This week I dove far down into my crockpot arsenal to find something exotic, spicy, and savory.
Chana Masala ...
... in a crock-pot!
You know, I used to think that I hated Indian food. After trial and error, I learned that I actually don't. I just hated all the fried stuff I ate at Indian food buffets. So I stopped eating what my husband ordered at Indian food restaurants and decided to branch out into a healthier version of Indian food.
The first time I made Chana Masala, I was instantly in love.
It's such a healthy delicious dish. You can add chicken, like I did the first time, or you can go vegetarian all the way, like this recipe. Chana Masala, with all its spicy tomato goodness is typically made in a pot, but I've developed a way to create it in the crock-pot. Not only is it so incredibly easy (like most crock-pot recipes are), but by allowing it to simmer all day, the spices really get in there and make this recipe incredible. The crock-pot makes the spices come alive.
CROCK-POT CHANA MASALA (serves 8)
2 cups dried chickpeas*
4 cups water
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
6 oz. can tomato paste
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish
3 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 - 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper**
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Add chickpeas and water to a crock-pot and cook on low for 8 hours.
Add the rest of the ingredients (onion, tomatoes, tomato paste, spices, and herbs) to the crockpot. Stir and cook on low for at least 8 hours (or on high for at least 4 hours).
* You can substitute dried beans for canned beans and skip the first 8 hours of cooking. Use 5 cups ( 2 1/2 16 oz . cans) of chickpeas
** Use 1 full teaspoon of cayenne if you really like spicy food. Otherwise, use 1/2 teaspoon and maybe add a bit more a tiny pinch at a time, based on your spice preference.
I served mine over brown basmati rice with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt (to counteract the spiciness) with a side of steamed broccoli.
So far, this recipe has been a huge hit with everyone who has tried it My husband said this is one of his favorite dishes I've ever made, and my mom loved it too, even though she's never had Indian food in her life.
Chana Masala is a great gate-way dish for those of you who have never experienced Indian food before, and this recipe is perfect for anyone who likes to spend their free time doing anything but cooking. It comes together so effortlessly, yet so deliciously.
For another quick and easy crockpot meal, check out my Curry Chicken Soup, which was last week's recipe from my crockpot arsenal.
Kelly Davis is a blogger, freelance writer, food enthusiast, and native North Carolinian. When she's not training for a race or cooking something delicious in the kitchen, she's writing, reading, snuggling her dachshund, or plotting her next project. You can keep up with Kelly's antics and recipes on her blog, Foodie Fresh.