Sometimes planning dinner drives me nuts. I do not want to think about it. But I do not want to do a take away either. I am not good with take aways. They always taste blah as far as I care. One of the things I find easy to cook is curry, by curry I do not mean the thick creamy tomato laden sauce, my curries are usually, light, with a hint of spices and very easy on the chilies, usually that is. Off late I have been coming across a lot of vegan curry recipes and they look interesting. By the way don’t get me wrong, I am not a vegan or anything, I tried going vegetarian once, and it lasted and I am proud to say one whole week , that is 7 days, that is quite an achievement for me. I am a confirmed, hardcore meat eater. I mean I do my veges but I need my share of meat as well.
Coming back to dinner, I decided to settle on a Chickpea spinach curry, simple easy and packed with flavour and lots of nutrients. This recipe is a keeper and works great on those cold winter nights warming up to you , this is what I call soul food. It is vegan but not satvik ( there is an inherent difference) satvik is when you cook with out onion and garlic.
Vegan Chickpea Curry:
- Chickpea (2 cups) – soaked overnight and pressure cooked or if you are short of time 2 15 0z can
- Onion – 1 medium chopped ( I used red onions, I love the flavour)
- Ginger grated -1 teaspoon
- Garlic grated-1 teaspoon
- tomatoes – medium sized chopped
- Baby Spinach- 1 bag (170 gms)
- cumin seeds- 1teaspoon
- bay leaves- 2
- cardamom- 2 ( green cardamom)
- cinnamon – 1 stick about 1.5 inches
- turmeric powder- 1 teaspoon
- red chilly powder 1.5 teaspoon ( adjust as per you tolerance)
- coriander powder – 1 table spoon
- Chana masala powder (1 teaspoon MDH brand available in most South Asian Groceries, if you do not have it use curry powder)
- Coriander leaves ( Cilantros) a handful
- Olive oil 2 tablespoon ( you can use any other neutral oil as well)
- If you are not using store bought cans of chickpeas, start by soaking them at least 8-10 hours before you cook. Next pressure cook them for about 2-3 whistles and then turn off the heat and let the steam cook escape.
- Next in a heavy bottom saute pan/kadhai heat olive oil and add the whole spices, cumin and bay leaves. Once they begin to sizzle and splutter, add the onions, saute for about 3-4 min on high heat and when they go pale add the ginger and garlic paste. Wait till the onions go limp and then through in the tomatoes. This takes time so be patient. Tomatoes will have to be cooked thoroughly until they are smashed and the whole mixture has a paste like look.
- Now add the powdered spices one by one along with the salt and cook at medium heat till the oil starts to ooz out from the spice mixture.
- Next add the chickpeas and let the spices coat them evenly. Now add about 3 cups of water. I had reserved some of the water in which the peas were boiled, if not you can use normal water. The amount of water depends on the thickness of your curry, I like it on the runny side so I used about 3 cups. Bring it to a boil.
- Finally, add the washed spinach leaves and wait for it to wilt. It does not take very long about 2-3 mins. Turn off the heat and finish it off with coriander leaves . Serve with white rice or rotis.
- This curry can be cooked with a combination of vegetables like eggplant and chickpeas, potatoes, cauliflower.
- It works best with rice.