Crockpot Chole Curry

When one of my fellow grad students brought me back some spices after his trip home from India, I couldn't wait to cook something with them. One of the spices was chole masala, a dry spice mixture that goes with chickpeas, or chole. Curries with chickpeas are my absolute favorite because they generally have lots of spices, juicy tomatoes, and all the protein the chickpeas provide. Now that I have the chole masala, I feel like I can produce a relatively authentic, Indian/Pakistani chole curry.

My chole curry uses dried chickpeas, which are inexpensive, however they take a long time to cook. Therefore, the good ol' crockpot is a valuable tool. As opposed to just chucking all the ingredients in, this recipe calls for cooking the spice mixture separately, to yield a more authentic and well-developed flavor. You can do it without preparing the spices and tomatoes separately, but you won't have nearly the same level of flavor.

Crockpot Chole Curry

2 cups dried chickpeas
4 cups water
4 whole cloves
2 green cardamom pods
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2" piece of ginger, grated
green chili (such as jalapeno or Serrano), to taste (optional)
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 14.5-15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
2 tsp vegetable or canola oil
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp garam masala
2 tsp chole masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
ground cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
1 cup water
salt, to taste
lemon juice and cilantro, to taste, for garnish

1. Rinse the chickpeas with water until the water runs clear. Add the chickpeas to a medium bowl along with the 4 cups of water and soak for at least 3 hours or overnight.
2. Heat a medium pan over medium heat. Add the oil and allow the oil to warm, about 30 seconds. Using the container they came in, apply some gentle pressure to the cardamom pods to slightly pop them open. Add them to the oil along with the cloves and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
3. Add the turmeric to the oil, stir to combine, then immediately add the onions, a little salt, to taste, and the cinnamon, garlic, ginger, and green chili (if using) and cook, stirring often, 3-4 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes to the onion mixture and cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes or until the mixture reduces and the oil starts to separate from the mixture.
5. Add the chole and garam masalas, cumin, cayenne pepper (if using) , and coriander and stir to combine. Cook for one minute longer. This mixture can be made at the same time the chickpeas are being prepped for their soaking and stored overnight in a separate dish. The spice mixture can also be prepared at the moment you put the chickpeas into the crockpot, however allow add the chickpeas and the crockpot to warm slightly, since you should not add hot ingredients to a cold crockpot or else it could crack the crockpot.
6. Without draining the chickpeas, add them to the crockpot along with the spice mixture (per the directions in step 5) , 1 cup of water, and salt. Cook over high heat for 6-8 hours or low heat for 8-10 hours. Add some cilantro and lemon juice to taste right before serving. Serve with basmati rice.

Servings per recipe: 6
Per serving:
Calories: 295
Fat: 5.9 g
Saturated fat: 0.7 g
Sodium: 417 mg
Carbohydrates: 49 g
Fiber: 13.8 g
Sugar: 11.7 g

Protein: 14.5 g

While the amount of water I'm using in this recipe has always seemed to work for chickpeas, it could be variable depending on how old or how large your chickpeas are. If your chickpeas have soaked up most or all of the water, you might want to double the water that is being added to the crockpot in step 6.

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