Ramadan Bites 24, 25
North African Couscous
Tiger Shrimp Curry
North African Couscous
- Peppers are high in vitamin B6, E and C, (important for the immune system and skin). They contain several phytochemicals and carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, (antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits). (Chilies provide similar nutrients) Peppers also contain Lutein important for eye health.
- Tomatoes are high in alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene (carotenoids). Also they are provide the A, C, E vitamins and potassium. When these are combined with healthy fats such as avocado and olive oil, the body’s absorption of carotenoids increases.
- Chicken is a good source of protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc. Also provides vitamin C, B vitamins (including B6), vitamin A, E, D, K. These play a role in immunity, production of bone and blood cells, hydration and energy metabolism. This is provision From God. In the Quran, Allah says, “And with the flesh of fowls that they desire.” (56:21)
- Onions contain phytochemicals and vitamin C (important for immunity), chromium, (important in blood sugar regulation). Onions contain a powerful compound called quercetin which is known to play an important role in preventing cancer. They are mentioned in the Quran in Surah Al Baqarah (2:61) “And (recall) when you said, “O’Moses, we can never endure one (kind of) food. So call upon your Lord to bring forth for us from the earth its green herbs and its cucumbers and its garlic and its lentils and its onions.” (Moses) said, “Would you exchange what is better for what is less? Go into (any) settlement and indeed, you will have what you have asked.”
- Carrots are high in beta-carotene (important here in cancer prevention and macular degeneration), fiber (important for digestive health and reducing bad cholesterol from the blood vessels), and antioxidants. Also they are high vitamin A ( important for eye health), Vitamin C (increasing white blood cells and immunity), Vitamin K, vitamin B8, pantothenic acid, folate, potassium ( a vasodilator, opening up the blood vessels and increasing blood circulation), iron, copper, manganese and carotenoids(prevent insulin resistance and keep blood sugar low).
- Olive oil as mentioned previously, is high in antioxidants (preventing free radical cell damage) and monounsaturated fats (good fats). It has also been mentioned in the Quran many times, “And (We brought forth) a tree issuing from Mount Sinai which produces oil and food for those who eat”(23:20) “He causes to grow for you thereby the crops, olives, palm trees, grapevines, and from all the fruits. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought.”(16:11)
- Butternut squash contains, vitamin A (beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. The latter two prevent oxidative stress and macular degeneration in the retina, and the first two are converted into retinol, a form of vitamin A that the body uses. This is obvious by the orange color.), vitamin C, fiber (bulks up the stool and also lowers the risk of inflammation in the colon), zinc, iron(for the creation of red blood cells), protein, folate and potassium (acts as a vasodilator, and so reduces the tension in blood vessels) , as well as antioxidants.
- Turnips are high in vitamin C (support tissue repair and immunity), B vitamins; riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, folate and pantothenic acid (help with fat, carbohydrate and protein metabolism; nervous system function, and healthy skin, hair, eyes and liver), potassium (essential for healthy blood pressure and fluid balance), fiber ( healthy digestive tract and low cholesterol). They also contain small amounts of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, manganese and selenium.
- Couscous is an excellent source of selenium (a powerful antioxidant that helps reduce the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels, improves immune health and muscle mass), is high in fiber and protein and low in calories. However it is high in carbohydrates, so limit portions (1 serving is ½ cup).
- Chick peas are an excellent source of protein (They aren’t a complete protein, don’t contain all the essential amino acids, like animal proteins. So they need to be combined with other protein foods.), fiber ( Keeps you full longer, and the soluble fiber helps lower bad cholesterol and keep blood sugars steady.), folate ( Important in the formation of red blood cells and DNA and necessary during periods of rapid cell growth in pregnancy.), iron. (Important for the production of red blood cells and certain hormones, and it’s important for cell function and growth.) Chickpeas are also a good source of manganese, magnesium, zinc and copper, as well some other B-vitamins, including thiamine and vitamin B6.
- Onions, raw, 2 cup, chopped
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 TBS
- Tomato Paste, 0.75 cup
- Pepper, black, 1 tsp
- Coriander, ground, 1 tsp
- Chilli powder, 1 tsp
- Salt, 1 tsp
- 2 Bell peppers (Green, Red), cut into thick strips
- 1 large Butternut Squash, 2 cup, peeled and cubed
- 2 medium Turnips, cubed
- 4 medium Carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces, peeled and cubed
- Organic Chick Peas, Canned, 1
- 2 cups uncooked whole wheat Coucous (yields 6 cups cooked)
- whole skinless chicken pieces,(2 lbs)
- 4 cups water
- In a large dutch oven saute the onions, then brown the chicken. Add the tomato paste and spices, cook for another 5 mins. Add the 2 cups water and all the vegetables cover and cook on a low heat for about 45 mins until meat and vegetables are tender. Then add the drained chickpeas and on a high heat burn off some of the liquid.
