Cooking with fresh organic picked herbs and vegetables directly from your garden is amazingly healthy – no chemicals, full vitamin content, and delicious flavor. However, cooking with more spices is also healthy for you.
People in cultures that cook with varied spices are healthier overall. For example, breast, lung, prostate, and colon cancers incidence is 50 times higher in the United States than in India. Medical experts theorize that it may be the result of Indians cooking with abundant anti-cancer herbs and spices.
Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD., professor of experimental therapeutics at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas says, “Everyone’s talking about how to get more affordable health care – cooking with spices is the easiest way to do it. The anti-inflammatory abilities of turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne are absolutely remarkable – more effective than aspirin and many prescription meds, with no side effects.”
According to Dr. Aggarwal, there is a link between cancer and inflammation which is strong. Since turmeric, for instance, is anti-inflammatory, it makes the spice an anti-cancer agent worth adding to your daily cooking. Dr. Aggarwal discovered in 1995 that turmeric is a powerful tumor suppressor. Add turmeric in combination with other anti-inflammatory herbs regularly to your cooking. Today’s recipe features turmeric and other health-beneficial spices such as garlic and cayenne. Today’s Chicken Shawarma with Mango Chunda and Tahini Sauce dinner recipe also features onions, tomatoes, and fresh herbs I grew myself.
Chicken Shawarma with Mango Chunda and Tahini Dressing
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, butterflied, pounded to 1/2” thickness
1/2 cup low fat organic Greek yogurt (Stonyfield)
3 crushed garlic cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp paprika
2 Tbs lemon juice
Chunda sauce (recipe follows)
Tahini sauce (recipe follows)
1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
1 each small onion, sliced
1 each medium tomato, sliced
4 whole wheat Lavash bread (substitute – whole wheat tortillas)
1. Mix Greek yogurt, garlic, salt, pepper, turmeric, coriander, paprika and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Add chicken and distribute evenly. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.
2. Set a grill over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and blot off excess, discarding marinade. Grill the chicken for about 8-10 minutes, turning once during the cooking process.
3. Grill lavash bread briefly, about 1 minute per side, until grill marks appear.
4. Slice chicken into thin strips.
5. To prepare shawarma: lay out the lavash, top with sliced chicken, chunda sauce, tahini sauce, lettuce, onion and tomato. Roll up like a burrito and serve.
Servings: 4 — cost is under $10
Mango Chunda Sauce
1 cup firm peeled and grated mango
1 tsp salt
2 tsp granulated sugar
2 tsp curry powder
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1. Combine the mangoes and salt in a sieve. Set the sieve over a bowl and let sit for 20 minutes to extract liquid from the mangoes.
2. Place the mango mixture in a saucepot and discard the extra liquid. Add the sugar to the saucepot and stir until dissolved. Next add the curry powder. Cook for a few minutes over low heat until curry becomes fragrant. Add the apple cider vinegar and cook for about 15 minutes or until vinegar has evaporated.
3. Allow to cool, then place in a clean glass jar to store in the refrigerator.
Yield: Makes 4 (2 tbsp) servings
1/4 cup tahini
3 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs parsley
2 Tbs Greek yogurt (Stonyfield)
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 pinch cayenne
1 pinch sugar
Salt to taste
Water, as needed
1. Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Add water, 1 tbsp at a time, to thin to desired consistency. Refrigerate until needed, can be made up to 1 day in advance.
To learn HOW TO PLANT AN ONION – here
To learn more about rainwater cisterns and rain exchange systems for your garden and lawn, please go to the sponsor for the “Living Lean & Green; How To Cook Healthy For $10 or Less” video series, Aquascape Inc., at www.aquascapeinc.com. They have an amazing website filled with ideas to help you live more sustainably by collecting and utilizing rainwater, particularly to water a vegetable garden.
— Burpee Home Gardens supplied the vegetables grown in the garden this season. I write many instructional stories and videos with their incredible vegetable products and donate a large portion of the vegetables to the local food pantry when harvested.
— Aquascape, Inc. sponsored the videos and supplied the rainwater cistern for easier watering of the vegetable garden.