Note: 1 tablespoon of store-bought or homemade garam masala or curry powder can be used in place of dry spice mix.
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- For The Spice Mix (see note above):
- 1 1/2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds, toasted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds, toasted
- 1 whole star anise, toasted
- 2 cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, toasted
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1 blade mace
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 black or green cardamom pod
- For the Curry:
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, butter, or ghee
- 1 small onion, finely minced (about 1 cup)
- 4 cloves garlic, grated on the medium holes of a box grater
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated on the medium holes of a box grater
- 1 small red or green chili, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup cashew nuts
- 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
- 2 (14-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 bunch (about 3 ounces) flat spinach leaves, trimmed, rinsed, and roughly chopped
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup fresh juice from 3 to 4 limes
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, coarsely chopped
Combine cumin, coriander, star anise, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, turmeric, and cardamom in a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder. Set aside.
Heat oil, butter, or ghee in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until melted (or until oil is shimmering). Add onion, garlic, ginger, and chili. Cook, stirring frequently, and scraping bottom of pan until golden brown and starting to burn in spots, about 10 minutes. Add cayenne, cashews, and half of spice mixture. Cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add coconut milk and remove from heat. Scrape up any browned bits from bottom of pan.
Transfer mixture to blender and starting a low speed, slowly increase speed to maximum. Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Return mixture to pot. Add chickpeas, spinach, and remaining spice mix and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until vegetables are heated through and spinach is wilted, about 10 minutes. Add salt and lime juice to taste. Stir in half of cilantro.