Disclaimer: I have received products and been compensated for this post by Loblaws as part of the Food Lovers Unite campaign. As always the post may be sponsored, but the opinions expressed are my own.Jump to the Chana Palak or Chholay Palak Recipe
Food is a powerful thing. It is not just about the nutrients or even just about the flavours, the food we eat connects us to a world beyond ours. As a mother of two girls, I am very conscious of this elemental power of food. I am proud of the fact that the girls, who love a Cilantro Lime Chicken Pasta with a Southwest Salad, also love a delicious Beef Biryani with cooling raita. They can eat Miso Soup and Sushi one night and chow down on Karahi Chicken and Sheermal on the other. They can stand with me by the counter assembling Grilled Cheese Sandwiches one night and this Chana Palak the next night.
I’ve recently (much to my excitement!) partnered with Loblaws on their #FoodLoversUnite program. The challenge has inspired me in many ways. It has encouraged me to look at the foodies around me and our different palates in a way that is positive. It has also highlighted for me how easy it is to shop for the finest local produce and poultry at my local Loblaws.
For my first challenge my ingredient was chilies. I first did a happy dance, because duh. The challenge however was to make a dish that incorporates them yet is friendly to someone who isn’t a chilies lover. My older daughter instantly signed up for the challenge and in fact it is with considerable pride that I say this is her first recipe to go up on the blog
Desi Parent Problems
One of the biggest struggles as a South Asian parent is that we are accustomed to (and enjoy) a certain level of spice. The aroma of green chilies on top of a just cooked curry is almost heavenly. Our kids though are often not quite on the same page but they’re food lovers nonetheless. Over time, I have gradually adjusted spices in their food, but there is still a significant gap between our optimal level of spice.
With it being Ramadan, my little girl was the taste tester for this Chana Palak or Chholay Palak, adjusting and tweaking while mama took down notes. She even put a little red chili powder into the spice mix! When I broke my fast and had the chickpeas, I was stunned to realize I wouldn’t have done anything different. Except pile on verdant green chilies at the end and muddle in some of these tangy black label hot cherry peppers. They aren’t super spicy, but have great flavour that really compliments this dish.
The Power of Good Groceries
We always talk about the power of involving kids in grocery shopping and cooking and I can see how positive that has been in my own house. I also really love that now when I go the store I can easily identify what’s grown in Ontario, what’s grown in Canada and what’s Local to my Loblaws, meaning it was grown less than 150 KM from my store in Mississauga. At the end of the day local produce is just the best tasting produce. It is easier to get the kids to eat more fruits and veggies when they taste good!
Unlike many Chana Masala type dishes this Chana Palak does not use tomatoes. My daughter loves chickpeas as much as her mother does and didn’t want to add too much to them. We did however choose to round out the flavours in this curry by using half a bouillon/stock cube. There are lots of great organic and low/no sodium ones available now. You can also substitute vegetarian bouillon/stock for the chicken one.
This Chana Palak recipe makes a small amount, perfect for a tired mama and her two girls at the end of a busy day with a little left over. It comes together super quickly thanks to the canned chickpeas, we used the PC Blue Menu ones which I like because they are the right size/texture and I can control how much salt goes in them.
Making this recipe? Rate it below and don't forget to tag me in your results on instagram @flourandspiceblog !
Chana Palak or Chholay Palak - Chickpea and Spinach Curry
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ cup minced onions
- 1.5 tsp garlic
- ¾ tsp grated ginger
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp chilli powder (cayenne)
- ⅓ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ½ bouillon/ stock cube
- 19 fl oz canned chickpeas (used PC Blue Menu Chickpeas)
- 2 cups chopped washed spinach
- ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- green chillies, cilantro for garnishing and extra flavour!
- Heat a lug of oil in a saucepan and when it starts to shimmer add the cumin seeds, they will crackle and smell delicious
- Add the minced onion and cook just until the edges are golden brown
- Now stir in the ginger and garlic and saute for a minute
- Add in the remaining spices and saute for another minute
- Now drain the can of chickpeas and add to the pot along with about 1.5 cup of hot water and your half a stock cube.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the chickpeas reach desired tenderness.
- Take off the stovetop and stir in the spinach, it will wilt instantly.
- Top with your cilantro.
- For greater heat remove kid sized portions and add some minced green chillies to the chickpeas or simply top with the chillies after plating
- Goes well with rice and flatbreads.
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