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Chana Palaak

Chana Palaak | TENDING the TABLE

I’ve been meaning to share this recipe with you all for a while now. Sorry it took me so long. This is one of my favorite go to meals that I’ve been making since college. It’s my riff on the classic palaak paneer but it’s dairy free which makes my tummy and my skin happy. I add coconut milk to make it rich and creamy and the chickpeas make it nice and hearty. I love it, Anders loves it, and our friend’s 11-month old baby even loves it. Every time I make this, the smell of Indian spices makes me nostalgic for our time in India and I vow to cook more Indian food. I hope you love this recipe as much as I do and that every time you make it you imagine me in India, zipping through the crowded streets on a motorbike, slurping fresh coconut water, sitting cross legged on the floor and eating with my fingers.

Chana Palaak

Serves 2


2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

5 curry leaves

1/2 onion, diced

1 teaspoon salt

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced

6 cups loosely packed spinach leaves

lemon juice

1 cup full fat coconut milk

1 15-ounce can chickpeas

cooked quinoa or rice for serving


Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the spices and the curry leaves and cook until fragrant and beginning to pop, about 10-20 seconds. Add the onion, ginger and salt and sautee until the onion is soft and translucent.  Add the spinach and cook until just wilted. Add a squeeze of lemon to keep the spinach vibrant and remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the mixture to a blender and pulse 5-10 times until you have a chunky puree. Return the mixture to the pan. Add in the coconut milk and chickpeas and stir to combine. Serve with rice or quinoa.

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