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Weeknight Indian Pumpkin Curry with Chickpeas

Indian Inspired Pumpkin & Chickpea Curry

Course Entree
Cuisine Indian
Keyword chickpeas, curry, pumpkin
Author TheSpicedLife


For legumes:

  • 2 cups dried chickpeas
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 3 fat garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 t paprika, or cayenne
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 cup split red lentils

For curry:

  • 1 1/2 T grapeseed oil
  • 1-3 T ghee, to taste and need
  • 1 T dark mustard seeds
  • 8 cloves
  • 3 2-inch cinnamon sticks, I used Cassia this time
  • 25-30 fresh or frozen curry leaves
  • 1 T cumin seeds
  • 2 large red onions, thinly sliced
  • 8 fat cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t paprika, or cayenne
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 T ground coriander
  • 3 t garam masala, divided
  • 3 T double strength tomato paste, or use 6 T regular strength
  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
  • 6 oz frozen spinach, I would have used full 10 oz if I had had it
  • handful chopped cilantro, use as much as 1 cup
  • 2 t amchur
  • 1-4 T jaggery, to taste (brown sugar is acceptable sub)
  • 3 T fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • salt to taste


  1. Place the dried chickpeas, turmeric, paprika (or cayenne), minced shallot and garlic in a 4 qt sauce pan. Cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil.
  2. Let boil for 5 minutes. Skim any foam from surface. Cover and reduce to a gentle simmer. Check occasionally to make sure the chickpeas are still covered by 2 inches of water.
  3. When the chickpeas are tender but still quite firm, add 1 teaspoon of salt and the split red lentils. Make sure the water still covers the legumes by 2 inches. Return to a boil.
  4. When the water boils, reduce the heat once again to a gentle simmer. Let simmer for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through and the chickpeas are even more tender.
  5. Take the legumes off the heat and let them just sit until needed in the curry.
  6. To make the curry, heat the grapeseed oil and ghee in a large, heavy pot, such as a Dutch oven. Add the cinnamon sticks, cloves and mustard seeds.
  7. Cover with a lid. When the mustard seeds finish popping, add the cumin seeds and curry leaves--be careful as the curry leaves will splatter. Let roast until the mixture is fragrant and darkened. Watch carefully as cumin seeds can burn quickly.
  8. Add the onions with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally over medium high heat, until the onions are caramelized. This will take about 20 minutes--add water if the onions start to scorch.
  9. When they are caramelized, add the minced garlic and ginger. Let cook, stirring, for another 5 minutes.
  10. Add the tomato paste, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, paprika (or cayenne) and 1 teaspoon of the garam masala. Stir to roast the spices for a minute or 2. Add a splash of water if needed to prevent burning.
  11. Add the pureed pumpkin and mix into the onion mixture. Let cook, stirring, for 1-3 minutes.
  12. Add the cooked chickpeas and lentils with their cooking water. Scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze it. Bring to a simmer and add the spinach and cilantro. Add some salt, to taste.
  13. Let simmer for 30-60 minutes (I have made this kind of curry quickly and I have also let it cook more slowly, for longer, when I needed to wait for other parts of the meal to be ready).
  14. Add the amchur and 1 teaspoon of garam masala. Let simmer another 10 minutes.
  15. Add 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 T of jaggery (or brown sugar). Wait for the jaggery to dissolve and then taste for more salt, lemon juice, jaggery or garam masala. I needed a total of 3 teaspoons of garam masala (so 1 more teaspoon of garam masala), 4 T jaggery (I like things sweet).
  16. We really enjoyed this curry with a sweet and sour chutney with dried fruit. If you do not have one, you might consider adding golden raisins or dried cherries to the curry.