Does anything sound more exotic than visiting Bombay during the summer? Imagine exploring the bustling city and all of its ancient architecture, learning about the history of the seven islands, and eating your way through the streets of numerous communities and cultures. Sounds amazing doesn’t it?
I pretended—is it odd that a fifty-one year old women still pretends—that I was in India a few nights ago while eating this Bombay kale & chickpea stir-fry. Alex, my husband, and I dined al fresco in her happening Chicago neighborhood, it was hot, it was busy, I was eating an Indian dish, and it just felt right to imagine that I was on a vacation in India. A vegan girl can dream.
There’s something about a hot summer day that makes me crave Indian food. The spices in garam masala are so appealing to me when it’s hot and sunny, which is so weird because masala means “to heat the body” in Ayurvedic medicine. If I’m already hot, why would I want to eat something that is supposed to make me sweat? I don’t know.
The Bombay kale & chickpea stir-fry that I had at Wilde wasn’t too spicy, it was savory and mild in flavor and reminded me of my version of garam masala. I knew that I had to try and replicate this delicious recipe at home, so I set out to make it for dinner the following night. You can never have too many chickpeas, kale, or fragrant Indian spices in on week. And besides, my husband and son needed to try this.
The recipe begins and ends with my homemade garam masala. Cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, black pepper, nutmeg, and a bay leaf all mixed together make the most fragrant and savory spice blend. This stuff should be turned into a candle so that I can smell its delicious aroma every day of the week.
Once you mix up the spices (you can buy pre mixed garam masala if you want), it’s time to puree four fresh tomatoes. I used my Blendtec Blender and it turned the tomatoes, seeds included, into a bright and frothy tomato juice. Pour the tomato puree into a large skillet, add a bit of red wine to add depth of flavor and color to the tomato base, and then add the garam masala, some freshly ground ginger, a pinch of coconut or brown sugar, and salt to taste. Now add the drained and rinsed chickpeas and simmer for twenty minutes to a half hour until they soak up the broth and soften a bit. Add the kale and cook until it’s slightly wilted. And that’s it. Easy, quick, and delicious.
While it was cooking my son walked into the kitchen and asked what I was making for dinner. He didn’t look too excited about the idea of having chickpeas in tomato broth with kale for dinner because he had a Buddha bowl with kale for lunch. I told him he was welcome to go out to get something else for dinner but he didn’t want to miss the Blackhawks game, so he decided to “suffer” through two meals with kale in one day.
After he took his first bite he realized that there would be no suffering involved with this meal. He told me it was delicious three times while he scarfed down his Bombay kale & chickpea stir-fry. So much for boring healthy food, right? He’s on a fast paced learning curve to healthy eating this summer that I can only hope continues once he gets back to school.
If you love the flavors of garam masala, and you love tender cooked chickpeas, and fresh tomato puree, and fresh ground ginger, and massaged kale, then you’re going to adore this light and savory dish. It isn’t hot and spicy, it’s mild and fragrant. It isn’t heavy and filling, it’s light and satisfying. And it isn’t a winter food—although you could eat it on a cold night and be happy—it’s a perfect summer dish.
This recipe is written for two, but since I was feeding three—me plus two hangry men—I added a second can of chickpeas and kale. Feel free to increase the ingredients to suit the number of people you’re feeding. You don’t need to add extra puree or spices is you increase by one person, but if you’re feeding four or more you should add one tomato per person and one teaspoon of garam masala and a half teaspoon of ginger. Add as much kale as you want, the more the better in my opinion.
Have you ever been to Bombay (Mumbai)?
Do you love Indian food?
Do you like spicy food in the summer?
If you like Indian food you will love our Indian Spice Cauliflower Soup!
Some of the products I used to make this Bombay Kale & Chickpea Stir-Fry:
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