I fell in love with Indian cuisine after my first bite of spicy vindaloo more than 15 years ago. Around the same time, I heard cookbook author, Madhur Jaffrey, being interviewed on the radio. Her beautiful descriptions of the spices and methods involved in Indian cooking made me long to make it even more. The idea of cooking it at home became more vivid and accessible.
Lighter Chickpea and Spinach Curry Recipe
Serves 6 with rice and cucumber salad (recipes below)
- 1 large white or red onion, roughly chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, roughly chopped. Removing the seeds and veins will make it less spicy.
- One inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 16-ounce cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 generous cup of tomato sauce.
- 1 10-ounce package of frozen spinach, defrosted, squeezed and drained of excess water. It should not be too watery before going into the recipe.
- 3 tablespoons of coconut milk. Try to take some of the coconut cream from the top of the can. You can use more if you’d like it richer and creamier.
- 1-2 tablespoons of curry powder, depending on how spicy you like it.
- 1/4 tablespoon of ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground fenugreek (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
- Drizzle of honey or good pinch of sugar to balance the acid in the tomatoes.
- 2 cups of cold water
- Sea salt to taste
- Neutral tasting oil or coconut oil for cooking
- Two tablespoons of chickpea flour(garbanzo bean flour) mixed with two tablespoons of cold water or one tablespoon of potato starch mixed with one tablespoon of cold water. (see notes for explanation)
- For Serving: lime wedges, basmati rice, Greek yogurt, chapati, roti, naan, cilantro, sliced almonds, chutney, cucumber salad
Place onion, jalapeno and ginger in a food processor and whiz to combine to a paste.
Add some oil to a large nonstick fry pan or saute pan. On medium heat, cook the onion-pepper paste in the pan, with some salt, to take the raw edge off the onions and soften the paste. It’s okay if some of the paste browns a little, but don’t let it burn. Drizzle more oil in the pan and the curry powder. Saute the curry powder until it’s fragrant, being careful not to burn it, about 30 seconds or so. Add the chickpeas, tomato sauce, drizzle of honey, defrosted and drained spinach, turmeric, fenugreek (if using), salt and two cups of water. Bring to a boil and stir. Adjust the salt. Simmer for about 15 minutes or more on very low heat . Cook the curry until the flavors have mellowed and melded. The longer it cooks, the mellower it will be. You might need to cover the pot if the liquid is evaporating too quickly.
At the end of cooking, stir in the coconut milk (taking the thick coconut cream from the top of the can) and chickpea flour/cold water mixture or potato starch/cold water mixture . Stir in the ground cumin. Simmer for just a minute or two longer. The more of these thickening mixtures you add, the thicker it will be. You can mash some of the chickpeas with the back of a spoon to thicken the sauce too. Serve with a squeeze of lime or any of the suggested choices. Enjoy!
Basmati Rice Recipe
- 1 cup of basmati rice
- 1- 1/2 cups of water
- sea salt to taste
Rinse one cup (measured with a dry measuring cup) of basmati rice in several changes of water. I do this in a large bowl. Rub the rice between your fingers to release the starch. Strain the rice and set aside. Heat 1 1/2 cups of water (measured with a liquid measuring cup) in a pot with a tight fitting lid, add some salt and bring to the boil. Add the rinsed and strained rice, bring back to a boil, cover. Turn the heat down to the lowest possible setting. Simmer, covered, for 15- 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside in the covered pot.
Cucumber-Lime Salad Recipe