bits and pieces

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Comfort Food, Indian Style - Super Easy Spinach and Chickpea Curry

nom nom vegan? YES indeed!
Vegan deliciousness bubbling away..
I'm so sorry. I've done it again.

I accidentally cooked vegan. Again.

I DON'T KNOW HOW THIS KEEPS HAPPENING. It's not that I have anything against vegan cooking at all - I just never consciously try and cook vegan. I love my butter, eggs, and milk - cooking without them isn't something I strive to do. I try and eat totally vegetarian most of the week (no fishies), but I've never made an effort to eat vegan except for those weird but good vegan brownies.  Maybe I've always cooked lots of vegan food and am now simply becoming more aware of it. I DON'T KNOW.

It does feel odd though - I started this blog initially to document hilarity that ensured when things were deep fried - one time in Vancouver I set my stove on fire; another time in Montreal, Sean set my floor on fire. Actually I'm pretty sure we went through a period of having frequent small house fires. However, slowly it has morphed from a culinary arson blog to strange vegan cooking from Saskatchewan. It's odd where life takes us. Especially when it takes you to Regina.

Existential musings aside - this is a suppppppper yummy and really easy Indian dish. It's so good that I had it for lunch yesterday, and again today. Double-lunch duty = commitment. It's warm, its flavourful without being spicy, it tastes like healthy and it IS healthy, and it's actually filling. It's pretty much a one pot meal too, which is always nice when it's time to clean up. CHANNA SAAG! It's spinach and chickpeas! How could it be not good for you?

I've also discovered that I'm apparently Indian on the inside. I love cooking Indian food. You toast spices, throw things in a pot, and somehow it comes out tasting GOOD. Sometimes it tastes better than other times, but I've never had a Indian cooking experience in which the end result has been disastrous. It's also obnoxiously healthy which is good. My freshmen 15 (well, 10) waited until last winter to show up and I've been too poor (read: unmotivated) for a gym membership, so eating healthy and going for walks is about as much as I'm willing to give.

So hit your Indian grocer, grab a pot, a glass of wine (to keep the freshmen 15 on), and make this curry. It might look like vegetable mush, but it tastes like so much more. Like good vegetable mush. Plus this is gosh darn easy. Easier than it looks. The recipe pretty much goes - cook spinach and remove, add things to pot in this order, cook for 10 minutes, then add spinach and cook a little more.. then eat. You can do that, right?

olive oil
1 bundle of spinach, relatively finely chopped. I went balls deep and threw in the stems. Spinach is spinach right?
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
one of those big cans of diced tomatoes. Diced tomatoes, as I've discovered, are a key ingredient in Indian food. Who knew?
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
a small pinch of fenugreek seeds
1 tsp fennel
1 tsp kashmiri curry powder (bright red, but not as spicy)
1 scant tsp garam masala
2 tbsp tomato paste
about 1/2 a tsp of salt for sprinkling

plus you'll want to cook some rice to serve this over. I served it over some brown + wild rice. 

other things you will need: 
one big pot
a cutting board and knife
something to grate your ginger with

  1. heat some oil in your pan over medium. I used a saucier which is my favourite pan in the world. So heat your oil and add your spinach and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 4-5 minutes until your spinach is all wilted. Remove from heat. 
  2. In the same pan, heat some more olive oil over medium/medium high and add your cumin seeds, fenugreek and coriander seeds and cook until they start to spit and pop. Add your ginger and cook for an additional minute. 
  3. Add your chick peas and sprinkle a big pinch or two of salt over top. Chickpeas need salt. 
  4. Throw in the rest of your spices and stirrrrrr. Add your tomato paste and your canned tomatoes. Stirrrr. Add about 1 1/2 cups of water and stir again. 
  5. Leave to simmer for 5 minutes. Check on it after 5 and see if it needs more water. Add as necessary up to 3 cups-ish. I believe I used about 2 and a bit. Simmer for another 5 minutes. 
  6. Add spinach, and cook for another 5 - 10 minutes. Spoon over rice and garnish with a little bit of greek yogurt and fresh cilantro if you'd like. CHOW DOWN YOU HEALTHY VEGAN. 

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