Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry

Slow Cooker Chickpea Curry
From The Indian Slow Cooker, by Anupy Singla

One of the fun things about living in a big city is all the ethnic neighborhoods just a short trip from home.  To be honest we’ve yet to do most of them justice, but we definitely haven’t been ignoring the Indian neighborhood on the northwest side of town.  Our all time favorite happens to be 100% vegetarian.  Normally John is adamently against any such institution, but unlike most of the tofu and seitan-laden veggie places in our hipster neighborhood, Indian cuisine got vegetarian right.  Instead of trying to imitate meat they use hearty, protein packed staples such as chickpeas and lentils as the centerpiece of their dishes.  Add in a plethora of mouthwatering spices and some soft, garlicy naan, and we’ve entered vegetarian paradise.  But despite Indian food’s new-found popularity in America, most people still aren’t trying to cook it at home.

To be fair, it can be a little intimidating.  The first time I ever tried making a curry was for an Indian friend of mine.  The minute she stepped into my tiny apartment she ran for a window.  Apparently a little fresh air is standard practice in her house in order to avoid being overwhelmed by the admittedly pungent aromas.  But I’ve come a long way since my days of suffocating guests, mainly thanks to the purchase of a book entirely devoted to slow cooker Indian dishes.  This chickpea dish is perfect for a busy weekday.  You put everything in the crock pot the night before and leave the insert in the fridge.  Then before work you turn it on and all the work is done for you.  The only catch is the spice mix used in this dish – chana masala.  Chana means chickpea and masala means spice mixture, and thus it is a spice mixture specifically intended for everyone’s favorite hummus ingredient.  Unfortunately it is a tad tough to find. Now, if you are among the presumably 90% of our readers who know us personally, we’d be happy to donate some for your cooking enjoyment, as we were forced to buy about 5 cups of the stuff on the internet.  For everyone else, unless you live in India or an Indian neighborhood, enjoy your 5 cups of chana masala!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups dried chickpeas, cleaned and washed
  • 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 2-in piece of ginger, peeled and chopped or grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-6 green Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp coriander
  • 1 Tbsp garam masala (this one’s easy to find, check the ethnic aisle or spice aisle)
  • 1 Tbsp chana masala (this is the tougher one to find, see the paragraph above)
  • 1 Tbsp chile powder
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 12 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • sliced red onion, for garnish
  • limes, for garnish
  • Greek yogurt, for garnish
  • garlic naan, for serving
  • rice, for serving

Preparation

  1. The night before, place all ingredients EXCEPT cilantro and various garnishes into the base of your slow cooker.  This step cannot be skipped, as the chickpeas need to soak over night in order to cook the next day.
  2. Cook on high, 8-10 hours.  You may want to leave the lid off for the last 2 or so hours in order to reduce the liquid.
  3. Use the back of a wooden spoon to smash some of the chickpeas against the side of the slow cooker.
  4. Stir in cilantro.
  5. Serve with onions, a squeeze of lime, a dollop of yogurt, and naan or rice.

Makes 13 cups(!).  You will need a 5-quart slow cooker to make the full recipe.  We halved it and made it in a 3.5-quart slow cooker.

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