It has become a habit for Monday to be meat free, a day of eating lighter and today was no exception and actually really welcome after what was a busy weekend of eating and drinking. (If you saw the lump of beef we shared yesterday I think you’d understand )
Chickpeas are a staple in our house – I usually make a lot of dips and veggie burgers with them, today I decided on some heat and this chickpea curry was perfect for what I wanted. Filling, full of flavour with a great bang of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from all the spices as well as an extra boost of protein thanks to the cashew nut cream. I have been making this for quite a while either as a staple in my vegetarian cooking or as a cream base in chocolate tarts- if you don’t have it don’t worry , it’s not essential but I do include how to prepare it below.
2 tbsp coconut or rape seed oil
1/2 red onion finely chopped
2 tins of chickpeas – drained and rinsed
1 tsp each of finely chopped garlic and ginger
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp degi mirch or other chili powder of choice
1 tin chopped tomatoes drained of half the liquid
5 large handfuls of spinach, washed dried and destalked
Heat the oil and add the red onion , garlic and ginger and a splash of water and cook gently until the onion is softened.
Stir in all the spices and cook for a few minutes until they loose their rawness.
Add the chickpeas and tomatoes and season well and cook for about 10 minutes. over a gentle heat – this gets the flavours nicely developed.
If you are using the cashew cream stir 2 large tbsp in well to incorporate and then add the spinach leaves and fold through to allow them to wilt fully.
Cook for a final 2 minutes, season well to taste and serve. This is also great the next day with a poached egg on top.
Cashew cream is made by soaking the cashew nuts overnight with cold water (enough to cover them) or by boiling the cashews until they are soft and leaving them to cool. Drain the water.
Tip them into a blender and blend really well until smooth and like a thick paste, Add some water to help this along.
This can be stored in the fridge or frozen until you need it. Stir it into vegetable stock for a lovely creamy sauce, into lentils or beans or indeed use it as the base for ice cream – simply blend it with your fruit of choice and freeze or add melted chocolate for a vegan ganache which you can pour into a chocolate tart base – recipe coming soon!.