Using frozen ginger and garlic and little bit of lime pickle with the curry adds complex flavours without too many extra spices and ingredients. Blending the sauce adds creaminess and body without lots of oil, onions and time that’s usually required. Serves 2-4 (depending on how generous you are!)
· 2 white onions
· 2 cubes of frozen crushed garlic (available in international shops) - or ½ bulb fresh garlic, chopped finely
· 2 cubes of frozen crushed ginger (available in international shops) -or 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped finely
· Curry leaves
· Fresh green chilli or dried chilli flakes (optional)
· Cumin Seeds
· Tomato Puree
· Brown Mustard Seeds
· Lime Pickle (from a jar)
· 1 tin of chickpeas
· 1 bunch of chard, spinach, kale or spring cabbage
· Lemon or lime (optional)
1. Dice the onions as fine as you can manage- but they will be blended so don’t worry too much.
2. Prepare the spices on a plate, ready to add to the pan. Use half a handful of curry leaves, 1 tsp each of cumin seed, brown mustard seed and turmeric. Chop one green chilli, if using, or use 1 tsp of chilli flakes. The lime pickle is also spicy, so leave out the chilli if you prefer it milder.
3. Add oil to a large decent pan, just a layer a couple of millimetres thick. Heat through.
4. Quickly add spices and stir in the oil for 2-3 seconds before quickly adding the onions.
5. Add a pinch of salt to the onions (to release moisture and stop them burning).
6. Add the frozen garlic and ginger with the onions. If using fresh, let the onion cook for 5 minutes first.
7. Cook everything on a medium heat, careful not to burn, until the onions have softened completely and browned slightly. The ginger and garlic should be melted and starting to cook through.
8. Cook for about 10 minutes.
9. Add 1 tbsp of tomato puree and cook with the onions until dark red, about 3-5 minutes.
10. Add 1-2 tbsp of lime pickle (it is spicy and salty so start with less- you can always add more).
11. Add the water from 1 tin of chickpeas and blend the sauce with a stick blender. It should be pale orange in colour and have a creamy, thick texture.
12. Add about 300ml of cold water and simmer on a low heat.
13. Meanwhile, chop the chard (or other greens) thinly and wash well. Add to the sauce.
14. Cook the chard with the lid on for a few minutes to wilt.
15. Add the chickpeas. Cook everything together for 5 more minutes until the greens are soft and everything is piping hot.
16. Optional For extra freshness, add the juice of ½ a lemon or lime (if using), or add ½ to 1 tsp of amchoor powder (dried green mango powder).
17. Add salt to taste, but this probably won’t be necessary due to the lime pickle. No blender? The onions will provide a better texture if sliced thinly and cooked on a lower heat until soft (and kind of ‘slimy’). They can be mashed with a spoon too. Chop the lime pickle finely, along with fresh ginger/garlic (frozen doesn’t need chopping). The curry leaves will remain whole, so either leave them out or they can be eaten when properly softened.