This is a warm bowl of comfort food. I love chickpeas and try out various versions with a variety of spices, herbs and vegetables. This is a very rustic curry made with fresh flavors of tomatoes and spinach. I added cashewnut paste to bring fullness and creaminess to the dish but you can substitute this with coconut milk or yogurt.
I have served this dish at various events and have always received great feedback. If you are looking for a quick and tasty curry on a weeknight this is what you should try.
Prep time: 15 minutes (Soaking time: If using dried chickpeas soak them overnight for at least 7 hours)
Cooking time: 30 minutes
1 cup dried chickpeas – soaked in water for 7 hours or use 1 can of cooked chickpeas.
200 gms of spinach – cut roughly not fine
1 medium sized onion – sliced lengthwise
1-cup tomato pulp or 1 tomato finely chopped
10-12 cashews soaked in water for 10 minutes and grinded into a fine paste
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp grated garlic
1 green chili, chopped fine
2 tbsp oil
A bunch of fresh coriander leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp chana masala (you can buy this from any Asian grocery store)
If you are using dried chickpeas, cook the chickpeas with a tsp of salt in a pressure cooker for about 20 minutes. You can also boil the chickpeas in a pan for about 50-60 minutes or until soft.
While the chickpeas are cooking, heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan. Once hot, add cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Add ginger, garlic and green chilies to the pan. Stir for 2 minutes, until the garlic and ginger cook.
Now add the onions. Stir the onions and cook until they are translucent and pink. Add a pinch of salt to the onions; this will help the cooking process.
Once the onions are done, add the tomatoes. Stir everything together and let it cook on low heat. This is what is called the masala for a curry. Let the masala cook until you see oil come out of the tomatoes.
Then add the spices – coriander powder and chana masala. Give the masala a good stir until its soft and pulpy. Add a splash of water so that the spices do not burn. Now add the cashew paste. Cook for about 2 minutes and add half a cup of water. Let the masala come to a boil.
Now add the boiled chickpeas to the masala. Stir everything well so that the chickpeas are coated well with the masala. Next add the spinach leaves. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the spinach leaves wilt.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves. Serve hot with rotis, rice or naan.