Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Crockpot Channa Masala (Curried Chickpea Stew) + How to Crockpot Cook Chickpeas

Canned chickpeas (garbanzos) are fantastic in a pinch, but pale in comparison to the slow cooker version when the beans get very tender and creamy.

Slow cooking couldn't be easier. Just soak overnight in some salted water (the salt helps to soften the outer membrane of the bean and infuses them with flavor). In the morning drain and cook as directed. The recipe is at the bottom of this page.

This Chana Masala or Curried Chickpea Stew is on heavy rotation in my house. As a single girl on a budget this dish is perfect. It's packed full of protein and keeps well in the fridge for a week. It also freezes really well, so I make a big batch and tuck it away.

If you can't find garam masala in your local grocery store, you can make your own blend. Or, buy from one of my favorite online spice shops. Savory Spice in Denver grinds their own and each jar has an expiration date so you know you are getting the freshest batch.

2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium yellow onion, small dice
4 tsp peeled, finely chopped fresh ginger (from about a 2-inch piece or 2 tsp ground ginger)
4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes and their juices (I like the Fire Roasted Tomatoes from Muir Glen)
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
3/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 pounds of soaked or two 5-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 cups water if soaked, 2 cups water if canned

For serving (optional):
Lime wedges
Plain non-dairy yoghurt

1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and cook, stirring occasionally until you can smell the aroma (about one minute).
2. Add onion, fresh ginger (if you are using ground add it to the spices) and garlic and season with salt. Turn to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft and have given off some of their water, about 6 minutes.
3. Turn heat to low and add the garam masala, coriander, and turmeric and cook until the spices are fragrant, about one minute. If the spices begin to stick to the bottom of the pan add a tablespoon of water. Set aside.
4. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes and water to the crockpot. Stir to combine.
5. Add the spices/onion mixture and stir. Cover with lid and turn to medium high. Cook for 5-7 hours or until chickpeas are lovely and soft.
6. To serve spoon the channa masala over steamed brown rice or quinoa, squeeze a wedge of lime on top, sprinkle with chopped cilantro or parsley and top it with unsweetened non-dairy yogurt, if desired. I like coconut milk yogurt.

In the morning, drain the water and rinse the chickpeas. Place them in your slow cooker, cover them with about 1-inch of water and cook until tender. Low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours.

Cooking Dried Chickpeas

One pound of soaked chickpeas fits comfortably in a crock pot.

1. Rinse and drain the chickpeas in cold water. Check for any stones or dark brown beans. Place in a large bowl and cover with water mixed with 1 tablespoon of salt (this helps soften the chickpeas and infuses them with flavor). Let soak overnight, but no longer than 10 hours.
2. Drain chickpeas and rinse. Toss the soaking water. Put into crockpot, add enough water to cover the chickpeas with a full inch.
3. Cook on high for about 3-5 hours or until lovely and soft. Temperatures will vary on crockpots, so check at 3 hours, and continue to cook until they are as soft as you like them. I like to cook them a little longer than most.
4. When done carefully strain through a colander. Drain and rinse well.
5. The chickpeas will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days and also freeze well. Thoroughly drain them and then spread onto a baking tray so they don't touch. Freeze until the beans are solid and then transfer to a bag or container and keep in the freezer for a couple of months.


  1. Hi,
    Thank you sooo much for sharing! I love quality Vegan recipes. I'll definitely get the word out.
    Thank you once again,
    Ben from

    If your interested in more Vegan recipes please stop by, and hit the vegan tab. Thanks

  2. Could you please clarify the amount of it 1 or 2 pounds dried beans? (1 pound dry = 4 15-oz cans)

  3. Hi, I am really confused by this recipe. I have dried chick peas, do I have to cook them in the crock pot first for 3 to 5 hours and then again for 5 to 7 hours with the tomatoes and spices? Or just one or the other, depending on whether you are making plain chick peas or your chana masala?