Steph's Chickpea Curry with Spinach and Rice Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Steph's Chickpea Curry with Spinach and Rice

62 reviews / 5 average

Amazingly creamy, saucy chickpea curry served over rice with a dollop of chili crisp and a side of cucumber salad. Ready in 20 minutes!

This is a brand new recipe that’s part of our Spring 2023 SOS Series – in other words, EASY recipes! View our full collection of SOS recipes here.


In This Post: Everything You Need For Chickpea Curry


Ingredients For This Recipe

Brown Sugar

The perfect little bit of sweetness. The brown sugar helps offset the spiciness and makes everything just deliciously rich.

Curry Paste

This recipe uses red curry paste. Any brand will work, but I usually opt for the Thai Kitchen brand that I can find pretty easily at my local grocery store.

Coconut Milk

Please, please use full-fat coconut milk in this recipe. The perfect thickness and sauciness!

Soy Sauce

We’ve got sweetness, we’ve got richness, we’ve got spiciness, and this is where the saltiness comes in!

Chickpeas

Just one can of chickpeas - my favorite easy plant-based protein.

Spinach

I love adding spinach to this for a little bit of veg. Other veggies you could use: green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, or carrots.

Cilantro

A sprinkling of cilantro finish everything off!

Rice

Heap this delicious mixture over a mound of fluffy rice, and that’s it!

Coconut curry chickpeas with spinach in a pan.

Lindsay's Notes

How it happened is that I asked my sister Steph what she's been making for dinner lately, and she said, “I make that salmon recipe but I just use a can of chickpeas instead to keep it easy.” And now, if you ask me what I'm making for dinner lately, I'm going to say the exact same thing because okay wow that is very delicious and it only takes ten minutes.

STEPH FOR PRESIDENT!

This chickpea curry is, well, it's everything. It's cozy, it's pantry-friendly, and maybe even a little elegant? *hair toss* even though it's super super easy? It's comforting without being heavy, nutritious without being boring, and beautiful without being high maintenance. I'm no stranger to a delicious chickpea curry, but this one takes it to the next level.

I came into this realization too late to include it in the photos here, but serving this with a little side of pickled cucumber salad (sliced cucumbers, sliced red onion, white vinegar, olive oil, salt, and sugar) is *chef's kiss* SOS perfection.

With or without the cucumber salad, I can definitely say that swooping the wooden spoon leisurely through that luscious sauce, piling the saucy goodness of chickpeas and spinach over steaming rice, and then drizzling the chili crisp (affiliate link) over the whole thing... it's definitely a living-my-best-life type moment.


Chickpea Curry Video


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A picture of Steph's Chickpea Curry with Spinach and Rice

Steph's Chickpea Curry with Spinach and Rice


  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

Amazingly creamy, saucy chickpea curry served over rice with a dollop of chili crisp and a side of cucumber salad. Ready in 20 minutes!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (more to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red curry paste (currently loving Maesri or Thai Kitchen brand)
  • one 14-ounce can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • one 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2-3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice, uncooked

Instructions

  1. Cook rice according to package directions.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and curry paste; sauté until softened and fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the brown sugar, coconut milk, and soy sauce. Bring to a low simmer until thickened slightly.
  4. Add chickpeas, spinach, and cilantro; cook until chickpeas are heated through and spinach is wilted. Mash the chickpeas ever so slightly with the back of a wooden spoon if you want to change up the texture and make it more creamy.
  5. Taste and adjust to your liking - we often add a squeeze of lime or some extra ginger or lemongrass, but it's really not necessary. The flavor is totally there even with the most basic ingredient list. Serve over rice with a dollop of chili crisp (affiliate link) and a side of pickled cucumber salad if you want (and I promise you do want this - see notes). Top with more cilantro, if you want! 

Notes

For the pickled cucumber salad, thinly slice 3 small cucumbers and a small chunk of red onion on a mandoline. Toss sliced cucumbers and red onion with 1 tablespoon white vinegar, 2 tablespoons avocado oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Let them hang out for 20-30 minutes (more if you have time) and just serve with the curry! So good. My kids love these, too!

1 1/2 cups of rice will give you a bit more than you technically need - it's 4 hearty portions or 6 regular portions. We always use this amount, though, because my girls often want to eat the rice plain, and I'd rather have a bit of extra rice instead of not enough rice!

