Hearty, tasty and meaty...three words not usually used to describe a vegetarian curry but this chickpea, spinach and red lentil curry is just that! Made in a pressure cooker, slow cooker or on the stovetop, this is the perfect bowl meal to warm you up this winter!
I don't know how to convince you to make this apart from just telling you that if you enjoy rich, warming and tasty vegetarian food then this is just about the best vegetarian curry I've ever made. And it came by pure accident.
Mr NQN as smart as he is, is rather forgetful on certain topics. It's usually related to cleaning or anything to do with food. And so in many cases, I will come home from overseas and will find these enormous bulk sized bags of food dwarfing our tiny kitchen.
"Omg why do we need sultanas by the kilo? Or huge bags of dried chickpeas?" I will frustratedly say. "Oh I saw a good deal," he will say, not picking up my frustration and instead pleased as punch at his latest procurement. Usually they're pulses and dried fruit and nuts (hippies! sigh...).
Then because there are only two of us I will whittle down these huge stashes all the while cursing him for bestowing me with this burden. I mean do you know how long dried chickpeas take to use up?
This was a dish made for our monthly lunch at the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre where we make and serve lunch to clients there. This would use up three things: red lentils, dried chickpeas and frozen spinach and would finish all of the packets. It was me throwing things together and just cooking for the sake of using things up to make a tasty, spicy vegetarian dish for lunch the next day. Apologies for the random quantities of ingredients (eg 2/3 cup of red lentils) but that was what I had left in the packets.
Except the damn thing was so tasty I didn't know what to do. I tasted some and immediately wanted it for dinner. This chickpea stew or curry is actually hearty and meaty. It's not one of those anaemic vegetarian curries where you wish there was meat or you can tolerate for a meal or two. It's delicious enough on its own. I took half a bowl out of it and ate it by the spoonful but wanted more. I wanted to make more.
Does this mean that I have to buy more of these things? Or maybe I'll wait for Mr NQN to forget and replenish the bulk stock!
So tell me Dear Reader, do you have a large or small kitchen? Do you buy in bulk?
Chickpea, Spinach & Red Lentil Curry
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: anything from 50 minutes with a pressure cooker to 8 if you're using a slow cooker
- 1.5 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained (change water a few times)
- 4 tablespoons curry powder (I use Baba's meat curry powder)
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 tablespoons oil for frying
- 3 onions, peeled and diced
- 2/3 cup red lentils
- 4 cups stock
- 150g/5ozs. frozen spinach
- 1 tablespoon sugar
Note: you can do this in a pressure cooker, slow cooker or on the stovetop.
Step 1 - Dry fry the spices in the pressure cooker set on saute setting for 30-45 seconds or until fragrant. Add the oil and fry the onions until fragrant and caramelised coating the onions with the spices. If doing in a slow cooker, do this step in a saucepan. If you're using a pot, go ahead and use that pot ;)
Step 2 - Add the chickpeas and 2 cups of the stock. With the pressure cooker, set it on medium pressure and cook for 20 minutes. If using a slow cooker cook for 4 hours. If using a stovetop cook for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Step 3 - Add the red lentils, frozen spinach and the remaining stock and cook again for the same amount of time as step 2. Generously season with salt and pepper and add sugar. Serve as is or with rice or bread.