Prevention rather then Cure??

I was just thinking about this the other day and what instigated this thought process is some close calls of health challenges for people I know and cherish. I feel that there is a lot of power in prevention, however, quite often it seems to me that there is more emphasis on cure rather than prevention. Why is that?

Is it because we know that medical science has come a long way and we can rely on treatments when needed as a crutch, so we don't have to be mindful or responsible for taking action? or is it because in the life full of "busy-ness" (don't even know if this is a word:)) which we have created for ourselves there are better things to think about and invest in, then our own health and quality of life?

Whatever the answer maybe, I do feel that we have an immense responsibility to ensure that we are focusing on prevention and making good choices when it comes down to our health. Don't get me wrong, medication and treatment is absolutely essential when something unfortunate happens, however, a lot can be mitigated by taking a few small steps every day.
On this note, here is a very healthy, easy and flavorful recipe for today:

Mediterranean Couscous:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 4 inch cinnamon stick
2 green cardamoms
2 whole cloves
1 red pepper, chopped
1 8 oz can garbanzo beans
2 cups couscous
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups warm water
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced with seeds (optional if you like it hot!)
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the whole spices, add red pepper and garbanzo beans. Saute everything. Add Couscous. Add the ground spices. Add warm water. Switch off the heat once everything comes to a boil and cover the pan. Set aside for 12-15 minutes. Sprinkle cilantro on top and serve warm as a side with any entree. 

Mediterranean Chicken

This is a very hearty and warm recipe. I love using the whole spices first which start with infusing the oil with rich and deep flavors. Onions, garlic, tomatoes and our bold and fragrant Garam Masala continue to add layers of flavor and create a beautiful, thick sauce for the chicken and Garbanzo beans to simmer in. Enjoy!

2 Pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast (cubed)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Medium yellow onion, chopped
2 Black cardamoms
2 Green cardamoms
2 Whole cloves
2 Tablespoons garlic, chopped
2 Teaspoons White Jasmine Garam Masala
1 Teaspoon chili powder
1 Teaspoon kosher salt
1 8oz can chopped tomatoes
1 8oz can garbanzo beans
1/2 cup cilantro

Add olive oil to a pan, add cardamoms and cloves, let everything sizzle for a minute or so. Add the yellow onions, sauté  for a few minutes so it is sautéed well but not crisp. Add the chicken and all ground spices. Add garlic. Let everything cook for a few minutes. Add tomatoes and garbanzo beans. Cover the pan and leave everything to cook for 5-7 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve as an entrée with couscous or basmati rice.

Be sure to check out the Couscous recipe to bring a new dynamic of flavor to this dish!  And as always don't forget to upload your creations to our Facebook page!

Simple Lamb Curry

Lamb is one of the simple meats and readily available in Pakistan. It is considered to be a bit sophisticated meat compared to beef and is offered frequently when there are guests around the dining table as a sign of hospitality. It is important to add garlic and other spices generously to complement the meat. 

2 Pounds lamb, cubed
2 Medium onions, thinly sliced
2 Medium tomatoes, chopped
1 Teaspoon garlic, minced
1 Teaspoon ginger, minced
2 Large black cardamoms
2 Small green cardamoms
2 Cloves
1 Cinnamon stick - 2 inches long
1/2 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon White Jasmine Garam Masala
1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric
1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
4 Tablespoons plain yogurt
2 Tablespoons Canola oil
2 Cups warm water
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat cooking oil in a saucepan and add all whole spices. Add sliced onions. Fry everything for a few minutes until the onions turn light brown. Add lamb and continue to fry the mixture for about ten minutes. Add garlic and ginger. Leave the mixture to cook for about five minutes, add all the ground spices. Keep adding the yogurt until all of the yogurt is used. Add chopped tomatoes, cilantro and water. Bring the mixture to a boil and then leave it to simmer for about 45 minutes or until the lamb is tender. Serve warm with pulao rice or parathas. 

Lamb Stew

Lamb is a big part of Pakistani cuisine and was mostly served during the summer months. I clearly remember that my mom used to say that lamb is  one of the 'cooler' meats to be cooked often during the hot summer months compared to beef, which adds warmth to the body. I believe that seasons played a big role when choosing the appropriate recipes. 

2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 Yellow onion, sliced
1 Pound lamb, cubed
2 Cloves of garlic - peeled and slightly smashed
2 Medium Golden Yukon Potatoes, cubed
2 Carrots, sliced
2 Celery stalks, sliced
1 8oz can of chopped tomatoes
1 Cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 Teaspoon salt
2 Teaspoons White Jasmine Tandoori Masala
3 Cups beef stock

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a pan, add sliced onions and sauté them for a minute or so. Add lamb, garlic and sauté it with the onions for about two minutes. Add all the vegetables, salt and Tandoori masala and continue to stir. Add tomatoes, cilantro and beef stock. Cover and leave in the oven for 1 hour. Check the pot and then leave it in for another 30 minutes or so until beef and vegetables are tender. Serve with crusty bread or plain boiled rice.

Karahi Chicken Recipe

Karahi chicken is a traditional dish mostly prepared in Pakistan and India. 'Karahi' is a kind of a wok in which this dish is created. I love to make it often because of how the fresh flavors of tomoatoes, peppers and onions come together with fragrant spices. It is a recipe which your family and friends will always remember. 

1 Tablespoon Canola oil
2 Green Cardamoms
2 Cloves
1 4inch Cinnamon Stick
1 Pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 Tablespoons garlic, minced
1 Green pepper, chopped
1 Red pepper, chopped
1 Medium yellow onion, chopped
1 8oz can tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 Teaspoon White Jasmine Garam Masala
1 Teaspoon White Jasmine Tandoori Masala
1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric
1/2 Teaspoon salt
Small bunch cilantro, chopped

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a deep pan, add cloves and the cinnamon stick, let them sizzle. Add chicken and garlic, saute for about 5 minutes.

