This recipe is best described in 4 phases: Roasting, Infusing, Simmering & Tempering
But first, here is your ingredients list:
1 can chopped tomatoes (can be plum tomatoes or even passata)
1 can chickpeas
1 small seasonal squash or pumpkin
2 medium sized onions, sliced
Ginger & garlic paste (or a big chunk of ginger and a few large cloves of garlic chopped very finely)
A handful (or more!) of spinach leaves
1 Lemon, 1 lime
Kalonji (Nigella, Black Cumin) seeds
Brown/Black mustard seeds
Fresh curry leaves (Optional, but if you can get them DEFINITELY USE THEM!)
Whole dried red chilis (or red chili flakes)
Okay, lets go…
Phase 1: ROASTING
Slice open your squash or pumpkin, drizzle with oil (DONT USE OLIVE OIL) season with some salt and pepper and roast until soft and slightly golden. After it cools down, slice off the skin and roughly chop into bite-sized chunks. Set aside.
Phase 2: INFUSING
Pour your canned tomatoes into a pot with about 1/2 to 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Add a tablespoon of your ginger and garlic paste, some curry leaves, fenugreek and cumin seeds into the tomato sauce and simmer gently for about 10 minutes.
Pass the tomato mixture through a sieve (or push through a colander with a wooden spoon) into a bowl until all you have made a smooth puree. It doesn’t have to be totally smooth but this is a way to remove all the fibrous bits and create a smooth, beautifully infused sauce. Keep the puree in a bowl and set aside.
Phase 3: SIMMERING
Heat up some oil in a heavy based pan and add 1/3 of your onions. Fry for about 5 minutes and then add another tablespoon of garlic and ginger paste. Add the tomatoes, a teaspoon of turmeric, a splash of lemon juice and season with salt. Add the chickpeas and pumpkin pieces.
Stir well and incorporate the spinach, stir until fully wilted. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for as long as you like. If the moisture absorbs, add more hot water a drizzle at a time until you have the thickness you desire.
Phase 4: TEMPERING
While the curry is simmering, use a dry frying pan to toast a sprinkling of kalonji, cumin, mustard and fenugreek seeds for a minute. Add some oil and toss in the red chilis curry leaves and remaining onion slices. Fry the onion in the seeds and spices until dark and caramelised. And set aside.
When you’re ready to serve, pour out half the tempering spices and oil into the curry and gently fold in; pour the remaining half on top to serve.
Serve with rice, chapatis, pickled salad, fresh cilantro and lime!
This curry also goes really well with plain yogurt!