If your sauce is too runny, this is likely because of the brand of coconut milk. Typically when I use Asian brands of coconut milk (Aroy D or Chaokoh) I do not have this issue, and the sauce consistently turns out thick and luscious and creamy, almost like a gravy. If you find yourself with a runny sauce, just whisk one tablespoon of cornstarch into one tablespoon of cold water and add it to the bubbling sauce in the pan. Within a minute or two of gentle heat, you'll see it start to thicken up. Works like a charm.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Saute
  • Cuisine: Asian-Inspired

Keywords: chickpea curry, curry recipe, vegetarian curry

Chickpea Curry: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best kind of coconut milk to use?

The texture of the sauce will vary a bit depending on brand. I like Aroy-D or Chaokoh canned coconut milk (full fat). If you use a coconut milk that is more on the runny side and the sauce isn't thick enough for you, you can add the cornstarch slurry as directed in the recipe notes.

Can you use light coconut milk?

Personally I prefer full-fat coconut milk for this (and most) recipes. If you do use light coconut milk, it will probably need a bit of thickener such as the cornstarch to get it creamy and saucy as pictured.

Can you use a different protein besides the chickpeas?

Yes, absolutely. I love this with just about everything - tofu, chicken, shrimp, salmon, etc. It is a magical sauce that makes everything taste amazing.

How could I add more vegetables to this?

I have added sliced bell peppers to the sauce, sautéing them first so they are nice and soft. This sauce also goes well with broccoli.

I also love serving this with a little pickled cucumber salad - instructions for that are in the recipe notes.

How do the leftovers keep?

This recipe makes for awesome leftovers. I especially like this for leftovers because the chickpeas do better in the fridge for longer than chicken or shrimp. This works great to make ahead and keep in the fridge for a week's worth of lunches! Store it separately from the rice, or just side-by-side in individual containers.

If you can, you may want to hold off on adding the spinach until just before serving - it's not necessary, but it would ensure that you don't encounter any mushy or slimy spinach in your leftovers.

Can I make this vegan?

Yes! That said, all curry pastes are different in what ingredients they use (and some do have fish products in them, like fish sauce or shrimp paste), so just be sure to check your curry paste to make sure that it is vegan.

Can I make this gluten-free?

To make this gluten free, just skip the soy sauce and double-check that the curry paste is gluten-free! (Use fish sauce or coconut aminos in place of the soy sauce.)

Ingredients for coconut curry chickpeas.

If You Like This, You Should Try:

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134 Comments

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hi, Farhana! It depends a bit on an individual protein needs, so it’s hard for us to say. This particular recipe as-is has about 10.5 grams of protein per serving. If you’re looking for more protein, Lindsay provides some alternate protein suggestions here in the FAQs. Hope this helps!

  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    My brain definitely read this as “Steph Curry’s Chickpea Curry” and I was very excited for such an unexpected collaboration 😂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Lmao me too! I clicked on this for the Steph Curry curry collab 😂 recipe looks good but I’m a little sad he’s not out here collabing on curry recipes 😂

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        I made this exactly as written and is was delicious! I doubled it and 5 people ate it all. Looked just like the picture. I added the spinach at the end. Kids and very picky no dairy husband loved it. I didn’t smach the chick peas very well, so that is one change I will make. For those who are wondering, it is not spicy, does not have a strong taste and is not super rich. It is perfect, kind of like comfort food. I will do the pickled cucumber salad next time for a little variation. Oh, and use the parsley as a garnish on top. It added the perfect “bite.” I feel like this base would be easy to adjust if needed (add veggies, maybe fewer chickpeas). I never usually comment. It was that good.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Please tell me what chili crisp is that is served with chickpea curry. Thank You

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Honey, just sprinkle it on top.😂 same with the chile crisp. Don’t over complicate it. Cooking allows free thinking 🤪😘

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Please tell me what chili crisp is that is served with chickpea curry. Thank You I have never asked about chili crisp

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi! Currently making this and just realized you don’t mention the cilantro within the recipe, just the ingredients list. I’m guessing it’s just for a sprinkle when done?

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    This lived up to the hype! Quick to make and sooo tasty! I ended up sautéing bell peppers in with garlic and curry powder and would probably even do more veggies next time. The cucumber on the side was an unexpected refreshing addition (especially to balance out the spice). Didn’t have the chili crisp but did top it off with some of the Trader Joe’s crunchy chili onion peanuts. Will definitely be making this recipe again!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Made this for dinner last night and it was a hit with everyone!! I love the list of simple ingredients, quick cooking time, and the bomb flavor. The cucumber salad was a perfect side.

