Chickpea and Spinach Coconut Curry

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
chickpea spinach curry

Succinct and complete, this easy chickpea curry is sure to become a staple on the menu if you adore the goodness of plump chickpeas and creamy coconut milk as much as I do. The addition of earthy spinach adds additional creaminess, not to mention extra nutrients.

As the dish incorporates spice blends that are made up ahead of time, such as curry powder and panch phoran, it comes together in hardly anytime at all and is an ideal accompaniment to basmati rice or Indian flatbread, such as naan. It is now part of my repertoire of quick yet nourishing meals when I am in a hurry.

For those unfamiliar with panch phoran, also known as Bengali five-spice, it is an aromatic spice mixture consisting of equal parts fenugreek, nigella, black mustard, cumin and fennel seeds. I usually have a jar in my pantry on hand for quick addition to my dishes. Not only does it work well in curries such as this, but it also is an easy way to enhance vegetables such as potatoes. For an example, see one of my all-time favorite potato dishes, Bengali-style crunchy potatoes.

spinach chickpea curry

Chickpea and Spinach Coconut CurryChickpea and Spinach Coconut Curry
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on July 7, 2014

Fragrant, creamy and delicious, this chickpea and spinach curry simmered in an aromatic Bengali five-spice coconut milk sauce is simple to put together

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

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  • 1 cup dried chickpeas (3 cups cooked or 2 14 oz cans)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon panch phoran
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, grated or minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 green chilies, seeded and minced
  • small handful of dried curry leaves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 13 1/2 oz (400 mL) can coconut milk
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • Rinse the chickpeas and soak for 8 hours or overnight in several inches of water. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a medium saucepan and cover with several inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Drain and set aside.

  • Heat the oil in large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the panch phoran and stir for a few minutes until the seeds darken a few shades. Add the onion to the pan and sauté until softened. Toss in the ginger, garlic, chilies and curry leaves, and stir for another few minutes.

  • Add the curry powder and stir for a minute to coat the vegetables. Add the tomatoes and cook until they begin to break apart and thicken — about 5 minutes. Now stir in the coconut milk and chickpeas and simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring often.

  • Add the spinach, a few handfuls at a time, until wilted. Stir in the salt and serve.

Makes 4 main servings

chickpea spinach curry

Other Indian inspired chickpea dishes to try:
Spicy Chickpeas in a Tomato Coconut Sauce
Aloo Gobi with Chickpeas
Spicy Sour Chickpea Masala
Tamarind Chickpeas


sillygirl said...

I think I need to just buy a 25 lb. sack of chickpeas - so many good recipes with them!

Johanna GGG said...

that curry looks delicious - it actually inspired me to make a dal today - I had a bag of spinach and had been wondering what to do with it - then I saw this and used some of the spices but just used red lentils instead of chickpeas. Thanks for dinner inspiration

Joanne said...

That spice blend is new to me! Must try!!

Lisa Turner said...

I'm delighted my dish inspired you to make a dal Johanna.

Joanne, the spice blend is like gold and a perfect addition to curries.