Saturday, February 23, 2008

Curried Chick Peas with Spinach

This super easy dish went over big recently at the Health Fair at the Hillcrest Church of Christ in Decatur where I held an hour long cooking demo and presentation: "Superfoods (and how to use them!)". Besides the ease with which it comes together, the other great thing about this quick cooking recipe is that most of the ingredients are staples from the pantry, fridge or freezer. Even though fresh ingredients could certainly be used, sometimes in our "real" life we don't have time to do much more than rummage through the cupboard in search of the answer to the What's for Dinner question.

The amounts listed here are probably double what I would use to make at home because I was trying to make enough to give out plenty to sample. I thought I'd post this version of the recipe because it's a great potluck dish and this amount will give you lots to share:

2 cans chickpeas, drained & rinsed
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons red curry paste (Indian variety such as Patak's)
1 can coconut milk
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup frozen spinach
1 cup water

This dish, when served with some fragrant basmati rice or earthy brown rice, is a complete vegetarian meal. It's also simple to modify so that you can use other vegetables like adding carrots instead of tomatoes, or fresh spinach in stead of frozen.

You can also omit the coconut milk altogether, reserve the liquid from the tomatoes instead of draining them, and increase the water used or substitute vegetable or chicken stock. Frozen crowder peas and frozen chopped turnip greens also do well in this dish if you choose to omit the coconut milk and reserve instead the liquid from the tomatoes.

So you can see you can experiment with this basic premise.

To make it at home I'd simply halve all of the ingredients, which I've done below. In my home recipe I also spice it up slightly by adding freshly ground ginger and a pinch of red pepper flake, then I serve it with fresh cilantro and a lime wedge with each serving.


Curried Chick Peas with Spinach

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon red curry paste (Indian variety such as Patak's)
1/2 can coconut milk
1/2 can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup frozen spinach
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 pinch crushed chili flake

Cooked rice for serving and cilantro and lime wedges for garnish

In a saucepan, heat one tablespoon of oil with onion, garlic and curry paste over medium-low heat until aromatic.
Add chickpeas, coconut milk, ginger, chili flake, water and tomatoes and stir to incorporate ingredients. Simmer on medium to medium-high heat for at least ten minutes to allow the peas to absorb some of the flavor.
Stir in frozen spinach and cook another five minutes, stirring so that the spinach heats thoroughly.
At this point the dish can be served or cooled and refrigerated until ready to serve another day.
When reheating gently over medium heat, the dish a little additional liquid may be needed if it appears to be too thick because coconut milk does tend to thicken as it reduces during cooking for long periods of time.
Serve with cooked rice, a few sprigs of cilantro and freshly cut lime wedges for squeezing over the dish.


That Queer Chick said...

These recipes look great! What size cans (coconut milk, chick peas) do you mean?

I cam here from your comment on 101 Cookbooks, BTW.

asata (a.k.a. Life Chef) said...

Thanks! Those are the 15 oz cans. Didn't think to mention that. Thanks for pointing it out. Don't you just LOVE 101 Cookbooks?