For anyone who knows me, my idea of vegetarian cuisine is chocolate and cookies. My wife is a keen veggie so I am always actively on the hunt for dishes that will satisfy our collective appetites. The one occasion when I’m happy to dispense with my inner carnivore is when we go to an Indian restaurant and I’ve had many a vegetarian curry that’s been every bit as good as the meat-laden variety. So this dish was my attempt at putting together something similarly full of flavour and spice. It’s so delicious that you can just eat it on its own, as a side dish or as a main with rice. The one trick up this recipe’s sleeve is the use of curry paste. You can use any paste you like (I use Patak’s), whether a rogan josh paste, a madras or a tikka masala and the result is a very different and equally tasty meal each time!
- 1 tablespoon of groundnut oil
- 1 large onion
- ginger, large thumb sized piece
- 4 garlic cloves
- 4¼ ounces / 120g curry paste (of your choice)
- 2 x 14-ounce / 400g tins chopped tomatoes
- 2 x 14-ounce / 400g tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 ounce / 25g bunch coriander
- 8¾ ounces / 250g spinach
Blitz the onion, ginger and garlic cloves in a food processor until you have a paste.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and then add the onion paste and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the curry paste and continue to stir, cooking for another 3 minutes.
Stir in the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas and 5¼ fluid ounces / 150ml water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, giving a good stir every now and again to make sure it doesn’t stick.
While this is simmering away, take your coriander, discard the stalks and roughly chop the leaves. Once the 10 minutes cooking is up, add the coriander and stir in with a good dash of seasoning.
Tear up the spinach and add to the curry, stir and cook for 2 minutes.
Serve on its own, with rice or naan bread.
The humble chickpea has many names – garbanzo bean, gram, or Bengal gram, Egyptian pea, ceci, cece, chana, or (in northern India) Kabuli chana. Classed as a legume, it is one of the oldest known crops in existence, remains of which have been found in the Middle East dating some 7,500 years ago. India is both the largest producer and the largest importer of chickpeas and recent scientific developments of better varieties have enabled farmers in west Asia to increase yield four-fold over the last 30 years. Their value as a nutrient-rich food is immense and they provide much of our daily needs. Cooking can boost protein content while at the same time reducing fat.