Kale and chickpea curry

It’s hard to think of a vegetable more popular than kale. First, the story emerged of Gwynny being seen out with her new ‘friend with benefits’ then Beyonce was seen sporting the sweatshirt shortly after the first lady, Michelle Obama was said to be snaffling kale chips.

With a vegetable being so shamelessly promoted and also virtuous, my first instinct was to avoid it, surreptitiously turning my eyes away at the elbow fights and hair-pulling occurring over it in Islington.

But this week, I’ve surrendered and jumped right in there and I can tell you that am fantastically waving big fronds of the green leafy stuff around in solid approval. It’s ruddy tasty.


In this recipe I’ve used the leaves where I would ordinarily use spinach (channa saag) and was astonished to see the leaves didn’t shrink like spinach does and became lovely and tender within minutes.

This is a great and quick mid-week supper, packed full of creamy and voluptuous chickpeas and braised kale in a scant spicy tomato sauce. Best scooped up with hot whole meal chapattis to complete the virtuous loop.

Kale and chickpea curry

Serves 4

  • 3 tablespoons rapeseed oil
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 plum tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tins of chickpeas (480g), rinsed and drained (a good quality brand like Napoli)
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • ¾ tsp turmeric
  • 200g kale, chopped

Heat the oil in a lidded pan over a medium heat and when hot add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Stir for a minute or until you can smell the cumin and the mustard seeds pop, then throw in the onions. Fry the onions for 10 -12 minutes until translucent and browning, then add the garlic. Stir-fry for around 3 minutes and add the tomatoes and the tomato puree, stir and leave to cook for around 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, add the chickpeas, warm through then add the coriander, cumin, chilli, turmeric and salt. Toss the chickpeas around in the spices to coat then pour in 2cm of hot water.

Pop the lid on and leave the chickpeas to simmer for 5 minutes, add the chopped kale a handful at a time, stir to coat and pop the lid on. Cook for around 5 minutes until kale is soft and tender.

Serve with chapattis or basmati rice and a dollop of yoghurt.

kale and chickpea curry