Coconut, chickpea & spinach curry

This simple curry is easy to make even if your fridge is bare – all it takes are a few storecupboard essentials, such as canned chickpeas and plenty of ground spices, to make a comforting dish 

  • Prep:5 mins
    Cook:35 mins
  • Serves 4
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 658
  • fat 27g
  • saturates 14g
  • carbs 79g
  • sugars 5g
  • fibre 11g
  • protein 19g
  • salt 0.1g


  • 300g basmati rice
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion or 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp turmeric, plus a pinch
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • ½-1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 2 x 400g cans coconut milk
  • 2 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cloves
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 200g frozen spinach
  • 1-2 tbsp tamarind or a squeeze of lime
  • toasted dessicated coconut, to serve (optional)


  1. Wash the rice a couple of times in cold running water, then leave to soak while you make the curry. Heat 1½ tbsp oil in a deep frying pan, and fry the onion for 10 mins until soft, but not turning golden.

  2. Add the garlic and fry for 1 min, then tip in the turmeric, cumin, garam masala and chilli powder, and toast for 30 seconds, stirring. Add the coconut milk and chickpeas. Simmer for 15 mins until the sauce has reduced slightly. 

  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining ½ tbsp oil in a small pan with the cloves, cinnamon and a pinch of turmeric. Stir until the mixture smells fragrant. Drain the rice and add to the spices, stirring well to coat in the oil. Pour in 600ml boiling water, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low. Add a tight-fitting lid and simmer gently for 10 mins, without removing the lid.

  4. About 5 mins before the end of the curry’s cooking time, stir in the spinach and break it up with a wooden spoon as it defrosts. Season well. Add the tamarind or lime juice to balance the sweetness of the curry. Serve in bowls with the fragrant, steaming rice, removing the large spices as you serve. Top with a pinch of the desiccated coconut, if using.

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