My previous article “What to have for lunch,” attracted many readers. Since dinner comes after lunch, I also wanted to talk about what to have dinner. Dieticians and clinicians always tell people what not to eat, but often do not tell them what they should eat. They do so not because they want people to starve but because, since they seldom cook, they may not have any clear suggestions on food to recommend. “Believe me,” as President Trump likes to say, there are many meals out there and their ingredients can be very questionable for any practitioner to endorse without hesitation.
Well, I stumbled on this recipe by accident, during one of my frequent searches for what to cook. As you may have found out yourself, knowing what to eat is not easy. Anybody who has made a real effort to lose weight – forget about those who are not serious, who only give it lip service – will agree with me. This is why I am excited to share this recipe with you. This meal has to be very good because I make it over and over again, especially when I have fallen off my Weight Watchers’ wagon and want to get back on track. Simple but tantalizing, that is what I call it, and I hope you will like it as well.
Okay, get ready. Begin by purchasing green split peas, parsley, and habanero pepper, plus several bottles of Poland spring water for cooking. You see, the ingredients are simple, and if you shop at Stop & Shop stores as I do, the items will cost $10. The peas come in small plastic bags, and for starters I recommend one bag.
Habanero peppers are not hard to find. Grab two or three, unless you want to buy more for another day or other uses. I like habanero peppers because they are spicy and have a welcoming aroma. Another reason I like them is because they make sweat break out on my forehead when I begin eating. If you are one of these people who never break a sweat because you do not exercise much, eating this meal is a good way to sweat. Other kinds of peppers, such as the Jamaican pepper, can do in place of the habanero pepper.
Next, pick up the herb, parsley. I have experimented with other vegetables, but I feel that parsley goes well with the split peas and the habanero pepper.
Two weeks ago was the last time I had prepared and eaten this meal, but for some unknown reason I was drawn to it again last Saturday. By the time I returned home from the grocery store, it was 5.30 pm. I set a medium-size pot on the electric stove, ripped open the plastic bag containing the split peas, poured the contents into the pot and added 100 ml of Poland spring water, then turned on the stove. An initial early stir prevents the peas from sticking on the bottom of the pot. Do this regularly as the peas cook. It will take about four bottles of the 100 ml bottle of Poland spring for the peas to cook. Add the cut pepper when you are halfway through the cooking. Two peppers are enough unless, like me, you love pepper. If so, you can put in three cut peppers. Frozen peppers break up easily when pounded lightly with a wooden pestle.
Stir thoroughly after putting in the habanero pepper. You are going to need more water as your peas cook, and like I said earlier, expect to use 400 ml of water. Stir frequently to avoid the peas sticking. Watch for foaming and spilling over the brim of the pot. To avoid the contents of the pot from spilling, set the heat at the middle dial range, enough to generate bubbles but without overflowing.
Expect your peas to cook in forty-five minutes. Wash and chop up your parsley 15 minutes before the peas complete cooking. Gently put them into the broth of peas and habanero pepper. Stir and allow the broth to continue simmering. Scoop out a little in a spoon and taste for readiness. Get your plate ready to serve. Be sure to get water and napkins to mop the sweat from the forehead!
Try this when you can and let me know if you enjoyed it. The estimated total calorie content of this meal, cooked in this fashion, is about 1,500 calories. You can eat half and refrigerate the other half for the next day.
As you can see, split peas, pepper and parsley – the three ingredients used in this recipe – are natural. To me, that is the greatest secret of a good diet, limiting the number of additives and bottled, processed spices we pour into our food. Why go with processed and bottled spices when nature can give the same flavor and aroma to your meal?
I am sure it will please you to know that the green split peas have 12 grams of fiber and 12 grams of protein, as well as potassium and complex sugar. Everybody knows the health value of fiber and vitamins in the diet. Parsley is a good source of vitamins A, C, and K. Hot peppers, such as habanero pepper, contains vitamins and minerals as well as capsaicin, a widely recognized ingredient that has the natural quality of combating obesity, arthritis, cancer, and so forth (Zheng et al, 2017).
Zheng, J., Zheng, S., Feng, Q., Zhang, Q., & Xiao, X. (2017). Dietary capsaicin and its anti-obesity potency: from mechanism to clinical implications. Bioscience reports, 37(3), BSR20170286. doi:10.1042/BSR20170286
Dr. Anselm Anyoha is the Author of the book, “How Broccoli-Head Lost Thirty Pounds.”