Foolproof Chickpea Curry

I made this recipe today for two of my bridesmaids before heading out to do some wedding shoes/centerpieces/jewelry shopping. (Which was very successful! Although took almost 4 hours – these girls have the patience of saints.) Maid of honor is vegetarian and was coming straight from work, so I knew I needed to feed her well. I’m always looking for more vegetarian recipes for my repertoire, especially ones that are not pasta-based, since I eat so much of that already. Enter: chickpea curry.

chickpea curry

Chickpea Curry

(adapted from The Sweets Life)

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 14.5 oz cans chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans), drained & rinsed
  • 1 14.5 oz can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • approximately 5-6 oz fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4  cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice

Directions

Pour olive oil into skillet over medium heat; after it warms, add in all the diced onion. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until clear-ish. Sprinkle garam masala over onions and stir well to coat evenly. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and spinach. Stir until spinach wilts.

Remove from heat and mix in Greek yogurt along with salt. Add fresh cilantro and serve over hot cooked rice.

Notes

Easy as that! Probably one of the fastest, least-fussy curries I have ever made. I kind of wished I’d made naan to go with it instead of rice though. I also completely forgot the cilantro! I just have dried cilantro around, but next time I will be sure not to forget that step. Sometimes I feel kind of iffy on Greek yogurt, but it is PERFECT here; adds just the right amount of creaminess to every bite. Mmmm. Try this one and let me know how you like it!

P.S. Allow me to emphasize – as with every other Indian dish I’ve posted, this is NOT spicy. You can add chilies or whatever to make it spicy if you want to, but as written, it’s safe for literally every palate.

Crockpot “Indian” Chicken Stew

Well I told you things were getting busy…I haven’t had time to do much cooking in the last week or so. Thank God for the weekend.

I’m gonna be straight with you. The only thing Indian about this stew is a couple spices. Throw in garam masala and curry powder and voila, something’s Indian. If you’re worried about it being too spicy, don’t – there’s no chilies in here. The curry powder won’t hurt you, I promise. Let me tell you, this stew smelled fantastic as it cooked, and it’s really a very basic dump-it-all-in slow cooker recipe. Gotta love those!

slow cooker indian chicken stew

Crockpot Indian Stew

(adapted from Better Homes & Garden’s The Ultimate Low-Cal Cookbook)

Ingredients

  • approximately 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (14.5) oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 (14.5) oz cans garbanzo beans/chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1.5 – 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions

After cutting your chicken into nice little pieces, add that, the onion, the curry powder, the garam masala, the ginger, the garlic, the salt, and the pepper to your crockpot. Toss well to coat the chicken in all that good stuff. Stir in chickpeas, tomatoes, broth, and add bay leaf.

Cover and cook for 8-10 hours (LOW heat) or 4-5 hours (HIGH heat). About 10 minutes before serving, discard bay leaf and stir in spinach and lime juice. Serve over basmati rice or with naan.

Notes

The end result was totally delicious, but I will say that there seemed to be a bunch of excess liquid for a stew, so I drained a little bit of that.

This was a pretty perfect meal for us – tons of protein, per V’s dietary demands, and low-cal to boot. The naan felt like a decadent treat after a few days of pretty strict eating. Which is not to say that I wouldn’t kill for a bowl of Chocolate Shoppe ice cream right now, because I definitely would. Like, in a heartbeat.

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Makhani (Butter Chicken)

Butter chicken is up there with palak paneer as one of the most Indian-newb-friendly dishes. It generally isn’t that spicy, and in this recipe, really isn’t spicy at all – obviously you can tweak it to suit your preferences. The name sounds decadent, like it would just be dripping in gobs of butter, but the butter:chicken ratio here is actually very restrained.

