Here is a warming and substantial dish using nourishing and grounding winter vegetables like squash and 'yam.' The students were intrigued to learn that what we usually call yams are actually orange or gold sweet potatoes! Real yams as such are only sold in specialty African or Asian markets. This recipe calls for jewel or garnet 'yam' i.e. orange sweet potatoes. To make matters still more complicated, sweet potatoes are not potatoes either. They are in the morning glory family, whereas potatoes are in the nightshade family.
1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight
1 TB ghee or sunflower oil
1 jewel or garnet yam, about 1lb
1 lb winter squash or pumpkin, cubed and peeled
2 TB minced fresh ginger
2 hot green chilies, seeded and minced
1 Tb cumin seeds
1 lb. Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
1 TB ground coriander
1 ½ tsp. paprika
¼ tsp each of cayenne and black pepper
1 ½ tsp turmeric
½ cup water
1 lb chard washed and chopped.
1 ½ tsp salt
4 TB chopped cilantro
1 ½ tsp garam masala
Pressure cook chickpeas until soft, about an hour. Drain and set aside. Boil yam until fork tender. Reserve the water, cube the yam.
Heat ghee or oil and raise heat to medium high. Add ginger, chilies and cumin seeds and fry until the seeds darken but do not burn. Add tomatoes and then the coriander, paprika, cayenne and black pepper, and turmeric. Cook gently until the tomatoes are reduced to a sauce, about 7-10 minutes. Add ½ cup or more of the reserved yam water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add the yam, squash, chickpeas, salt and half of the cilantro. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add chard during the last 15 minutes of cooking. Before serving, stir in the rest of the fresh cilantro and the garam masala. Chickpeas and vegetables in ginger-tomato sauce, should be saucy, moist, not dry. If the dish is dry, add more of the reserved yam water. You can make this dish sloppy and serve over rice or just moist and saucy, served with flatbreads or with saffron rice on the side.
Source: Adapted from Lord Krishna's Cuisine.
Alakananda Ma M.B., B.S. (Lond.) is an Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is a well known and highly respected practitioner in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.
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