Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Taking Care of a Curry Craving

I've been craving those Indian flavor again- ever since Thanksgiving. I had it in my mind to try a turkey curry of sorts with some leftovers, but never got around to it. Then yesterday morning I was peering in the fridge, looking for something to nosh on when I saw the unopened bag of spinach. With a best by date of yesterday. At the same time, my mind replayed seeing a can of chickpeas in the kitchen annex, and I also recalled seeing a recipe somewhere with those exact ingredients. Sure enough. I found just such a recipe in one of my Cooking Light Annuals- the one from October 2002 to be exact.

Chickpea and Spinach Curry was more than what I was looking for. Not only did it use on-hand ingredients, but it was a 10 minute dinner. I gave some basmati rice a head start, and before I could blink I had a simple curry dish begging for a dollop of chutney. I did tweak the recipe a tiny bit. First, I added a clove of garlic to the onions and ginger. I've never made an Indian recipe without it, I wasn't about to start. I also used a curry paste instead of the original curry powder called for, since I had a jar in the fridge. And my final tweak was a tiny sprinkling of Garam Masala at the very end. I just love the flavor that adds to my curries, and I wouldn't want to eat one without it. I scooped the curry onto some basmati rice, and then topped the whole thing with a scoop of plain yogurt and my pear chutney. I couldn't have asked for better. I got everything I wanted for dinner, including leftovers for tonight. And honestly and truly- it was a 10 minute dinner if you don't include the rice. Adding the time for the rice takes it to 20 minutes. Not bad in the least to satisfy a craving and make a nutritious dinner in one fell stroke.

Chickpea and Spinach Curry

adapted from Cooking Light, October 2002

cup coarsely chopped onion
1 1/2 tablespoons bottled ground fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons red curry paste (I like Pataks)
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
4 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Garam Masala

Combine onion, ginger, and garlic in a food processor; pulse until minced.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion mixture, sugar, and curry to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add chickpeas and tomatoes; simmer 2 minutes. Stir in spinach, water, salt, and Garam Masala; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts.

Serve over basmati rice with plain yogurt and chutney.

Makes about 3 servings.


Sullicom said...

we're on the same page when it comes to curry cravings. We're making curried beans over polenta this weekend - if I can wait that long.

This looks great, too. Good warming food.

Erika W. said...

Definitely warming- that's a gerat way to describe curry- comforting and warming. It's also one of the only things that I enjoy eating leftovers of-and could for several days.

Deborah said...

I had a curry craving not to long ago, and went with a creamy chicken curry; sometimes I'm not sure if I'm craving the curry flavor or the basmati rice - they're so entwined in my mind, and I love basmati!

I haven't been able to find curry paste at any of the gorcery stores around here. The nearest Indian grocery is about 45 minutes away, and - here in the deep south - fun places like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods are only starting to be spoken of. Could you describe the difference in taste? I always make do with powder.

Erika W. said...

Interesting question Deborah. When I make curry I do it one of two ways. The first is the curry paste. It has a very authentic flavor, and it has a depth to it that using the standard "curry powder" doesn't have. You can buy it in different colors, heats, and flavors to tailor your dish to the particular curry you are looking for.

The other way I make curry is to just use the spices, but I use individual whole spices. Then I toast and grind them fresh. You wouldn't believe the flavor when you use the individual spices over a pre-mixed curry blend. I probably never would have done this if a friend of mine hadn't shared some spices with me once. What a difference. The whole spices I keep on hand are cumin, coriander, cardamom, fennel, and mustard seed. Oh and red chilies.