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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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Before you go, don’t forget to check out my other recipes for inspiration.
- Mung Bean curry – Pakistani whole mung bean dal.
- Aloo Palak – spinach and potato curry in Pakistani style.
- Aubergine curry – an easy recipe for a vegetarian side dish.
- Kitchari recipe – rice and mung bean rice congee.
Thank you and all the best.