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Global Comfort Food

Vegan chickpea masala with basmati rice and yogurt sauce + Pakistani lemonade

CONTRIBUTOR Megan Shanahan, RD, LD

PHOTOGRAPH BY Maggie Wilcox

Inspired by traditional South Asian roadside restaurants, this vibrant eatery dishes out authentic Pakistani and Indian street foods with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. Find out which warmly spiced meal Roper St. Francis Healthcare dietitian Megan Shanahan ordered:

“I follow a mostly plant-based diet and was excited to try their vegan menu item,” says Shanahan. The Cholay Biryani features chickpeas in a delicious masala sauce over basmati rice. The dietitian found the chickpeas and fresh vegetable salad side to be ideally portioned; she could not, however, finish the generous helping of rice.

The primary nutritional powerhouse of this dish, chickpeas provide plenty of fiber and plant-based protein, which contribute to a feeling of satiety and help maintain good gastrointestinal health. The legumes are also chock full of the minerals potassium and manganese, plus B vitamins, including folate.

Masala typically combines cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander and peppercorns. “These spices are a good source of antioxidants, compounds vital for cellular health that may protect against heart disease, cancer and more,” says the dietitian.

Cinnamon, in particular, helps control blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and inflammation as well as support mood, energy and digestion.

The entrée is served with a fresh cucumber salad and Raita, a traditional Indian condiment made with yogurt, cucumber, garlic, mint and other herbs. “The delicious sauce, which uses non-dairy yogurt, offsets the spiciness of the chickpea masala and the fresh jalapenos in the rice.”

A sweet and slightly spicy lemonade, skanjabeen offers a refreshing, lower sugar beverage option. “The drink perfectly complemented my meal, with mint for a nice, cooling effect,” Shanahan says. Fresh mint contributes to healthy skin, allergy symptom management and digestion

Malika Pakistani Chai Canteen
1333 Theater Dr., Mount Pleasant
Malikacanteen.com

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