This warm, comforting stew is seasoned with a spice blend called panch phoron (“five spices”), which gives the dish its authentic flavor. Panch phoron is a whole spice blend from northeastern India that adds a beguiling flavor to any simmered tomato dish. Look for it at spice shops, Indian groceries and online. Alternatively, you can make your own by blending equal parts nigella (black onion) seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, brown mustard seeds and cumin seeds. The mixture will last in your pantry for up to 6 months sealed in an airtight container. Serve the stew with purchased naan bread or hot basmati rice and a little jarred chutney for an easy meatless Monday dinner.
Chickpea, Spinach and Carrot Curry
2 Tbs. canola oil
2 tsp. panch phoron (see note above)
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh ginger
1 Tbs. finely chopped garlic
3 cups (26 1/2 oz./ 750 g) canned chopped tomatoes with juices
1 can (15 oz./425 g) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cups (2 oz./60 g loosely packed baby spinach
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the panch phoron and sauté until the spices are aromatic, 1 minute. Add the onion and carrots and sauté until they begin to brown, 5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté until aromatic, 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes and chickpeas and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender and the sauce has thickened a bit, 15 minutes. Add the spinach and simmer until wilted, 5 minutes.
Season the curry to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the curry among bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Find more simple, healthy meals for every night of the week in our book
Weeknight Vegetarian, by Ivy Manning.