Add chopped onions, pepper and tomatoes. Add chili powder, Garam Masala, Tandoori Masala, turmeric, and salt. Gently mix everything together with a slotted spoon. Sprinkle cilantro and cover the pan to simmer for about ten minutes. The sauce will thicken and then it is ready to serve with basmati rice. 

*For a more authentic experience, prior to cooking the chicken - add all the ingredients with spices to a pan.  Once all cooked together blend in a blender for 1-2 minutes.  Add it back to a pan, add the raw chicken to the mix and cook through.

Hearty Chicken

This recipe is one of the heartiest recipes you will ever find. It has everything that you would want on a cold rainy evening or a snowy day. The whole and ground spices come together to create an amazing blend of flavors. The fresh vegetables and garbanzo beans provide the warmth which we all need from time to time. 

2 Tablespoons cooking oil
2 Whole Cloves
1 Black Cardamom pod
1 Green Cardamom pod
1 2inch Cinnamon Stick
1 large onion, chopped
1 Pound boneless, skinless chicken breast - cubed
1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
1/2 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon White Jasmine Garam Masala
1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 8oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 Red pepper, thinly sliced strips
1 Zucchini, thinly sliced strips
1 8oz can chickpeas
1 Cup chicken stock
1/2 Cup cilantro

Heat oil in a large skillet; add cloves, cardamoms and cinnamon. Saute 2 minutes. Add onions; fry them 10 minutes or until golden brown. Add chicken and garlic; saute for 5 minutes.

Add coriander, chili powder, garam masala, turmeric and salt; stir well. Add red pepper and zucchini, tomatoes and chickpeas. Add chicken stock, sprinkle fresh cilantro; cover the pan, and simmer about 10 minutes. The sauce will thicken. Serve over rice.

Harissa Chicken

Use the wonderful "Harissa" recipe I showed you earlier to create this wonderful chicken dish with our Garam Masala.  The flavors are exquisite and accompany each other so well that it's just a natural combination! I hope you get a chance to use your Harissa in many environments but definitely try it here and watch these flavors shine.

2 Pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast - cubed
2 Tablespoons Harissa *refer to Harissa recipe
2 Teaspoons Garam Masala
2 Tablespoons garlic, minced
1/2 Teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Whole green cardamoms
4 Whole cloves
1 4inch cinnamon stick
1 Medium yellow onion, chopped
1 Cup cilantro, chopped

Add chicken in a bowl with Garam Masala, garlic and salt. Mix well and set aside. Heat olive oil in a pan, add whole spices. Add chopped onions. Saute the onions until the edges are golden brown.  Add the harissa*. Add the chicken mixture and cook on medium heat. Once the chicken is fully cooked, add chopped cilantro. Serve with basmati rice.

*This is a two part recipe, don't forget to start with the "Harissa" recipe so you can perfect that spice side sauce that accompanies this dish.

Harissa- North African Chili Sauce

Harissa is a spicy, flavorful paste created with chilies and garlic, two of my favorite ingredients. I was introduced to this absolutely delicious concoction when I lived in North Africa, many years ago. I love to just dip my pita bread in it or use it as a chili paste in my chicken/fish recipes. The flavors are bold and outstanding. 

4 Guajillo Whole Chilies
4 De Arbol Whole Chilies
2 teaspoons garlic
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon whole cumin
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Soak the chilies in warm water for 30 minutes, pull the tops off and place in a blender with garlic, whole cumin, salt and olive oil. Blend for 3-4 minutes or until a thick paste is created, set aside in an airtight jar. Stays fresh in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.

This recipe is a perfect pair for the "Harissa Chicken" recipe.  The recipe above shows you how to make this versatile sauce but use the Harissa Chicken recipe to really show off the flavors and create something unforgettable!

Grilled Chicken

This recipe is used numerous times during the summer months. Using yogurt as a marinade is a typical technique in Pakistan and India to tenderize the meats and I have noticed that yogurt also makes a great vehicle for the spices to infuse in the meats, which really helps with the flavors, once the chicken is grilled; no more dry and bland chicken!

4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 Teaspoons White Jasmine Tandoori Masala
1 Teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Cups plain yogurt
1 Teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 Teaspoon ginger, minced
1 Cup fresh cilantro

Beat the yogurt in a large bowl so it is smooth, add the Tandoori Masala, salt, garlic, ginger and cilantro. Make slits in the chicken breasts with a sharp knife. Marinate the chicken in the yogurt mixture. Cover and leave in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Remove excess marinade from the chicken and place on heated grill. When both sides are done serve with a side salad and rolls.

Garlic Chicken

As you know I love garlic and use it generously in almost all of my recipes. The rich flavor of garlic combined with chili flakes and White Jasmine Tandoori Masala creates an amazing layers of some of my very favorite and rich flavors. It is simple and perfect for a busy weeknight. Just make some Cumin rice on the side and dinner is ready!

1 Pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 Tablespoon White Jasmine Tandoori Masala
1/2 Teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Heaped teaspoons garlic, minced
1/2 Teaspoon chili flakes
1/2 Cup chopped red onion
1/2 Cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Add chicken in a bowl, add Tandoori Masala, salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Mix well and set aside. Add olive oil to a pan, add garlic. Add chili flakes. Let everything cook for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Add red onions, stir everything together. Add marinated chicken including the marinade to the pan. Let everything cook for 2-3 minutes. Add chopped cilantro. Serve warm with couscous or basmati rice.