chickpea tikka masala with green rice

by Kathryne Taylor.



  • 2 cups packed baby spinach (about 2 oz)
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper , seeded, deribbed, and roughly chopped
  • ¼ large yellow onion , roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic , roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 ¾ cups water , divided
  • 1 ½ cups long-grain brown rice , preferably basmati, rinsed


  • 1 Tbsp grated or minced fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic , pressed or minced
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • optional: Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 28 oz whole tomatoes or diced tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ large yellow onion , finely chopped
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
  • ¾ cup canned coconut milk , or more if needed
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro , plus more for garnish


  1. To prepare the green rice: In a food processor or blender, combine the spinach, jalapeño, onion, garlic, olive oil, salt, and ½ cup of the water. Blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan, reserving the food processor or blender bowl for later.
  2. Add the remaining 1 ¼ cups water to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Add the rice, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook on a low simmer until the rice is tender and has absorbed all of the liquid, about 40 minutes. There will be a layer of green on top, so you’ll need to take off the lid and check underneath with a fork to be sure it’s done. (If the rice has absorbed all of the moisture but is still a little crunchy, add a couple more tablespoons of water and cook for a few minutes longer.) Once the rice is done, remove the pot from the heat and let the rice steam, covered, for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, to prepare the chickpea tikka masala: The tikka masala comes together quickly, so before you get started, prepare the ginger and garlic and place in a small bowl. In another small bowl, combine all of the ground spices (coriander, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, and cayenne, if using). Place both bowls near the stove so they are handy.
  4. Rinse out the food processor or blender bowl. Pour the tomatoes and their liquid into the food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
  5. In a large, nonreactive skillet or Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and salt. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the ground spice mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the puréed tomatoes, chickpeas, coconut milk, and cilantro. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.
  6. Fluff the rice with a fork, stirring the green on top back into the rice, and season with additional salt if necessary (I always need at least ¼ teaspoon more). Season the tomato mixture with additional salt until the flavors really sing (again, I always need at least ¼ teaspoon more). If necessary, add another splash of coconut milk to mellow the spices.
  7. To serve, spoon the rice into individual bowls and top with the chickpea masala. Finish the bowls with a light sprinkle of chopped cilantro. If you have leftovers, store the rice and masala separately. Leftover masala is also great with warm whole-grain naan.

serves 4.


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