I get one cooking magazine in the mail. Fine Cooking. I’ve mentioned it more than once (at least a dozen times probably) on the blog. It’s most definitely my favorite cooking magazine. It doesn’t have loads of content, but what it does have is good content and not a lot of ads. Anyway, buy a copy sometime and check it out.
This recipe for chickpea and spinach curry is from the latest issue. While doing meal planning for this past week I was at a loss for Tuesday’s dinner. So I grabbed the magazine and started flipping through it. This one stood out to me right away. I love the flavors in Indian food, but it often takes a lot of time and ingredients to make good Indian food at home. This recipe allows you to take some short cuts but still wind up with a very flavorful and satisfying meal with just enough spice.
Our Tuesday nights get a little crazy, no matter how hard I try I always feel like I am rushing to get dinner ready or the house picked up. This meal fit in perfectly with our busy night (although I failed in some ways this past week and we were still rushed!). It comes together incredibly quickly and cooks up in a flash. It’s full of good-for-you vegetables and fills you up without being heavy. But your house will smell like curry for a few days. That’s the only downside. Ben came home the next day from work and said, “Indian again?” to which I replied “No, spaghetti and meatballs.” which I’d spent all day cooking. I was sure it would’ve masked the curry, but no.
You can serve this as a side dish or as a vegetarian main, which is what I did. The recipe below serves 4 as a side and 2 as a main. It’s easily doubled or tripled, so can suit whatever your needs are.
I skipped out on the yogurt the first time around, but ate it with leftovers and loved the creamy, coolness of it next to the spice. Definitely serve this with naan if you can, but I am sure it would also be nice on a bed of white rice.
If you don’t like cilantro or are serving this to people who don’t, leave it out of the dish. You can serve fresh cilantro separately and let people decide how much, if any, they want.
Quick Chickpea and Spinach Curry
From Fine Cooking
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/8 tsp. cayenne (optional, I left it out)
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 14-1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes
6-7 ounces baby spinach
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional, mix in or on the side)
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (optional for serving)
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add in the onion, ginger, curry powder and garam masala and cook for a few minutes, until the onion is softened. Add in the garlic and cook for one minute more.
Stir in the chickpeas, tomatoes, and salt to taste (start with 1/2 teaspoon and add no more than 1 teaspoon)
Add in the spinach, a cup or so at a time, letting is cook down just a bit before adding more to keep you pan from getting overloaded.
Once the spinach has cooked down and is wilted, season with more salt if needed, cover the pan and turn off the heat. Let it sit for about 5 minutes.
You can stir in the cilantro to the dish now if desired or serve it on the side.
It is hard to cook for two. This meal was yet another reminder of that fact. After the two of us had one big (for Ben) and two small (for me) servings of this chicken tikka, it didn’t look like we’d even touched the stuff. We will be eating this for days, and I mean that in a very good way. I really enjoyed this and have had no problem eating it as leftovers. Make sure to leave the jalapeno in with whatever you need to refrigerate. This tastes even better the next day.
This recipe is from Tasty Kitchen. I used 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts and will use 5 or 6 next time to accommodate for the large amount of yummy sauce. The original recipe says that it serves 6, but I think it could easily serve 8.
I couldn’t find garam masala, so I made my own. If you have a grocery store that sells spices in bulk I would recommend buying some of these spices that you don’t use very often in smaller amounts to cut the cost a bit. I had a jar of ground cardamom already, but a new jar was going to set me back $9.00 so I’m glad I had it. This is what I used for the garam masala. It was exactly 3 tablespoons, so it’s perfect for this recipe.
Mix together the following spices. Use or store in a sealed container.
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
The only thing I didn’t enjoy about making this meal was all the ginger I had to grate. I do love fresh ginger, and so there was no way I was going to use less than it called for. But peeling and grating a 3 inch piece of ginger is not a task I took forward to repeating. But since I will be making this again, I will be peeling and grating all that ginger yet again. You can finely chop it, but I think grating it in this recipe is a better choice because then you don’t get little pieces of ginger. If you don’t have a microplane grater, chop it as finely as you can. If you do grate it, watch your fingertips! Those graters are sharp.
Other than using chicken breasts and making my own garam masala, I followed this recipe exactly. I do think you could use less cream at the end, maybe 3/4 of a cup. But I wouldn’t eliminate it completely.
I served this with white rice, green peas and these pita bread. Choose just one starch if you’d like, but make sure you have at least one of them to soak up the sauce. It is delicious.
1 whole Jalapeno Pepper, Stem Removed, Pepper Pierced Several Times With A Sharp Knife
4 Tablespoons Butter
1 whole Large Onion, Peeled And Diced
6 cloves Garlic, Peeled And Minced
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
3 Tablespoons Garam Masala
1 piece Fresh Ginger, About 2-3 Inches, Peeled And Grated
4 cups Crushed Tomatoes
1 Tablespoon Raw Sugar (can Substitute White Granulated If Necessary)
2 teaspoons Cornstarch Or Cleargel
1-½ cup Heavy Cream
Hot Buttered Rice And Peas
Chopped Fresh Cilantro
Cut the chicken into 1- 1 1/2 inch pieces. Sprinkle the coriander, cumin and salt over the chicken, then stir in the yogurt until all the pieces are evenly coated. Cover lightly and let sit for 10 minutes before proceeding.
Melt 1 tablespoon the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Raise the heat to medium high and quickly brown about 1/4 to 1/3 of the chicken. Transfer browned chicken to the slow cooker as it is finished, using 1 tablespoon of butter per batch, and repeat until the chicken is all in the slow-cooker. Throw the pierced jalapeno in on top of the chicken.
Prepare the sauce. Return the pan to the heat and melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the onions, garlic, and kosher salt, then stir. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to lightly brown around the edges.
Stir in the garam masala and ginger and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute) before raising the heat to high and adding the crushed tomatoes and raw sugar. Stir well, scraping the caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan, and bring to a boil. Pour over the chicken in the slow-cooker.
Cover and cook on LOW for 5 hours, or until the chicken is very tender.
Use a fork or whisk to stir the cornstarch or cleargel into the heavy cream until smooth. Pour into the slow-cooker and stir gently until the colour is even. Replace the lid and let cook for 10 minutes or until bubbly around the edges.
Serve over hot rice and peas, topped with a generous amount of chopped cilantro.