My weekly menu always builds upon like ingredients in the meals to save space and waste. So when I buy a bag of spinach to use 2 cups for one recipe, there will be other recipes using spinach a well, until the bag is gone. This way I can buy in larger quantities for the week and save some money. (Hubby’s not so thrilled when I buy a big bag of carrots, but they add color, crunch and get hidden in most recipes.)
Alameda’s Grocery Outlet keeps all of these ingredients regularly stocked, with the exception of the turmeric and dried ginger. The mint is in the organic veggie section, along with a nice assortment of other fresh herbs. I baked tandoori chicken thighs to go with, but it would make a full vegan main dish on its own. Total cost was $14 for just the stew; $21 with the chicken. It comes together quickly, but simmering for at least 30 minutes thickens the consistency and brings out the many exotic flavors.
Variations: This is a vegan dish when using veggie broth, and also gluten free. It has a nice heat, but isn’t overly spicy. If you are sensitive to peppers, you can leave out the serrano or use a jalapeno instead, or leave out the red pepper flakes and offer them to guests at the table to add themselves. Fresh ginger can be used instead of dried and sauteed with the onion instead of added later. It’s a must to use full-fat coconut milk to get the creamy texture. Don’t opt for a “lite” version. You can thin the consistency simply by adding a 1/4 cup of water at a time. A nice presentation is to finish the dish with a dollop of plain yogurt and serve with toasted pita bread (which I forgot to do!).
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 celery ribs, diced (about 1.5 cups)
- 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1 serrano pepper, seeds removed and finely minced
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 teaspoon dried ginger
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsley ground pepper
- 2 (13-15 ounce) cans chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 8 ounces vegetable or chicken stock
- 1/4 cup julienned mint (about 12 leaves)
- 1.5 cups chopped spinach leaves
- In a Dutch oven over medium heat, heat the olive oil then add the garlic, celery, onion and pepper.
- Sautee until the onions are soft and beginning to brown (about 5 minutes).
- Stir in the turmeric, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
- Add the chickpeas and cook 8 minutes, stirring as the chickpeas fry in the veggie/herb mix. They should just begin to brown. Remove about a cup of the mixture and set aside for garnish.
- Using a wooden spoon, slightly crush the chickpea mixture in the pot to release the starch and help to thicken the stew. Don’t go crazy – you don’t want to end up with mush!
- Add the broth and the coconut milk, stirring until fully combined.
- Bring to just bubbling, scraping the bottom of the pan to mix in any bits that have formed.
- Reduce heat to simmer, stir in the mint, cover and let cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Taste a chicken pea and the broth and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. If you are at the consistency you like, move on to the next step. Otherwise, remove the cover, turn up the heat slightly and cook 5 more minutes to thicken, or add water to thin.
- Fold in the spinach, cover and simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Serve in a bowl or over basmati rice.
- Garnish with a dollop of plain yogurt, reserved chick peas and mint leaves and toasted pita triangles on the side.
Serves 4 as a main dish; 6-8 as a side.
Go To Tuesdays are weekly recipes from products purchased at the Alameda Grocery Outlet, 730 Buena Vista Ave.
Please let me know if you made the recipe and liked it or would suggest changes. And also feel free to suggest future recipes.