Quick chickpea and spinach curry


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My husband and I both work full time and so midweek meals are often superfast. Especially when the tubes have been delayed on the way home or there’s been an accident on the roads. So I rely on freezer food and food from cans. I’m not talking about prepared meals or ready meals bunged into the microwave. Goodness no!

My store cupboard is full of cans. I will bulk buy these or get them when they are on special offer because they are a great source of midweek speed cooking. I always have cans of chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, flageolet beans, cannellini beans, kidney beans, chick peas, butter beans and sweetcorn. These are the beans that take a while to cook or are often more expensive to buy in their dried form.

I have a small freezer but it is well stocked with frozen vegetables. I have an allotment and I love buying fresh vegetables from the market but during the week it sometimes helps not to have to prepare or chop anything. There are also all sorts of arguments for how nutrients are retained in frozen food too. Typically my freezer will have chopped spinach, sweetcorn, peas, broad beans, sprouted moong beans and various types of lentils which I have boiled and popped into portion sized freezer bags. All of these can be used from frozen saving on defrosting time. I also freeze fresh coriander once I have chopped it so I simply need to sprinkle a handful on at the end of cooking. The steam will defrost it in seconds.

So how to bring all these together? One of the fastest ways is a ‘curry’ or ‘shak’ as we say in Gujarati. Using canned and frozen veg, the cooking time is simply 15 minutes. The spices above are a guide for eating with children. Add more to suit your taste or ensure you have some plain yoghurt on the side to cool little mouths down. Also you could add crushed ginger and garlic- about a teaspoon of each to make this a little richer.

If you have upper primary school aged children, this is a great recipe for them to learn as they won’t have to wait long to see their hard work materialise into a delicious meal.




Drain the chickpeas from the tins and set aside. Put the oil in a saucepan that will be large enough for all the chickpeas
Put it on a medium heat until the oil is hot. Test this by adding a few mustard seeds. If they fizzle and pop the oil is ready
Add the cumin and mustard seeds and then quickly add the drained chickpeas
Add the salt, chilli powder, coriander and cumin powder and turmeric powder and stir through with a fork. Add the blocks of chopped spinach and a few tablespoons of water and then cover the pan and leave on a medium heat for about 15 minutes. The spinach should then be soft
Turn the heat off, stir the spinach through and then serve hot with rice or bread. I like these mini seeded pitta breads
Quick chickpea and spinach curry
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