Friday, 8 June 2007

Hot Stuff - Chickpea and Spinach Curry

Brrr..... it's such a cold, wet and windy day in Sydney. Fortunately, I am able to work from home today. Funny thing about winter is that I don't feel like exercising as much but I feel hungry all the time. Not such a good combination for the waistline....That's when a recipe like this comes in handy because it can satisfy my craving for wholesome food without the guilt and it's perfect for a cold day like today. Plus, since Quikong is not home for lunch, I can make it EXTRA spicy. This will also be my first submission for the Weekend Herb Blogging which was created by Kalyn, and hosted by Ulrike this week. Susan reminded me of how lucky I am that Quikong has planted a herb garden for me. So I have decided to blog about each herb from the garden, one at a time. I think that Quikong will actually appreciate this because it means that I will stop hassling him about "which one is the oregano again?". My excuse for not recognising the herbs is that I've only used dried forms of some herbs (e.g. thyme). Plus, I am used to calling herbs by their local names back in Singapore.

To me, curry is not complete without some coriander (or cilantro) thrown. My grandmother and mom used to add in extra coriander in their curries just for me. We don't tend to chop the leaves but throw them in stalks and all (with roots removed). All parts of the coriander is edible (including the roots). However, the fresh leaves and dried seeds are the most commonly used parts for cooking. You can learn more about coriander here.

(Hot) Chickpea and Spinach Curry

1 tspn oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 heaped tbspn of "special" curry powder*
1 tspn brown sugar
1 can chickpea, drained
1 can diced tomatoes
1 large carrot, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
250g frozen spinach
as many chopped dried or fresh chillies as you like :-)
Salt flakes
Some hot water or vegetable stock
A bunch of coriander, roots removed

Over medium heat, fry the garlic and onion in the oil in a non-stick pot till soft and slightly golden. Add curry powder and continue to stir everything around till the spices have released their fragrance (about 5 minutes). Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer till carrots are tender. Add enough hot water/stock for the desired consistency. Season with salt. Throw in the coriander at the very last, just before serving.

Serve with:
- Brown rice, basmati rice or naan.
- Pappadams (pictured in the background of the photo)
- Yougurt

* Try to use better quality curry powder from a specialty shop(not commercial brands). My mom sent me a packet of curry powder from Singapore and it is a blend of the following ingredients: Coriander seeds, cumin, tumeric, fennel seeds, chilli, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise and cloves.


Em said...

I am coming over! :-P Looks delicious! Spicy is what you need on a day like this!

You would have laughed today... I couldn't find the umbrella Iain lent me so I had to go to work under the rain. Luckily I still had a jacket with a hoodie to wear. Not really waterproof but it absorbed most of the water... and I just had to hid my wet pants under the desk while I worked ;)

Anh said...

I love curry, but can't take to much spicy food in a day.

I really like veg curry like this. Will love to try out. Is your curry powder blend Indian style?

Nora B. said...

Hey Em, having an unbrella doesn't help at all today. The wind blew mine inside out twice within 5 minutes so I gave up and walked in the rain too. I think you would have been able to handle the amount of chillies I put in this curry.

Anh, yes the curry powder was blended Indian style. My "supply" is running low, so I will have to source some more here. p/s: is it wet and cold in Melbourne, too?

Susan said...

Just beautiful, Nora. My guy doesn't like super spicy, either. I say "bring it on!"

Ulrike said...

I'm not fond of cilantro and omit it always if I can :-). I think there are only two opinions about coriander (leaves): Love it or hate it. I like the seeds, not the leaves.

Thanks for the delicious sounding curry, I would replace it with parsley.

Em said...

Ulrike, I agree with you.
I have some friends who can't eat coriander leaves... They say it tastes like 'cat's piss'... Not sure what is the basis for this comparison. That being said, one of my friends is slowly learning to 'like' them...
I absolutely love coriander. One of the great discoveries I made in Australia. Not too sure why but I had never eaten much of it before coming here.

Nora, yes... I saw many dead umbrellas on the side of the road today. I keep meaning to take a picture of the umbrella cemetaries but I am not that keen with this kind of weather!

Cynthia said...

Nora, such beautiful presentation and I do love chickpea and spinach curry. Ummmm, so good.

Can you email me at: so that I can send you the recipes you are interested in? Thanks.

Rose said...

I have to try curry again because the last time I made it, it was a disaster. Didn't know that we could eat coriander whole. I am learning something . Thanks.

Ruth Daniels said...

I'm with em...when are you serving???

It does look awesome and will definitely be on our table this week. Thanks for sharing.

Nora B. said...

Susan, we can start a support group for them! ;-)

Ulrike & Em, I actually didn't realise that anyone can really dislike coriander. I was blinded by my love for it ;-) I think that flat leaf parsley can be used as a replacement like you said, Ulrike.

Em, you should have taken a photo and put it on your blog. Folks "back home" would find it funny for sure.

Cynthia, thanks. What would have been a perfect accompaniment would be one of your achaars or chutneys - thanks for your recipes! I'll be trying them out soon. Oh, and I like how I can add as many chillies as I want :-)

Rose, I think that if you get a good Indian curry paste, this dish can't go wrong.

Ruth, if you can click you heels together and transport youself over here, I would love to have you as my guest! But you may have to bring a dish, like your wonderful seared sesame tuna with wasabi mayo :-)

Truffle said...

What a perfect lunch! A spicy bowlful of curry is ideal for Winter I think. Looks beautiful too!

valentinA said...

I love spicy food on cold days as well! It's really heaty & warms you up!
I've never tried spinach in curry, I bet it tastes wonderful:)

Eva said...

What a beautiful recipe to light those rainy days here in Sydney! I just got to know chickpeas and I'm always on the look-out what to do with them. However, I'll rather go for parsley in place of the cilantro..;-)

Little Foodie said...

This sounds great. We love curry in all its forms but the children don't like it too hot so I normally add lots of yogurt to theirs if I've made it too hot.
p.s. can't believe you don't like tim tams, but like you said, more for him.

Nora B. said...

Truffle, thank you. I froze half of what I made so that it can be a quick meal at another time.

Valentina, I love spicy food in all seasons :-)

Eva, I'll be interested to see you cook some curry.

Amanda, we love curry too and we are trying to widen our curry repertoire. p/s: I don't like vegemite either :-)

Celine said...

what a wonderful recipe! you're right, it's hilarious that we both decided to post similar recipes like that!!!! I'll be back for more.

Nora B. said...

Welcome Celine! I'll be checking your blog too. I've cook a lot of vegetarian food and I am always looking for new ideas.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Nora, I've been out (we had a holiday here last week) and look at all the delicious posts I almost missed!

Your recipe looks delicious and I love the way you presented it - a wonderful way to take part in WHB!

Nora B. said...

Hi Patricia, I missed you! I hope that you had a nice holiday. and thanks for your kind words.

Little Foodie said...

Re: Hot Stuff Post, Chickpea & Spinach - I've put that as I know I can never find comments if they're for old posts. You've probably already seen it but I love Asha's blog Foodies Hope. My sister in law is Indian but trying to get recipes out of her or family is a nightmare as they do everything from sight, touch and smell. Foodies Hope has some great recipes that I'm going to try for sure. Have a good weekend. Amanda

Nora B. said...

Amanda, thanks for recommending Asha's blog - I can see lots of recipes that I would like to try. My mom cookes by estimation too, so I have to watch and learn but then when I try it myself it doesn't match up to her cooking.