Balti Style Tofu with Field Peas

So, I've discovered that my adopted home state of California has some serious onion and garlic crops growing here. I love them both as they have great health benefits and just plain old fashioned taste fabulous! Here is one of my favorite curries. It's very spicy hot, so if you can't take the heat just remove the chilies. before we get to the recipe though here are a few health benefits to Indian Spices, Garlic and Onions for you to read about:

Turmeric has been proven to be a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. I have it on good authority from my very dear friend Premoj Thomas who is from the Gajirat region of India, that women there mix 1 tsp. of turmeric with a glass of warm sheep’s milk (I do it with cow’s milk myself), and drink this before bed to prevent puffy eyes in the morning. I’ve done it a few times and it seems to work. Only don’t drink this tonic more than 3 days in a row or your skin will actually start to turn YELLOW!!!
Garlic: Many people don't realize that an onion has almost as much medicinal value as garlic does. Battle wounds in WWI were treated with garlic juice. No standard medication can match Garlic on the cardiovascular scale. Garlic DEFINITELY reduces blood pressure, cholesterol and reduces internal clots which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Garlic reduces blood sugar and therefore helps diabetes sufferers. It may help eliminate lead and heavy metals in the blood stream, has helped leprosy patients, fights cancer, and helps aids patients.
Ginger: It is very good digestive aid, may ease menstrual cramps, help arthritis, is traditionally used in the orient for colds and flu and is excellent for reducing cholesterol, lowering blood pressure and preventing internal blood clots.
Warnings: Large doses might cause miscarriage although there are no scientific reports backing this up.
Cayenne: It is a good digestive aid, can relieve infectious diarrhea, but can bring on noninfectious diarrhea if too many hot peppers are ingested, helps chronic pain when used externally, is the best shingles reliever, helps headaches, and tastes great!
Warnings: can burn the eyes, mouth and skin! Use caution when handling cayenne pepper.
Cinnamon: infusion of powdered herb, sprinkle on cuts and scrapes for treatment
Cinnamon is used for infection prevention, pain relief, and a digestive aid and may help calm the uterus
Warnings: when put on the skin may cause redness and burning.
Clove: It has been used for toothaches, oral hygiene, a digestive aid and an infection fighter. It is also used to treat hernia, ringworm and athletes foot.
Warnings: Children under the age of 2 should never be given clove for medicinal purposes. The oil may cause upset stomach when taken internally and rash when used externally.
Coriander: Used for indigestion, flatulence , and diarrhea and externally for muscle and joint pains.
Warnings: if coriander cause minor discomforts such as upset stomach use less or stop using it.

Onions are Beneficial for Your Health

Onions are beneficial to health
What would life be like without onions? The onion has been used as an ingredient in various dishes for thousands of years by many cultures around the world. World onion production is steadily increasing so that onion is now the second most important horticultural crop after tomatoes.

There are many different varieties of onion, red, yellow, white, and green, each with their own unique flavor, from very strong to mildly sweet. Onions can be eaten raw, cooked, fried, dried or roasted. They are commonly used to flavor dips, salads, soups, spreads, stir-fry and other dishes.

Onions (Allium cepa) belong to the lily family, the same family as garlic, leeks, chives, scallions and shallots.There are over 600 species of Allium, distributed all over Europe, North America, Northern Africa and Asia. The plants can be used as ornamentals, vegetables, spices, or as medicine. There are over 120 different documented uses of the Alliums.

Onion and other Allium vegetables are characterized by their rich content of thiosulfinates, sulfides, sulfoxides, and other odoriferous sulfur compounds. The cysteine sulfoxides are primarily responsible for the onion flavor and produce the eye-irritating compounds that induce lacrimation. The thiosulfinates exhibit antimicrobial properties. Onion is effective against many bacteria including Bacillus subtilis, Salmonella, and E. coli. Onion is not as potent as garlic since the sulfur compounds in onion are only about one-quarter the level found in garlic.

