Cooking has long been a passion of mine. From health to spirit to family to friendship, food has the power to affect our lives powerfully. Food is the main building block of our bodies and brains, and if we want to have healthy lives, we need healthy food.
Today I would like to share a favorite from my home cookbook, Organic Spicy Veggie Curry. It’s quick, easy, and can be made with many different variations of vegetables, herbs, and garnishes. It can also be made in large quantities and refrigerated or frozen for multiple easy healthy meals. This recipe also allows me to use my favorite plant extensively- the coconut, with coconut milk, oil, and flakes all making appearances and is packed with superfoods and healthy spices like garlic, turmeric and maca to optimize energy and performance. It is spicy, healthy, and delicious.
I am a vegetarian. I have been following a plant based diet on and off for years, and today I do not eat any meat, fish, or dairy. However I occasionally will eat free range organic eggs if they are available from a trusted local source. While I believe different people have different ideal diets and some people do well with meat, I also believe also that most people would improve their heath and their impact on the world as vegetarians. I have personally found that a plant-based diet gives me energy, mental clarity, good mood and keeps me trim and relaxed. Conversely I have found that eating meat makes me feel tired, slow, stupid, and lazy.
Vegetarianism also is a more efficient form of food production. The per calorie costs of growing vegetables in terms of farmland, input energy, environmental and moral costs are lower than raising meat, which matters on this crowded planet with finite resources. This efficiency is assuming you eat locally produced vegetables. If you are living in Europe and are eating organic asparagus flown in from Argentina then many valuable resources are being wasted bringing that luxury to your table. At any rate I suggest everyone try a vegetarian diet for a few weeks and see how you feel.
Unfortunately in this modern world, merely eating vegetables does not keep us safe. Toxic poisons surround us everywhere, in the food, water, air and culture. While avoiding all of these toxins is not realistic, we should nonetheless minimize our exposure to them whenever possible. One such group of poisons we should minimize exposure to are industrial farming pesticides such as Roundup. Today any vegetables not expressly labeled organic at the store or restaurant are almost guaranteed to have been treated heavily by these industrial poisons. Thus while the nutritional value of GMO vegetables is still up for debate, what is not debatable is the fact that those vegetables have been doused repeatedly with toxic pesticides. Thus they should be avoided at all costs.
While the label “organic” is often just used as a marketing gimmick these days, it does indeed improve our chances of obtaining healthy foods for the kitchen. I* suggest the best solution is to shop local farmers’ markets, meet and talk to the farmers, and develop relationships with those farmers you trust*. You can visit their farms and learn how they bring the vegetables from seed to market and be sure of what you are eating. Also I recommend for all those who have room and light to do so to plant a vegetable garden, where you can have total control of the production of your own food. Even those living in cities can brighten up their culinary life nicely with a window box herb garden.
Now without further ado I present:
Josh’s Organic Spicy Veggie Curry*
2 cans organic coconut milk
6 cloves organic garlic, diced
3 dried organic chipotle peppers, finely chopped with seeds
2 heaping tablespoons organic curry powder
1 organic lemon (or lime), juiced
2 tablespoons organic maca powder
2 tablespoons extra virgin organic coconut oil
Himalayan salt and organic black pepper to taste
2 sweet potatoes, chopped
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, chopped
12 medium mushrooms, quartered
1 one ear sweet corn, kerneled
1 bell pepper, chopped
10 g organic mint (or basil), chopped
2 cups quinoa, cooked with 3 cups filtered water
10g organic mint (or basil), chopped
2 tablespons organic coconut flakes
2 tablespoons organic ground flax seed meal
1 mango, sliced
2 tablespoons organic hemp hearts
1) Begin by starting the quinoa cooking in a cooker. Quinoa is a great food for vegetarians; an excellent rice substitute it is gluten free and a great source of protein. If you don’t have a rice cooker, get one! It saves so much time and is so easy to use, I can’t believe I lived without one. Whenever possible use filtered water free of bacteria, fluoride, heavy metals, and plastic from a reverse osmosis water filtration system.
2) Next take a large pot and add the garlic, chipotle peppers, curry powder, maca powder, coconut oil, coconut milk, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Heat to a simmer. Beware! The chipotle peppers I use are surprisingly spicy and give a great kick to the recipe. Those who are less accustomed to the great benefits of spicy food might consider reducing the number of peppers until you toughen up your taste buds. The curry powder contains several spices that are good for you, most notably turmeric which is a great anti-inflammatory. The maca powder gives me a great feeling of energy and I agree with those who claim it to have aphrodisiac qualities. Coconut oil is a miracle product, with many benefits for body, mind and skin.
3) Add the vegetables in the following order: sweet potatoes, onion, carrots, mushrooms, sweet corn. Simmer gently. After 20 minutes add the bell peppers and mint and cook for another 7-10 minutes. I like to only lightly cook the bell peppers so they stay crunchy and fresh. If you can’t find these specific vegetables don’t worry. The vegetables listed in this recipe are only intended to be a guideline. I suggest you visit your local organic farmers’ market and get whatever is fresh, local, and healthy looking. For this recipe I chose fun bright colored vegetables for the variety they bring to the visual presentation of the dish.
4) Now you’re ready to eat! Serve the curry in a bowl, with the quinoa, flax seed, and mango to the side. Top with mint and coconut flakes. The garnishes are packed with super food goodness; the flax seed is one of the best sources of Omega 3s in the world, as are the hemp hearts, which are also a great protein source for vegetarians. I like to eat this dish Thai style, which means taking some quinoa, flax seed, and mango in a spoon and then dipping the spoon in the curry bowl. Delicious! This recipe will serve 4 and can be easily expanded. I suggest you fill the pot with veggies and enjoy plenty of healthy leftovers later. Enjoy and let me know how it turns out!
*Thanks to my sous-chef Karvina Lau for expert veggie slicing and food photography!