Moroccan Chickpea Tagine with Goji Berries

The goji goes Moroccan! This traditionally Asian berry blends wonderfully into the flavours of a typical Moroccan dish. This is great fuss-free food, whether it’s for yourself or a party.

Prep: 15 mins | Cooking: 1 hr | Serves: 4-6 people

  • 4 tablespoons Oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, thinly sliced
  • 6 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 kg tomatoes, diced
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup dried goji berries
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh mint, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

 

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onion and carrot and cook for approx. 3 mins. Then add the garlic, cumin, cinnamon and saute for 30 seconds. Put the tomatoes into the pan and cook for a further 5 mins, stirring regularly. Then pour in the water, salt and goji berries.

Combine, turn up the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a medium-low setting and let the mixture simmer for 45 minutes.

Add the chickpeas and mint and simmer for 15 mins more. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.

Serve with a garnish of fresh mint, alongside a grain of your choice – quinoa or brown rice would be our recommendations!

Chocolate Goji Berry Truffle

This recipe is the ultimate guilt-free dessert! Completely sugar-free, it still packs a sweet punch with its various superfood ingredients. Bite sized and perfect for any time of the day.

Prep: 20 mins | Serves: Approx 16-20 truffles

  • 2 tbsp goji berries
  • 4 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 6 tbsp almonds
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 8 pitted Medjool dates
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional: desiccated coconut, melted dark chocolate

Grind the goji berries, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and almonds in a food processor until you have a coarse mixture. The coarseness depends on the texture you want your truffles to be.

Add the remaining ingredients – cacao nibs, cacao powder, dates, almond butter and salt to the grinder. Pulse again till the mixture comes together. It should stick together easily when you squeeze it in your hand. Add a spoon or two of water, only if necessary (is contingent on the moisture in the dates).

Take dollops of the mixture and roll into balls. Store in the refrigerator for upto two weeks in an airtight container.

Optional: You can roll your truffles in dessicated coconut, or dip them in melted chocolate (or dip and roll!) before refrigerating.  More flavour the better!

Spicy Goji Berry Soup

A healthy twist on your regular tomato soup. The addition of goji berries brings out the sweetness of the tomatoes and adds a tart kick to the spice in this soup. An invigorating and healthy addition to any meal.

Prep Time: 15 mins | Cooking Time: 15 mins | Serves: 2-4

  • 1 cup dried goji berries
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (230g approx.)
  • 450ml vegetable stock
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small chili, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, torn

Wash and soak the goji berries for a few minutes to rehydrate them. You can let them soak overnight as well.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and sauté the onion and chili for few minutes. Add the tomatoes, goji berries and cumin seeds. Stir for another couple of minutes.

Add the stock, bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the fresh coriander and blend the soup until smooth.

When serving, decorate with a few fresh coriander leaves, cumin seeds or even an artsy swirl of yoghurt!

Mythbuster 1.0 – Berries

Keeping in line with the berry theme this month the Foodstree team looks to bust some myths regarding them.

Don’t judge a book by its cover and don’t judge a berry by its looks! While a perfectly symmetrical, big, spotless berry might look the most tempting, it might not be the best choice in terms of taste and health. Here’s why a) symmetricity and b) size aren’t the best basis to buy fresh berries:

  1. Uniform berries don’t automatically mean that they are of good quality. Symmetricity is generally a sign that they have been bred in high volumes for commercial purposes. Such berries look great while presenting or garnishing, but tend not to be as flavourful or juicy.
  2. The same goes for size – when it comes to berries, bigger doesn’t mean better! As a rule, bigger berries have less flavour and nutrients. A larger berry will also have a lower skin-to-water ratio, and it’s the skin where most of the nutrients lie.

Our advice would be to buy your fresh berries from a reputable and trusted source, where you can be confident that they have been grown with good practices, care and natural methods. Farmer’s markets are an excellent place for such purchases – the fruit might not be as pretty or large, but will surely be tastier and better for you!

Foodstree Pro Tip:

Don’t wash your berries until just before eating. Moisture speeds up the spoiling – so store them in a clean, dry place and they will last longer.

Quinoa, Herb & Goji Berry Salad

It’s blazing hot this summer, and nothing is as refreshing as a salad. This one is choc-a-bloc filled with protein, vitamins and all things essential. A light dressing and plenty of grain make it a complete meal in itself!

Prep Time: 15 mins | Serves: 1-2

For the dressing:

Mix all the salad ingredients in a bowl.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl. Mix well.

Toss the two together.

It’s as simple as that!

Here’s the Foodstree recipe card that you can print and add to your collection:

What is this Goji Business Anyway?

The Goji Berry – also called the ‘red diamond, ‘fruit of immortality’ and the ‘longevity fruit’. Celebrities like Madonna and Elizabeth Hurley swear by it. Chinese folklore says that it can reverse aging and let you live for centuries. Hang on tight as the Foodstree team attempts to demystify this mythical creature!

Origins

The goji berry is the small, red fruit of the goji shrub which is native to the temperate regions of China, Tibet and Mongolia. Historically, this plant has been consumed for thousands of years for medicinal and spiritual purposes, with its earliest known use being sometime in the 1st century B.C.

It has gained significant popularity in the last decade in Western markets due to its health benefits. While fresh goji may be difficult to obtain, dried goji berries are now available online readily in India. Shop them here.

Nutritional Value

There is a lot of buzz about the purported extreme health benefits of these berries. However, there is no concrete scientific proof whether these can actually reverse aging, cure cancer or fix arthritis.

What we do however know – goji berries contain all 8 essential amino acids, and are an excellent source of vitamin C, iron, vitamin A and zinc. They also have one of the highest levels of ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) so they are a great anti-oxidant as well.

A single serving (15g or 1 tbsp) of goji contains:

  • Calories: 48
  • Protein: 2.1g (quite high for a fruit!)
  • Fat: 0.27g
  • Fibre: 0.75g
  • Sugar: 10.72g

They pack quite a nutritional punch in such a small package!

Taste

Fresh goji berries are sweet, but also quite sour. The dried version however, lose most of their bitterness and are a sweet but tart flavour. If you’re a fan of cranberries or cherries, this will be right up your alley.

Use

You can incorporate goji berries into your diet almost as you would raisins. Dried goji can be incorporated into your oatmeal, trail mix, salads, drinks or desserts. You can also soak dried berries in hot water for a few minutes till they are rehydrated and soft. Rehydrated berries pair well with spiced rice, salsas or chilli. Soaked goji can be easily blended into sauces, smoothies or ice-creams too.

Due to its high levels of vitamins and minerals (yes there can be too much of a good thing!), recommended intake per day is approximately 15g or 1 tablespoon, to a maximum of 2tbsp.

However, be forewarned – goji can interact with some kinds of medication. If you have low blood sugar, are using blood thinners, lactating, pregnant or have blood pressure outside the recommended range – we would advise you to talk to your medical practitioner before adding them to your diet.

To know more on how to incorporate goji into your food stay tuned – we have a range of great recipes coming up this month!