Recipe: Creamy Vegan Channa
In this recipe, I wanted to put a healthy, vegan spin on an old favourite of mine. Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani, is a flavourful Indian dish, but full of dairy and fat, not a great choice for anyone at risk for heart disease. Part of the challenge of developing this recipe was to revamp it without losing the rich creamy texture. I replaced the butter with coconut oil and the yogurt with coconut milk and cashew cream which made it rich and smooth. I left out the more complicated spicing and tomato paste, replacing it with fresh tomatoes and simple spicing instead.
My first attempt wasn't what I wanted. I used too many ingredients and added vegetables trying to make it a one pot meal. It didn't work. For me adding in spinach or kale takes away from the flavour. So I went back to the drawing board to figure out what I was after. I felt my recipe was missing something and started searching the internet. When I saw a recipe for cashew cream, it all came together. I knew this was the missing link to my Butter Channa. My recipe is still quite different than the original, much more simple but I am really happy with the results. It is excellent served with quinoa and walnuts because of the delicate flavours of each dish.
The great thing about this low glycemic dish, is that every single ingredient supports blood sugar balance and promotes a healthy cardiovascular system.
Chickpeas are high in fiber and improve control of blood sugar and insulin secretion.
Coconut oil is anti-viral and anti-microbial, prevents heart disease and promotes the utilization of blood glucose.
Ginger and Tumeric from the Zingiberacea Family, reduce insulin spikes, reduce damage caused by sugar to the red blood cells to name only a few benefits.
Cinnamon improves the ability to respond to insulin, reduces blood sugar, and total cholesterol.
Onions and garlic from the Allium Family, provide biotin, lower serum cholesterol and are powerful anti-oxidants.
Tomatoes are high in the anti-oxidant Vitamin C and contain Chromium to help normalize blood sugar levels.
Cashews lower cholesterol and help balance blood sugar levels.
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 medium onion chopped (yellow or white)
3 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp ginger minced
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp allspice powder
4 tsp curry powder (garam masala)
1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
1 can 400ml of coconut milk
1/2 cashew cream (recipe)*
2 cups chickpeas (cooked)
1 tbsp. lime juice
saute onions in coconut oil for five minutes, careful not to burn
add garlic and ginger saute for five more minutes
add curry, cinnamon, salt, allspice for five more minutes stir occasionally blending ingredients well.
then add in the coconut milk, tomatoes and stir for a few minutes till blended
add in the cashew cream* and blend
bring to a boil and then immediately reduce heat to a simmer for twenty five minutes, until mix is reduced and a nice golden color.
add in chick peas and continue to cook for 10 minutes or more, so chickpeas are fully heated
add in lime juice and garnish with cilantro
(copyright - 2009 Tal Ronnen http://talronnen.ca)
soak 1/2 cup raw cashews overnight in cold water
rinse and add to blender with water just below the top of the cashews
blend until smooth – don't over blend or it will liquify