When you live in a world of expatriates you learn to find normality in multiculturalism. Be it by just living amongst several different people of different backgrounds or eating multicultural cuisine types, you are more open to the foreign aspect of life. With all my moves, I now live a life of cultural combinations.
So last Sunday when my mom went out for her friend’s birthday gathering it gave both my sister and I a free day to enjoy shellfish such as shrimp. Mom does not like shellfish which means her children do not eat it either, this means when she leaves the house we can enjoy the small things she dislikes. The top of the food pyramid of products which cannot be had when mom is home is shrimp.
Because mom knew she was going out Sunday night she decided to buy chickpeas and spinach knowing full well that those are two items I love to either cook with or just have to eat, so I decided to make a chickpea and spinach curry to go with my shrimp. This is where my multiculturalism comes in. For our Sunday dinner my little sister and I had a chickpea curry over a bed wild rice with a side of spicy Cajun shrimp and a yoghurt dip with lemon and chopped cilantro. Yes, that is a combination of Cajun (from Louisiana) and Indian cuisine.
Luckily the two together tasted delicious although it was very foreign. I mean who combines such things? What a weird confused cuisine type of night.
Here is the recipe for the Spinach Chickpea Curry:
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- ½ cup chicken or vegetable broth, plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- 1/2-3/4 teaspoons minced (or grated) fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon finely minced fresh garlic
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
- 1 15-ounce cans chickpeas
- Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Combine spinach and your preferred broth in a powerful blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. Set spinach puree aside.
2. Heat butter in a medium pan over medium-low heat. As soon as it melts, add the ginger (1/2 teaspoon for a milder ginger flavor) and garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Turn heat to low and add garam masala, cumin, coriander and curry powder. Toast the spices for 3-4 minutes, until they are fragrant and take on a deep color.
3. Add spinach puree to the pan, along with the lemon juice. Cook for about a minute, to bring the flavors together, then add the chickpeas. Continue cooking until the chickpeas are heated through and all of the watery liquid cooks down leaving a puree. Add more broth if you end up needing to make adjustments to the consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Suggestion: serve with rice.
When I made this I used just a bit too much broth making the simmering process for the chickpea spinach curry lengthy, but using half a cup should make the simmering (thickening) process much shorter for a quicker meal.
Below you can see the recipe for the Spicy Cajun Shrimp:
- 1 pound (500 grams) shrimp
- Shrimp Seasoning:
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 1 (6 oz) container plain yoghurt
- ½ Tablespoon cilantro, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- Naan bread (optional)
1. Mix together the above spices. Sprinkle half of shrimp over 1 pound of peeled shrimp.
2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp to pan — try to get the spiced side down — and saute 5 minutes until done, flip shrimp around and add remainder of spices and cook further.
3. In the meantime chop cilantro and mix with plain yoghurt and lemon.
3. Toast a few pieces of Naan (such as Kontos brand) and serve with cooked shrimp, a spoonful of plain yogurt, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lemon.
Now I know the combination of both Cajun and Indian seems quite bizarre, but it tasted pretty darn good. Although I know my sister likes chickpeas a lot and thoroughly enjoys shrimp, so that could be why.
If you think about giving this a shot, you may prefer the different parts of the meal separate. I won’t judge!
¡Y buen provecho!