Awesome Curry

Chickpea Spinach Curry
Chickpea Spinach Curry

Disclaimer: This is not an original recipe.  But it’s the best curry I’ve ever made at home, and as such, I want to share it with all of you today.  With full credit to the author and cookbook, of course.

The Chickpea and Spinach Curry comes from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan with a Vengeance.  This is the first cookbook I purchased after my first intolerance-related diagnosis — lactose intolerance.  While I ate a strictly vegan diet for a while, and don’t at the moment, I still love vegan cookbooks.  They correlate with my preferred way of eating — heavy on the vegetables — and a good vegan cookbook relies mostly on whole foods, not processed foods.  In a completely non-compensated way, I can highly and heartily endorse this whole cookbook (though, honestly, if you’re brand new to vegan cooking, consider starting with Veganomicon, as it’s got more basic information in it and a broader range of recipes).  Most vegan cookbook authors are very aware of ingredients and a great place to learn to cook without — no matter what you’re cooking without.

And it’s a big hit at potlucks — with vegans and omnivores alike.  The recipe below is kind of huge.  If it’s just for me, I made a half-recipe.

So, without further ado:

Mise en place
Mise en place

Chickpea and Spinach Curry, from Vegan with Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Preheat a pot over medium heat.  A good Dutch oven would work, if you have one, or a large sauce pan, but to minimize the mess I generally make with cooking (and because I don’t have a Dutch oven), I use my stock pot.  When the pot is hot,  add

  • 3 Tablespoons oil (not olive, vegetable, as this is kind of hot for olive oil)
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds

Cover the pot and let the seeds pop for about a minute.  They do pop, like popcorn.  It’s cool.

Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the following:

  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)

Sautee until it starts to brown — 5-10 minutes, depending on your heat level.

Add and sautee two minutes:

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons ginger, minced or microplaned*

Add and sautee another minute:

  • 3 teaspoons curry powder**
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

    pile o' spice
    pile o’ spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup of juice drained from can of diced tomatoes
  • 14 oz can of diced tomatoes, with juice drained and reserved*

Rinse and drain, then chop

  • 10 cups of spinach, chopped.  Yes this seems like a TON, but it really will all incorporate perfectly.  Add this in handsful, stirring each addition until wilted.

When all the spinach is wilted, add:

  • 2 cans of chickpeas (15 oz. each), rinsed and drained (4 cups if you cook your own)

Stir, cover and turn heat to low.  If you’re planning to make rice, start it now.  Let the stew simmer for 10 minutes.

Uncover, stir, taste.  Adjust the seasonings if necessary (I’ve only ever needed a tiny pinch of salt), and let simmer for another 10 minutes, until its all thickened and wonderous.  Enjoy it over rice.

*The single asterisk represents minor alterations I’ve made to the original recipe.

**Curry powder is amazing, but it’s a blend of ground spice, so quality can vary widely.  To get a good curry, the spices must be fresh when they’re combined and reasonably fresh when you use it.  And your curry dish will only be as good as your curry spice is.  As you might already know, both of us believe the post-apocalypse relies heavily on Penzey’s Spices, based in Wisconsin.  They have a variety of curries; if you’re new to curry, try the sweet curry.  Curry is NOT inherently spicy hot, so don’t be scared if you don’t like spicy.  If you do like spicy, try the hot curry.

So that’s the best curry I know how to make.  Let us know what you think.

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