Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lazy Chana Masala and Cookies in a Jar??

Okay, so a waaayyyy long time ago, I saw a mention on Bianca's Vegan Crunk blog about a mysterious vegan spread that was literally made from cookies. It was called "Biscoff Spread" (or "speckuloos spread") and it was a jar of ground up Biscoff cookies made into a spread the consistency of peanut butter. It looked glorious but here in the good ol' Midwest, no such item existed. I daydreamed about it gracing many a bowl of oatmeal, and then promptly forgot about it.

Fast forward. I'm making a usual trip to my favorite store, Big Lots. I walked in and they had a new "international foods" section set up. I immediately noticed the Nutkao stuff, which is an Italian brand that makes their own version of Nutella, but this was something different! It was a product I hadn't seen before: Nutkao brand Fine Dark Chocolate Spread. I read the ingredients expecting there to be some milk or something in there, but it was completely vegan! I was shocked! Into the basket it went.

Om nom nom.

Then, next to the chocolate spread, was the 'effing speckuloos spead. I read the ingredients... completely vegan! The price was a little steep, $5, but I knew that I wouldn't eat more than a serving at a time so it would last me awhile. I also knew that if it was $5 at Big Lots it was probably $7 somewhere else (in fact, the similar Biscoff spread can be bought online, but it is around $6.50 a jar not including shipping). And folks, let me tell ya, it is delicious.

Ground up, spreadable cookies in a jar. One word: Genius.

I love putting these two spreads together, the cinnamon spread and the thick, ganache-like chocolate are amazing. Mostly I've been eating them spread on bananas, but today I did the unthinkable:

It's ghost-toast... you know... cause it's floating in mid-air. Ooohh.

I made some toast.

Finally, tomorrow I'm going to put it to the ultimate test when I stir them up in my bowl of oatmeal. With bananas. Then, later on in the week I'm going to put it to the PMS test when I melt them together and pour them on top of some Almond Dream ice cream... somebody stop me!!!! But seriously. This moment would not have been possible without Big Lots... so a shout out to Big Lots. I love you, man.

Anywho, I'll wrap this post up by sharing with you a recipe for some easy, lazy, chana masala. Authentic chana masala is a North Indian stew consisting mainly of chickpeas, tomatoes, and lots of spices. This is a streamlined version of the same dish using common canned beans and spices, some fresh tomatoes, and lemon for a citrusy-sour background. It's super-quick to make, about 30 minutes total. In fact, I made it with rice and the rice was the part of the meal that took the longest! It's not the most authentic version around, but it's super filling and it satisfied that Indian urge I started to feel coming on. I'm definitely going to put this recipe in my weeknight dinner rotation. It's a small recipe too, the perfect size for two meals or two people. Double it if you would like some leftovers or wish to serve a couple additional people.

Also, since I was out of garam masala, I used my favorite curry powder instead. It was an excellent idea!

Lazy Chana Masala:
1 (15 oz.) can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 c. onion, chopped (about 1 medium)
1/2 Tb. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. curry powder OR garam masala
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
2-3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
3/4 c. vegetable broth or water
juice from 1/2 a fresh lemon
Additional salt to taste (optional)

1. In a skillet over medium heat, saute the onion, garlic, and ginger in the olive oil until softened and golden. About 5-7 minutes.

2. Add the cumin, curry powder/garam masala, cayenne pepper, and salt; cook 1 minute or until fragrant.

3. Add the chickpeas, tomato, and water or broth. Stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer about 15 minutes, or until all the broth has evaporated. Before serving, taste for salt and squeeze in the fresh lemon juice. Stir. Enjoy!

To make this a complete meal, I served it with some plain brown rice and some swiss chard I sautéed with onion and a little olive oil (it also had a nice squeeze of fresh lemon). Not bad for a Tuesday night dinner... not bad at all!

This recipe makes two servings of chana masala at one cup per serving. It has around 235 calories, 5.2 grams of fat, 12.9 grams of fiber, 15.9 grams of protein, 27.3% of your RDA of Vitamin A, 56.7% of your Vitamin C, 11.1% of your Calcium, and 16.9% of your Iron!

So, next up on my blog: my decadent chocolate-speckuloos oatmeal, Filipino Pancit (a easy weeknight version of a noodle dish), and a beer chili... cause I really like putting (vegan, microbrewed) beer in my chili!


Amber Shea @Almost Vegan said...

People at Vida Vegan Con talked about Biscoff spread - I'd never heard of it. Clearly, I need it in my life.

I <3 chana masala too. And I'm looking forward to seeing/reading about your pancit!

Rick said...

please be careful w/ biscoff spread, it's a GMO nightmare!

Anonymous said...

I found some biscoff/speckuloos spread at the grocery store the other day, and since I love the cookies, I was so excited. I keep eating spoonfuls of it throughout the day.

Jess of Midwest Vegan said...

I know! It's really great stuff! Lol.

Teniesha @ Vegan on the Go-Go said...

Looks delicious! Indian food is the best! <3