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Slow Cooker Chana Aloo (Chickpea Potato Curry Masala)

Do you ever have those days when you are trying figure out what the heck to make for dinner? I had one of those days recently. My thought process went like this….hmm…what am I going to make. (Opens fridge) Onions, a bag of baby potatoes…yes, I have been away, there is pretty much nothing in my fridge, except for a whole lot of condiments. (Opens pantry) Chickpeas, beans, canned tomatoes (crushed and diced). I’m going to treat this an episode of Chopped. I know I’ve got spices and I know I’ve got garlic and jarred ginger. Okay, I’m going to make Chana Aloo, which is a Chickpea Potato Masala! Since I don’t have a lot of time, I’m going to use dinner’s best friend, the Slow Cooker!

This is not difficult to make – you will already have most of the items sitting in your cupboard or fridge. The only “special” item you’ll need that you may not have in your cupboard is the spice GARAM MASALA, an Indian spice which is not difficult to find.

Students, this is an easy and inexpensive dinner to make that is filling, healthy and will give you lots of leftovers.

You can add this to your “meatless Monday” rotation as this recipe is vegetarian and suitable for celiacs or those following a gluten-reduced diet. There is no dairy in this recipe if you serve it without the Raita.

Craving more Indian? Check out the recipe for Butter Chicken.

Prep time: 5 minutes; Cook time: 5 minutes + 6+ hours slow cooking; Serves: 6 – 8

What you need:

  • 1 28 oz can of chickpeas, undrained
  • 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes (see note below, if you want it to be slightly thicker, use crushed tomatoes)
  • 1 1/2 lb potatoes (I used a bag of red baby potatoes), cut into quarters (or halved so they are roughly the same size)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger (I used jarred minced ginger)
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala (you can also use curry powder, but then it will be more of a curry than a Masala)
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (you can use 1/2 tsp more if you want it a little hotter)
  • 1 cup stock (I used vegetable) (see note below, if you want it to be slightly thicker, use 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper (+ more to taste)
  • green onion (garnish)
  • chopped cilantro (garnish)

What you do:

  • In a frypan over medium-high heat, add the oil and when it becomes hot, add the onions
Add the onions
  • Stirring, cook for about 3 minutes until the onions start to become soft (My friend Karim’s tip:  cook the onions until they are golden brown, so that they breakdown more during cooking to make the sauce a bit richer)
  • Add the garlic and ginger, stir, cooking for about 1 minute
Add the garlic and ginger
  • Add the spices – Garam Masala, turmeric, salt, red pepper flakes and pepper – stir cooking about 1 minute until they become fragrant [Note: they will stick to the bottom of your pan, but don’t worry]
Add the spices – Garam Masala, turmeric, salt, red pepper flakes and pepper
Don’t worry if it sticks to the bottom of your pan
  • Turn heat to low
  • Add the stock and use it to scrape up all the stuck bits on the bottom of the pan, scrape and cook for 1 – 2 minutes
Add your stock
Scrape up all the bits stuck on the bottom of the pan and cook for 1 -2 minutes
  • In your slow cooker, add the undrained can of chickpeas
Add the can of chickpeas, undrained
  • Add the quartered potatoes
Add the potatoes
  • Add the onion/garlic/ginger/spice/stock from the pan
Add the spiced onion stock mix
  • Add the can of diced tomatoes
Add the can of diced tomatoes
  • Stir
  • Turn slow cooker on to low and cook for at least 6 hours

  • Garnish with sliced green onion and cilantro (but no cilantro for you, Pete)
Served with sliced green onions (aka the Pete version)
With green onions and cilantro (aka the Elin version)
  • Serve with rice or naan bread
Served over rice with naan bread, Raita and Mango Chutney
  • Serve with Mango Chutney and Raita (recipes coming soon)
With Mango Chutney and Raita
  • Enjoy
  • NOTE: I like sauce to dip the naan bread in and to soak into the rice, so this isn’t a thick Chana Aloo. Cooking this recipe in a slow cooker will make this slightly thinner than if you did this on the stovetop. If you want this thicker, reduce the stock to 1/2 cup and substitute crushed tomatoes for the diced tomatoes. The recipe as is will also thicken slightly for leftovers.

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