Coconut curry with chickpeas and vegetables

Although coconut saturated fat content is high, there is apparently no reason to be afraid of it or to avoid it. I talked to a doctor in East Timor where coconuts are abundant and commonly consumed. He told me that heart diseases are nonexistent there. The Timorese eat meat only occasionally and do not eat dairy at all, so maybe not any saturated fat is the culprit, but animal products? I love coconut and will keep eating it as much as the price allows me.

 Coconut curry with chickpeas and vegetables 1

This meal, exceptionally, was not frugal at all. Although I have an excuse that it was a holiday, I feel obliged to warn you that coconuts in health food supermarkets are very expensive ($4.99 each). I used to buy them from roadside farmers for a dollar and I will have to look for them because this curry was too good to wait for another holiday weekend for an excuse.

Ingredients:

Fresh meat of 1 coconut (enjoy the chilled water on a hot summer day first),

4 Roma tomatoes,

3 large cauliflower florets,

2 cups of tiny broccoli florets,

2 cups cooked chickpeas (or about 0.7 cup dry ones),

a handful fresh parsley leaves,

½ onion,

6 cloves garlic,

½ teaspoon ground coriander,

½ teaspoon ground cumin,

½ teaspoon ground cardamom,

½ teaspoon ground fenugreek,

½ teaspoon whole brown mustard seeds,

½ teaspoon black pepper,

½ teaspoon ground hot chili pepper,

¼ teaspoon sea salt (if you have to cook chickpeas),

1 tablespoon ground turmeric,

2 tablespoons coconut oil (for frying).

 Coconut curry with chickpeas and vegetables 2

Please do not forget about black pepper. Turmeric has excellent anti-inflammatory properties, but together with black pepper it works 100 times stronger.

If you do not have cooked chickpeas in your refrigerator or freezer, you need to plan ahead and soak them either the night before or in the morning, before going to work, so they will be cone by dinner time (see: Learn to Cook – Legumes). Cook them in water equal in level to the level of the chickpeas, adding a little bit of sea salt. I always cook large amounts of legumes ahead, divide them into smaller portions and freeze in 2 or 4 cups glass containers, so I don’t have to cook them when I need them. I do not recommend using canned legumes, they contain preservatives, excess salt, and the can itself, in contact with food, is unhealthy.

 Coconut curry with chickpeas and vegetables 3

Blend tomatoes, garlic and coconut meat together. In a stainless steel pot or sauce pan (avoid unhealthy non-stick and aluminum pots) heat up the oil, add the spices and fry them for a minute. Add finely chopped onion and keep frying until softened. Add the tomato sauce and bring it to boil. Chop the large cauliflower florets into tiny ones, add them to the sauce and cook for about 15 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook for 15 more minutes. Add the chickpeas and keep cooking for a minute or two. Serve with brown rice (see: Learn to Cook – Grains), sprinkled with chopped parsley leaves.

This meal is gluten-free.