Coconut Curried Chickpeas with Choi Sum

This curry is sweet and delicious.  Shredded unsweetened coconut and tomato sauce combine for a wonderful creamy texture!
This curry is sweet and delicious. Shredded unsweetened coconut and tomato sauce combine for a wonderful creamy texture!

On the way home from the record store today I thought: what are we having for dinner?  My mental inventory of the kitchen was blank.  Since I have a one year old baby, I really, really did not want to stop at the store on the way home (she was asleep)!  So we bravely ventured home and I figured I would whip up something with what few ingredients we had on hand.

This is what I made.

It is awesome!

We had a bag of dry chickpeas, an onion and few cloves of garlic, a box of salt-free tomato sauce, and four tiny heads of choi sum fresh in the fridge.  Choi sum is a relative of (and basically identical to) baby bok choi.  My big find was the leftovers of a bag of shredded unsweetened coconut way in the back of the cabinet.  Now we have ingredients for something great!  I went to work.  First I

Dry or canned?  I keep a couple cans of cooked, no salt added chickpeas around for convenience, but I try to cook them myself when I am able.
Dry or canned? I keep a couple cans of cooked, no salt added chickpeas around for convenience, but I try to cook them myself when I am able.

brought the dry chickpeas to a boil in a large pot, turned off the heat and let soak for 1 hour.  Meanwhile I chopped and prepped the other ingredients.  Then I boiled the chickpeas for 45 minutes, cooked up some red quinoa, and started the recipe below.

You can use any “sweet curry” for this recipe (really any curry will do).  I make my own from: 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon turmeric, 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg.

I keep green garnish around in the fridge for a few days and throw it on top of leftovers.  It really makes a difference in how much I enjoy food the day after!
I keep green garnish around in the fridge for a few days and throw it on top of leftovers. It really makes a difference in how much I enjoy food the day after!

Coconut Curried Chickpeas with Choi Sum

4 Heads choi sum (or baby bok choi), rinsed and chopped.  Separate the chopped leafy part from the chopped stems.

3 Spring onions, chopped.  Separate the green from the chopped white parts of the stem.

1 Large yellow onion, chopped

1/4 Cup chopped cilantro

7 Cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed with flat end of large knife

15 oz Tomato sauce

1 Cup soy or other plant-based milk

1/3 Cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1 Pound bag of chickpeas, cooked according to package directions

Cooked red quinoa or other whole grains provide a yummy starchy base for plant-based curry.
Cooked red quinoa or other whole grains provide a yummy starchy base for plant-based curry.

1 Teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 or 2 Tablespoons curry powder, or to taste

Heat a large pot over medium high heat.  Add the crushed garlic, chopped onion, white parts of the spring onion, chopped choi sum stems, and 1/2 cup water.  Use the water saute method to cook the veggies for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent.  If the water evaporates, add a few more tablespoons as needed.

Curry simmering on the stove.  Smells heavenly!
Curry simmering on the stove. Smells heavenly!

Add the crushed red pepper and curry powder to the pot and stir for a few seconds until fragrant.  Add the shredded coconut, tomato sauce, and soy milk.  Stir in the chickpeas and choi sum greens, cover and reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes.  Ladle curried chickpeas over cooked brown rice or red quinoa, top with the chopped cilantro and remaining spring onions, and serve.

Whole foods plant based cooking is so rewarding because it can seem like you make "something from nothing."  Take another look at your bare pantry.  You might just find ingredients for a masterpiece dish!
Whole foods plant based cooking is so rewarding because it can seem like you make “something from nothing.” Take another look at your bare pantry. You might just find ingredients for a masterpiece dish!

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