Make It Tonight, and Make It Quick

This dish, Shrimp, Chickpeas and Spinach with Ginger and Cumin has the essence of a long-cooked soup or stew, but takes only a fraction of the time to make. Onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, cilantro, and a pinch of cayenne punch up the flavor—but not enough for us. While the flavors are good in this dish, they’re extremely subtle, so you may want to pump up the volume of some of the spices. (The amounts we included are noted in blue in the list of ingredients.) 

Instead of a skillet, we used our carbon steel, flat-bottomed wok because we thought it a more appropriate cooking vessel. And always looking for ways to increase flavor, in Step 4 where 1 1/2 cups of water is called for, we substituted vegetable broth—but chicken or seafood broth could also be incorporated.

Make It Tonight suggests serving it with Lemony Rice with Scallions (recipe follows), and that sounded just fine with us. Cook your rice according to directions, but add the zest of half a lemon. When done, add thinly sliced-on-a-diagonal scallions and the juice of half a lemon. Ladle the “stew”over the rice.


Shrimp, Chickpeas and Spinach with Ginger and Cumin

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 3/4 lb. (1 lb.) large shrimp (31 to 40 count), peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large lemon, cut into 5 wedges
  • 1 small (medium) onion (about 4 oz.), chopped
  • 1-1/2 (2) Tbs. finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 small (3 large) cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. (1 1/2 tsp.) ground cumin
  • Pinch (1/2 tsp.) cayenne
  • 1 1/2 cups water (we used vegetable broth)
  • 1 14- to 16-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 10 oz. (1 lb.) mature spinach, well washed, stemmed, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

After a few minutes of stir-frying, the shrimp are moved to a platter and dashed with a squeeze of lemon.

Next, chopped onion is stir-fried for 5 minutes or so.

IMG_5397Cumin and cayenne are cooked fragrant. Next add 1-1/2 cups waterm(or broth) and the chickpeas. Simmer over medium-high heat for 5 minutes to develop the flavors.

Carefully toss the spinach and cilantro to help them cook evenly and wilt, about 2 minutes.


  1. In a small bowl, toss the shrimp with 1/2 tsp. salt. Heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the shrimp and cook until one side is pink, about 2 minutes. Turn the shrimp over and continue to cook until pink all over, still a bit translucent in the center, 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Take the skillet off the heat and transfer the shrimp to a plate. Squeeze one of the lemon wedges over the shrimp.
  3. Put the skillet over medium heat. Pour the remaining 1 Tbs. oil into the skillet, then add the onion. Sprinkle with a big pinch of salt and cook until the edges of the onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the cumin and cayenne and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add 1-1/2 cups water, the chickpeas, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Simmer over medium-high heat for 5 minutes to develop the flavors.
  5. Using a potato masher, mash about half of the chickpeas right in the pan. Add the spinach and cilantro. Using tongs, carefully toss the greens to help them cook evenly and wilt, about 2 minutes.
  6. Add the reserved shrimp and any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Cook for another 1 or 2 minutes to reheat the shrimp and cook them fully (be careful not to overcook them).
  7. Season with salt to taste. Portion into warm bowls and serve with the remaining lemon wedges on the side.

Adapted from the “Make It Tonight” series by Joanne Smart from Fine Cooking


Lemony Rice Pilaf with Scallions

This simple side dish is perfect for those nights when you have very little in your fridge. Serve with grilled fish, chicken, or shrimp.

Lemony Rice Pilaf with Scallions

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 12 oz. scallions (20 to 24), thinly sliced, whites kept separate from greens
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1-3/4 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice


  1. Melt the butter in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the scallion whites, 1/4 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper and cook, stirring often, until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the wine and simmer to reduce by half, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until it begins to crackle, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the broth, lemon zest, and 1 tsp. salt; bring to a boil.
  3. Cover and turn the heat down to low. Cook until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff the scallion greens and lemon juice into the rice with a fork and serve.

By Julissa Roberts from Fine Cooking

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