Sunday, July 19, 2009

Braised Vegetables and Garbanzo Beans with Indian Spices over Green Rice

My best friend in college was from India and I have loved Indian food ever since. It is a little scary to think that was almost 30 years ago. Making Indian food to now second nature to me like Italian food.

I go through phases when I cook a lot of Indian food. I was a little concerned that removing the coconut milk from this dish would result in an unsatisfactory end result, but I should not have been worried. The almond milk thickened with cornstarch slurry was a fine substitute for the low fat coconut milk I normally used. This dish came in lower in fat than I expected, but the flavor was still very good.

One of the things I love the most about Indian food is the use of turmeric. The more you learn about the health benefits of turmeric the more you will find yourself looking for ways to incorporate it into your life. Turmeric is very high in antioxidants and is thought to fight cancer in many ways. According to “Anticancer” you need to consume the turmeric with oil and black pepper to get the maximum benefit.

If you are looking for a recipe to introduce your family to Indian flavors this is a nice mild dish to try.

Braised Vegetables and Garbanzo Beans with Indian Spices over Green Rice
Serves 6


1 cup of garbanzo, cooked until tender (if using canned, use one 14 ounce can)
1 teaspoon of canola oil
1 red onion minced
3 garlic cloves, minced (allow to stand to 10 minutes so allicin develops)
1 inch of fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon of turmeric, or to taste
1 teaspoon of cumin seed, or to taste
1 teaspoon of coriander seed, or to taste
1 teaspoon of mustard seed, or to taste
½ teaspoon of fenugreek, optional
½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes, optional but recommended
2 large zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
2 Japanese eggplants, halved lengthwise and sliced
15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 cup of almond milk, unsweetened
1 tablespoon of hot crushed peppers (wet hots)
½ jalapeno, finely minced
1 tablespoon of cornstarch, mixed with 2 tablespoons of water to form a slurry
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 cups of brown basmati rice
4 cups of water, filtered
1 teaspoon of canola oil, to keep pressure cooker from foaming
½ teaspoon of kosher salt
½ - 1 cup of fresh cilantro, minced
1 green onion, thinly sliced
½ jalapeno, finely minced


Cook the garbanzo beans until tender, and then set aside until needed. If you don’t want to use dried bean substitute one 14-ounce can of garbanzos that you rinsed and drained.

Sauté onion, garlic and ginger in olive oil until tender. Add turmeric, cumin, coriander, mustard seed, fenugreek and red crushed peppers and cook until mustard seed begin to pop. Add the zucchini, eggplant, diced tomatoes, almond milk, hot crushed peppers and tender garbanzo beans and cook over low heat until the vegetables are tender (about 20 minutes).

Meanwhile rinse the brown rice in a fine sieve under running water and then drain. Put drained brown rice and water in a pressure cooker with the oil and lock the lid. Bring the pressure cooker to pressure, then turn down to low (but not so long the steam stops) and cook for 18 minutes. Use the quick release method to bring the temperature down. Fluff the rice with a fork and add in the cilantro, green onion and jalapeno. Note: If you are not using a pressure cooker, begin cooking the rice 45 minutes before dinner (or 25 minutes prior to starting the vegetable braise).

Add the cornstarch slurry to the braised vegetables to thicken the sauce. Taste for seasonings and serve with the green rice and tofu Raita.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 456.37
Calories From Fat (13%) - 57.85

Total Fat - 6.79g
Saturated Fat - 0.82g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 308.48mg
Potassium - 1201.68mg
Total Carbohydrates - 87.45g
Fiber - 15.92g
Sugar - 10.76g
Protein - 15.34g


I intentionally reduced the heat level in this dish so that my 80-year-old parents could eat it. If I were making this dish for only my family I would double the jalapeno, pepper flakes and the hot crushed peppers.

Everyone enjoyed this meal tonight including the omnivores that aren’t very familiar with Indian food. I think this is a good Indian inspired dish for someone you are trying to introduce to Indian flavors. The flavors are not very aggressive, but you do get the essence of Indian food.
If you aren’t as concerned with fat as we are you can add a little low fat coconut milk to the sauce, or a few toasted cashews. Both are traditional and would be excellent used here.

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