Feed Four for NZ$20 – Spinach and Chickpea Curry (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

After a long time of following recipes for curry spice mixes, I am becoming more confident in experimenting with my own. This has the advantage of being able to tailor the mix to my family’s taste preferences and avoiding spice mixes which either do or say that they may contain gluten. I am also finding that spice mixes can be very flexible – the mix listed here is just one possible combination – feel free to change the spices to suit your preferences and enjoy playing with different flavours!

This recipe is part of my series of meals that feed around four people for less than NZ$20 for the actual ingredients used. This cost includes everything required except salt and pepper. Depending on how hungry the people being fed are, this recipe should also provide 1 to 2 extra portions of leftovers. This recipe is easy to scale up or down – for example, just double all the ingredients and cook as directed for 8 people. If you’re cooking for a coeliac or someone on a gluten free diet for another reason, be sure to check that the spices don’t contain wheat or gluten – it is often added to prevent spice powders caking together.

What you need:

¼ cup of mild oil, such as sunflower oil

1 large onion or 2 small to medium onions, diced

3 teaspoons of garlic powder

2 teaspoons of ground ginger

2 teaspoons of turmeric

3 teaspoons of ground cumin

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons of ground coriander seeds

2 teaspoons of cardamon

2 – 3 carrots, grated

500 gram bag of frozen spinach

½ cup of tomato paste

A 400 ml tin of coconut milk

2 tins of chickpeas, drained (tins of chickpeas in New Zealand seem to vary by weight between about 390 and 420 grams – any of that general size should be fine!)

Salt and pepper to taste

Hot cooked rice for 4 people (most guidelines seem to suggest about ½ cup of uncooked rice per person; I use brown rice for extra fibre) or alternative accompaniments if preferred

What to do:

1. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium to high heat until hot, and then fry together the diced onion, garlic powder, ginger, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, coriander seeds, cardamon and grated carrots, stirring as needed to prevent burning.

2. Add the frozen spinach, tomato paste and coconut milk to the pan and heat, stirring as needed to prevent burning, until the spinach has defrosted and everything in the pan is hot and well mixed. Blitz the ingredients in the pan with a stick blender to make a thick sauce (the blitzing is optional but I prefer the texture).

3. Stir the drained chickpeas into the sauce in the pan, turn the heat to medium to low, cover with a lid (or a piece of tinfoil if, like me, the lid has become lost during multiple house moves) and leave to simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring a couple of times during that time.

4. Once the curry has simmered, add salt and pepper to taste (I always find that curry needs more salt that I expect!) and then either serve hot with the cooked rice (or other accompaniment) or cool and refrigerate or freeze to heat and eat later.

5. Enjoy!

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