Chana saag “a la española” (Spanishised chana saag)

We cook dals and curries quite often, but after we had spent the beginning of the year in Spain, we wondered whether we could cook a curry but in a Spanish style. I was certain this was possible—after all, chickpeas with spinach is a typical dish in southern Spain—and yet it was amusing to do it deliberately: to set out to cook a curry but using Spanish seasoning only.


  • 1 medium onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 can cooked chickpeas (~400gr )
  • 1 can tomatoes (~400gr)
  • Spinach (~100gr)
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 red pepper
  • Optional: half a preserved lemon (or a small one)
  • Pine nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Paprika


  1. Dice the onion into smallish cubes (or slice finely, using a mandolin)
  2. For the next ingredients: peel/wash/slice and leave aside:
  3. Peel and finely cut the garlic.
  4. Wash and slice the courgette.
  5. Wash and slice the red pepper.
  6. Dice the preserved lemon into smallish cubes.
  7. Now, add oil to a big pan and when it’s hot, add the onions and keep on a medium-high heat until they start to soften a bit and become translucent. Stir frequently and add more oil if they seem too dry.
  8. Add the red pepper and cook until it starts to soften too, stirring
  9. Add the garlic, cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring
  10. Add the courgette, cook until it starts to become soft and a bit brown in the edges
  11. Make a ‘hole’ in the center of the pan by bringing the ingredients to the side, set the heat to very high, wait 30 seconds and then pour the contents of the tomato can
  12. Cook on this high heat for 1 minute or until you can’t stand it anymore
  13. Reduce the heat to medium and mix in the tomato with the rest of ingredients
  14. Cook for 10 minutes on medium heat
  15. Drain the chickpeas (perhaps also rinse them again if the liquid inside is too thick and slimy), add them to the pan and mix them well with the rest of ingredients
  16. Put a lid on the pan, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  17. Add about a teaspoon of paprika, but if you want to add more, go for it—it depends on your tastes!
  18. Add a handful of pine nuts.
  19. Add salt (a few pinches).
  20. Mix everything well, and taste. If it’s sour, it needs to simmer for longer. Add more salt if needed, and stir and taste again.
  21. When it feels ‘ready’, mix in the spinach leaves, a bunch at a time. Add them and fold them into the pan, waiting for them to wilt before adding the next bunch.
  22. Add the preserved lemons, if using.


You could have this warm or cold as a sort of salad (but it is too cold for salads these days, so I suggest you have it warm).

We also added an extra soft boiled egg “for protein”, as we had both gone to the gym and our muscles could welcome some nourishment. But you could leave it out if you’re doing Veganuary or something ?

It also keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days, or maybe more, but we didn’t give it a chance—we ate the leftovers soon!

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