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Child friendly chick pea, spinach and squash curry

I fancied making a veggie curry so, not being very experienced in the curry department, I turned to Google for inspiration. A quick search for ‘spinach, chick pea, squash curry’ and, loandbehold, the lovely Niamh Shields’ blog, Eat Like a Girl, comes up. I decided to give *her recipe a whirl, with my own tweaks here and there: I omitted chillies in the cooking because of the kids, added cardamom to the spice mix as I love it, plus more ginger and garlic, replaced lemon for lime – and cooked the squash for longer than Niamh does, as mine was cut up into chunkier pieces. 
Don’t be afraid of cooking up curries for kids; mine love them, especially when they have a creamy coconut flavour like this. Just leave out the chilli in the cooking and serve with fresh chopped chillies as a garnish for grown ups. My children love strong flavours, and they appreciate a good ‘ruby murray’ as much as any grown up. My daughter could not get this curry into her little gob fast enough! This would make a great meal for a baby, whizzed up into a puree. 
We served ours with plain basmati rice, some seasoned yoghurt (natural or Greek yoghurt with a little grated / crushed garlic, salt and ground cumin and paprika on top), and with plenty of fresh coriander. 
I cut the squash into largish, bitesize chunks so it took a while to cook. If you want it on the table quicker, dice it smaller (although I think the curry benefitted from a slightly longer cooking). 
To make perfectly fluffy, non-stodgy rice: One glass (half a pint size) full of rice is more than enough here. Rinse your rice very well in cold water – I do mine in a sieve. Then tip it into a pan and cover with twice as much cold water exactly. Cover and bring to boil then turn it down and leave it alone! When you think it’s done (about 15 mins), only then remove the lid, and carefully check with a fork than there is any water left at the bottom of the pan. If there isn’t, turn the heat off and let it sit in its own steam for 10 more minutes. If there is, cook for a few more minutes until all the water is gone. 
*Just a note to say most recipes here on the blog are 100% mine. Some however are adapted from another person’s recipe, normally it’s baking recipes actually as they are harder to invent from scratch. When I adapt a recipe I always say so and link to the source where possible, as here. Hope you don’t mind me adapting this Niamh! : ) 
Serves: 4 people (a generous portion)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds scraped out and cut into chunks (mine were about bite size pieces)
1 x 200g bag of spinach
1 tin of chick peas (about 400g) or equivalent amount of cooked chick peas, which in my case was 300g
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped finely
3 inches of ginger, cut into small strips / diced small 
1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
2 cardamon pods
1/2 tablespoon turmeric
8 black peppercorns
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tin of coconut milk 
juice of 1/2 lime, plus more to serve
handful of fresh coriander
1 or 2 fresh red chillies 
1 tablespoon of plain oil, like sunflower

Soften the onion, garlic, and ginger in oil over a medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Crush the spices in a pestle and mortar. If you don’t own a P&M, simply bash the cumin, coriander and cardamom seeds with the back of a large knife or crush as well as you can with the back of a spoon.
Add the spices to the pan and cook out for a couple more minutes.
Tip in your diced squash and stir to coat in the spice and onion mix. Empty the cans of tomatoes and coconut into the pan and stir well. Bring to the boil, and cover. Cook over a low heat for as long as it takes to get the squash almost cooked (take a piece out to test). Mine took 35 minutes to get to the stage as I cut my squash quite large, if you cut it small, it will take less time.
Add your chick peas when your squash is about 10 minutes away from being just perfect.
At the last minute, stir in, bit by bit, the bag of spinach. Stir well and squeeze in the juice of half a lime. Season as you like with salt.
Serve immediately with lots of chopped fresh coriander, sliced red chillies for grown ups, and steaming basmati rice – preferably with some yoghurt on the side, oh and some more lime for squeezing. It’s also very good the next day I might add…


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