Chickpea and kūmara curry (Photo: Emma Boyd)
Chickpea and kūmara curry (Photo: Emma Boyd)

FoodMarch 21, 2021

Recipe: Chickpea and kūmara curry

Chickpea and kūmara curry (Photo: Emma Boyd)
Chickpea and kūmara curry (Photo: Emma Boyd)

Packed with veges, adaptable to what you have on hand and it can be made in advance – this curry’s a keeper.

I love dishes like this. Not only do they appeal to the vegetable lover in me, they’re also simple to prepare and are best made ahead of time. The chickpeas add protein and, paired with the kūmara, make it a filling meal all in itself. It’s easily adapted to the seasons so when beans are no longer available, use cauliflower (cut into little florets) or carrots instead. Pumpkin also makes a wonderful substitute for the kūmara. And if, like me, you have a garden, then instead of using the spinach in this dish you could try foraging for some edible weeds. Dandelion is a good one to include in this recipe, as are plantain, chickweed and selfheal. Start with ¼ cup of each, making the rest up with spinach or silverbeet. Check out Julia’s Edible Weeds before you head out to ensure you’re correctly identifying your weeds, and make sure the patch you’re harvesting from is free from toxic sprays. 

Special thanks to my dear friend Jana who shared her version of this recipe with me, which was adapted from Indian cooking guru Madhur Jaffrey and which she’s been making for many years now. Like Jana, I like to throw this together in the morning so when we all walk through the door at the end of the day dinner is sorted and I can enjoy my kids without the distraction of putting a meal on the table! 


Serves 6

  • 2 x 400g tins chopped or whole-peeled tomatoes
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 6cm piece ginger, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 2½ teaspoons flaky sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 4 tablespoons ghee or high-heat cooking oil
  • 6 cardamom pods, bruised with the heel of a large knife
  • 2 onions, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 400g tin coconut cream
  • 2 x 400g tins chickpeas
  • 500g kūmara or potato, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 200g beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups spinach, finely chopped (I used a combination of what was in my garden – NZ spinach, kūmara leaves, plantain, dandelion and lambs quarters)
  • plain yoghurt, toasted cashew nuts, and fresh coriander to serve

Put the tomatoes, garlic, ginger, salt and spices (except for the cardamom pods) into a large bowl or Pyrex jug and using a stick blender, blend until smooth. Put this mixture into a large heavy-bottomed pot, bring to the boil then simmer gently while you prepare the onions.

Heat the ghee or oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan and when hot, add the cardamom pods and the onions, reduce to a medium heat and caramelise for 15 minutes or so. Turn up the heat and cook for a further 2-3 more minutes to allow some of the onions to char a little.

Add this mixture to the tomatoes along with the coconut cream, chickpeas and the potatoes or kūmara. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and cook for 15 minutes or until the kūmara/potato is just cooked through.

Add the beans and cook for a further 5 minutes before adding the greens and stirring well. Put the lid on the pot and turn off the heat before leaving to sit for 5 minutes. Serve with rice if desired, garnished with the yoghurt, cashews and coriander.

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Mad Chapman, Editor
The Spinoff has covered the news that matters in 2021, most recently the delta outbreak. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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