Well, funny story…
I actually first became aware of food allergies through my brother. In high school, he had a long bout of daily hives due to some unknown substance. My mother went on a mission to identify the culprit, including eliminating every common food allergen: nuts, berries, diary, etc., from our diets and slowly introducing them back. Well, mostly his diet, but we were often along for the ride. That was miserable. I’m sure more for him, but I still claim vicarious traumatization. Long story short, we never figured it out, and years after,he eats most things again without pause.
So back to my funny story. My brother’s issues didn’t require much work on my part, so I was still a bit naive. But boy, was I in for a lesson when I started dating my husband, who mentioned he was gluten sensitive. Huh? I had heard of it vaguely, but I had never really thought about it because it didn’t affect me. That is, until I wanted to make dinner for him and suddenly everything required my research.
I wanted to make grilled salmon burgers. Obviously bread needed to be gluten-free, no problem. But what about the other ingredients? Marching down aisles with phone in hand, I tried to research every ingredient I was using to determine if gluten was a component or if the product was processed with gluten. Well, the internet wasn’t working, so that meant I fell into every marketing ploy the store had to offer. I reached for pickles and among the twenty-five varieties there was one, just one, labeled as gluten-free. Pickles have gluten in them?! I wasn’t about to risk the life of the man of my dreams, so heck yeah I’ll spend $7.99 for a jar! I probably could have been talked into “gluten-free” lettuce if the sign was convincing enough.
Obviously, I fell into the fear-mongering strategies of advertising companies that night. However, I’ve learned that food allergies does not mean I have to spend all of my salary on special foods, and it doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice delicious meals. It means extra research and at times some creativity, but isn’t that what makes the kitchen so fun in the first place?
This recipe, a Parsi-inspired curry with garbanzo beans, comes from a monthly subscription of spices from around the world gifted to me for my birthday to foster more creativity in the kitchen.
- 15-20 dried apricots
- 3 cups warm water
- ⅓ cup neutral oil
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 3 tablespoons garam masala spices, ground
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 inches ginger, grated
- 2 cans garbanzo beans, drained
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- handful cilantro, chopped
- Rehydrate apricots in warm water. Set aside.
- Heat oil in deep pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until golden, about 5 minutes.
- Add garam masala, garlic, and ginger, and saute about 1 minute.
- Add garbanzo beans, tomatoes and its juice, brown sugar, salt to taste, apricots, and ¾ cup of soaking water.
- Bring to a soft boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes.
- Serve over rice, adding cilantro on top before serving.