Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Tamarind-Infused Spinach with Chickpeas

Serves 6

This is what we had for dinner tonight. It's a quick and simple dish that works really well as either a light appetizer for a group meal, or a stand-alone main course. The original recipe (We think it came courtesy of Vegetarian Times) called for safflower oil, but we've had excellent luck with various mid-grade olive oils. We also added garlic, just because it creates a more complex flavor in the base (that, and Matt is addicted to it). Everything else is verbatim in terms of the ingredients and their respective proportions, though feel free to substitute baby spinach with your favorite greens (the version pictured below contains a mixture of baby spinach and kale), and add as much or as little cayenne as your palate is comfortable with.

-2 TB oil (olive, safflower or vegetable)
-1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
-Garlic, to taste (we use anywhere from 2-4 cloves), minced
-1 tsp ground cumin
-1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
-pinch of cayenne
-1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
-1/3 cup water
-1 tsp cane sugar
-1 tsp tamarind concentrate
-2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, drained
-1 (6 oz) package pre-washed baby spinach (about 6 cups)
-1/4 tsp salt
-ground black pepper, to taste

*Note: Tamarind paste is derived from the pulp of the fruit that grows on the tamarind tree and is a common flavoring agent in South and Southeast Asian cooking. It stores well, and can be found in most Asian food markets.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until softened and golden brown, 5-7 minutes. Add cumin, coriander and cayenne to skillet and stir to coat onion and garlic with spices. Cook for one minute, then add diced tomatoes (with juice), water, sugar and tamarind concentrate. Stir to mix well. Add chickpeas and bring mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer over medium-low heat, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Stir in spinach until wilted and evenly combined with mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Nutrition Info

Per Serving: 170 cal (50 from fat), 6g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 5g protein, 26g total carbohydrate (6g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 440mg sodium

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