The Ultimate Chickpea Curry: Health, Flavour, And Nutrition in Every Bite
May 12, 2023
Here at JUVIA, we like to go all out when it comes to enjoying delicious meals and you should too. Today, we share a beautiful and nutritious chickpea curry dish that is guaranteed to get your tastebuds firing. So full of nutrition and so versatile, this wonder ingredient is a cooking delight awaiting your creativity.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a staple ingredient in many cultures around the world. Their rich, nutty flavour and versatile nature have made them a beloved favourite in Middle Eastern, Indian, and Mediterranean cuisines, to name just a few.
In this blog post, we'll delve into the world of chickpeas, exploring their numerous health benefits, their gut-friendly properties, and their importance in different cultures. Then, we'll share a mouthwatering chickpea curry recipe that's as nutritious as it is delicious.
The Health Benefits of Chickpeas
Chickpeas are a powerhouse of nutrition. Not only are they a fantastic source of plant-based protein, but they're also rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre. One cup (164 grams) of cooked chickpeas provides roughly 15 grams of protein, making them an ideal choice for vegetarians and vegans looking for protein alternatives.
They're also packed with essential nutrients like iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, which contribute to the maintenance of healthy muscles, bones, and nerves. Moreover, chickpeas are an excellent source of folate, a crucial nutrient for pregnant women and those trying to conceive, as it aids in the formation of DNA and prevents neural tube defects in unborn babies.
Why Chickpeas Are Good for Your Gut
One of the most notable attributes of chickpeas is their high fibre content. They contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, which play essential roles in maintaining a healthy gut.
Soluble fibre found in chickpeas forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract, which helps regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of sugar. This type of fibre is also known for lowering cholesterol levels, particularly LDL (bad) cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of heart disease.
Insoluble fibre, on the other hand, promotes bowel regularity by adding bulk to stools, preventing constipation, and making it easier to pass waste. A healthy gut has a ripple effect on our overall health, including improving digestion, promoting better nutrient absorption, and even supporting a healthy immune system.
Cultural Importance of Chickpeas
Chickpeas have been an essential ingredient in various culinary traditions for thousands of years. Their versatility allows them to be prepared in countless ways, from whole beans in stews and salads to ground flour in batters and bread.
In Middle Eastern cuisine, chickpeas are the star of iconic dishes like hummus, a creamy dip made with mashed chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic, and falafel, deep-fried patties made from ground chickpeas and flavorful herbs and spices.
Indian cuisine also showcases the chickpea in a variety of dishes, such as chana masala, a spiced chickpea curry, and besan laddu, a sweet treat made from chickpea flour and sugar.
In Mediterranean countries like Greece, chickpeas are used in traditional recipes like revithia, a slow-cooked chickpea stew, while in Italy, they're used to make farinata, a savoury chickpea flour pancake.
The Ultimate Chickpea Curry Recipe
Now that we've explored the many benefits and cultural significance of chickpeas, let's dive into a delicious and nutritious chickpea curry recipe. Remember, it’s best to soak the chickpeas for a few hours and wash away the starches, which some people can be intolerant to. This isn’t normally an issue if you’ve had your JUVIA, so stock up and tuck in.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp ginger, grated
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, for added heat)
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes
- 2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 (13.5 oz) can full-fat coconut milk
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
- Fresh cilantro, for garnish
- Cooked basmati rice or naan, for serving
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, and sauté them for 4-5 minutes until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook the mixture for an additional 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning.
- Add the ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika, cayenne pepper (if using), and garam masala to the skillet. Stir the mixture well to coat the onions, garlic, and ginger in the spices. Cook for around 1-2 minutes until it becomes fragrant.
- Stir in the diced tomatoes, chickpeas, and vegetable broth, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Allow it to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Pour in the coconut milk and season the curry with salt and pepper to your preferred taste. Stir the mixture well and let it simmer for another 10-15 minutes, allowing the flavours to meld together and the sauce to thicken.
- Just before serving, fold in the chopped spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes until it becomes wilted and soft. Make sure the spinach goes dark before you turn off the heat.
- Serve the chickpea curry over cooked basmati rice, couscous or with warm naan. Garnish with fresh cilantro and enjoy!
In conclusion, chickpeas are not only a nutritious and gut-friendly food but also an essential ingredient in various cuisines worldwide. This chickpea curry recipe is a testament to its versatility, boasting bold flavours and an array of health benefits in every bite. Give it a try and discover the incredible world of chickpeas for yourself, but don’t forget to take your JUVIA first, it really works like magic to break down the troublesome carbohydrates before they reach your gut, allowing you to enjoy your favourite foods and feel free in 2023.