Winters' Magical Spice

One of the more aromatic and pungent spice mixtures from India is garam masala. This wonderful mixture of toasted dry spices has been used throughout India for centuries and is highly valued in East Indian Ayurvedic tradition for whole body balancing through foods.

Winter is the season when this magical mixture offers the most support for our bodies. As the weather turns colder, this delightful warming spice reduces cravings by combining six basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent.

While garam masala ingredients vary by region, typical blends are composed of cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, chili, ginger, fenugreek, turmeric, and coriander.

We may have only a few more weeks of winter left, but it’s not too late to use garam masala in your soups, poultry, fish, and vegetable dishes to keep the rest of the season magical.

Spicy Moroccan Lentil – Chickpea Soup

Serves 6 – 8

½ cup leeks, chopped in small pieces
2 cups celery, chopped in 1–inch pieces
2 cups carrots, cut in 2-inch pieces
3 Tablespoons cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil.
2 teaspoons garam masala
½ teaspoon cinnamon
7 cups vegetable broth (see recipe page 227) or 7 cups of water and 2 vegetable broth cubes
1 cup parsley, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
½ cup brown or green lentils
2 cups cooked organic chickpeas
6-8 lemon wedges (optional)

Directions:

1. In large soup pot, sauté leeks, celery and carrots in olive oil 2 – 3 minutes or until vegetables are glazed. Add cinnamon and garam masala and sauté 30 seconds.

2. Add vegetable broth (or water with vegetable broth cubes), parsley, cilantro, lentils and chickpeas. Bring to boil, turn heat to medium-low and cook 30 – 40 minutes or until lentils are tender.

3. Serve in soup bowls with lemon wedges. Squeeze lemon juice into soup before eating.

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