India is by far my favorite gastro-traveling destination. I love the complex flavors and textures. It’s is one of my main comfort foods and favorite way to consume vegetables.

Since starting Isagenix at the beginning of 2018 to combat my post-menopausal spare tire (down 8 pounds thank you very much), I’ve been keeping meals simple. But tonight I was ready to pick up my passport and head to far lands.

Indian food can be time consuming but I find the crockpot and Instant Pot can quicken the process. On tonight’s menu was Saag Aloo (spinach and potato) in the Instant Pot, Sooki Dal (dry lentils) in the crockpot and Besan Cheela (chickpea flour pancakes). This meal is full of protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates – making it perfect for shedding pounds and satisfying tastebuds.

All recipes are gluten-free. They can be made dairy-free by substituting the ghee for margarine or even coconut oil.

Saag Aloo

Saag is a traditional spinach dish that can include potatoes (aloo), chickpeas, cauliflower, tofu, paneer (cheese) or meat. Potato is one of my favorite additions.

1 tbl ghee (clarified butter)

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 small onion, diced

1 serrano or thai chili, minced

1/2 inch ginger, peeled and minced

2 pounds fresh baby spinach

1/2 pound of white skinned potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp garam masala

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1/4 tsp red chili powder

1tsp sea salt

  • Press the “saute” button on the Instant Pot and add the ghee. Once it melts, add the onion. Sautee until translucent.
  • Add the garlic to the pot. Stir until fragrant.
  • Add the chili, ginger and spices to the pot and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add half the spinach, cover, stir occasionally until it wilts and there’s enough room to add the other half of the spinach. Cover, stirring occasionally.
  • When the spinach mixture is reduced and wilted, blend with an immersion blender until smooth to semi-smooth.
  • Add the potatoes to the pot. Stir.
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 7 minutes at high pressure. Longer and the potatoes turn to mush. Shorter and they aren’t cooked through.
  • Quick release pressure when time has passed.
  • Stir in the dried fenugreek leaves.

Sooki Aloo

This is a dry dahl using skinned and split black lentils. You can substitute 1/2 cup of skinned lentils for unskinned lentils to add interest.

1 1/2 cups dried, split, and skinned urad dal (cleaned and washed thoroughly)

1/2 small onion, peeled and diced

1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/8 tsp red chili powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 cups water

2 tbl (15 mL) chopped fresh cilantro

  • Place the lentils, onion, ginger, garlic, cumin, turmeric, salt, 1 tablespoon cilantro and water in the slow cooker.
  • Cook on high for 2 hours, stirring a few times. Check to see if the water has been absorbed. If not, cook for another 30 minutes until no liquid remains.

Besan Cheela

1 cup besan or chickpea flour

1 cup water

1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp garam masala, curry powder or other Indian pre-mixed spice

ghee as needed

  • Whisk flour, water, salt and spices in a medium bowl.
  • Heat a crepe pan.
  • Place a teaspoon of ghee on the pan, swirling it around to cover the surface.
  • Swirl batter into pan. I like to use a 1/3 measuring cup to transfer and spread the batter onto the hot pan. I use a circle motion with the cup to smooth the batter. These pancakes cook best when the batter is spread thin.
  • Once batter loses its sheen, flip to the other side. Cook until lightly brown. Remove from pan.
  • Prepare pan with more ghee and repeat

 

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