, My Spice Sage. Their Chana Masal contains Coriander, Dry Mango, Pomegranate Seeds, Chili, Cumin, Musk Melon, Salt, Black Pepper, Black Salt, Fenugreek Leaves, Cloves, Mint, Nutmeg, Dry Ginger, Cinnamon, Bay Leaf, Cardamom Ammomum Seeds, Caraway and Mace. Because of the Mango, Pomegranate and Musk Melon it has a delightfully fruity aftertaste and that little hint of mint adds a clean, fresh quality that is very nice. I used Chana Dal from my other favorite online store, NutsOnline. If you don't know about Nuts Online you are in for a treat. Everything I've gotten from them has been incredible -- their grains, beans, and dried veggies are just wonderful and their prices are so great the shipping charge seems negligible. So far everything I have ordered has arrived the very next day.
The other item that went in to my Chana Masala was some of My Spice Sage's Dried Vegetable Mix. This is a wonderful mixture of Red Bell Pepper, Green Bell Pepper, Carrots, Onions and Celery that makes a superb beginning for many soups and casseroles. I bought the 1 lb. bag and have used 1/2 cup of the mixture in soups three times and there is still a lot left. Great stuff! So, this is how I made my:
Chana Masala with Tomatoes & Peppers
In a tablespoon of butter saute one medium onion chopped fine until just tender. Stir in one tablespoon of Chana Masala Spice Mix and 1/2 cup Chana Dal (split Chick Peas), you could substitute a can of Chick Peas that have been well-drained to reduce cooking time.
Stir the mixture until the spice is melted and the beans are well coated. Transfer to a crockpot and add 2 cups Chicken Broth. Add 1/2 cup Dried Vegetable Mix or 1 cup of a mixture of finely diced Red & Green Peppers, Carrots, Onions & Celery. Cover and let simmer on High for 3 hours (2 if you used canned Chick Peas).
Add 1 10 oz. can diced Tomatoes with Green Chilis and 1 cup finely chopped fresh Spinach (or frozen). Cover and let cook on High for another hour.
Mixture should be thick and fragrant.You can eat it over Rice or with a flat bread or just out of a bowl. Delicious with an added dollop of yogurt into which a little bit of mint has been stirred.
That should warm you up.
Thanks for reading.