All right, so once you are done wincing at the title of my post, you will realize that I am trying, truly trying to get people (well, mostly one person) to take a shot at this chana masala. This dish is an Indian style curried chickpea dish that has lasted with me for a while.
In India, this dish actually has a super simple name – chole or chickpeas, but let us not get sidetracked with names.
I am actually trying to sell this dish to my dear friend Julianna, who is not really very fond of cooking. However, since she wanted to give the slow cooker a shot I thought this might be the one.
In fact, given her love for Indian food she might just get as hooked on to this recipe as the rest of my family. This dish like her is reliable, comforting and totally unpretentious but never fails to hit the spot.
My behaviour with this recipe actually reminds me of my seven year old. Aadi loves geography and is very good at it, actually much at the subject than can be expected from his relatively young years.
To compensate, I am just as bad at geography, this makes the little one keep trying fun ways to try to teach me the spread of the world. Yesterday, he even gave me a sticker for my efforts.
Well, back to the dish itself, it has a bit of a history.
Many moons ago, at graduate school I was invited to an international potluck and asked to bring something for thirty people. Those days I did not quite have the ability to toss things together the way I do today, I also had a more frugal culinary budget and cooking for thirty people seemed like such a daunting number.
To allay my fears, my friend Lina offered me her slow cooker. Now, I was not sure what to do with it. I had seen her throw things into it and actually serve herself and some of us some pretty decent creations, but this was nothing like any of mom’s pots and pans.
As for the chickpeas, I had become pretty reliant on them and possibly could tackle them for a crowd. I decided to give the slow cooker a try and actually got some scallions to dress up the dish. I did not realize that I was creating a dish that would work and stay with me for almost two decades.
Even my children love it without the chilies. The best part of it all is that it pretty much cooks by itself.
While I do add the onions and tomatoes later in the game, I finish the prepping in one fell swoop and enjoy this dish with or without a crowd.
An easy variation of curried chickpeas done in a slow cooker.
- 1 cup dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 2 and 1/2 cups water
- salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 red onion, cut into a dice
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 teaspoons cumin-coriander powder
- 3 tomatoes
- 1 inch piece peeled fresh ginger
- 2 green chilies
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 lemon or lime
- 3/4 cup chopped scallions
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- Place the chickpeas, water, salt and turmeric in the slow cooker and set to a 6 hour cycle on high.
- After about 4 hours, add in the onions, oil and the cumin coriander powder.
- Grind the tomatoes, ginger and green chilies into a puree in a blender and place in the slow cooker and let this cook for the remaining two hours.
- The chickpeas should be very soft and the gravy thick, bright and saucy.
- Turn off the slow cooker and stir in the garam masala and let the mixture rest for 15 minutes.
- Cut the lime or lemon and squeeze in the juice. Stir in the scallions (reserving a little for garnish if desired) and the cilantro and serve.