Chana masala makes an amazing dinner, and you can put it on autopilot with this recipe made in the slow cooker. All you need to do is dump everything in the crockpot and within a few hours you have a delicious, aromatic meal to sit down to. This recipe is free of any added oils, and it is also soy-free, gluten-free and nut-free. Serve the chana masala hot with rice or roti or naan.
Our weekends tend to be, perhaps not unlike yours, the busiest days of the week. Saturday mornings start with Jay's Saturday School, walking Opie, running errands, a trip to the Y for a workout, and then home for lunch. By the time we get home it's well past noon and I scramble to fix something real quick. But this time I was already a step ahead, with my Slow Cooker Chana Masala. And it's oil-free.
It took me just minutes to prep the ingredients for this classic Indian favorite and mix them all up in the slow cooker before running out the door. I peeked in on it a couple of times between errands, added a little more water once, and by the time we got home about six hours later, the house was filled with the amazing fragrance of the Slow Cooker Chana Masala. Better still, lunch was served, and it was delicious.
I love slow cooking because not only is it convenient, it can be really healthy. For one, it's easy to omit the fat when you don't have to saute things first, the way you do with most foods cooked on the stovetop. I do try to saute with water occasionally, but I prefer the crockpot method any day. And then, the slow cooking infuses so much great flavor into the food. Perfect for rich-tasting foods like this Slow Cooker Chana Masala.
Unlike some slow cooker recipes, this curry requires no cooking on the stovetop first. You make a puree of the tomatoes and onions along with some garlic and ginger, but all that really needs is some rough chopping and a push of the blender button. Oh, and you do need to open a can or two of chickpeas. 🙂
One quick note-- you might wonder why you need a full six hours when the chickpeas are already cooked, but trust me, you do. The long cooking helps the spices cook and meld with the chickpeas and mellows the tomatoes, onions, garlic and ginger, infusing them with a deep richness.
More chickpea recipes
Slow Cooker Chana Masala
- 29 oz chickpeas
- 1 medium onion
- 2 large tomatoes
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 large potatoes (cut in a small dice, optional. Chana masala doesn't usually have potatoes in it, and you can definitely leave them out).
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 inch knob ginger (finely chopped)
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (powdered)
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds (powdered)
- 1 tablespoon chana masala powder (or garam masala)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon chaat masala
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne (use more or less depending on your tolderance for heat)
- ¼ cup cilantro
- Salt to taste
- Puree the onions, tomatoes, garlic and ginger
- Place in the crockpot along with the rest of the ingredients, except the salt and the coriander leaves
- Add 3 cups water and set the slow cooker on high. (It is important to set this on high. Do not tweak to a low setting because the water won't cook off and you want the raw ingredients like the onions and tomatoes to cook thoroughly), I had originally suggested adding more water, but some readers say that's too much for them, so I suggest starting out with 3 cups and adding more if the mixture dries up. Six cups was just right in my cooker. Be sure to use drained chickpeas, and if you use the cooking water, factor that into the total amount of liquid used.
- Let the chana masala cook for six hours. Check occasionally and add water if needed.
- After six hours, add salt and coriander leaves and mix well.
- Serve with rice or rotis.