Does the story of spinach and Popeye ring a bell? I think it’s a good idea for children to be encouraged to eat leafy greens by assimilating to a “strong” persona. Spinach is one leafy green which is truly a powerhouse!
Cooked vs raw spinach is a bit like swings and roundabouts – what you lose on one you gain on the other. Raw spinach is rich in folate, vitamin C, niacin, riboflavin, and potassium whilst cooked spinach is richer in vitamins A and E, protein, fiber, zinc, thiamin, calcium, and iron. Beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin – antioxidants located in the eye – which are absorbed better from cooked spinach.
On the other hand, chickpeas are a great source of plant-based protein, fiber, iron, zinc, phosphorus, B vitamins and more. I prefer cooking my own chickpeas to avoid preservatives and for the legumes to have a bite to them. Chickpeas are really simple to cook. All you need to do is plan when you want to cook them and soak them from at least eight hours before. Drain the soaking water, put the chickpeas in a large pot, cover with 5-6 cms of water and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to the boil then lower the heat and keep lid partially open. Simmer for 25-30 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to stand in hot water for a further 15 minutes. Drain, saving the water (called aquafaba) for use in the main dish.
The last star ingredient of this recipe is mushrooms. The trend these days is to “eat a rainbow” – i.e. vary your diet with colourful vegetables and fruit. Although field mushrooms are white, they contain plenty of antioxidants as well as selenium, vitamin D and folate. In other words … treat this humble-looking fungus with respect.
Ingredients for 4 persons:
|1 kg||spinach chopped|
|250 grms||dried chickpeas (cooked)|
|250 grms||field mushrooms quartered|
|1||large onion finely chopped|
|5||cloves garlic crushed|
|4 cm-piece||fresh ginger finely chopped|
|3-4 tsps||Korma curry powder|
|250 grms||tomatoes roughly chopped|
|1 tbsp||tomato paste|
|250 grms||wholegrain basmati rice|
|salt and pepper to taste (optional)|
- Cook chickpeas as above.
- In a large pan, dry fry the onion, adding a quarter cup aquafaba (see above) to prevent it sticking to the pan. Using the water in which you boiled the chickpeas is a win win: you benefit from any nutrients lost in the water whilst cooking and it gives your dish a delicious, nutty taste.
- Add crushed garlic and chopped ginger, stir and continue dry frying for a further two minutes.
- When the mixture is fragrant, add the Korma powder and 2-3 tbsps aquafaba. Continue dry frying, stiring continuously to prevent sticking. Add a little bit more aquafaba, if necessary.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, the tomato paste and 3/4 cup aquafaba. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer gently for a few minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Add the quartered mushrooms – stir and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the chopped spinach and cooked chickpeas. Give the mixture a good stir and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Stir occasionally.
- Simmer gently until the spinach is completely wilted. Turn off the heat and leave to stand whilst the you’re cooking the rice.
- Steam the rice – rinse the rice under running water; bring 500ml of water to the boil; add rice and stir well; cover with a tight-fitting lid; bring the water back to the boil; lower the heat and leave the pot to simmer for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the rice to stand for 5 minutes. Uncover and give the rice a good stir.
- Serve the spinach and chickpea Korma with steamed rice.
This is one of those recipes which I knocked together at 6am, before going to the office. It’s so quick and easy to make, especially if you cook the chickpeas from before.
Try it for yourself and let me have your comments.
My thanks go to: