I had been craving some Indian food last week and so we drove clear across town to our favorite restaurant to get some. But I would be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t more than a little disappointed that there was no Vindaloo on the menu that day but a dish they did have in its place was Palak Chole.
Palak Chole is a Spinach and Chickpea curry. The spinach is pureed and added to the chickpeas and other ingredients and makes for a very delicious side dish but one of the best things about Palak Chole is that it can be prepared also as a main (Vegan or vegetarian) meal. It’s delicious so we had no problems there. My husband, who is not really a spinach fan, said if all spinach tasted this good everyone would eat it. It’s true — it’s that good. Before we left the restaurant, I wrote down the name of the dish we’d tried so I could make it when we got back home — along with the Chicken Vindaloo I’d been left craving.
Indian food is comfort food to me. The flavors are warm and filling. If you prefer a spicier version, increase the hot pepper powder. If you like a mild version, omit the hot pepper powder and gradually increase from there until you get to the spice level you enjoy. This version, as written, is only mildly spicy. Paired with naan, rice, and Chicken Vindaloo, this made the perfect accompaniment to our meal.
The recipe I used came from Manjula’s Kitchen for Chole Palak. We modified it a little just to incorporate the spices we had on hand. We used an “Extra Hot Pepper” powder we had previously purchased at the local Indian market. I’ll be heading back soon to find some new spices that Manjula includes in her recipes. Since we were serving this as a side, we used less water than was suggested for the curry version.
- 1 15 oz chickpeas canned, drained and rinsed
- 3 cups chopped spinach , fresh or frozen
- 15 oz diced tomatoes
- 1.5 cups water , more or less to desired consistency
- 1 large white onion , diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 1/2 inch fresh ginger , peeled and sliced
- 3 tablespoon oil
- 2 teaspoons garam masala powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper , add more or less to taste
- 0.5 tsp salt , more or less to taste
- 0.25 tsp ground pepper , more or less to taste
- In a saucepan over medium heat, add the onions and oil. Cook until the onions are transparent and begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Do not brown the onions.
- In a blender, prepare the ginger and garlic into a paste.
- Next add the tomatoes and all the spices and cook until the spices become fragrant.
- Now add the chickpeas and season with salt and ground pepper, to taste. Saute for 4-5 minutes. Add 1-1/2 to 2 cups water to simmer.
- Into a blender, add the chopped spinach and about 1/2 cup of the chickpeas from the sauce pan - being careful as they are hot.
- Puree this to your desired consistency and then add it into the pot to simmer. The gravy will thicken and become smooth.
- Serve with rotis, naan or steamed rice.