The Value of Onions

Onions have a variety of medicinal effects. Early American settlers used wild onions to treat colds, coughs, and asthma, and to repel insects. In Chinese medicine, onions have been used to treat angina, coughs, bacterial infections, and breathing problems.

The World Health Organization (WHO) supports the use of onions for the treatment of poor appetite and to prevent atherosclerosis. In addition, onion extracts are recognized by WHO for providing relief in the treatment of coughs and colds, asthma and bronchitis. Onions are known to decrease bronchial spasms. An onion extract was found to decrease allergy-induced bronchial constriction in asthma patients.

Onions are a very rich source of fructo-oligosaccharides. These oligomers stimulate the growth of healthy bifidobacteria and suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria in the colon. In addition, they can reduce the risk of tumors developing in the colon.

Cardiovascular Help

Onions contain a number of sulfides similar to those found in garlic which may lower blood lipids and blood pressure. In India, communities that never consumed onions or garlic had blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels substantially higher, and blood clotting times shorter, than the communities that ate liberal amounts of garlic and onions. Onions are a rich source of flavonoids, substances known to provide protection against cardiovascular disease. Onions are also natural anticlotting agents since they possess substances with fibrinolytic activity and can suppress platelet-clumping. The anticlotting effect of onions closely correlates with their sulfur content.

Cancer Prevention

Onion extracts, rich in a variety of sulfides, provide some protection against tumor growth. In central Georgia where Vidalia onions are grown, mortality rates from stomach cancer are about one-half the average level for the United States. Studies in Greece have shown a high consumption of onions, garlic and other allium herbs to be protective against stomach cancer.

Chinese with the highest intake of onions, garlic, and other Allium vegetables have a risk of stomach cancer 40 percent less than those with the lowest intake. Elderly Dutch men and women with the highest onion consumption (at least one-half onion/day) had one-half the level of stomach cancer compared with those consuming no onions at all.

Western Yellow, New York Bold, and Northern Red onions have the richest concentration of flavonoids and phenolics, providing them with the greatest antioxidant and anti-proliferative activity of 10 onions tested. The mild-tasting Western White and Vidalia onions had the lowest antioxidant content and lowest anti-proliferative activity. The consumer trend to increasingly purchase the less pungent, milder onion varieties may not be the best, since the onions with a stronger flavor and higher astringency appear to have superior health-promoting properties.

Use and Safety

Onions have a universal appeal. They are safely consumed by most people. However, consuming large quantities of onions can lead to stomach distress and gastrointestinal irritation that may result in nausea and diarrhea. There are no known interactions with drugs except that they can potentiate the action of anticoagulants.


Onions, and other Allium species, are highly valued herbs possessing culinary and medicinal value. Some of their beneficial properties are seen after long-term usage. Onion may be a useful herb for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, especially since they diminish the risk of blood clots. Onion also protects against stomach and other cancers, as well as protecting against certain infections. Onion can improve lung function, especially in asthmatics. The more pungent varieties of onion appear to possess the greatest concentration of health-promoting phytochemicals.
Author: Winston Craig, MPH, PhD, RD.

With all that said...Go out and eat some onions!!!!

Balti sauce with Tofu

2 onions-peeled and roughly chopped
1 Tbs. Tomato Paste
1 Chipotle Chili in Adobo sauce
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. Brown sugar
¼ cup olive oil
1 Lb. extra firm tofu-cubed*
1-2 cups field peas or baby sweet peas
Place everything except the tofu into a blender (or a food processor) puree until the mixture is smooth and the consistency of thick pancake batter. Heat a 12-14 inch sauté pan to medium high heat. Pour in the onion mixture and allow it to simmer for 8-10 minutes until it’s reduced slightly and a bit thicker.  Add the tofu and peas, turn the heat to medium low,  and warm through-about five minutes. Serve with Rice or Naan bread.
*If Tofu is not your thing, simply substitute peeled shrimp, chicken meat, or pork.

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