Wellness for Life Cooking Class: Chana Masala

Wellness for Life Cooking Class: Chana Masala


Absmc-cooking-chana-masala [MUSIC] Welcome to the Wellness for Life Cooking Series sponsored by the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center and Whole Foods. Today’s class is all about spices, how to cook with them and how to use them in your everyday meals to create delicious food for you and your family. Today we are making a chana masala, which is an Indian dish that is spiced with tomatoes, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, ginger, all kinds of different things. So why do we want to be using spices in our food? Well, number one, they’re amazingly delicious. Simple as that. Number two, is they’re very high in antioxidants, antioxidants being those things that help our bodies function properly and ward off disease. And then number three is especially spices that are warming, which we’re going to be using today, like ginger, like nutmeg, like cloves, can help reduce sugar cravings. They have like sweet components that help really balance out a dish and make you feel kind of warm and sasiated. To get started, you want to take some onions, chop them up — which I’ve already done — and throw them into a pot with some olive oil. And what you want to do is get your onions up to a nice golden brown. And this will take a good 20 minutes. That’s okay. Because while your onions are going, this is going to allow you to get all of your spices together as well as chop your garlic. To peel your garlic, first you smash. Then you peel. And then you make tiny slices on the top, one across the body and then run your blade through. That’s going to be great. All right. We’ll do a few more. Everyone loves garlic. Doesn’t have to be perfect. The great thing about cooking is that nothing has to be perfect. We’re not baking, right? You can do whatever you want. No one really has to know. Fantastic. These are looking great. So we’re going to let that cook for a little bit longer. But in terms of your spices: We have whole cumin seeds. We have a combination of both coriander and ground ginger. This is cardamom, which I love. Gives it a really sweet, spicy flavor, cloves and nutmeg. And the cayenne is what is going to give it some heat. The spices, even though they’re spicy, they’re not spicy. They’re well spiced. It’s not a seriously hot dish. It’s just a warming dish, which is great for wintertime. This is a great wintertime dish. I’m going to throw in our garlic fantastic. Turn down the heat just a little. Now you want to throw in your spices. [Music] Whenever you’re cooking with spices, you always want to cook your spices first. It really brings out the flavor and gets them all ready to kind of pop in the dish. If you were to wait and put everything in together, you wouldn’t get all of the great flavor. So we’re going to let this cook for a minute or so. It’s not the most beautiful looking, but it’s going to take fantastic. A little bit of salt. And you always want to salt as you go. Because, again, if you salt as you go, you tend to use less salt at the end versus not using salt tasting it at the very end, feeling like it’s too bland and then dumping a whole bunch of stuff in. Oh, yum. I want to talk a little bit about garbanzo beans. There are a few ways you can do this. One is you use a dried garbanzo bean. These are dried garbanzo beans that you would then soak overnight in water. It’s pretty easy. Then you would then drain the water and put in fresh water, bring it up to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about an hour. You could use canned garbanzos. And you see the difference. This one fully cooked, loaded with water, ready to go. This one dried and needs soaking and cooking. And the same thing goes with tomatoes. These are beautiful, gorgeous, red, ripe tomatoes. But let’s say it’s wintertime, you can’t get fresh tomatoes. So you can use canned tomatoes. If you were going to be using fresh tomatoes, you would first need to blanche them and then peel them, then throw them in. So it depends on what kind of time you have and what kind of a person you are. If you want to do it from serious scratch, you totally can, but it’s not going to affect the flavor that much. And, again, on a Wednesday night you might need to power through. I’m going to throw some canned tomatoes in here. This is the tomato juice. We’re just going to put it right into the pot and let it begin to cook a little bit. While that’s happening, there are two ways of doing this. One is you can be very, very civilized and chop into kind of large chunks and throw your tomatoes in. Or you can just do this. That was pretty messy. [Music] Oh. And you want to get all of the brown bits off the bottom. That is the good stuff. It also helps so that your boyfriend, girlfriend, roommate or yourself does not have to scrub all night. So just doing that is great. All right. So we’re going to chop these again. [Music] That’s really good. It’s even better off of bamboo. Oh. Yum. All right. So we’re still going to let this go for a bit longer. So now we’re going to do our cilantro. This is the fresh leaf of cilantro which is the same thing as one of the spices we’ve already put in. Coriander. So the coriander seed becomes cilantro when planted. Whenever you’re cooking, you want to have a well-rounded type of a dish. You want sweet, salty. You want a little bit acidic. And we’re going to be getting all of that. The more you eat in a well-balanced way, meaning having all of those flavor profiles available, you tend to crave less. It’s pretty shocking. All right. Time for the beans. A little bit of salt. Just a little. High quality, good sea salt. Salt is important. You do need some of it. It is an important electrolyte. But the problem is when we’re getting it from really low quality sources, right, like processed foods. If we cut out processed foods, it allows us to eat good, quality sea salt in moderation. And then a bit of lemon juice, right? Get a lemon squeezer. You cannot live without it. My favorite thing. That’s just me. Delicious. Okay. And what you’re going to do, you’re going to add a little bit of water and let it evaporate off. Add in a little bit of water, let it evaporate off. It helps concentrate all the flavors of all the spices we’ve got going on. Just add a little bit of water. Never, never serve a dish that you have not first tasted. We get involved with the recipe, following the recipe, we believe if we follow the recipe, nothing can go wrong. And the problem with that is that even if the recipe has been tested and tested and tested by the person who gave it to you or from the book, it’s not always true, because your flavor profile is different than everyone else’s. So make sure that you taste your food before you sit it on the table to be served. That way you know that you can stand behind your dish and you feel really good about it. The last thing you want is to serve a dish and everyone is like: Salt, please. Pepper please. Pepper. A little bit of pepper. All right. A little bit of pepper. Yum. I’m going to run my blade through the chopped cilantro. Throw that in there with just a little bit more water that we’re going to then let evaporate off. I don’t need it that fine. I actually enjoy kind of large chunks of cilantro. And it adds a really beautiful green color. It’s a very festive dish. It’s gorgeous. The more colors, the better. But they have to be real colors like tomatoes are red, they’re not dyed red, hopefully. Cilantro is green. It is not an artificial food color thing. You’ll notice when you cook with spices, the longer, whatever it is that you’re making sits the more delicious it gets. This is even better the next day. So make a giant pot of it, double the recipe, and you’ll have it for either your lunch or dinner the next day. It also freezes beautifully. Things that are kind of saucy or soupy freeze really well. So know that once this is cooled off, you can put it in a container, throw it into your freezer, and then next week, when you didn’t have time to cook, you just defrost your chana masala and you’re ready to go. Nothing better. I’m going to drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the top just to make it a little richer and a little bit more filling. Don’t worry. This is a very good quality fat. And let me tell you, when you eat food that has fat, you get fuller quicker and you eat less. You do need fat in your diet to feel satisfied and full. So just making sure that it’s high quality fat is really important. Thank you so much for everyone who is watching out on the Inter Web. Our sponsor is Alta Bates Summit Medical Center and Whole Foods. It would not be possible without them. I am Jamie Doughtery, health and lifestyle expert, and until next time for the Wellness for Life classes, we’ll see you later. Ready. Stool. Fix me. Fix me. I have no ego around this. Just fix me. I’m going to put a little bit more lemon, because I like my stuff acidic. I’m a big acid person. I love it. That didn’t sound right. I’m really fantastic in my cooking. [MUSIC]

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