Chana Masala

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Chana masala is one of my favorite already-vegan Indian curries, and it’s definitely one of the easiest to make using only a handful of ingredients. It makes for an excellent slow-cooker meal and makes for an easy side curry, or let it stand alone with a side of rice.

(Slow cooker instructions can be found at the bottom of the page.)

Chana Masala

Chickpeas and onion in a delicious tomato masala.
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4

Equipment

  • 4-quart pot with lid

Ingredients
  

  • 1 red or yellow onion diced
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 14-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 15-oz. cans chickpeas
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tbsp curry paste or more to taste, up to 1 tbsp
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 bay leaf

Optional

  • cilantro for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Heat pot over high, medium-high heat. Once hot add oil, wait a minute for it to get hot, then add diced onion. Stir frequently until onion turns translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium. Add curry paste, cumin, garlic, turmeric, salt, and more cooking oil if needed. Stir about 1 to 2 minutes to temper the spices, then add canned tomatoes and bay leaf.
  • Drain the aquafaba from the chickpeas into a clean container and set the aquafaba aside. (You can use the aquafaba to make vegan whipped cream, or you can add some liquid back into the curry if you like it soupier.) Add the drained chickpeas to the pot and stir.
  • Cover with lid and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 40 minutes to 1 hour, checking and stirring regularly. Let cool and serve with rice.

Notes

The longer your curry simmers, the more flavorful it will be. Curries tend to be better the second day after all the flavors have mixed and marinated a bit, so chana masala makes for excellent left overs. 
If you have a 28-ounce can of diced or crushed tomatoes, you may use that instead of doing a mix of the two. I personally just like having that mix of saucy tomato and chunks of tomato in my chana masala. 
This dish goes well with rice and naan, though I usually opt for pita bread because naan is traditionally made using milk. 

How to cook Chana Masala using a slow-cooker

To make chana masala in a slow cooker, simply combine all the ingredients into a slow cooker, give it a nice stir, and cook on high for about 3 to 4 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours. Again, if your curry cooks for longer, it will only benefit the dish by making it more flavorful.

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