A JOINT-SOOTHING DINNER? CURRIED CHICKPEAS!

inflammation spots

Common painful spots, courtesy of estrogen fluctuations

Am I the only one who cracks and pops on every angle right at the beginning of every jog? I was never the most flexible girl in gym class, and the mere idea of cracking my knuckles has always sent shivers down my spine. So now, of course, every time I try to kick my workout up a notch, I find myself awfully sore and in pain the following two or even three days. Eventually, my body adjusts until it’s time to increase activity again, but I’m not fond of staying put every few weeks, feeling frail.

Part of this is that I’m not so young anymore, and part of this is estrogen messing with my body in myriad ways… but I’m sure I can think of a delicious way to soothe my joints and get some extra hormones 😉

So by now, isn’t it pretty obvious where this is going? Recently, some Belgian researchers extensively tested the ability of curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric, responsible for its intense yellow hue) to relieve joint pain. They made their experiments with osteoarthritis patients, who are in a much worse off shape than I am, and I’ve always loved curry – win-win situation, right? Since I’m also looking for extra isoflavones, the chosen remedy turned out to be an Indo-Caribbean recipe that I tried while on holiday in Trinidad and Tobago many, many years ago:


INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can of chickpeas (drain them and reserve the liquid!)
  • 4 potatoes, washed and peeled
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of chives, very finely chopped
  • 2 scallions, cut into fine rounds
  • ¼ chopped Scotch Bonnet pepper, deveined and deseeded
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons curry
  • 2 teaspoons roasted cumin seeds (also known as geera)
  • Salt to taste

 

curried chickpeas and potato – or “channa and aloo,” as the locals call it:

  1. In a bowl, mix the chickpeas with cilantro, parsley, thyme, scallions, pepper, and a dash of salt.
  2. In a large, thick pot or deep skillet, heat a bit of oil (or cooking spray) over medium-high heat, and cook onions until brown. Then, add the garlic and let it cook for another minute.
  3. Add curry and cumin seeds and stir quickly, to form a paste.
  4. Add potatoes, let them infuse with the spices and quickly add the chickpea mix.
  5. Add the reserved liquid from the can, just enough to cover all the contents of the pot. Bring everything to a boil.
  6. Lower heat to minimum and let it simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.

This dish was originally an adaptation of traditional Indian cuisine to local, cheaper ingredients, invented by Indian immigrants who arrived to Guyana, Trinidad, and Surinam over 150 years ago. The curry (and its many health benefits) is abundant, but the potatoes keep it from being too harsh on the stomach. Combined with the scent of cilantro and cumin, I was immediately taken back to sweet memories of happier lands!

Traditionally, this dish is eaten with a very thin variety of “shredded” flat bread, although my carb goals for the week made me stick to a side of salad – and I was perfectly satisfied. I hope you enjoy!

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