I’m very excited this week as I’ve just booked a dream holiday to Kerala, South India in January! I’m so unbelievably excited! It’s somewhere I’ve longed to go to for a while and I can’t believe I’m finally going. I can’t wait to see all the beautiful beaches, go for walks, visit temples, and of course, eat lots and lots of incredible veggie Indian food! If any of you have any tips for places to visit please do leave them in the comments.
It was a long running joke amongst my friends when I first went veggie that the only thing I could cook was a curry; and a pretty basic curry at that. At that point, I was a) a poor lowly intern and b) pretty new to the whole vegetarian cooking thing, so although they may have had a valid point, I think I had some good excuses too.
The thing is, I love a curry. Sometimes that spicy aromatic flavour is just what you need, and all the extras (bhajis, chutneys, parathas…) make it such an exciting dining experience. There are some excellent veggie Indian restaurants in London where I’ve tried some incredible dishes – coconutty beetroot curry anyone? – but I just don’t seem to have mastered it at home. All of my curries have historically all tasted the same, and pretty bland too.
So when my mum brought me back some amazing fresh garam masala from Dubai, I vowed to give curry making another go and finally make one that was full of flavour. And I think I’ve finally cracked it!
This recipe is bursting with lots of lovely spices and a bit of heat, and has a great combination of the pumpkin, chickpeas and spinach. The ingredients aren’t too obscure though and the recipe isn’t too complicated, so even those new to the veggie cooking scene should be okay with it.
Once you’ve conquered this one recipe you can use it with all sorts of different combinations of pulses and veggies. The coconut milk can also be subbed for tinned tomatoes if that’s more your thing. So give it a go, and soon you can start making it for your friends aaaalll the time!
Do you have a signature dish? What’s the one recipe that you really want to perfect?
Pumpkin, chickpea & spinach curry
- 2 tbsp coconut/rapeseed/groundnut oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 medium-sized chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped (remember that the smaller the chilli, the hotter!)
- 5cm chunk of ginger, finely chopped
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 small pumpkin, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 2cm chunks
- 1 400ml tin coconut milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tin chickpeas
- 2 large handfuls of spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp garam masala
Heat oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add onions and fry for 10 minutes until beginning to soften, stirring occasionally.
Add the ginger, garlic and chilli and cook for 3 minutes. Add cumin, coriander and turmeric and cook for another 5 minutes. If the spice mix starts to catch on the bottom of the pan, you can add a drop more oil or a splash of water.
Add the pumpkin, coconut milk and bay leaf and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes until the pumpkin is cooked through.
Remover the lid, add the chickpeas, spinach and garam masala and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Serve with rice, flatbreads, and all the other tasty extras as desired.