Chickpea Spinach curry


This curry has a special place in my heart. For me and my husband, it’s an emotion. When we moved to Melbourne, we lived in the CBD for the first few months. We were in love with Melbourne – the streets, lanes, parks, riverfront, everything… An evening stroll around the city to discover something new was a must everyday. One such evening we came across ‘Crossways – a Hare Krishna vegetarian restaurant’. We were instantly excited and walked in to discover not just great food, but the fact that ISKCON temple was just a few tram stops away from where we lived. For the next few months, this was our routine on most Sundays – tram to ISKCON, spend the mornings there, soul satisfying lunch and an afternoon stroll on St. Kilda beach… Bliss… Eventually we moved to the suburbs and the frequency of our visits reduced. But one thing that has stayed fresh in our minds is the chickpea-spinach curry we ate during one of our trips to Crossways. I wonder what magic it had – no chickpea curry we ever ate tasted like it – even though it didn’t contain any onion or garlic, being a Satvik food served at the temple. I am not sure how they made it, but I recreated this magical curry with some spices I was able identify and some spices I love. My daughter loves this curry as much as we do. Every time I make this curry, we tell stories about those magical Sundays to our little girl.

Try this curry for a soul satisfying meal.

 

chickpea curry

Delicious chickpea spinach curry

 

Ingredients:

Spinach – ½ bunch, cleaned and chopped
Chickpeas – 2 cups
Potato – 1, cut into small cubes
Tomato – 1 large, finely chopped
Ginger – 1 inch, grated
Asafoetida (Hing) – a generous pinch
Star anise – 1
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp + 1 tsp for roasting
Coriander seeds – 2 tsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Red chilli powder – ½ tsp or as per taste
Cinnamon – 1 small piece
Cloves – 2
Cardamom – 2
Peppercorns – 5-6
Salt to taste
Ghee (clarified butter) – 1 tbsp
Oil – 2 tbsp
Dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) – 1 pinch

Method:

  1. Soak the chickpeas overnight. Wash then thoroughly under running water. Boil them in fresh water and salt until they are cooked but not mushy
  2. Dry roast 1 tsp cumin seeds and 2 tsp coriander seeds until they are aromatic (few minutes). Grind them in a coffee grinder or mixer into a fine powder. Set aside
  3. Dry roast cinnamon, cloves, cardamom seeds, peppercorns until they are aromatic (few minutes). Grind them in coffee grinder or mixer into a fine powder. Set aside
  4. Heat a fry pan and add oil. Add mustard seeds and let it crackle. Add cumin seeds, asafoetida, star anise and fry briefly till cumin seeds change colour
  5. Add the ginger and stir fry on low heat until it is fragrant (about a minute)
  6. Add tomatoes, turmeric, red chilli powder, cumin-coriander powder and mix well. Cook until the tomatoes are completely done and oil separates
  7. Add the boiled chickpeas along with its water. Add cubed potatoes. Check and adjust salt. Simmer for 15-20 minutes till potatoes are cooked
  8. Add spinach and cook for a few more minutes till they are done
  9. Add rest of the ground spices, ghee and mix well. Crush the dried fenugreek leaves and sprinkle on top
  10. Serve hot with steamed rice

Notes:

  • You may use canned chickpeas. Discard the liquid and wash thoroughly before use
  • You may use store brought spice powders but freshly ground spices are the best
  • You may use 1 tsp of garam masala instead of cinnamon-cardamom-clove powder

 

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