I decided to take a kitchen adventure this weekend. I didn’t have a plan for lunch and I needed a recipe that would be easy to make, as well as quick to prepare. My other requirement was that whatever I made had to be delicious.
I love experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen, but it also makes me a teensy bit nervous. I prefer to make yummy, satisfying food that makes everyone want to go back for more. I dislike making food that people eat grudgingly and end up tossing out. I wrote a whole entire blog about my issues around food waste. I try to head that one off at the pass as early as possible.
I’ve been itching to make Chana Saag for a long time, but for some reason I had it in my head that it would be time consuming and tons of work. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I borrowed the basics from my go-to vegan kitchen queen supreme, Isa Chandra Moskowitz again but this recipe is mostly my own invention. And i’m damn proud of it, too.
30 minutes start to finish, with some advance prep (I had actually soaked and cooked chickpeas that morning, so had fresh on hand. Total score. And had soaked rice in the morning as well, just in case, which drops cooking time down a bit).
You can adjust the spice as your tastebuds like. Have fun with this one!
Vegan Chana Saag~
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 Tbs coconut oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch piece ginger, minced (about 1 Tbs ginger)
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder (or more, for spicier flavor)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped (keep as much of the juices as possible) ***see note below
2 huge handfuls of spinach, chard, or kale
1/2 can of coconut milk (approx 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup)
salt, pepper to taste
1 Tbs lime juice
1/2 cup basmati rice plus 1 cup water
Cook your rice.
While rice is cooking, prepare your chana saag. Heat oil in a saucepan and add in the onions, turn heat down to medium-low and cook the onions until they become translucent, soft and even a bit browned. Add in the garlic and ginger. Stir well, allowing them to cook for about a minute. Then add in the spices, stirring thoroughly until they become fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Then stir in the tomatoes and their juices. Stir well, then add in the chickpeas. Mix them in completely, so chickpeas are covered with the tomatoes, onions and spices. If your tomatoes aren’t very juicy, add in some water of veg broth.
Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes.
Add in your spinach (or other greens). Combine well to help them wilt. Once they are wilted, pour in the coconut milk. Stir it up to heat the chana saag all the way through.
Remove from the heat, squirt in some lime juice and serve over basmati rice!
***note: I didn’t have tomatoes on hand and I dislike using canned tomatoes, so I improvised. I made about 3/4 cup veg broth and added in some thai curry paste, which is tomato-based. I added it in when I was supposed to add in the tomatoes. Tasted delicious! You could use canned tomatoes, too. I’d use a 14oz can or a jar of tomatoes, similar size.