The relationship between diet and disease is one of the top reasons I started transitioning to a vegan lifestyle. When I was working in a natural living store, I encountered people daily who would insist on telling me about the miracles that different herbs and superfoods have done for them in various stages of their sickness and cancer. The most popular healing spice that I continued to hear about was turmeric. Turmeric is actually a ground root, famous for its anti-inflammatory and cancer killing properties. This is the main ingredient that makes up curry, popular in a lot of Indian cuisine. It is intriguing to observe the correlation between the health of the people of India and the staple foods of their diet compared to that of western countries. Although India is still a developing country, there is virtually no cancer present among the population. It is interesting to consider that 40% of Indians are vegetarians and live on a mostly plant based diet.
I try to toss turmeric on top of whatever meal I am eating to enhance its flavor and nutrition, but I have never attempted to make an actual curry dish. I was excited when I came across a recipe for traditional cabbage and potatoes with curry because all of the ingredients were so cheap, and it made a huge pot of food for the next couple days. Not to mention that it is naturally vegan and soy- and gluten-free. The actual name of this meal is Bund Gobhi Aur Aloo Ki Subzi and there are many different recipes for this traditional dish available, but these are the spices I used and what worked for me. Many recipes I found did not include black pepper, which I found strange because the combination of turmeric and black pepper enhances the healing properties of the turmeric, so it was important to me that I included it.
After research, I found that this dish originated because it was made up of the only local produce that was available in that particular region of India at the time. This is the epitome of eating regionally and seasonally. Eating with the seasons is more of a natural instinct than a concept to me. In the summer my body craves fresh fruits and vegetables for their high water content, and in the winter I want warming root vegetables and stews. Our global food supply makes it possible for us to have practically instant access to any food we want with one trip to the grocery store. This diminishes the nutrition of our food due to travel time, storage, etc. It's fun and challenging to take a trip to the local farmers market and try to create a meal with whatever is available for the day.
Vegan Indian Recipes: Curried Cabbage and Potatoes
1. Melt 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil in a skillet, and add the peanuts and curry powder. Stir to coat. Leave over heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from skillet and set aside.
2. Melt the other 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in the skillet and add the potatoes. Cook for about 10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently so they don’t stick to the pan. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Combine the ginger, garlic, turmeric, garam masala, salt, pepper, and sugar in a pot. Add the shredded cabbage and stir to coat the cabbage in the seasoning.
4. Pour the cooked potatoes into the pot with the cabbage. Add the tomatoes and vegetable stock.
5. Simmer on low for about 10 minutes or until the cabbage and potatoes are both soft.
6. Serve over lentils, rice, on pita, etc.
I love the flavors of the garam masala in this recipe. Garam masala is a blend of warming spices including cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and cardamon. When I make this recipe again, I am going to try using sweet potato and see how that flavor combination turns out.