One time, many years ago, I signed up to bring a new mother dinner through our parish Elizabeth Ministry. I had done it dozens of times before. No biggie. Sign up online, get a reminder a day or so ahead, cook twice the food I normally would for my own family and make a dinner drop to another family before serving my own. Done! Charity and efficiency collide—the angels sing, bellies are full.
Except, this time, when I looked more carefully at the sign up (on the morning of my day to deliver!), I noticed a few food restrictions. Actually, scratch that. I noticed ALL the food restrictions. I have Godson with a terrible milk allergy, so I have great sympathy for food allergies. My mother doesn’t eat sugar or flour, so I am familiar with dietary restrictions.
What I am not accustomed to is ALL the restrictions.
No dairy. No gluten. No eggs. No meat.
Until that moment I had no recipe that would fit that bill. I was stumped. So, I prayed and did some deep thinking and recipe sleuthing. I landed on one of our family favorite recipes with some minor tweaks. And, I am happy to report that, to my knowledge, I did not poison or otherwise disgust this new mother and her family!
I have made it several times since for Lent and other meatless occasions. It’s really a crowd pleaser.
So, if you ever find yourself needing a Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Egg-free, Vegetarian dinner entrée, I’ve got one for you!
You are welcome.
Chick Pea Tiki Masala (serves 5-6 people)
4 TBSP Olive Oil (or ghee or butter, if dairy isn’t an issue)
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 bag of matchstick carrots (or 2 large carrots grated)
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced (approximately 2 TBSP)
1 TBSP minced fresh ginger
1 jalapeño pepper (omit if heat is not your thing)
2 TBSP dry sherry or other light cooking wine
2 15 ounce cans of petite diced tomatoes (purée one can or substitute one can of puréed tomatoes for thicker sauce)
2 15 ounce cans of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 TBSP garam masala seasoning
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 14 ounce can of full fat coconut milk (Tai Kitchen unsweetened coconut milk is a great option or heavy cream, if not dairy free)
- In a large, heavy pot (like a Dutch oven), on medium to medium-high heat sauté onion, carrots, red pepper, garlic, ginger, and jalapeño in Olive Oil until onions are starting to caramelize. Maybe 5 minutes (maybe more. . .depending on your heat)—don’t’ let them get too brown, but some color is great.
- Splash in sherry to deglaze pot with veggies.
- Pour in the 2 cans of petite diced tomatoes. You will want to puree one can in a blender or food processor, for thicker consistency. Add spices (garam masala, cumin, turmeric, chili powder, salt) Let veggies and tomatoes bubble up, then turn stove down to simmer on medium-low for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add 2 cans of drained chickpeas to tomato sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes more.
- Add 1 can full-fat coconut milk (or heavy cream, if dairy isn’t an issue). Taste for seasoning—you may want to add more salt or other preferred seasoning to your taste at this point! If it is too spicy at this point, add a tsp of sugar. Trust me.
- Simmer for another 5 minutes on low heat.
Serve over cooked rice (jasmine rice is preferred, but any white or brown rice will do!) Or, if you are going grain-free, cauliflower rice is a good alternative. . .but really? Dairy free, gluten free, egg free, meatless and grain-free?
That is the stuff of sainthood.
If you aren’t anti-cilantro, it is a terrific garnish for this dish!
And, if you can find a good Naan (Indian bread) that fits your dietary needs, SERVE IT!!! It is the yummiest way to scoop up and eat Tiki Masala without a spoon or fork. And for an added fun cultural experience, only use your right hand! It’s a great way to introduce other cultures and foods.
Cheers to all our loved ones who have to think about this food restriction stuff on the regular! I am in awe.