Saag Chole (Spinach and Chickpeas) (LID)

Saag Chole (LID)

I am already planning for the low iodine diet I will have to go on in March to prepare for a whole body scan to check for persistence/recurrence of thyroid cancer. I’ve been looking through some of my favorite recipes, trying to find ones that are LID-friendly or can be easily adapted. This is one of my husband’s favorite Indian dishes. It is so flavorful and easy to make. I serve it with Basmati rice. This dish freezes very well. I put individual portions with some cooked Basmati rice in the freezer for use in March. It will be nice to have quick LID meals to pop into the microwave.

Some people are told they cannot have or need to limit spinach on their low iodine diet. Follow the instructions you were given. Also, when buying frozen spinach, read labels. Several brands contain salt.

saag chole

Saag Chole (Spinach and Chickpeas)

2 medium onions, quartered and thinly sliced
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, skin removed and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
non-iodized salt (I use Morton’s Coarse Kosher Salt), to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
20 ounces (2 packages) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (make sure it doesn’t contain salt)
1 14.5 ounce can (no salt added) chickpeas, drained (or about 1 1/2 cups of chickpeas you cooked yourself)
1 teaspoon garam masala (recipe below)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until lightly browned. Add the ginger, garlic and cumin seed and saute until the cumin seeds darken. Add the tomatoes, spices, non-iodized salt, spinach and chickpeas along with 1/4 cup water. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook the Saag Chole for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, add the garam masala and lemon juice. Serve hot with cooked Basmati rice.

Adapted from a recipe in: From Bengal to Punjab: The Cuisines of India by Smita Chandra (The Crossing Press, 1991).

Garam Masala

This is a garam masala spice mix that I use in Indian dishes. It is easily doubled and keeps well in a glass jar. I love mixing these spices together. They smell amazing! Use this spice mix in any Indian dish that calls for garam masala.

Garam Masala

2 tsp. ground cumin
4 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Combine spices. Store in glass jar.

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