Student Recipes – Day 4: Tomato, Chickpea and Spinach Curry

Tomato, chickpea and spinach curry_1One or other from a broad range of Indian curries is often suggested as another perennial student favourite, and while some recipes include a long list of ingredients that can appear daunting (and time consuming), home-made options can still be quick and simple to make. They can also be filling, tasty, and healthy, as well as relatively inexpensive.

The least complicated way to make ‘curry’ is to use a prepared curry powder which is readily available to buy in supermarkets and other stores. It’s essentially a Western invention, and ingredients commonly include coriander, turmeric, ginger, fenugreek, cumin, mustard and pepper. These powders are usually available in a range of strengths –from mild to hot – so it’s easy to select something that’s suitable for your tastes.

Alternatively, you can use garam masala, which is also a spice blend, but in this case is based on a mixture used in north Indian cooking. It contains slightly different ingredients, and often includes cloves and cinnamon which can give it a slightly sweeter (arguably rounder, warmer and more subtle) flavour than curry powder. Of course, both are fairly standardised in their ready-made Western forms, which tends to override the complexities of regional and cultural differences found elsewhere.

Anyway, I used a medium curry powder to make this recipe, which overall contributes to a tasty and healthy vegetarian supper. I served it with (brown) rice – although warm pitta bread would also have gone well – and didn’t bother with the optional garnishes of plain yoghurt and coriander. What you don’t eat can be frozen, or reheated the next day.

Tomato, chickpea and spinach curry_2

[This is the fourth in a series of posts – you can find the first one here – prepared in response to a request from Jess, who has recently moved to London where she is a full-time student at LAMDA]

Recipe: Tomato, Chickpea and Spinach Curry


1 tbsp oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp curry powder
I used a medium curry powder, but you can use whatever suits your particular tastes
400g can chopped tomatoes
400g can chick peas
250g bag spinach, roughly shredded
Optional:   1-2 tbsp natural yogurt
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
This makes 2 portions


Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and cook the garlic, onion and ginger together for 5 minutes until softened and golden.

Add the curry powder and cook for a minute, stirring continuously to stop the spices sticking.

Add the tomatoes to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the chick peas and bring to the boil. Leave to simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in the shredded spinach and cook gently for a couple of minutes until it has wilted into the sauce.

You can serve this with rice (as I did), or even with a couple of warm pitta breads.

And if you fancy, the dish can be finished with a spoonful of natural yogurt and some chopped coriander.

Adapted from:

About Georgina

Originally from the South of England, I've also had homes in Australia (Canberra) and the US (Los Angeles). I've been based in the UK city of Sheffield for a couple of years now. My blog is about adventures with food - markets, ingredients, books, recipes, places I've eaten and other related experiences. It focuses on stories from Sheffield, South Yorkshire and nearby Derbyshire, as well as places farther afield.
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8 Responses to Student Recipes – Day 4: Tomato, Chickpea and Spinach Curry

  1. Liz says:

    oh, but I do love a curry. This looks so tasty. Love the variety in this series–Asian, Italian, and now Indian 🙂

    • Georgina says:

      This is an incredibly simple curry, but it does still taste good.

      I’ve been trying to include a wide range of recipes, but I hadn’t thought of it quite like that! I think it’s going to get a bit more ‘British’ over the next couple of days. I hope that’s not too disappointing!

  2. I love this recipe- curries seem so intimidating to me! But this definitely seems doable!

  3. Love your explanation of curry powder being a rather Western invention. I remember being asked “can you make curry?” when I was working in London, and I was always puzzled because we don’t really have one ‘curry’ I’m sending your blog link to my sister who’s studying in America. I think this will be a really useful series for her! So glad you’re doing this! 🙂

    • Georgina says:

      Thanks – curry powder can be very useful in dishes like this, but it really doesn’t do justice to the wide and varied delights of Indian cuisine.

      And I’m so pleased that you’re enjoying this series enough to send the link to your sister. I hope that you enjoy the next few posts as well…!

  4. So many wonderful recipes. I’m gaining weight just reading them all!

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