Cuttlefish curry with chickpeas and spinach

Cuttlefish curry with chickpeas and spinach

Everyday Seafood

Cuttlefish is perfect for a curry, because it readily takes on the spicing and responds well to slow cooking; this is especially true of bigger cuttles. If you can’t get hold of cuttlefish, or simply want a quicker curry, you can use a firm fleshed fish like monkfish or gurnard instead. I’ve used curry powder here for convenience, but you can grind and mix your own spices if you prefer.


Quantity Ingredient
600-800g cuttlefish, cleaned and cut into equal chunks
sunflower oil, for cooking
2 white onions, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
2 red chillies, deseeded and chopped
2 teaspoons madras curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 aubergine, peeled and diced
600g ripe tomatoes, chopped
400 ml tin coconut milk
400 g tin chickpeas, drained
100g baby spinach leaves
a handful coriander, leaves picked
sea salt


  1. Heat a large sauté pan over a high heat, then add a drizzle of oil. When hot, add the cuttlefish chunks and fry for 3 minutes, turning as necessary to colour evenly. Transfer the cuttlefish to a colander set over a bowl.
  2. Place the pan back over a medium heat and add another drizzle of oil. When hot, add the onions, garlic, ginger and chillies. Fry for 5 minutes until the onions are softened and starting to brown. Stir in the curry powder and garam masala and cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Now add the aubergine and tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes until the vegetables begin to collapse. Give the curry base a really good stir and then return the cuttlefish to the pan. Pour in the coconut milk and top up with enough water to just cover everything. Bring to the boil and add a good pinch of salt.
  4. Turn the heat down so that the curry is simmering very gently and cook for 1½ hours, topping up the liquor with more water if necessary to ensure everything remains covered.
  5. When the cuttlefish is soft and cooked, add the chickpeas and cook for a further 15 minutes, but don’t add any more water now – you want the liquor to reduce and thicken.
  6. Add the spinach and coriander, then taste for seasoning, adding more salt if required.
  7. Share the curry equally between 4 warmed bowls and serve with yoghurt and rice if you like. I prefer to eat it on its own with naan bread to mop up the sauce.
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