janet @ the taste space

Slow Cooker Chana Masala (Oil-free, Vegan)

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on January 12, 2016 at 7:25 AM

Slow Cooker Chana Masala

I hope you don’t mind me sharing recipes from my newest favourite kitchen gadget. Rob bought me an Instapot and we’ve been slowly exploring it – both with the slow cooker and pressure cooker functions (I will be waiting a while to try the yogurt function unless someone can point me in the right direction for something easy).

Slow Cooker Chana Masala

I have been meaning to find a delicious chana masala recipe, and this one delivers. I know this is one recipe that can be quite controversial. I have had Orangette’s chana masala bookmarked forever as well as Deb’s version, but of course, the simplicity behind this recipe appealed to us.

The long cooking time made for a lovely robust flavour. Perfectly spiced, this wasn’t too tomato heavy nor was it screaming “curry powder”. It was lovely. Potatoes are certainly not traditional but they were delicious here after the long simmer.
Slow Cooker Chana Masala

Rob actually made this dish and while it is not as easy as dump and slow cook, it is pretty close! You just need to puree a few ingredients first, then it was dump and slow cook. For those that cook without oil, I found this to be incredibly flavourful without any oil. No tarka, no sautéed onions.

Rob also took a few liberties with the recipe, creating a super saucy curry. (Anyone else spot the theme?) He also learned that you need to keep the slow cooker lid on while it works, although to be fair, I know there are some recipes that tell you to keep it off.

I decreased the amount of water that Rob used, and tell you to keep the slow cooker lid on, but another easy way to boost the curry would be to simply add more chickpeas.

Do you have any favourite chana masala recipes?

Slow Cooker Chana Masala

PS. I am sharing this with this month’s Slow Cooker Challenge and Meat Free Mondays.

Slow Cooker Chana Masala
Adapted from Holy Cow Vegan

1 large onion, coarsely chopped
28 oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
1.5-inch piece of ginger, chopped
6 cloves garlic
4 cups cooked chickpeas (or 2 x 19 oz cans), rinsed and drained if canned
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 large potatoes, cubed
3 bay leaves
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1.5 tbsp ground coriander
1.5 tbsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric
1.5 tsp chaat masala
1.5 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp Aleppo chili flakes, or to taste
Salt to taste

1. In a food processor fitted with its S-blader, puree the onion, tomatoes, garlic and ginger.

2. In a slow cooker, place all the ingredients except the salt. Stir to evenly combine. Add 3 cups water and set the slow cooker on high. You can add more water if it is too dry later. Put the lid on and slow cook on high for 6 hours or until it reaches your desired consistency.

3. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Stir in salt, to taste. Serve with rice, roti or naan.

Serves 4-6.

  1. Hi Janet,

    Welcome to the Instant Pot World!!!

    Would you have any idea how to do this with PRESSURE instead of slow cooking?

    Thanks for this lovely recipe!

    Nancy Brady, RN County Cork, Ireland

    Date: Tue, 12 Jan 2016 12:25:40 +0000 To: nancy7711@hotmail.com

    • Thanks for stopping by, Nancy. If I had to guess for pressure cooker directions, I would remove the water and then pressure cook on high for 10 minutes to cook the potatoes. It helps that the chickpeas are already cooked.🙂 If you try it please let me know how it goes.

  2. This looks right up my alley! I’ll give it a try. Have fun with your new toy🙂

  3. I’ve been cooking in my slow cooker a lot lately, and love the flavor intensity the food gets from cooking all day. Chana masala is a favorite but I’ve never cooked it in the slow cooker — your recipe is calling my name. I was really close to buying an instant pot to replace our slow cooker, pressure cooker and to use for yogurt making, and as a rice cooker, but I can’t quite make up my mind about it. Do you find it large and heavy?

    • At first, I was going to say it doesn’t bother me. It is big like my other pressure cooker and not that heavy. However, it is noticeably big because I have had a hard time finding a home for it in my small kitchen. Otherwise, once on the counter, it is perfect. I like it because it isn’t non-stick (like my previous pressure cooker) and I can saute ingredients right in the pot (I know other slow cookers can do this, but my previous pressure cooker could not). I still really like it but need to find a spot in the kitchen for it.🙂 Hope that helps! Also, I like that there is a way for me to tell when the pressure is on (there is a small tab that pushes up that you can see and also prevents you from opening it prematurely). My other pressure cooker didn’t.

  4. here is the easiest yogurt recipe with the I Pot. No need to heat up the milk; I use a capsule of PB8 for the culture and it always works. http://makerealfood.com/2014/06/17/homemade-vegan-yogurt-super-easy-method/
    Thanks for all the great recipes, especially the oil-free ones.

  5. Your Chana masala looks delicious, love all those spices. Thanks for sharing:)

  6. Yay for InstaPot! Can’t wait to see more recipes for it! A word of caution: the timing charts in the IP manual are notoriously off, resulting in overlooked food. For example to pressure cook this recipe above, you would need only 2-3 minutes for cubed potatoes to cook. I highly recommend the timing charts available from Jill Nussinow at theveggiequeen.com, if you don’t buy her cookbooks (which are very good). I have found them to be extremely accurate.

  7. Oooh this sounds great! I’ve had mixed feelings about the instapot – do you really like it?
    I’ve been looking for more slow cooker recipes and this sounds really good!!

  8. This looks like a real winter warmer. Thanks for joining the Slow Cooked Challenge.

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