Sometimes, when I’m suffering from a creativity block, all I need to do is take a stroll through the freezer aisle. Yesterday, as I was perusing the freezer goods, I saw a frozen dinner called Chana Saag. I didn’t look too closely, I just saw chickpeas and spinach and knew that’s exactly what I wanted to eat. So I adapted my Indian Style Creamed Spinach recipe by adding a can of chickpeas to make it a more filling meal, and this Chana Saag was born. And whoa, is it good!!
Is Chana Saag Spicy?
This recipe can be made either hot or mild depending on what type of curry powder you use, but either way the fragrant spices will be heady and flavorful. The coconut milk adds just the right amount of natural sweetness and creamy flavor to balance the warm spices.
How to Serve Chana Saag
I suggest serving this over rice or with some homemade naan to sop up the sauce. I served mine with some rice and while I usually go for jasmine rice, the Chana Saag was so flavorful that plain white rice did the job nicely.
Can I Substitute the Coconut Milk?
Absolutely. The original version of this recipe used a 12oz. can of evaporated milk in place of the coconut milk. I’ve since grown to love coconut milk with curry powder, so I now prefer that, and it makes this recipe appropriate for both vegans and vegetarians, so I went with coconut milk. But it tastes great both ways!
WHAT KIND OF CURRY POWDER DO YOU USE?
I prefer to buy mild curry powder, that way I can make both mild and hot curries with it by adding my own cayenne pepper for heat, when I want. For this recipe, I used Sharwood’s mild curry powder. Or you can try making your own curry powder using this recipe for Easy Homemade Curry Powder from Spiceitupp.com.
Chana Saag Curry
- 1.5 cups long grain white rice ($0.95)
- 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
- 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
- 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger ($0.30)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
- 1 Tbsp curry powder hot or mild ($0.30)
- 1 tsp ground cumin ($0.10)
- 3/4 tsp salt ($0.03)
- 1 tomato ($0.31)
- 1 lb. frozen chopped spinach ($1.60)
- 1 15oz. can chickpeas ($0.49)
- 1/2 cup water ($0.00)
- 1 13oz. can coconut milk ($2.79)
- Begin the rice first. Add the rice and 3 cups water to a sauce pot. Cover with a lid, place the pot over high heat, and bring it up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off, and let the rice rest for 10 minutes, undisturbed, with the lid in place. Fluff with a fork just before serving.
- While the rice is cooking, begin the curry. Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and grate the ginger. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger to a large skillet with the olive oil and sauté over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft. While these are cooking, dice the tomato.
- Add the curry powder and cumin to the skillet and continue to stir and cook for one minute more. Add the diced tomato and salt. Continue to cook for about five minutes more, or until the tomato has broken down.
- Drain the chickpeas in a colander and give them a quick rinse. Add the rinsed chickpeas, frozen spinach, and a half cup of water to the skillet. Stir everything together and then bring it up to a simmer over medium heat. Let the mixture simmer for five minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
- After five minutes, turn the heat down to medium-low and add the coconut milk. Depending on how thick you want the sauce, you can either just heat through or let it simmer until thickened. Leave your chana saag chunky ,or, if preferred, use an immersion blender to purée some of the mixture. Once it’s heated through, adjust the salt to your liking.
- Serve the creamy chickpeas and spinach over a bowl of warm rice.
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Scroll down for the step by step photos!
How to Make Chana Saag Curry – Step By Step Photos
Begin the rice first. Add 1.5 cups rice and 3 cups water to a sauce pot. Cover with a lid, place the pot over high heat, and bring it up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off, and let the rice rest for 10 minutes, undisturbed, with the lid in place. Fluff with a fork just before serving.
First dice one yellow onion, mince 2 cloves of garlic, and grate about one Tbsp ginger. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger to a large skillet with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté the onion, garlic, and ginger over medium heat for a few minutes, or until the onions are soft.
Add 1 Tbsp curry powder and 1 tsp cumin to the skillet and sauté for a minute more. The spices will stick to the bottom of the skillet, but it’s okay because the juice from the tomatoes in the next step will dissolve it off. Just make sure that the heat is not up so high that they burn.
While the onions are sautéing, dice one tomato. Add the tomato to the skillet with 3/4 tsp salt and sauté for about five minutes more, or until the tomatoes break down a bit.
After five minutes it looks something like this. It will smell pretty amazing at this point!
Add 1 lb. frozen spinach (no need to thaw), one 15oz. can chickpeas (drained), and ½ cup water. Stir everything together and then bring it up to a simmer over medium heat. Let the mixture simmer for five minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
After simmering for five minutes, turn the heat down to medium-low and add a 13oz. can of coconut milk. Depending on how thick you want the sauce, you can either just heat through or let it simmer until thickened. Leave your chana saag chunky, or, if preferred, use an immersion blender to purée some of the mixture. Once it’s heated through, adjust the salt to your liking.
Whatever texture you choose, it’s freaking delicious.
Serve over rice or with a piece of naan for dipping!
Can this recipe be frozen? Sounds delicious 😋
I haven’t tested freezing this one, but my guess is that it would probably freeze pretty good. You might just need to give it a good stir to smooth it out after thawing and reheating.
Really great and fairly easy to make! It was missing heat though.
This is so yummy! I’ve made it often & have to toss in a big pinch of red pepper flakes with the other spices to toast, because (duh!) Thanks Miss Beth — you are my hero!
This was so delicious!
Not a great recipe unfortunately. Kinda like watery spinach soup.
Could I use fresh spinach in place of the frozen spinach? If so, how much?
Hi, Corrie Beth! You sure can substitute fresh spinach! 1 pound of frozen spinach is equivalent to around 1 1/2 pounds of fresh spinach. ~Marion :)
This recipe is one of my new faves! I didn’t have a tomato so I subbed a tablespoon of tomato paste and I thought the results were great. Thank you for sharing this with the world!