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Lindsay, this looks so comforting and delicious and I’d like to make it. The red curry paste might be too hot/spicy so if one doesn’t like heat, is there a substitute or can I leave it out all together? Sorry to ask, I feel there is always one who has to change things up from a perfectly good recipe, and this time it’s me ;-). But it looks too yummy to pass over. Thanks.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Red curry paste has flavor, but we wouldn’t say it has a lot of heat. It’s pretty key for this recipe, so we unfortunately don’t have a good sub in this case. Sorry about that!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Excellent! Super flavorful with minimal ingredients. Perfect weeknight meal for the family. Baby’s approved 👍🏻

    We added carrots, broccoli and peas to boost the veggie profile. Will definitely be adding this to our dinner rotation.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    Several people have already asked about the chili crisp, but no light has been shed. What is this magical condiment you speak of?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      From Wikipedia:
      Chili crisp or chile crisp (Chinese: 香辣脆; pinyin: Xiāng là cuì[1]) is a type of hot sauce, originating from Chinese cuisine, made with fried chili pepper and other aromatics infused in oil, sometimes with other ingredients. Multiple homemade and restaurant-original versions exist across China. The best-known commercial brand is Lao Gan Ma, which is based on the chili crisps of Guizhou province.

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Ah, OK, thanks Madkin. Not what I was expecting. Hot sauce doesn’t sound as appealing as something crunchy or crispy, which the name “chili crisp” suggests! Lol. But good to know. Cheers!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    I made this tonight and it was fantastic! I happened to have fresh spinach and everything else was just pantry staples for me. It came together super quickly and easily. It was a bit thinner than I wanted, but I just followed the notes to make it thicker, and it was perfect. I’ll definitely be adding this to my recipe rotation. Thanks so much for this great recipe!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    This was delicious. Mashing the garbanzos makes it so much better. Did add the ginger and lemon grass and lime. Made me very happy! Thank you

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    This was very tasty. I don’t think the thickness has anything to do w the brand of coconut milk. I used full fat Goya and it’s great. The thickness absolutely required smashing some of the garbanzo beans and cooking longer. I did not add spinach until later.

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Trader Joe’s coconut milk is dramatically better than other brands, and I’ve tried them all. I’ll have to pick up some cans for this!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      That’s interesting. I used TJ’s organic coconut milk for this recipe this evening and it was a lot runnier than I’d hoped for

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    This chickpea curry recipe is amazing! For those looking to improve their cooking skills and expand their recipe repertoire, I highly recommend checking out ExpertToday. Their team of seasoned culinary professionals offers personalized guidance and expert advice on everything from basic cooking techniques to advanced recipes and culinary trends. Visit ExpertToday now and take your cooking skills to the next level. https://experttoday.pro/

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    This recipe had no right being as great as it was for how easy it was to put together! Just the garlic, soy, curry paste, and coconut milk made a wonderful sauce that could be used paired with anything. I’m thinking of using it with paneer or tofu next time. I also think adding some sweet potatoes would be a good addition to change things up with this. Will definitely be putting it into my rotation.

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    I loved this! I made it as soon as I saw it. I threw in 1/2 onion chopped and some grated ginger along with the garlic. The sauce totally held 2 cans of chickpeas easily along with the spinach. Extremely delicious with the chili crisp!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hi! Thanks for your question! Just updated the recipe card to include that you can add the cilantro with the spinach and chickpeas and, if you want, top with more cilantro.

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        This recipe is so versatile. Currently obsessed with throwing in some precooked shrimp and fire roasted frozen veggies!

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    Loved this! Roasted some leftover red pepper and carrots and tossed them in. Yummy! Thank you! Love your plant-based recipes.

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    I made this exactly as written and is was delicious! I doubled it and 5 people ate it all. Looked just like the picture. Kids and very picky no dairy husband loved it. I didn’t smach the chick peas very well, so that is one change I will make. For those who are wondering, it is not spicy, does not have a strong taste and is not super rich. It is perfect, kind of like comfort food. I will do the pickled cucumber salad next time for a little variation. Oh, and use the parsley as a garnish on top. It added the perfect “bite.” I feel like this base would be easy to adjust if needed (add veggies, maybe fewer chickpeas). I never usually comment. It was that good.

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    there is 1/2 c. cilantro in the recipe ingredients, but I don’t see it used in the instructions, is that just for sprinkling over the top at the end? Also, avocado oil in the ingredients, recipe says olive oil (not a big deal just thought I would mention because I noticed it). Can’t wait to try this.