Chana Aloo: Chickpea and Potato Curry Recipe

Chana Aloo Curry

Traditionally served together with halwa puri as a brunch menu, this moreish delicious chana aloo is one vegan dish you don’t want to miss. 

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-but-full-of-flavour food. 

There are many recipes on how to make this Chickpea and Potato curry. 

a bowl of chana aloo curry with overlay text

Having tried it from various restaurants, and numerous homemade ones (made by family and friends), I think the homemade one is the best. 

Because most homemade Chana Aloo curry does not use bicarbonate of soda like 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 pantries, or in the kitchen that does a lot of Asian cooking. So it is so easy to make this chickpea and potato curry from scratch. 

It’s a no brainer recipe for anyone who wants to make it. 

Various styles of chickpea and potato curry

There are numerous recipes for this type of vegan curry. 

From Indian to Jamaican chickpea and potato curry. From the Caribbean to Pakistani curry. 

All offer deliciousness in their own right.

Now, the recipe I’m sharing with you is rooted in the Pakistani style of chana aloo curry

A bowl of chickpea and potato curry garnished with sliced green chillies.

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

This chickpea and potato curry is often served with Halwa Puri for an indulgent breakfast or brunch. Or at happy occasions such as weddings and family gatherings.

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

Often, I make it as a side dish for our daily menu. You can enjoy this curry with 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)

And I also have it with plain white rice more often than not and find it comforting and simply delicious. 

Key ingredients

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

Pakistani style of chickpea and potato curry in a white bowl.

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. 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 a 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. 

Canned chickpeas vs dried chickpeas

You can use canned chickpeas. For this recipe, you need two cans of garbanzo beans. 

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 can 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. 

How to make Aloo Chana Curry

Firstly, 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 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 some 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, add 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. 

Storing matter

Though it doesn’t take much time to cook this potato and chickpea curry, sometimes we simply don’t have time to do it.

So, to save us cooking on busy days, why don’t you cook this dish in batch and freeze it?

It freezes well for about 2 months. And when you need it, you can always thaw it in the fridge/ refrigerator overnight and reheat it until it is piping hot.

But remember, once you thaw the food, you must not refreeze it.

More Pakistani vegan dishes

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 (leave a reply box). 

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

Last but not least, don’t forget to check out my other Pakistani vegan recipes for more 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 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of chickpeas, drained. (see the note).
  • 300 grams of baby potatoes or new potatoes, cut in chunks.
  • 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.

Instructions

  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. 

Notes

Use the 400 grams of canned chickpeas. The drained weight of canned chickpeas is about 240 gr/ 8.47 oz.

You can also 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. 

The best potatoes to use for this recipe is the waxy potatoes such as baby potatoes, new potatoes, or charlotte potatoes.

  • If you don’t have Kalonji, you can use whole cumin seeds instead or omit altogether.

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

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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6 Comments

  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

  2. thank you very much for updating the recipe Devy!!

    1. And I thank you for your email message letting me know my err. Really appreciate it.

    2. Birte Oliver says:

      Hi Devy

      I have cooked Aloo Chana many times, it is one of my favourite dishes. I have never used tamerind paste, I always use lemon juice. I will try it with tamerind next time. No wonder my dish doesn’t taste just right.
      Thanks for your delicious recipes. Have a lovely day. Bee xx

      1. Hi Bee. I’m sure the one with lemon juice is as nice. It’s just the tanginess is a bit different I suppose. Take care, Bee.

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