Chana Masala

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So now the festivities are over, most of us are probably excited to finish the last of the chocolates and get back to regular portion sizes. I love that indulgence is acceptable, and even encouraged, over the holidays but after a few days I begin to feel a little lethargic and heavy in myself. The trouble for most of us is that the cold weather and short days make us turn to comforting food rather than the lighter foods I love once the sun comes out.

If you are anything like me, my body craves warmth and carbohydrates at this time of the year, so it becomes a balancing act, listening to what my body wants and how I feel as a result. It can actually be a little tricky, but I'm learning that my body needs different things at different times and learning to be accepting of that.

While I was in Goa, my absolute favourite dish to order was chana masala - a delicious chick pea curry - and I ate it almost every time I went out to eat. The way it was cooked, like a lot of the food there, was with a lot of oil, flavour and of course a little spice. I wanted to try to recreate it at home, but with a slightly healthier twist by holding back a little on the oiliness and while it does make a different take on the dish, it is just as delicious and full of nostalgia for me.

I thought now would be the perfect time to share this recipe as we bridge the gap between feasting over Christmas and breaking into new habits for the new year - it is fresh, healthy but with that comforting feeling that we may still be yearning for.

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Ingredients (serves 2)

75g of brown rice (I like short grain for texture)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tin of chickpeas

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

125g of cherry tomatoes

100g of spinach

1/2 lemon

1 onion

2 large cloves of garlic

a small piece of fresh ginger

1 red chilli

a handful of coriander

2 teaspoons of cumin

1 teaspoon or turmeric

1 teaspoon of paprika

1 teaspoon of garam masala

Start by cooking the rice according to the instructions. Usually a ratio of 2 parts water, one part rice is about right, depending on your saucepan.

Finely chop the onion, chilli and ginger and leave to one side.

In a large saucepan, add the olive oil over a medium heat then add the garlic, crushed, and spices and stir well.

Place the onion chilli and ginger into the pan and allow the onion to soften, taking care not to allow anything to burn. While you wait, half or quarter the cherry tomatoes.

Once the onion has softened, add the cherry tomatoes and chickpeas and stir well. Once the cherry tomatoes have also softened a little, add the tinned tomatoes and spinach, cooking until the liquid begins to reduce and thicken. Then squeeze in the lemon, stirring well before serving with rice and garnish with chopped coriander.

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Mains, OtherAnnie Clarke