Saturday, March 14, 2015

Slow Cooked Curried Chickpeas

Y'all know my penchant for long recipes and ones that call for lots of ingredients. That's why I couldn't resist trying to make this curried chickpea dish published on Food Republic. And the bonus was that I could work with a number of Indian spices that I currently have an ongoing love affair with.

Now while none of the steps are difficult, the 10-hour cooking time required that I get a much earlier start in the kitchen than normal. Much coffee was consumed to keep my brain functioning.

Anyway, here's how it all went down, along with some personal notes along the way.

The chickpeas, water, cardamom, cassia (cinnamon), cloves, turmeric, and salt went into the slow cooker. I had no luck finding Indian red chili, so substituted some crushed red pepper flakes. The lid went on the slow cooker, the temp cranked up to high, and then I was off to start the masala.

A note about the water -- the recipe calls for 5-6 1/2 cups, which seemed a rather weird way to express the amount. I used the full 3 cups, because I did have some concerns about there not being enough liquid to cook the chickpeas.

Small-diced onions were put into a pan and fried until golden. While the onions were getting a tan, the garlic and ginger got a quick puree. Then the same puree treatment was given to the tomatoes.

Another pause in the action here to talk about the tomatoes. When I first read the recipe, I thought the author meant two cans of whole, peeled tomatoes. After rereading it, I came to realize only two whole, peeled tomatoes from a can were needed. Also, I don't know why the recipe calls for 1 medium tomato (not from a can). If anyone can explain, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Back to the action.

The garlic/ginger/tomato puree was added to the onions. Then some some awesome spices -- coriander, cumin, turmeric -- were added, along with a pinch more red chili flakes, salt, and pepper. I had to give the green mango paste a pass, because there was none to be found.

The aroma was amazing. This lovely sauce was added to the slow cooker, along with the water used to deglaze the pan.

The slow cooker lid was put back on, the temp turned to low, and then it was just a matter of 10 hours cooking time to see what would happen.

During the ensuing hours, the aroma of the masala intensified, filling the entire house with what I can only describe as a warm, intoxicating scent, not unlike a perfume.

When the 10 hours elapsed, it was time for the moment of truth. I had made some Basmati rice, and spooned the chickpea mixture on top, and garnished with cilantro.

The chickpeas were a bit firmer than I normally make, but were very tasty and brought a nutty component to the dish. The masala was outstanding and when combined with the spices used to start the chickpeas, an absolutely delightful flavor burst hits your tongue and stays there for a bit. 

I can not wait to make this masala again. It is really and truly awesome. I'm picturing it with some shrimp or chicken bits with no slow cooker or chickpeas required. Make no mistake, it's not like we didn't like the chickpeas, but the masala can easily stand on its own.

I do wish there had been more sauce, as the overall result was a bit on the dry side. We have leftovers, so I plan to puree the rest of the whole, canned tomatoes and add them in. David suggested maybe mushing up some of the chickpeas to add another texture dimension. 

All in all, this was a fun dish to make and big on flavor. Try it!


  1. Wow, that looks good! Your suggested adjustments sound good, too. I think there are curried chickpeas in my future.

  2. Hi Elizabeth,

    Recipes looks like it calls for 5 to 61/2 cups of water for the chickpeas.....

    Also, fresh tomatoes do not break down the same as canned tomatoes in a braise.... Don't know why it only calls for two canned tomatoes - I would have used the whole can!

    1. The extra water makes sense, but I wonder if it would really dilute the masala flavorings. With regards to fresh tomatoes not breaking down like canned, I totally agree. But as both types get a puree, it just seemed like it might not make that much of a difference. Guess this means I just have to try it again. Yay!