Sunday, 18 July 2010

Chickpea Spinach Stew

Chickpea Spinach Stew

Have you heard people mixing up the terms spicy and hot? Indian food immediately rings one bell in non-Indians – spicy. Unfortunately most of them refer to the heat (due to chillies or chilly powder) instead of the wonderful mix of several other spices that go into a dish. In my mind, a dish could be spicy but not hot. One could always increase or decrease the heat and enjoy the wonderful blend of spices. Some recipes somehow make me think it will be ideal for our western friends. It is probably because of their flavours and not having to be hot to be appealing. Also because some of these dishes fit into the kind of style in which their meal is served, like rice with some kind of sauce or naan with a big portion of curry.

This dish is packed with goodness as well. It has chickpeas (garbanzo bean) which are a good source of dietary fibre, essential minerals like phosphorous, calcium, iron, zinc and also goods source of folate and protein. It has spinach, being a green leafy vegetable comes with loads of goodness like chlorophyll, iron, iodine, calcium etc. It is also suppose to be alkaline and thereby help balance your body pH. It also has another important ingredient – coconut. Some shy away from it thinking it is harmful due to its fat content. I have read articles saying that recent studies suggest that coconut has some key components which are infact good for a healthy heart. Always remember, moderation is the key. I have used coconut milk in this dish. I try to keep my ingredients as chemical free as possible so I do not usually buy the tinned coconut milk which has several ‘E’ numbers. I read in a book I bought from a charity shop that I could add boiling water to coconut cream (it does not have any chemicals) to make coconut milk. I tried it as I do not have time (read it lazy) to make it from scratch and then clean it. Worked out great! Okay, that is enough build up, now for the recipe...

1 cup boiled chickpea (that would be about ½-3/4 cup dry chickpea)

1 pack of spinach leaves (about 400g)

1big onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste

1 green chilly finely chopped (increase or decrease based on preference)

1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)

½ teaspoon cumin powder (jeera powder)

½ teaspoon coriander powder (dhania powder)

½ teaspoon chilly powder

¼ teaspoon turmeric powder

½ cup coconut milk (pour half cup boiling water over contents of a 50g packet coconut cream)

Salt to taste

Cooiking oil

In a skillet add teaspoon cooking oil and once hot add the cumin seeds. When they begin to brown, add onions, ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder and chilly.

Once onion is cooked, add the cooked chickpea. I soak overnight and pressure cook until soft and not mushy. If using tinned, drain, rinse and use. Add the spice powders. Add a cup of water and simmer for 10 minutes.

Now add the spinach and once it is almost cooked, add the coconut milk and simmer for few more minutes.

Season with salt, mix and serve.

It goes well with rice and other Indian breads.

If you find it a bit watery, then mash some of the chickpea just to thicken it.


  1. Cannot what you are saying as the difference between heat and spicy. I think the english language is deficient in explaining the masala spicy and thermally hot.

    btw, "tinned coconut milk which has several ‘E’ numbers"

    What is E number?

  2. Where is the spinach in the ingredient list?