I should probably also use the “admittedly inauthentic” disclaimer here too, as I did with my chicken tikka masala. This is definitely not the traditional way of making chicken makhani – it is the cheater version. This one’s for all my fellow cheaters out there.

butter chicken

Chicken Makhani (Butter Chicken)

(adapted from Canadian Family)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • approximately 2 or 2.5 lbs skinless, bone-in chicken drumsticks or thighs
  • about 2 paratha or naan per person

Directions

Melt the butter in the microwave and pour into your slow cooker. Add all the remaining ingredients except chicken; stir to combine into a smooth gravy.

If desired, season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken pieces to the slow cooker and make sure they are all coated well with the gravy.

Cook on HIGH for 2.5 hours or on LOW for 5 hours. As it gets close to finishing, cook your bread of choice according to its package directions (some are best in the oven, like naan, while paratha is definitely better on the stove).

Notes

It’s seriously as simple as that! I love this recipe because while I like to use my crockpot, I often don’t really have it together enough in the mornings to get everything necessary for a recipe all assembled and into the crockpot before I have to leave for work. Because this only takes 2.5 hours, and I get home around 4:30, I can have dinner ready by 7:00 as there is virtually no prep time.

As I mentioned, this is not spicy whatsoever, but if you wanted to kick it up a notch you could add some diced green or red chilies into the gravy.

Also, just an FYI: this is a MESSY dinner. You need a lot of napkins. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

(Admittedly somewhat inauthentic) Chicken Tikka Masala with Roasted Potatoes

So, this is obviously an Indian dish. I only know a handful of them well enough to create on my own. Chicken tikka masala can be done a lot of different ways, in varying degrees of complexity; the recipe that follows is probably the easiest one you’ll ever find. It also isn’t spicy whatsoever. You can change that by adding some crushed red pepper or, if you’re V, Sriracha. Or even green chilies. But as written, this is about as safe of an Indian dish as there is. Safe but still REALLY GOOD.

Skillet Chicken Tikka Masala

(adapted from http://foodgawker.com/post/2012/10/18/198973/)

Ingredients:

*15 oz can diced tomatoes

*1 to 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut into 1-inch pieces)

*1 tbsp vegetable oil

*1 onion, finely chopped

*1 tbsp garam masala

*2 minced garlic cloves

*1 tsp grated ginger

*1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half

*1 tbsp dried parsley

Directions

Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Add the vegetable oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat; mix in the chicken pieces. Cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Reduce the heat a bit and add the onions to the skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until translucent. Stir in the garam masala, garlic, and ginger, taking care to mix it well with the onion and scrape the sides of the skillet.

Pour the diced tomatoes into a food processor and pulse briefly. You just want to break up the larger pieces. Add the tomatoes to the skillet and bring the whole thing to a simmer; reduce to medium-low, cover, and cook for a few minutes until it has thickened somewhat.

Stir in the cream and return the chicken (with its juices) back to the pan. Allow the sauce to meld with the chicken for a couple minutes, then stir in the parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over rice or with roti/naan.

Notes

Careful not to burn your onions. Maybe that’s just my stove that has a tendency to do burn really quickly with onions.

You really “should” eat it with naan, but I had potatoes that needed using up so I cooked up some roasted taters instead. And I’m going to give you that recipe too! Because I tried it a different way this time, and it was FANTASTIC.

Crispy Roasted Potatoes

(adapted from various different Pinterest posts)

Ingredients

*about 1 pound small yellow or red potatoes (or hell, mix ’em up)

*2 tbsp olive oil

*1 tbsp rosemary

*grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Quarter the potatoes and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Nuke for 10 minutes.  Drain of any excess water. Coat a pan with nonstick cooking spray or some olive oil. Add the potatoes in a single layer, if possible. Drizzle more olive oil on top. Add rosemary and Parmesan, if you want.

Place in oven and cook for about 20 minutes, give or take the temperament of your oven. Mine were done at 18 minutes.

The outsides were deliciously brown and crisp; the insides, fluffy and moist and melt-in-your-mouth. They tasted buttery, but I didn’t add any butter. Yummmmmmm. Definitely using this method for roasted potatoes from here on out.

chicken tikka masala and roasted potatoes