Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Crockpot "Chhole"

Sue was my first American friend. I had many acquaintances but she became my first American friend. I learnt many things from Sue.  She taught me many cultural things which were so new to me then. St Patrick's day - need to wear green else you will get pinched,  Thanksgiving, Pampered chef parties, Secret Santa, Baby shower games, charity events....the list is just endless. "Do you know any cooking with Crock pot?" - She had asked me once. I had no idea what she was talking about. She was not ready to accept me as a versatile cook because I didn't know the basics. (Crock pot cooking is as basic as you can get, it seems!!) Sue was much older than I was then. She invited me for the Pampered Chef party hosted by her. She showed me her crock pot. She would set the crock pot in the morning before leaving for work and by the time, she was home, delicious meal was ready. I was skeptical. I hate to keep anything switched on while there is  none at home. I think of possible hazards. But it worked okay for her. She taught me how to make Cincinnati chili in the crock pot. She was very proud of it. I attended many "firsts" with her in America. I attended first American wedding, first baby shower, first Secret Santa exchange, first juvenile diabetes walk, first Thanksgiving. She gave me the first Christmas ornament. I still put it up on our Christmas tree. Unfortunately, I also attended the first funeral. Sue passed away due to heavy Diabetes.

I don't use Crock pot as frequently as Sue used to do. But every once in a while, it shows up during the pantry cleaning. I make Sue's chili recipe without using meat - adding Indian spices, thus makings our good old Rajma. Once, the crock pot is out of the pantry, I make chholes, palak paneer, masoor, lobiya. My novelty lasts for a few days, before I wrap it back up and set it aside. During this year's pantry cleaning, my crock pot and slow cooker are out. Let's see how long I am able to use them.

Many American cooks use garbanzo beans or kidney beans from the can and add it to the crock pot. I generally have my own batch of pressure cooked beans ready to be used in the freezer. So I use pressure cooked beans. The best part of using crock pot is you can get away without needing any oil.

Crock pot Chhole
1 cup dry garbanzo beans/kabuli chane
salt to taste
2 cups water

1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp coriander-cumin powder
1 tsp mild chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Grind to paste
1 cup roughly chopped onion
1/2 cup roughly chopped tomatoes
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
1" ginger, peeled & chopped

1 tbsp minced cilantro
Lemon wedges

1. Soak garbanzo beans overnight. Pressure cook next morning.
2. Place all the ingredients in the crock pot and switch to "High" setting.
3. Let it cook for 5 hours.
4. Adjust for seasoning.
5. Switch to "Low" till ready to eat.
6. Garnish with chopped cilantro and lemon wedges before serving.

1. Use canned garbanzo beans if you wish.

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