Chana Masala and Basmati Rice

Slow Cooker Chana Masala

Chana Masala is a delicious Indian dish made with garbanzo beans and a crapload of spices and stuff. This attempt at a recipe was a moderate success – I’ve had about 4 meals and I’m about halfway through the pot so I estimate I should get about 8 meals in total :). I’m estimating this one came to about $3.75 a meal.

Before I continue, the here’s links to the recipes I used (Both are pretty good – I modified them a bit though)
Chana Masala from slenderkitchen.com
Basmati Rice from food.com

The changes I made were: a LOT more garbanzo beans, double the amount of tomatoes, butter instead of oil, sour cream, 30 oz chicken stock, extra peppers, and a very generous amount of siracha sauce :). Also, when I got the spices, I didn’t have teaspoons to measure things out with like the recipes ask, so I substituted 1 of their spice scoops = 1 teaspoon. Turns out it was a little much, but still turned out ok.

I accompanied it with some Basmati Rice (which also had a crap load of spices in it). Luckily there’s a store a few blocks away with a bunch of bulk spices, so I was able to get 10-30 cents worth of each spice I needed there 🙂

Chana Masala Spices
A few of the spices I used for the chana masala

I didn’t keep strict track of everything I bought unlike the Chicken and Garlic Potatoes I made but I’d guess the ingredients cost around 30 bucks. (I already had the rice – you can get a big 10 lb bag of basmati at a restaurant supply store for about 20 bucks. Otherwise it’s a little expensive if you buy it in a typical supermarket – probably 4-5 bucks for 2 pound bag) I’m not the fastest cook either, so I’d estimate the prep time for both the Chana Masala and the rice to be a bit over an hour for me, perhaps two hours if you count the trip to get the ingredients, but  that varies on how fast you can slice onions and garlic 🙂

So 30 bucks/8 meals = $3.75/meal (give or take)
However, the meals are nice and big though, so I’m definitely not starving.

So the first thing I did was I bought dried garbanzo beans instead of canned ones, since the canned ones were expensive at the store I went to. I got a pound, although I really should have gotten at least a pound and a half/two pounds. I set them in some chicken stock and got it started while I prepped the rest of the ingredients:

Garbanzo Beans in Chicken Stock
Garbanzo Beans in Chicken Stock

I used a 32 oz package of chicken stock. Like I said, there weren’t enough beans though, so while it was cooking I ended up going to the story and picking up 2 more 14 oz cans later.

While that was heating up in the slow cooker on high, I prepped 2 medium onions, 3 jalapeno with seeds in, an entire bulb of chopped garlic (recipe only called for 2 cloves – pssh), and a couple tbsp of chopped ginger with a nice chunk of butter

Onions, Garlic, Peppers, and Ginger
Onions, Garlic, Peppers, and Ginger

After the Onions were cooked and stuff, I threw in the spices according to the recipe and then the tomatoes (I should have done the tomatoes first). Instead of 14 oz I used a 28 oz canned of diced tomatoes.

Adding Spices
Adding Spices
Prepping the Tomatoes
Tomatoes In

The spices and tomateos need to cook for a few minutes so they lose a little of that raw taste that they have. I did go heavy on the spice, I don’t regret it, but I did cook for at least a little while to take some of the raw edge off.

Finally I dumped everything into the slow cooker, turned it down to “medium”, set it for 8 hours, and forgot about it.

Chana Masala in the slow cooker
Into the slow cooker

Actually I did get a little hungery a few hours in, and had a bowl haha. At that point the spices were still a little raw. And even though I used 3 jalapenos, I could taste almost no spice. At that point I decided to add a rather large amount of siracha sauce, basically to taste (which for me is a lot), and that gave it some nice color and brought the spice level up to where I could taste some heat. In the bow I stirred in some sour cream to add some more flavor, and it was pretty good:

Chana Masala in bowl
Chana Masala in bowl

The beans had been cooked to the point of being editable, but the dish obviously needed to sit for a few more hours. So, in the meantime, I got started on the rice.

I just set it soaking in the rice cooker bowl:

Basmati Rice Soaking
Basmati Rice Soaking

Then I got started on the onions and spices for the rice. To my chagrin, I had forgotten to get the cumin seeds. So I just substituted some cumin powder I had lying around. Also I made sure to crack open the cardamom pods (I just did it with the knife). Cardamom is strong stuff, in my opinion 2 pods is plenty to infuse flavor to a medium rice-cooker sized batch of rice like I was making.

Cooking off the spices
Cooking off the spices

Then after the spices had cooked off for a few minutes I started softening up the onions. After the onions were done and the rice had been soaked for a while and drained, I started toasting the rice with the spices and onions in the pan.

Sauteing Onions in Spices
Sauteing Onions in Spices
Toasting the Basmati Rice
Toasting the Basmati Rice

Finally, I added in my leftover tumeric. Turned out to be WAYYY too much. Tumeric doesn’t have a super strong taste, but you can taste it a little. Aware that it could make the rice a bit soft, I decided to add the water right then and boil it a few minutes to temper the flavor of the Tumeric. Probably about 1/4 of what I used would have been a better amount

Oh crap too much Tumeric
Oh crap too much Tumeric

So after I had boiled it off a bit, I transferred it to the rice cooker and set on high and waited for it to be done.

The rice turned out delicious, the chana masala (with a little help from a bunch of siracha) tasted great, even better with lemon juice, and even better with sour cream mixed in 🙂

Slow Cooker Chana Masala
Delicious Finshed Chana Masala in the slow cooker

And I had enough food for lunch/dinner for the next 3 or 4 days. Generous amours too 🙂

Chana Masala and Basmati Rice
Chana Masala and Basmati Rice
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