Super Simple Slow Cooker Chana Masala (chickpeas)

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 Super Simple Slow Cooker Chana Masalainto 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.

Super Simple Slow Cooker Chana Masala

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Total Time: 6 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 10 servings

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


  1. Place the chickpeas, water, salt and turmeric in the slow cooker and set to a 6 hour cycle on high.
  2. After about 4 hours, add in the onions, oil and the cumin coriander powder.
  3. 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.
  4. The chickpeas should be very soft and the gravy thick, bright and saucy.
  5. Turn off the slow cooker and stir in the garam masala and let the mixture rest for 15 minutes.
  6. 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.
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About rinkub


  1. Looks very inviting!I perfect mix of spices quite evident by the color of the dish.

  2. Jeanette says:

    I love my slow cooker – it is at least 20 years old but I still use it – and I especially like it for cooking beans. This sounds like a great meal and so easy to make.

  3. Making this today! Your recipes are always amazing! :)

  4. This was delicious! I added a bunch of chopped kale and used precooked homemade chickpeas. Yum!

  5. simi says:

    we have to things in common no actually three one – i suck at geography second- i love channa ( slow cooker is better) love the flavors three- blogger like you

    awesome clicks and thou i have saying am drooling.. i think i have no other choice of words

  6. Jessica says:


    I’m writing my shopping list right now, and can’t wait to make this! Quick question about the green chiles…do you roast them or do anything to them before pureeing them with the ginger and tomatoes?

    Thanks for the recipe!


  7. Jamie Skappel says:

    Hi Rinkub,
    Do you soak the chickpeas overnight before cooking? I can’t wait to make this, it looks fantastic.

  8. Isabel says:

    Would this be possible to do with a slowcooker set to low? I have to be out of the house for longer than four hours (when the tomatoes and such would need to go in).
    I’m thinking that if I set them to low for six-seven hours, put in the tomato mixture and let cook for another two. Would that be enough? Too much?

  9. heatherbee says:

    I made this recipe last night for a meeting of my book club… the chana masala was amazing! I doubled the recipe in its entirety—a mistake because of the large volume of liquid—and had to transfer everything to a Dutch oven. Even so, this dish was excellent. A club member from Mumbai complimented me profusely… Thanks, Rinku!

    • rinkub says:

      Thanks, the moisture does depend on the ripeness of the tomatoes, it is a little difficult to get it down to a science. It is a relatively fool-proof recipe, though. Thanks for trying!

  10. Barbara T says:

    Hi Just made this dish. It he amount of chick peas correct? Mine came out a bit watery and certainly not enough for 10 people. Good flavor!

    • rinkub says:

      Hi Barbara,

      I made this today, and actually increased the amount of chickpeas to 1 cup. Now, the amount does depend on what else you are serving the dish with. If it is with other things I think it is enough.


  11. Emma says:

    I’m going to have to try this! It looks great. I even featured it in a post today

  12. Frances says:

    My blender does not have a “grind” setting … what setting should I be using?

  13. We definitely need to give this a try. Love eating Indian but don’t cook it at home very often.

  14. Laura says:

    We made this last night, and it was great! As an entree it served four people.

  15. Kyle says:

    Can I use can chickpeas instead of dried ones with the same results?

  16. Julia says:

    This dish is AWESOME!!! I’ve been trying to adopt a few vegan days a week and this is going to be a new standby AND I have always abhorred my crock pot. You’ve truly given me a gift of this recipe and future inspiration!!

    Thank you!

  17. Melissa says:

    I never heard of cumin-coriander powder. I have cumin and coriander, though. How much of each?

  18. Joanne says:

    We ate this tonight. It was lovely and I even had to leave out the garam masala as we didn’t have any. I did soak the chickpeas overnight and still cooked on high for 8 hours. Balance of flavours was perfect! Thanks for sharing!

  19. Jess says:


    This looks like a great recipe!! I would like to make it. Just 1 question though: How many servings does this yield?

  20. Amber says:

    Do you turn the crockpot down to low after adding the puree and onions or leave it on low for the last two hours??

  21. Tammy says:

    Thanks so much for this. We’ve added it to our standards, and even the kids love it :) . I serve it on top of warm naan, and sometimes with some sausages if hubby is grumbling for meat! I’d love to hear other suggestions on what to serve it on or with…? (Also for people leaving out the Garam Masala- it’s a spice blend, there is a good chance you have the ingredients to make your own! Toyally worth it!)


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