A Saucy Makeover


I have to approach most recipes with makeovers in mind.  Most makeovers seem to take something plain and fancy it up almost to the point of making the original something that it’s not.  But when I look at a recipe I think about how to simplify it and bring it back to something that is closer to the raw ingredients than anything else.  My makeovers also seem to be big time savers… but I’ll show you what I mean when we get to the recipe in a minute.
After a serving of french fries and a little dabbling in the cotton candy bag at a sporting event this weekend I really felt the need to focus on raw foods to get my system back on track.  What I wanted today was a sauce that I could use to top a raw kale salad.  One of my favorite ways to eat kale is to simply rub it with minced garlic and a bit of olive oil.  I wanted to do something along the same line, but with a bit more sauce and spice.  After pulling out my favorite Indian cookbook, The Noon Book of Authentic Indian Cooking, I flipped to page 45 and read about a tomato based sauce that is traditionally used to bathe a batch of kofta (lamb meatballs) for 20 minutes until they cook to a soft perfection.  Lamb isn’t to my liking as a plant based eater, but the kofta sauce definitely is!

The original calls for flaked toasted almonds, ghee, cardamon pods, cinnamon sticks, pureed onion, fresh tomato, turmeric, chili powder, garlic paste, ginger paste, green chili paste, sugar and cream.  So, here’s what I did to makeover the recipe:

Raw and Spicy Tomato Sauce

(makes 5 cups)
8 plum tomatoes
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground turmeric
4 cloves garlic
1 medium size onion (about 1.5 cups if diced)
3 pieces of fresh ginger, each about 1 inch long, peeled
1/2 cup raw almonds
Put all ingredients in the Vitamix/high powered blender or food processor and blend until everything is smooth.  The sauce will seem to get light in color.  It is the kind of fragrant that will make you go “Whoo!” when you remove the cover from the blender! The raw onion stings the nose a little (but it’s nice!)
 
Now, talking about saving time — the original gets set to simmer for no less than 20 minutes while my makeover take all of 3-5 minutes from start to finish.  If you have a Vitamix you can throw in all of the ingredients without chopping or prepping.  If you are using another blender or food processor you may have to chop your veg to make the processing easier.  All the same, we’re talking about saving many precious minutes at a time of the day that is usually crazy!
This is the kind of sauce that will taste good right away, but even better if it has a few hours to sit and get comfortable.
Spicy Kale Salad
(serves 1)
3 cups torn raw kale
3 Tbsp raw and spicy tomato sauce
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup raw almonds, chopped
Spoon the sauce onto the torn kale.  With clean hands, massage the sauce onto leaves.  You want to coat the kale and bruise it a bit as well.  Sounds weird, I know, but it feels good and bruising the raw kale somehow makes it taste much better than if you don’t rough it up.  Plus, it’s a great excuse to play with your food!  Top with the cilantro leaves and almonds and go to town.  You will enjoy a meal that is colorful, flavorful and nutrient rich.
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