Chana Aloo: Chickpea and Potato Curry Recipe

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Chana Aloo Curry

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Chana Aloo Curry

Chana Aloo curry is such a popular dish among Pakistani cuisines that it is a must for one to know this simple, yet full-of-flavour food. 

There are many ways and recipes on how to make this Chickpea and Potato curry. Having tried it from various restaurants, and numerous homemade ones (made by family and friends) I have come to the conclusion that the homemade one is the best. 

a bowl of chana aloo curry with overlay text

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This is because most homemade Chana Aloo curry does not use bicarbonate of soda as opposed to the ones from restaurants.

And as for the spices, this curry doesn’t require particular ingredients. It only uses regular items that usually exist in Asian pantry, or in the kitchen that does a lot of Asian cooking. So it is so easy to make this chickpea potato curry from scratch. It’s a no brainer kinda recipe for anyone who wants to make. 

The recipe I’m sharing with you here roots to Pakistani style of chana aloo curry. I’ve learned it from my sister-in-law who has been teaching me all the delicious Pakistani foods. Have I told you that she is the best cook when it comes to Pakistani cuisines? 

How to enjoy

Traditionally, this chickpea and potato curry is served together with Halwa Puri for an indulgent breakfast or brunch, or at happy occasions of weddings and family gatherings.

But really, you can enjoy it whenever you feel like it.

At times, I make it as a side dish for our daily menu. You can enjoy this curry with any other flatbreads such as chapati/ roti, naan bread or even pitta bread. Although it goes best with fried-flatbread/ puri (like the one you have with Halwa Puri). I also have it with plain white Basmati rice more often than not and find it comforting and delicious. 

Key ingredients

Needless to say, you need chickpeas and potatoes for this curry. 

You can use canned chickpeas, and you need two cans for this recipe. But if you prefer doing it from scratch, i.e. using dried chickpeas, you only need one cup of dried chickpeas. Wash, rinse and soak the pulses in the water overnight. On the following day, you either boil the lentils in a regular pot or in a pressure cooker (to save time) until they are fully cooked.

Once the chickpeas are cooked, you can follow the recipe to make the curry. 

As for the flavouring, this chana aloo recipe uses the usual spices and herbs such as ginger, garlic, onion, cumin, coriander, turmeric, chilli or paprika. 

For the latter one, I deliberately give you choices between chilli and paprika for a reason. As a family with two children, I used to swap the chilli with paprika when the kids were younger. This way, the kids can enjoy the curries that I make. But as they grow older and can handle spicier foods, I use chillies more often than not. So feel free to use paprika instead and don’t worry, your curry is gonna be as tasty.

The only different spice that I now put is Kalonji, the black seeds. Because I believe that allspice has benefits for our health, especially these Kalonji seeds. But this one is optional. You can omit them if you don’t have or don’t fancy using them.

Few other ingredients you need for this curry are tomatoes and tamarind. These two will give your aloo chana a punchy and refreshingly tangy flavour.

You can use three small fresh tomatoes if you like. Or, you can use half a can of tinned tomatoes. 

As for tamarind, you can use tamarind block and make your own juice by soaking about one inch of tamarind block with a quarter of hot boiling water. Sieve it and extract its juice when the tamarind has become soft. But you can use two teaspoons of tamarind paste to save time. 

How to make Aloo Chana Curry

Firstly, you fry the onion slices and the whole spices until the onions become translucent. 

frying onion with ginger and garlic
frying spices and onion

Secondly, you add in minced ginger-garlic and all other spices. 

Thirdly, the tomato goes into the spices, and you cook until you get a nice thick curry sauce with a little oil separated from the edges.

masala for curry
chickpeas in curry masala

Fourthly, you put the chickpeas and tamarind juice/ paste in the sauce, give it a stir and cook further for about five minutes. 

Lastly, you add in the potatoes and some water, then continue cooking until the chickpeas and potatoes are fully cooked and soft.

adding potatoes into the chickpea curry
ready cooked chickpea curry with potatoes

Top tip: try to mash some of the chickpeas towards the end of your cooking when those lovely pulses are soft. This can enhance the flavour of your Aloo Chana. 

Related posts

Thank you for reading the post. I hope you now want to try the recipe. When you do, it will be great if you could share what you think about this Aloo Chana in the comments below.

And please follow me on Facebook, Instagram and/or Pinterest to sneak a peek at what’s cooking in my kitchen.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out my other recipes for inspiration.

Thank you and all the best.

Yield: 6

Chana Aloo Curry

Aloo Chana Curry

This Chana Aloo Curry recipe is easy to make but helps you make a flavourful chickpea curry with potatoes. Rooted in Pakistani style of cooking, this curry dish uses a special ingredient which is tamarind.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 2 cans of chickpeas, drained. (see the note).
  • 2 small onions, sliced.
  • 2 garlic, minced.
  • ¼ -inch ginger, minced.
  • ¼ tsp Kalonji seeds/ Nigella Sativa/ black seeds (see the note).
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder.
  • 1 tsp ground cumin.
  • 1 tsp ground coriander.
  • 1 tsp salt.
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (or paprika powder if you prefer mild heat).
  • ½ cup/ 120 gr/ 4.23 oz tinned tomatoes.
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste.
  • ¾ cup/ 180 ml/ 6.35 fl.oz water.
  • ¼ cup of cooking oil.


  1. Heat the oil on a cooking pan and fry the onion, Kalonji seeds, ginger and garlic until the onion turns translucent. 
  2. Add in all the spices and fry for about a minute or two until the mixture releases aroma. 
  3. Put the tomatoes and water in. Give it a good stir. Let it cook and simmer with the lid on. Keep stirring and mashing the tomato pieces every now and again so you get a smooth sauce.
  4. When the sauce looks shiny with the oil separated from the edges, add the drained chickpeas in. 
  5. Mix the tamarind paste with ½ cup of water and stir in the chickpeas. Mix well and then let it cook with the lid on at low heat for about 5 minutes. 
  6. Then put the potatoes in and cook further until the potatoes and the chickpeas are cooked and soft. It takes approximately 10-15 minutes. 
  7. If the curry looks dry, you can add extra water for about ¼ of a cup.
  8. Once the chickpeas and potatoes are softly cooked, mash some of the chickpeas a little bit. This can enhance the curry flavour. 


  • The drained weight of canned chickpeas is about 240 gr/ 8.47 oz. You can use the dried chickpeas. For this recipe, I use 1 cup dried chickpeas and then soak them in water overnight. Before I cook, I boil the chickpeas in the pressure cooker for about 20-30 minutes. 
  • If you don’t have Kalonji, you can use whole cumin seeds instead or omit altogether.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 191Total Fat 11gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 0mgSodium 430mgCarbohydrates 19gFiber 5gSugar 4gProtein 6g

The nutrition calculation you find here is just a guide provided by online nutrition calculator. You should not use to substitute advice from nutritionists or health practitioners.

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  1. “cook with the lid on at low heat for about 10 of a cup. ” What does 10 of a cup mean? How long does it cook for?
    Also I’m a bit confused on when the potatoes go in the dish

    1. Hi, thank you for pointing out my mistakes. I’m very sorry for causing confusion. I’ve taken a look, amended and updated the instructions on the recipe card. Again, thank you and sorry. Take care

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