I’ve been getting my cook on again. It took me a couple of weeks to get back into my stride but I’ve been bolstered by The Body Coach’s Lean in 15 cookbook. There’s some great recipes in there, all very healthy. Although if I’m honest, I felt some lacked seasoning. Easily fixed and probably just my taste buds – I’m not afraid of the salt and pepper pots! The only other thing about his recipes is that unless you are following a very strict diet, some of the dishes not very filling on their own. So I’ve added extras or served along side something else (namely carbs). Which was how I arrived at Saturday night’s dinner. The body coach’s cashew and coconut daal started it all off. To go with, I added some charred tandoori chicken and my take on a chana masala.
Chana masala is a fairly dry and spicy curry made from chickpeas. In English restaurants it often gets ordered as a side dish, but it’s really substantial and done right is far too good to be served “on the side”. It’s packed full of tangy, spicy and sweet flavours and is perfect for a vege dinner. Plus if you make a big batch, the leftovers will keep really well and possibly tastes even better a day later.
Of course, this is my version so it doesn’t feature some of the authentic Indian ingredients you’d expect, such as ghee and the delicate, intricate blend of spices that Indian chefs take years to master. Plus I’ve added spinach, which doesn’t feature in the traditional version at all. But this is an easy to achieve alternative which, for the purists, might be more akin to a chickpea stew than a curry, but whatever, it tastes good!
Spinach Chana Masala
- 2 Onions, sliced
- 3 Garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
- 1 Red chilli, chopped (include seeds if you like it fiery)
- 1 tbsp Garam masala
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1 tsp Coriander seeds
- 1/4 tsp Rock salt
- 1 tin Chick peas
- 12 Cherry tomatoes
- 1 tbsp Tom purée
- 200ml Vegetable stock
- Spinach (if you don’t have fresh you could use frozen, defrosted as instructed)
- Fresh coriander
- Lightly heat the seeds in a large dry pan for about 30 seconds. Remove and put them into a pestle and mortar.
- Now melt the coconut oil in the pan, and add the onions to soften for about 5 minutes. You want them soft and translucent not crispy, so keep stirring.
- While that’s cooking, add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the mustard and coriander seeds, and give them a good grind.
- Once your onions are soft, add the garlic and chilli and cook for another minute or two. Again, the heat shouldn’t be too high.
- Now add your grinded spices and the garam masala and mix well.
- Drain your chick peas and mix into the spiced onions.
- Once everything is well coated, add the cherry tomatoes, tomato puree and stock.
- Mix well and leave it to simmer for a good 20-25 minutes. Stir regularly and if it starts to look too dry, top up with a little more stock.
- Right at the end of cooking, mix in your spinach. I specifically left the amount off as I like to use loads. Just add it to the pan and let it wilt down into the delicious spicy chick peas.
- Check the seasoning.
- Serve with a ton of chopped fresh coriander on top and some nice flatbreads to mop up!