These crispy spinach curry rolls are India’s answer to burritos. A typically spicy curry is rolled into roti, an Indian flatbread, and then fried until crisp.
This version uses a heady combination of gingered, curried chickpeas and spinach as the filling.
Fresh mozzarella acts as a stand in for paneer, an Indian cheese, and adds a bit of creamy, ooey gooey richness to the dish. On the side, there’s a sweet apricot chutney for dipping.
Garbanzo beans a.k.a. chickpeas are traced back to the Middle East. About 3000 B.C., they were cultivated in the Mediterranean. Soon they spread to India and Africa. They were very popular with the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans. Of course, explorers spread the beans around the world as they traveled across the oceans.
Chickpeas have been found at several early archaeological sites, including such sites as the Pre-Pottery Neolithic sites of Tell el-Kerkh (ca. 8,000 B.C.) and Dja’de in Syria(about 9,000 B.C.), Cayönü (7250-6750 BC), Hacilar (ca 6700 BC), and Akarçay Tepe (7280-8700 BP) in Turkey; and Jericho (8350 BC to 7370 BC) in the West Bank.
In 1793, ground-roast chickpeas were noted by a German writer as a substitute for coffee in Europe. And during World War 1, they were grown for this use in some areas of Germany for the Axis powers. They are still sometimes brewed instead of coffee.
Nutritionally, garbanzos are an excellent source of protein. Combined with a grain such as rice or pasta, garbanzos become a complete protein, almost as good as meat, but without the unhealthy fat. They are source of cholesterol lowering fiber, and especially high in insoluble fiber which helps prevent digestive disorders such as diverticulosis and irritable bowel syndrome.
Crispy Spinach Curry Rolls with Apricot Chutney
- 1 medium red onion
- 1 oz fresh ginger
- garlic use 2 large cloves
- 1 can chickpeas
- 4 oz fresh mozzarella
- 5 oz baby spinach
- 1 ⁄2 oz curry powder
- 1 oz apricot preserves
- 4 8-inch flour tortillas
- kosher salt & ground pepper
- neutral oil such as vegetable
- apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
- Prep ingredients: Halve onion, then peel and finely chop about 1 1⁄2 cups. Peel ginger and finely chop 1 1⁄2 tablespoons (save rest for own use). Peel and finely chop 2 teaspoons of garlic. Drain chickpeas over a bowl to reserve 1⁄2 cup liquid. Cut mozzarella into 1⁄4-inch pieces.
- Sauté aromatics: Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add 1⁄2 of spinach, cover, cook to wilt, 1 minute. Transfer to a fine- mesh sieve; press out liquid. Add 1 tablespoon oil and 3⁄4 of the onion to skillet over medium-high; cook, stirring, until golden, 3-4 minutes. Add 3⁄4 each of ginger and garlic, cook 1 minute. Add 1 1⁄2 tablespoons of curry; cook until toasted, 1 minute.
- Make curry: Add chickpeas, 1⁄4 cup of the reserved liquid, and 1 teaspoon of salt, and cook over medium heat, coarsely mashing chickpeas with a spoon. Cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is evaporated and chickpeas are very thick, 2–3 minutes. Stir in cooked spinach and transfer to a plate to cool slightly. Fold in mozzarella.
- Make chutney: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small saucepan over medium. Add remaining onion, cook, stirring, 2–3 minutes. Add remaining ginger and garlic ; cook, 1 minute. Add apricot preserves, 3 tablespoons each of vinegar and chickpea liquid, and 1 tablespoon of sugar; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until reduced to 1⁄2 cup, 1–2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; season with salt.
- Make curry rolls: Place tortillas on a work surface and mound filling in the centers. Spread filling to 4-inch by 2-inch rectangles. Fold in sides of the tortilla, then tightly roll up into a cylinder, like a burrito. In a large bowl, whisk 1⁄2 tablespoon of vinegar with 1 tablespoon oil, and a pinch each salt and pepper. Add remaining spinach, and toss to combine.
- Cook curry rolls: Rinse and dry skillet. Heat a scant 1⁄8-inch oil over medium-high. Add curry rolls, seam side-down, and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 4–5 minutes (reduce heat if browning too quickly). Transfer to a paper towel-lined cutting board to drain. Cut each roll in half, and serve with chutney and a salad alongside. Enjoy!