Easy to make curry channa and potato

23.8.22 | Recipe by Renz

A savory, chickpea curry dish cooked with potatoes and simmered down in curry and spices. This channa aloo curry is just what you need to add to your dinner rotation.

Two serving bowls of channa aloo curry with a serving of partha roti.

I think I have mentioned over and over that I come from a curry country. And this dish is an ever-popular staple, that is very easy to make.

Coming from a country that has a myriad of cultures sure has its benefits. The heavy influence of adapted East Indian food brings joy to my heart.

I LOVE curry. And I especially love that our foods were not only limited to those specific laborers that came in, but it spread and everyone just started blending all the foods.

Curry channa and aloo (potato) is a savory, earthy dish that can be used in numerous ways. It is an adaption of an Indian dish that we now make Trini style.

We use it as a side or as a main dish (especially for vegetarians) and it is popularly eaten with roti or even with rice.

This is an easy recipe that gives a deep flavor.


What is channa?

You might sometimes see it spelled as chana, but this is just another name for chickpeas or garbanzo beans.

In Trinidad and Tobago, we regularly refer to this as channa.

It is popularly used to make hummus.

It has an earthy taste and the outside is a bit firm and then soft on the inside.

I use it to substitute meat in many of my dishes.

What you need for this dish

This is a pretty quick and easy-to-make recipe. The ingredients are pretty simple and straightforward. I did want to mention points for two of the ingredients.

Ingredients needed to make curry channa and aloo showing the portion sizes.

  • Curry powder - I stick to Chief brand or any Caribbean brand. Another good one that has the flavor is betapac. Caribbean curry powders are a bit different and I go into details about them in my curry shrimp recipe.
  • Chickpeas - You can use canned chickpeas or dry chickpeas for this recipe. If you use dried, then know that there are some extra steps you need to take prior to cooking. Scroll down to see the section on using dried chickpeas.

Equipment needed

Large dutch pot.

How to make channa and potato curry

The cooking process is simple enough.

Rinse out your chickpeas before using them.

Also, have your curry mix ready to go. This is the type of dish that needs to have everything already cut up. Not like I usually am rushing around the kitchen now looking for this ingredient. You won't really have the time.

Heat your pan of oil on medium heat, then add onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are opaque. This should take about 2-3 minutes.

We then add the curry mixture and develop the flavor of that with the onions. The curry will get a bit grainy, but don't worry, the burning of the curry allows the flavor to escape.

Frying onions and garlic in oil then adding in the curry paste to the hot oil.
Onion and garlic in hot oil, then curry paste added to oil.

Then we add in potatoes, and channa and stir to coat them with curry.

And that was most of the work. Add the water to the pot and lower the temperature to medium-low. Season with salt, and black pepper.  Also, add in your hot pepper.

Leave it to simmer and allow the flavors to blend and the potatoes and channa to cook till tender. This took me about 10-15 minutes.

Cubed potatoes and chickpeas tossed in the curry paste mixture.

If you want it to have a "long gravy" then add more cups of water as it simmers down so that you can get the amount of sauce that you want.

If you think you've added too much liquid and the potatoes are cooked, mash a few of the potatoes down to help thicken up the liquid. Turn the heat up to high for 3-5 minutes to help reduce some of the liquid.

What to eat with aloo and channa

This dish can be eaten with so many side options.

Most popular and my favorite is with roti. Especially for me, with some paratha. You can also add it inside some.

Or pair it with a bowl of rice. I love it with white rice alongside some curry chicken (chicken curry) and steamed pumpkin. Brown rice is also good.

If you want to make this a vegetarian dish, substitute the meat with bodi or dhal. Yum.

Cooked chickpeas and potato in a curry sauce ready to be served.


If you want to amplify the flavors a bit more in this dish, here are a few things you can add.

  • Garam masala powder - if you want some intense flavor, add a little masala. You can add it with the curry to the put when burning it up with the onion and garlic.
  • Ground cumin powder - cumin is another great addition. Don't add too much though. I would say about 1/2 a teaspoon ground cumin.
  • Green seasoning - I sometimes add a tablespoon of green seasoning to the curry paste mixture.
  • Bay leaves
  • Ginger - grating some fresh ginger gives this a nice kick to the flavor.
  • Coconut milk - If you want this to be a creamy curry you can add a little coconut milk to the mixture. I would not put more than a 1/4 cup.
  • Fresh thyme
  • Culantro


For this recipe, I used russet potatoes (also called Idaho potatoes). Russet potato use is widespread in Caribbean cuisine. If you like you can switch this out with sweet potato. Either the orange ones (American) or the Caribbean ones (white).


How can I make channa soft? 

If you are using dried channa, these are very very tough. It cannot be used dried. It needs to be rehydrated prior to cooking. You have a few options to get this done.

You want to get the beans to split or squish when squeezed.

Method 1 Soak overnight in water.

Leave the chickpeas in water that is almost five times its amount. They suck up plenty of water. You don't want it to soak up water all the water over the night so make sure you put way more than the amount that's there.

Some people also suggest adding a tablespoon of baking soda to the water, which would help speed up the process of softening.

Method 2 Boil in water

Some people would boil the dried channa in water till tender. You can boil it with seasonings like onion, green onions, garlic cloves, and some salt so that it seasons while cooking.

Method 3 Pressure cook

You can use a traditional pressure cooker or an electric one like an Instapot and pressure the chickpeas until tender. Just add more water than the number of chickpeas and pressure cook until chickpeas are tender.

Can you cook channa without boiling?

Yes as I mentioned above, you can easily pressure or soak the channa overnight.

How long should channa be soaked?

It needs to be soaked for a while to rehydrate if this is the method you choose. I think it best is overnight so that it gets access to as much moisture that is possible. This won't always be the case and we always don't plan ahead.

For instance with last-minute decisions, at least an hour, with the baking soda. If that doesn't work then pressuring it would be the fastest next step.

Curry channa and potato with roti skin served out in bowls.


And what about some more curry dishes?

Here's some delicious side dishes: