Slow Cooker Chana Masala + Video

Super easy pour and cook Slow Cooker Chana Masala recipe! This recipe is a very easy way to get a restaurant-style chana masala at home that is full of flavor!

chana masala in brass serving bowl

What is Chana Masala?

Chana Masala is a wonderful, savory, vegan Indian dish made with chickpeas, and a classic sauce, or “gravy” as Indians call it, made with onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and a bunch of spices.

Chana Masala, also referred to as choley, or choley masala, or channay, is a classic Punjabi dish, although it’s served in Indian restaurants everywhere now.

The best-tasting channay have a great mix of savory, hot, and tart. That tart flavor comes from either tamarind or amchoor powder, or a combination of the two.

Can I Make Chana Masala In My Instant Pot?

Yes, you can. I have this Instant Pot Chana Masala recipe right here. It does require you to make a tomato onion masala first, though.

Can I Make My Own Chana Masala Spice Mix?

  • Yes, but why? It’s super complicated to make and takes 20+ ingredients to get it just right.
  • I’ll tell you what I do, and what most Indians do. We buy it. This is the one that I use.

Can I Make This With Canned Chickpeas?

  • Yes, but not with this recipe because the onions and tomatoes take a while to cook and the chickpeas will be mush in that time
  • Rather, make the onion masala, and add chickpeas to it and mix.

What’s With The Chana Dal In This Recipe?

Chana dal is the same as chickpeas except it’s basically the skinned and halved version of it.

You’re using this to add thickness to the chana masala. But you can totally skip this if you don’t have it.

Although I will say, it’s totally worth getting it. You can make this Chana Dal Fry with it, as well as the Chana Dal and Rice if you have it and it’s utterly delicious.

If you’re curious about these different versions of dals and beans, check out my lots of lovely lentils video here.

How To Make Chickpeas In A Slow Cooker

So I wanted to write a quick section on how to make the best chickpeas in your slow cooker.

It is truly hands-off and a lot easier to make chickpeas in a slow cooker or a pressure cooker. Otherwise, you have to babysit them, they take hours, they foam, the water boils dry—it’s just a total pain for me.

I don’t see a huge difference in the texture between slow cooking and pressure cooking, so you use whatever works for you.

  • Soak for an hour in hot water or soak overnight. This is important because you don’t know how old beans are, and older beans need more water. I barely know how old I am most days, so keeping up with the age of my beans is not an option for me.
  • If your beans aren’t getting soft, the most likely reason is that they are old. You should presoak, and you can also consider adding a little baking soda to the mixture to soften them. Sometimes this may cause the beans to soften too much and split, but that’s better than hard as rocks beans.
  • I
    have decided to also presoak in this fashion, beans I make in the pressure
    cooker, and for the same reason.
  • In this recipe, you want the chickpeas to cook down to a very soft, almost mush consistency. What I do is to soak them first thing. Then I go get a cup of coffee, get dressed for the day, and I get the other ingredients together. By this time they’ve soaked and all I need to do is make the sauce, pour, and go.
  • For every cup of dried chickpeas, use about 2-3 cups of water. If you are cooking them by themselves, you will need 3 cups of water. If you’re cooking them in this recipe, with the vegetables, you will likely be fine with 2 cups of water per cup of dried chickpeas.
  • You can make up a batch of chickpeas and leave them in the fridge, and use as needed throughout the week. Try my 5-minute hummus recipe or this chana salad with the plain chickpeas you make in this fashion.

Tips And Tricks For Making Slow Cooker Chana Masala

  • Be sure to soak the chickpeas for this recipe. Either soak them overnight or use my quick tip which is to soak them in hot water. Either boil the water or use the hottest water from your faucet and soak them. They plump up in an hour and it’s as good as having soaked them overnight.
  • Do not add the tamarind at the beginning of cooking. It will make your chickpeas super tough and not fun.
  • Traditional chana masala uses amchoor powder. I used lemon juice in this recipe but if you have the amchoor powder, go ahead and use it.
  • Buy the chana masala spice mix for this recipe–trust me, it’s a lot easier than buying 20 different spices to make your own.
  • Use split chana dal to make your chana masala thicker. If you choose not to buy this, you can either let the curry be a little thinner, mash some of the chickpeas into the final dish, or use a can of chickpeas to add thickness.
  • You can also make this with canned chickpeas, but it takes just a little more intervention. Cook the vegetable mixture with 1 cup of water for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. Then, add in drained canned chickpeas, add in another cup of water and allow it to cook for another hour on high.
  • You can use either fresh or canned tomatoes, fire-roasted or regular canned tomatoes. Don’t bother with expensive canned tomatoes since there are so many other flavors in this that will overpower the tomatoes.
  • This recipe does very well in the fridge or in the freezer. The flavors get better and better over time. It also thickens over time though, so you may need to add some water to reheat.

Watch The video on Making Slow Cooker Chana Masala

Step By Step On Making Slow Cooker Chickpea Masala

Step 1: Make the sauce: In a blender, purée tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, and serrano pepper.

A person holding ingredients for Slow Cooker Chana Masala.

Step 2: Pour this into the slow cooker. Set aside blender container.

Blender with sauce for Slow Cooker Chana Masala.

Step 3: Add chana masala, turmeric, salt, cayenne, coriander, cumin, and chana masala.

A person putting ingredients into a bowl for slow cooker Chana Masala.

Step 4a: Add in drained, soaked chickpeas

Chickpeas in a bowl.

Step 4b: and the chana dal (split chickpeas).

In progress close up of Chana Masala with person adding chickpeas to the slow cooker.

Step 5: Pour in two cups of water into the blender container, slosh it about to get all the saucy goodness, and pour this into the slow cooker.

Blender with chana masala sauce.

Step 6: Cook for 6 hours. When the chickpeas are cooked and soft, add in 1 tablespoon tamarind paste.

Close up of Chana Masala in a slow cooker.

Step 7: Add in lemon juice or amchoor, and chopped cilantro before serving.

adding cilantro to ready chana masala

What to serve with Chana Masala?

Now that you know how to make in easily in your slow cooker, you can enjoy this delicious Slow Cooker Chana Masala any day of the week! Make sure to share this recipe with your friends on Pinterest and Facebook so they can enjoy it as well!

Slow Cooker Chana Masala

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Slow Cooker Chana Masala

Super easy pour and cook Slow Cooker Chana Masala recipe! This recipe is an easy way to get a restaurant-style chana masala at home that is full of flavor!

.wprm-recipe-rating .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #ffffff; }

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Course: Main Courses

Cuisine: Indian

Keyword: chana masala, slow cooker chickpeas

Servings: 6

Calories: 202kcal

Author: Urvashi Pitre

Click on highlighted ingredients or Equipment to see exactly what I use to make this recipe

Ingredients

For the sauce:

For the Beans:

For Finishing:

Instructions

  • Make the sauce: In a blender, purée tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, and serrano pepper.

  • Pour this into the slow cooker. Set aside blender container.

  • Add chana masala, turmeric, salt, cayenne, coriander and cumin to the tomato onion mixture in the slow cooker.

  • Add in drained soaked chickpeas and the chana dal (split chickpeas).

  • Pour in two cups of water into the blender container, slosh it about to get all the saucy goodness, and pour this into the slow cooker.

  • Cook on high for 6 hours or until the chickpeas are soft and well cooked.

  • When the beans are cooked, use the back of your spoon to mash a few of them to thicken the chana masala.

  • Stir in the tamarind paste, lemon juice, and cilantro, and serve.

Watch The Video

  • Be sure to soak the chickpeas for this recipe. Either soak them overnight or use my quick tip which is to soak them in hot water. Either boil the water or use the hottest water from your faucet and soak them. They plump up in an hour and it’s as good as having soaked them overnight.
  • Do not add the tamarind at the beginning of cooking. It will make your chickpeas super tough and not fun.
  • Traditional chana masala uses amchoor powder. I used lemon juice in this recipe but if you have the amchoor powder, go ahead and use it.
  • Buy the chana masala spice mix for this recipe–trust me, it’s a lot easier than buying 20 different spices to make your own.
  • Use split chana dal to make your chana masala thicker. If you choose not to buy this, you can either let the curry be a little thinner, mash some of the chickpeas into the final dish, or use a can of chickpeas to add thickness.
  • You can also make this with canned chickpeas but it takes just a little more intervention. Cook the vegetable mixture with 1 cup of water for 4 hours on high Or 6 hours on low. Then, add in drained canned chickpeas, add in another cup of water and allow it to cook for another hour on high.
  • You can use either fresh or canned tomatoes, fire-roasted or regular canned tomatoes. Don’t bother with expensive canned tomatoes since there are so many other flavors in this that will overpower the tomatoes.
  • This recipe does very well in the fridge or in the freezer. The flavors get better and better over time. It also thickens over time though, so you may need to add some water to reheat.

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Nutrition

Calories: 202kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 2g | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 7g

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Originally Published October 9, 2019