Monday, June 12, 2006

Sugar, sugar everywhere

Just back from a rip to the supermarket and another full blown rant is going to be unleashed. You have been warned.
I have a weird type of diabetes. If I go into a big supermarket chain, Super Stop and Shop, for instance here in the US, or Tesco in the UK, or the Hypermarché Carrefour in Belgium, I manage to push my cart around only half the store before I see flashing lights before my eyes, or worse, the world goes dark. I've never actually passed out but it always brings the shopping expedition to a rapid end. I can't tell you how many times I've been forced to abandon a semi-full cart in the middle of an aisle. I think it has something to do with the lights or maybe my brain suffers overload from the apparent excess of breakfast cereals, which, when you examine it, consists of twenty boxes of the same damn cereal and never the one you actually want. Whatever it is I have learnt that the stuff I want isn't sold in these stores anyway or when it is, it's more expensive.
That's why I shop in the "natural" food supermarkets like Wholefoods. And it's fine when I want hormone free beef or chicken and organic vegetables but when it comes to a simple loaf of bread I'm stymied. I pick up one and read the ingredients: corn syrup, fructose, 3g of sugar per serving. What the hell? After I 've rejected the third loaf, I'm usually on the verge of a total meltdown. "Why?" I mutter to myself, "why would you put so much sugar in bread?" It doesn't make it taste better and it makes it much more difficult for me to bolus. I’m shopping in a store that’s supposed to promote healthy eating and all the bread comes with a healthy dose of sugar. Grrr.
I'm aware that I'm beginning to sound like the crazy lady but I don't have a sweet tooth and I like my bread to taste like bread. And don't tell me because it doesn't have actual sucrose in it that it's good for me. This is like a good friend, also a diabetic, offering me a glass of orange juice instead of Coke, because "we can drink this, it isn't sweetened". Uh, yeah it is, it's full of natural sugar and I don't think I could ever bolus enough for a full glass of OJ.
So, please, I don't want dried fruit in my bread, I don't want honey sweetened anything thanks, and if I wanted brioche, I'd buy that. I want bread that's made with flour, water, yeast, and a little salt. Is that too much to ask?
Oh, and I discovered today why take-out Indian food in the US pushes my BG to stratospheric limits while in Europe my numbers stay in range. Wholefoods, like a lot of Indian restaurants here, adapt recipes to local taste and add cane sugar to their dishes. And they don't even tell you how much sugar they're putting in there. That's just wrong.
So now I've got that off my chest I'm going to make Rogan Josh, and because you stayed with me through the rant I will share with you my favourite recipe, adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking.

Rogan Josh
2" fresh ginger, peeled, coarsley chopped
8 cloves garlic, peeled
4 tbls water
1 2O oz can diced tomatoes
2 tbls olive oil
2 lbs cubed lean lamb
10 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
6 cloves
10 black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
2 onions, peeled, finely chopped
1 tsp ground coriander seed
2 tsp ground cumin seeds
2 tsp red paprika
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper (or more if you like it spicy)
1 tsp salt
6 tbls plain yogurt (Do Not use the kind with gelatin in it)
1/4 tsp garam masala
Freshly ground blackpepper

Puree ginger, garlic and 4 tablespoons of water in an electric blender until you have a smooth paste.

Heat oil and brown meat cubes in several batches and set aside. Put the cardamom, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, and cinnamon into the hot oil and cook until the cloves swell. Add the onions. Cook until the onions turn medium-brown. Add the ginger-garlic paste and stir for 30 seconds. Add the coriander, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and the salt. Stir, cook for 30 seconds, then add the browned lamb and any meat juices, the yoghurt and the tomatoes.
Cover, reduce to low heat and simmer for about an hour and a half or until meat is tender. Check that the casserole doesn't dry out, if necessary add a little water.
Just before serving sprinkle with garam masala and black pepper.
Serves 4

And by the way, DO NOT use yoghurt with gelatin in it. Why would you put gelatin in yoghurt anyway?


justme said...

mmm, I may just try your recipe. I love Indian Food! But I have not yet managed to figure out the correct dose for me. Still a bit new at all this. But damn, I love curry!

Jane said...

Sorry should have posted carb units. My bad.
The carbs are in the tomatoes 36g for a 20 oz can of Muir Glen Organic, though different brands have different amounts, and the yoghurt 8g for a pot that equals 6 tbls. 36+8=42/4= 10.25g per person. Then there's the rice or nan bread to add.
You can reduce the carbs (and calories) by replacing the tomatoes with 2 cups water. It still tastes delicious.
Carb counting is a total pain, especially when we have to guess with prepared foods. It's all trial and error and corrections. "sigh"

Caro said...

Tesco can have that effect on anyone. In fact I sometimes wonder how so many people manage to shop there without either passing out or sinking in to deep depression. Unfortunately I have a 24 hour Tesco 10 minutes down the road from me, and I can't deny the convenience...

Next time you are in the UK, give Waitrose a try. Their tag line is something like "Great food, honestly priced" which stems from a public perception that they are expensive, which isn't really true. They do sell great food from a nicer environment that shouldn't make you wamt to pass out! The one at Canary Wharf in London is particularly good!

As for the bread... get thyself a breadmaker! I always thought the sugar was there to feed the yeast, but after sucessfully making delicious bread in a breadmaker without any sugar at all, I now know this not to be true.