Friday Food: Zan’s Chickpea and spinach curry

Good morning readers! Today we’re welcoming Zan with a fabulous vegetarian recipe for Spinach and Chickpea Curry. I can’t wait to try this one as I’m a huge fan of curry and I think it would be a great addition to the table if you were having a large group of friends over for a curry night and needed a selection of dishes too…

This recipe is one of my staples and a variation on a chickpea curry recipe that an old friend of mine imparted to me while I was at university. It’s changed a bit over the years but it’s one of the few things I can cook entirely from memory and it’s brilliant for cooking in bulk and storing as it freezes really well. I’ve written the recipe for 4 servings but it’s really easy to halve for 2 or double up for lots!

1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon each of mustard seeds & cumin seeds (optional)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
2 x 400g tins of chickpeas
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
½ – 1 teaspoon salt
1 level teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon chilli powder (or less if you don’t want too much heat)
1 and ½ heaped teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon tomato puree
Lemon juice
Fresh or dried coriander
2-3 big handfuls of spinach leaves

  • Heat the olive oil in a medium sized saucepan and add the mustard and cumin seeds (if using). Once the seeds start to brown and the mustard seeds start popping (you’ll want to put a lid on the saucepan if you do use mustard seeds!) then add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is just starting to go a nice golden colour.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and the chickpeas. Mix these in well and then add the salt, garam masala, chilli and cumin. Leave to cook on a medium heat for a few minutes then taste to make sure you’re happy with the spices – add more if you want at this stage.
  • Next add the tomato puree and a few generous splashes of lemon juice. If using fresh coriander then rinse, chop or shred by hand and mix in at this stage. For dried coriander I would use about ¾ of a tablespoon.
  • When the spinach is added is really personal preference – I mix it in after the coriander as I like the spinach cooked into the curry. Alternative you can add it about 5 minutes before taking the curry off the heat so that it’s only just wilted.
  • Cook on a low to medium heat for about 30mins, stirring every 5-10mins. If the chickpeas start to stick to the bottom of the pan then add a few splashes of water. Once you can squash a chickpea relatively easily (using the back of a spoon against the side of the pan is my way of testing) then it’s ready.

I usually serve this with basmati rice and some natural yogurt, but naan or pitta bread works just as well. Or even just eating it straight out of a bowl with a spoon on some occasions!

So, are you a curry fan? Or vegetarian perhaps? Either way, I’d love to hear from you with your Friday Food recipes, sweet or savoury, small bites or baked goods. I warn you now, next weeks is a baker’s (and chocoholic’s,) dream….


Friday Food: Sweet Potato Gnocci

Images by Simone Anne Lang

Todays recipe comes from Design Sponge where it was submitted by Simone Anne Lang. I love this new take on the classic comfort food that for me is right up there with mashed potato and ice cream, Gnocci. Instead of being made from ordinary potato however, it’s made from Sweet Potato, naturally higher in vitamins. It’s all about the five a day people!

Images by Simone Anne Lang

I really like simple, wholesome recipes and whilst this one isn’t easy, I’m sure it could be adapted to using shop bought gnocchi (although that’s not quite the point…) In my kitchen there’s definitely a repertoire of easy quick week-night dishes and also few favourites that require TLC and friends to chat with whilst cooking. This one definitely falls into the later category but I’m pretty darn sure if you can master it, you’d be feeling pretty proud of yourself!

Have you ever made your own Gnocci? I’d love to hear if anyone has a fool proof recipe for regular Gnocci – send it in!


PS – Just a reminder, its a new season and I’m waiting to hear from any of you who might have a recipe to share, something light and fresh, a favourite salad, barbecue goodness, or just a tried and tested family favourite. Please drop me an email on with the subject titled SUBMISSIONS and if you’re interested in any other ways you could get involved check out the other submissions I accept here.

Friday Food: Laksa Soup

This morning we are welcoming Bex from The Olive Dragonfly back, who is sharing a soup that I can’t wait to try – A little like the Tom Yum I shared a few weeks ago, it’s packed with flavour and perfect for winter whilst remaining light… give it a go!

Here is a yummy, spicy, substantial soup – Rachel Allen’s Laksa soup recipe, which she usually serves with Thai Sticky Chicken on the side. It is delish, but time consuming and messy so I do it with pieces of cooked chicken breast or prawns instead. Prawns are my favourite and make it look nice with the pink and green colours, so I have written my adjusted quantities to serve 4 – for her original recipe see here.

I love how quick and simple this recipe is – don’t spend too much time chopping as it’s all getting blitzed in a processor anyway. You can even make the paste a day in advance and keep in the fridge so it takes even less time in the evening. It’s also great to serve if you have people round for dinner as you don’t need to spend much time in the kitchen but it looks impressive and tastes great!

Ingredients (Serves 4)
375g pack of the fresh rice noodles from the veg aisle (they don’t need to be soaked – just zap in the microwave)
2 red chillies, seeds removed, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
2.5cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled, roughly chopped
1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer leaves removed, soft inner core roughly chopped
25g fresh coriander, roughly torn
1-2 limes, juice only
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 x 400ml tin coconut milk (use the reduced fat version if being healthier)
400ml vegetable stock
1-2 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla) or soy sauce
150g sugar snap peas, halved
75g beansprouts
200g raw king prawns
4 spring onions, trimmed, finely sliced at an angle


  • Place the chillies, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coriander (reserving a few leaves for serving) and juice of one of the limes in a food processor or mini chopper and blend to a paste.
  • Heat the toasted sesame oil in a large pan over a medium heat and fry the paste for 2-3 minutes, or until aromatic. Add the coconut milk, stock and one tablespoon of the fish sauce or soy sauce. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for around ten minutes.
  • Add the sugar snap peas and bean sprouts to the pan and simmer for a further 2-3 minutes, or until almost cooked but still a bit crunchy. Taste, and if necessary, season with more lime juice and/or fish/soy sauce. Add the prawns and heat through for about 1 minute until they turn pink. Meanwhile heat the rice noodles in the microwave according to packet instructions.
  • To serve, divide the rice noodles among 4 warm bowls, ladle the hot soup over and scatter the sliced spring onions and reserved coriander leaves on top.


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