- Meanwhile boil 2 cups of water in a pan. Remove from the heat and add the couscous grains and some salt and pepper. Stir to evenly moisten the grains.
- Cover and let it sit for 10 mins. Then break apart and fluff the cooked coucous. Place on a serving platter and put the stew on top of the couscous and serve.
Tiger Shrimp Curry
- Shrimp contains high levels of protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium ( these are important in preventing bone degeneration and osteoporosis), zinc ( Increases body’s leptin levels which is important for regulation of fat storage, appetite, and energy usage. Also helps prevent hair loss.), iron (allows oxygen to bond with hemoglobin, so there is greater oxygen flow to the muscles and brain), potassium, vitamin A, E, B vitamins and iodine (helps control how much energy is used by the body at rest). Shrimp also contains a carotenoid called astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant that can reduce the signs of aging in the skin related to UVA and sunlight, and benefits eye and brain health. ( Note: overconsumption can lead to concern with regards to mercury) The bounties of the sea are mentioned in Surah Nahl (16:14) “And it is He who subjected the sea for you to eat from it tender meat and to extract from it ornaments which you wear. And you see the ships plowing through it, and (He subjected it) that you may seek of His bounty; and perhaps you will be grateful.”
- Greek yogurt is high in calcium and magnesium (for bone health), potassium (for nerve health and fluid balance), protein, zinc, and vitamins B6 and B12 and probiotic cultures (help alleviate constipation, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, and infections caused by peptic ulcer-causing bacteria, H. pylori. As a result yogurt has anti-inflammatory properties and the good bacteria present make yogurt easier to digest even for those who are lactose intolerant. It is important for immunity too.), but is lower in lactose and has double the protein of regular yogurts. (Go for the plain ones as others are loaded with sugar)
- Avocado oil has a high smoke point so is ideal for sautéing. It has a buttery taste and is high in monounsaturated fat (heart-healthy, as it helps regulate bad cholesterol) and lutein (antioxidant that improves eye health).
- Tomato paste is high in antioxidants – beta-carotene, vitamin C (important for healing and immunity), and E (protective against toxins), lycopene, lutein and also contains potassium (important for water balance, nerve and muscle function)
- Coconut milk contains lauric acid, antimicrobial lipids and capric acid, which have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. It contains fat , but it is mainly made up of medium chain triglycerides, which are a healthier type of saturated fat which actually increases good and reduces bad cholesterol. However as it does contain saturated fat, it is important to limit amounts, as in this recipe.
- Garam masala improves digestion, increases transit time of food through the gut and increases metabolism and also has cancer fighting properties.
- Cinnamon is an amazing spice also found in garam masala which is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, anticancer, lipid-lowering and cardiovascular disease- lowering compound.
- Cardamom has cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health benefits, as well as having anti-microbial, anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. It also acts as a detoxifying agent and improves blood circulation.
- Other ingredients mentioned in previous Ramadan Bites
- Chilli powder, 1 tsp
- Salt, 1 dash
- Wild Tiger Shrimp, 12
- Plain Greek yogurt, fat free, 6 TBS
- Tomato Paste, 1TBS
- Coconut Milk (Unsweetened), 3 TBS
- Paprika, 1 tsp
- Garam Masala, 1 tsp
- Avocado Oil ,1 TBS
- Garlic, 2 cloves, minced
- Ginger Root, 1 tsp, minced
- cinnamon bark , ½ piece
- Green cardamom, 2 pods
- Fresh cilantro, chopped, 1 TBS
- Water, 2/3 cup
- Place the yogurt, tomato puree, coconut milk, paprika, chilli powder, garam masala and water in a bowl. Mix together well.
- Set aside.
- In a frying pan or wok heat the oil and add the ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cardamom and salt to taste. Fry for a few minutes.
- Turn down the heat to low and add the yogurt mixture and bring to a boil.
- Add the shrimp and continue to cook until sauce thickens.
- Place in a serving bowl and garnish with the cilantro.
- Can serve with plain rice or noodles.