Slow Cooked Chole (Channa masala)

I love chole (Channa masala) and it;s a favorite at home. This with puri, and some days I get lazy and make rotis. Not a particular cook,but I tweak things here and there and occasionally surprise myself with what I manage to put on the table.

That said, I had pulled out the slow cooker from the top shelf in the pantry (where its been sitting for a few years now) to make some winter soups and I remembered how we simmer and slow cook many gravy dishes just so the flavor soaks in and it’s rich with the spices and bursts on your tongue with the bite. On a hunch, I went ahead and made channa masala yesterday via this method. Here is what I did.


The following is to feed 2 of you. Multiply away as you become popular and start feeding more. :)

I had soaked the dried channa (a cup) overnight, and then pressure cooked them with a bay leaf and a tea bag. (color of the bean changes and makes it more brown, helps with authenticity)  If you don’t want to get into this process, just use the canned chick peas. (one can)

So, the quick and usual method of gravy happens. Chop one onion (garlic-ginger is optional), saute in a bit of oil, add jeera and a bit of salt and push it all around till it turns pink. Then add a chopped tomato, sprinkle some water, cover and stare at it a few minutes so it withers and pulps down ;) Alternatively, you can use a few hefty spoons of crushed tomato from the can. 

Remove cover, mash, add green chillies (this adds a different taste) OR red chilli powder (this is a whole different taste – you pick) add some amchur powder (for tang, skip if u don’t have), and get MDH’s channa masala powder. I don’t measure well, but I’d say use a small spoon (like they give u at the FROYO places) – about 1/2 tsp.

Give it all a quick mix and let it come together. Shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes.

I like to fry the onion till the rawness disappears. There’s one food blogger (who shall not be named)  who threw in every single one of the ingredients in the slow cooker and went about her way and claimed the chole were great for dinner. I am dubious and will not waste my time or plump good channa to try and prove or disprove her. I stick to my common sense that onions need to be broken down and the sulphur needs to go before it goes into me. but that’s me.

So, add all the masala, tomato gravy, cooked soft chole together into the slow cooker. Stir well. One little trick I learnt is to start the cooker off, let it warm a bit, drizzle a bit of oil and just a wee bit of water, let that heat up and THEN add this mix in. or you may have a charred mess when you come home.

Start the cooker on slow cook(not high cook), smash a few channa down to a pulp and throw it back in, give it a good stir, add a glass of water, close and go do your thing.

After whenever you decide to come back, open, stir it all together, smash 4 elaichi pods and add that in. I like the flavor. Do a taste test. Slow cooking usually needs a little more spices. Coz its all going in and soaking and ok, i have no idea why, but it does ok! (see, am honest) – you add some salt and some more masala powder on the top, mix well, and serve away. Rice, roti, puri, naan, whatever works.

Here are some thoughts:

  • No amchur? it’s ok. Squeeze lime at the end.
  • Replace channa with rajma or any other bean, works the same way. Green peas will require much shorter cooking time though.
  • Tomatoes have this acid that won’t let lentils/beans/peas to cook well. Hence cook ahead and then add. I usually just throw beans with water a bit of baking soda and pressure cook them for 5-6 whistles either at night for next day or first thing in the morning, or use a can.
  • I have a fairly large crockpot, Hamilton Beach. The container is stone I believe. It’s pretty darned heavy. The point is to make sure you coat the bottom, and there is enough water to cover the beans, before you shut it and forget it.
  • What else? I can’t think of any, but this recipe is for someone who has been cooking and know their way around the kitchen. I can’t do accurate, sorry :(
  • The point is, the gravy needs to be enough for the peas and vice versa.

Hope that helped and you guys will be slow cooking this winter away! :-)

quinoa dish 5: poha

Lost track of cataloging all what worked for me with respect to quinoa, so here I am back to writing them again. This is the search for the category: quinoa

So once I made this poha style. A good friend mentioned she does it this way, so I figured why not.


  • Cook quinoa, with just the right amount of water and let it fluff. Separately, on the stove.
  • In a pan, add oil, mustard seeds, green chillies, ginger and fry some onions.
  • Add chopped boiled potatoes, or some sliced carrots to up the vegetable ante.
  • After some softening, add the quinoa, salt and mix well.
  • Roast some peanuts and chop them up in the blender or otherwise, just don’t make it too thin a powder. You must still see them as nuts and broken.
  • Add peanut powder to quinoa and mix well.
  • Have coriander leaves and lemon, squeeze a dash and it’s a heck of a healthy and tasty option.

Tastes pretty awesome. Green chillies gives the heat, so add according to taste.

Tada! :)



quinoa dish 4 (payasam)

Quinoa payasam:

That probably sounds ironical and counter-productive to what am trying to achieve, but hey, we own a tongue and that tongue needs to be tended to. So in any case, school came to a rushed crazy end and I figured we could celebrate the husband’s homecoming and father’s day and the end of an intense school year with some dessert. Okay, we did have cake with munchkin’s birthday party with her friends, but it isn’t like I could eat those delish cupcakes or the cuter bundt right?

So for lunch, decided I’d make some light payasam. The kids like it too, but since am now obsessed with adding in a handful of  “healthy” , this is what I did.

Pan roasted on medium, 2 tablespoons of quinoa with 1 tablespoon of broken wheat (ravva or sooji)

Once it started cracking (in 4-5 minutes) , I added in 1.5 cups of milk (1%is what we use)

Let it boil a bit, maybe about 10-15 minutes.

Added 1/3 cup of sugar and 1 tsp of powdered almonds mixed with some cardomom/ elaichi. You can also use MTR’s Badam Kheer mix instead. Has essentially the same stuff just packaged neater.

Boiled it for just a bit more and let it cool.

I like to keep it liquid, so, one could just gulp it down quickly, if you’d like it thicker, equal the quantity of ravva (broken wheat/sooji) with quinoa.

It isn’t much, and absolutely crazy healthy with the sugar, but it is what it is. An added way of getting some quinoa inside me. The quantity was perfect, we each got a small cup/bowl to gulp down and it did hit the spot. Plus, picky people aka daughter and son despite shrinking away from me couldn’t spot the quinoa grains while drinking it, so neat huh?

No pictures sorry, but hey, here’s Spongebob! Love the guy, so silly and so entertaining!

bundt cake

quinoa dish 3 (sundal)

I soaked quinoa sometime this afternoon. I had already some soaked kaala channa from yesterday.

Cooked them separately, as I didnt want the kala channa to get mushy. Cooked the quinoa on the stovetop, as I wanted to keep the grain separate. The simplest way to do this is to reduce the water. So for 1 cup of quinoa, I used just 1.5 cups of water.On high till a rolling boil happens, then I shut it tight and turn the knob to the lowest setting, turn the timer on for 14 minutes and walk away. Timer goes off, stove gets turned off and I dont open till after a few minutes.

Quinoa is fluffy, separate and done.

In the meanwhile, added 1 tsp oil in a pan, added slit green chillies, lots of coriander and then the cooked kala channa. Then mixed in the quinoa with it and added some salt and some lime juice on top.

Time to prep: If soaking, just 30 minutes is good.

Cooking time: 20 minutes. (15 to cook and then a few to add it all in and stor)

It filled great and was a modified version of the sundal, without the coconut.Makes a good snack for betwene meals if you so choose. Protein content goes up a notch if you let the lentils(channa) sprout as well.

quinoa 3

So there u go.

Here’s something I learned the hard way. Quinoa spoils if left outside after being cooked. Overnight. I had to throw a whole cup out, and it broke my heart. I hate wasting food and I didnt realize it was left outside till next day. So be careful.