Yogic chickpeas with fresh tomato and spinach

This dish is really nutritious, full of flavor and quick to make. I call it yogic because I first encountered a version of this dish at a kitchen run by yoga students; it also doesn't use any garlic or onions, which some yoga traditions prefer to avoid.

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp mustard seeds (if unavailable, substitute 3 tsp coriander powder)
3 tsp cumin seeds or 2.5 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp cayenne or hot chile powder or flakes or 1 fresh chili, minced
4 cups cooked beans (chickpeas or black beans or black-eyed peas)
2 coarsely chopped tomatoes
3 cups fresh spinach
½ tsp salt
Fresh chopped cilantro for garnish

Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium heat for about a minute, add mustard seeds and cover with a loose lid for another minute or two until the mustard seeds start to pop. Add cumin and stir for a few seconds until you feel the aroma of the spices; put in the chile. Add the beans and stir to coat with oil, then add vegetables and stir until the spinach is wilted. Salt to taste (less salt will be needed for if using canned beans as these are usually already salty). Reduce heat to low and cook for another minute or two (can cover with a lid). Rice or whole wheat bread, yogurt and a salad or vegetable dish go really well with these chickpea dishes, helping to make an even more complete meal.

Tomato-less variation with garlic and smoked paprika, giving this dish a more Spanish character: Use 6 crushed garlic cloves instead of mustard seeds. Omit the tomato and use a tablespoon of smoked paprika instead; increase the quantity of fresh spinach to 6 cups (a fat bunch).

Variation ala Aloo Saag: Instead of chickpeas use pre-blanched potatoes, evenly cubed. For this version even frozen spinach will work. Boost up flavor by adding a handful of minced garlic along with the spices (but this variation would not be considered yogic because of the garlic).


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