(No gluten, dairy or nightshades; with options for cane sugar, animal/plant protein)
This looks gorgeous on a big platter – its creaminess yet spicy grunt contrasts with the fresh clarity of cool fruit. A flavourful and popular vegetarian dish, there is a list of numerous other protein possibilities. All the ingredients are available at the supermarket.
When meals or snacks have too much sugar or starchy carbohydrate they can digest rapidly into blood sugar and cause spiking energy levels. The rise is attractive but not the depressing fall. Companion ingredients can make all the difference. Factors such as crunchy textures, sufficient protein, fibre and fat will help slow breakdown and create a steady release of energy. This is imperative for moods, memory, learning, vitality and weight management. To learn the easy protocols that regulate your blood sugar see HEALTH STORE page for my report: You Are Only A Few Steps Away From Peak Vitality.
See also my website TIPS page for my article on Protein. There is a list of high achievers from each category of food and advice on how to combine them effectively.
4 tsp cold-pressed peanut or olive oil*
¼ cup chopped blanched peanuts
1 tsp garam masala (spice blend with no ‘heat’, or nightshades)
¼ shredded coconut
2½ cups mixed chopped vegetables such as onion, pumpkin, mushroom,
broccoli and courgette
1 Tbsp cumin powder
1 Tbsp ground coriander
100 ml coconut cream*
3 Tbsp tamari or other naturally brewed soy sauce*
1 Tbsp unsweetened, additive-free peanut butter*
1 Tbsp brown sugar or honey
90 g rice noodles (spaghetti or ribbon-style, not vermicelli) cooked, or other
3 Tbsp currants, or dried cranberries (Craisins brand is in supermarket; these
contain cane sugar)
Using 2 tsp oil, fry the peanuts over low to medium heat until lightly browned. Add garam masala and cook 1 minute to toast and bring out the flavour. Add coconut and cook 2-3 minutes until lightly browned – be watchful as it burns easily. Set mixture aside.
In the same fry pan add the remaining 2 tsp peanut oil. Add the vegetables, cover and over low heat cook until barely tender – do not brown. Stir in spices and fry 1 minute. Add the coconut cream, tamari, peanut butter and sugar. Simmer a few minutes until well combined. Stir in noodles and dried fruit. Cover and simmer gently about 2 minutes until the noodles have absorbed most of the liquid. Do minimal stirring or the rice noodles will break up. Immediately before serving, stir in the peanut mixture.
Serve on a platter surrounded by cucumber, persimmon, grapes, melon or pineapple slices. If added protein is preferred, also surround with boiled eggs; cubed or grated tofu; cooked, tinned or smoked fish – or include peas as one of your vegetable choices. Or top with kebabs (tofu, fish, squid, prawn, chicken or meat).
Shopping and Preparation Tips*
• Pasta/Noodles: Boil Asian-style rice noodles in ample water about 5 minutes until tender (or follow packet instructions as per minimum time); drain, rinse to prevent sticking and use. Orgran makes a wide variety of gluten-free pasta in various shapes. These are available in most supermarkets. Gluten-free pasta is usually rice-based or may use buckwheat, corn, tapioca or mung bean flour. Being lower in protein (such as gluten) than ordinary pasta these are high-GI, so accompany with other blood sugar moderators (eg protein, fat, fibre, crunchy texture).
• Coconut cream: the type of coconut cream recommended comes from the South Pacific such as Samoa. It is a tinned product and is found in most supermarkets. It should have the consistency of pouring cream and contain no dairy, flour or added sugar. ‘Lite’ types are not necessary: they just have added water and more processing. Instead use only a small amount of the ‘cream’ version, or thin with water, Milk Option or stock – depending on the needs of your recipe.
• Nut butter: Peanut butter is the well known example but also in most supermarkets are almond butter and cashew butter. Ceres’ brand is organic and has no sugar, artificial additives or highly processed fats unlike most other brands. Health stores also offer hazelnut, macadamia, sunflower, brazil and walnut butters – some are stiff (eg walnut) and some are runny (eg macadamia
• Soy sauce: can be a fake, unfermented chemical concoction of caramel colouring, artificial additives, wheat and cheap salt. True soy sauce contains nothing artificial and is naturally brewed for two to three years. It is made by fermenting soybeans with the help of a healthful mould (similar in concept to making yoghurt or cheese); a little roasted grain – usually wheat or barley – for flavour and to speed fermentation, plus added salt. ‘Shoyu’ is the Japanese word for true fermented soy sauce. ‘Tamari’ also describes naturally brewed soy sauce but one which does not contain wheat or other grain. In the supermarket look for the organic Ceres brand, or the plain only Kikkoman (their other varieties usually contain artificial additives including MSG – see TIPS).