Vibrant Balti paste, traditionally used for tangy curries, gives amazing flavour to chickpeas in a lettuce bowl. In this dish, tomato and cucumber temper the heat, but Balti paste can be tossed with any vegetable, or even cooked meat such as chicken.
Balti Paste Dry Curry
1 in (2.5 cm) cinnamon stick
2 tsp (10 mL) cumin seeds
1 tsp (5 mL) fenugreek seeds
1 tsp (5 mL) yellow mustard seeds
1 Tbsp (15 mL) turmeric
1 Tbsp (15 mL) paprika
1 Tbsp (15 mL) coconut oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
3 large garlic cloves
1 Tbsp (15 mL) peeled and minced fresh ginger root
1 fresh red Thai chili, end removed
Zest and juice of 1/2 lime
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups (500 mL) canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
4 large curly leaf lettuce leaves
4 firm ripe tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1 cup (250 mL) finely diced unpeeled English cucumber
1/2 cup (125 mL) thick plain low-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup (125 mL) coarsely chopped cilantro
6 fresh lime wedges
For Balti Paste Dry Curry, combine cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, and yellow mustard seeds in dry frying pan. Toast over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring steadily, until they begin to release an aroma. Transfer to bowl to cool.
Place in spice grinder and grind to fine powder. Move to bowl and stir in turmeric and paprika. Set aside.
For Balti Paste, heat oil in heavy saucepan. Add onion, garlic, ginger, and whole Thai chili, and sauté over medium heat until soft but not golden. Transfer to blender along with lime zest and juice, and process to a paste. Stir in Balti Dry Curry spice mixture. Set aside to cool. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For Lettuce Bowls, place drained chickpeas in mixing bowl. Spoon half the Balti Paste overtop, using a spatula to gently fold it in so chickpeas are lightly coated. Store extra in tightly sealed container in refrigerator for up to 1 week for another use.
Line 4 serving plates with lettuce leaves. Place scoop of curried chickpeas in lettuce bowl. Scatter with diced tomato and cucumber. Top with generous dollop of yogurt and chopped cilantro. Serve each with lime wedge.
Each serving contains: 226 calories; 9 g protein; 6 g total fat (4 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 37 g total carbohydrates (9 g sugars, 8 g fibre); 304 mg sodium
source: "Celebrate Diwali", alive #373, November 2013
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