Massaman Slow-Cooked Chickpeas

Slow-cooked in the oven overnight, or for most of the day, and ready for a quick and easy dinner in a bowl. [Sorry – forgot to take a pretty photo of it served ready to eat.]

Adapted from is the curry paste (my lazy and chilli-free version), used to flavour slow-cooked chickpeas and lentils. But I reckon any kind of legume would work for this, because the method is not too different from the slow-cooked white bean casserole I make so often.

The curry paste can be made in larger quantities, and frozen in batches.

Using half this curry paste amount (the other half is frozen for next time) with the slow-cooked chickpeas, it makes about 4 servings.


Curry paste:

This makes enough to use half in this recipe, and freeze the other half for more swiftly making it again in the future.

  • 3 small shallot onions
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tbsp coriander seed (or 1 tbsp if using ground)
  • 1 tsp cumin seed (or 1/2 tsp if using ground)
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, thinly sliced (or about 2-3 tbsp chopped)
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger (or use galangal if available)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder, optional, for a mild zing
  • 4 tbsp water, as needed to blend

For the rest of the curry:

  • half of the curry paste, made from above ingredients
  • 1 400g can coconut milk
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas (or mix of beans like borlotti, giant white beans or canellini), soaked overnight or for a few hours and then drained
  • 1/2 cup du Puy lentils, soaked overnight or for a few hours and then drained
  • 1 large onion, peeled then chopped roughly (it will disintegrate anyway, so size doesn’t matter much)
  • 1 star anise
  • 400g (or more or none) washed or peeled potatoes, chopped into 2-3cm cubes


To make the curry paste:

In a heavy pan (like my cast iron casserole pan, which is used for the slow cooking), dry toast the unpeeled garlic cloves and unpeeled shallot, tossing every now and again for about 5 minutes, until the skins are blackened. Move them to a bowl to cool.

Dry toast the whole spices for a couple of minutes – the intention is that they will become fragrant, without burning. (Ignore the star anise in the photo below… I – err –  burned this batch. Then, in making it again, I decided to put the star anise in with the chickpeas, not the curry paste.)

Dry toast the lemongrass and ginger/galangal until lightly charred, and while this is happening, add all the toasted spices to a spice grinder and grind it all to a powder.

Remove the skins and any burnt bits from the shallots and garlic.

Add all the curry paste ingredients to a powerful blender, like a Vitamix or Thermomix, and process, adding a tablespoon of water at a time, until it is very smooth. In my Vitamix, I use all 4 tablespoons of water so that the blending is easier.

Put half into an air-tight container and freeze. Keep the other half to continue with this recipe…

To make the slow-cooked curry:

Heat the oven to about 125 Celsius.

In an oven-proof casserole pan (which has a lid), add the curry paste, with the coconut milk and vegetable stock, and bring to a simmer. Add everything everything else and return to a simmer.

Put on the lid, and place in the oven. Leave it there for 4 to 6 hours, and check to stir and add more water if needed, at about the 2 hour mark.

Eat, enjoy:

Remove the star anise, if you can find it.

Serve with steamed rice of choice. But if the potatoes provide enough carbs on their own, eat as it is.

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