Categorized | Vegetarian

Curry channa with aloo.

aloo and channaChanna and aloo or “chickpeas with potato” cooked in curry and stuffed into “hops” bread was a fav of mine growing up. I would visit my uncle who was a teacher at Marabella Junior Secondary school and just outside the gates were vendors selling all sorts of local street food. Including channa and aloo sandwiches (they also had a range of hotsauces to top this off with). Then how could one forget Divali time when we would get invited to our friends place down the road for dinner. This usually meant curry channa and aloo with roti. It was a festive time and the table would be packed with a huge assortment of dishes, but all I ever wanted was the buss-up-shut roti and channa with aloo.

In my recipe I used canned channa, but if you have access to the dry peas and you have the time, give those a try as well. It just means you’ll have to boil the dry version until tender before adding to the curry potato. But you’ll avoid having to use processed peas which sits in a ton of salt and whatever else is used in canning process.

You’ll Need…

1 can chickpeas (also known as channa, garbanzo bean, Indian pea, ceci bean, bengal gram, Kabuli chana, konda kadalai, kadale kaalu, sanaga pappu, shimbra, Kadala)
2 tablespoon curry powder (madras)
1/4 teaspoon salt (add more to your taste)
dash black pepper
1/2 medium onion sliced thin
1/4 hot pepper (I use habanero or scotch bonnet)
3 cloves garlic – crushed and minced
3 leaves of shado beni (or 2 tablespoon cilantro)
2 medium potatoes cubed
2 tablespoons water for the curry paste
4 tablespoons water to add to the cooked curry
2 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil

You have 2 options when using the canned channa. You can rinse and cook or rinse, remove the skin and then cook. Since I hate the sort of gritty taste the skin gives the dish, I usually remove the skins from each channa grain. Yes, it does take about 15-20 minutes to remove them all, but the end result is much better in my opinion. Side note: If you were to purchase any dish that comes with curry channa (doubles to name one) the vendor would not have taken the time to remove the skins off the channa. So you know it tastes good even with the skin.. it’s just my personal choice.

After I’ve emptied the can of channa and rinsed it under running water, I start removing the outer skin. This is rather simple… take a channa between your fingers and apply a little pressure. The skin and channa will separate easily.

chickpeas or channa

channa for curry

how to remove the skin from chickpeas

cooking curry channa

channa with aloo

Now that we’ve removed all of the outer layer from the channa it’s time to slice and mince up the onion, pepper, garlic and shado beni to start cooking. Don’t forget to peel and dice the potato as well. In a fairly deep saucepan, heat the oil on medium to high heat and get ready to cook the curry a bit. Put the curry in a small bowl and pour in the 2 tablespoons of water, then stir to a thick paste. Pour this into the heated oil and allow to cook for a few minutes. As it dries down a bit, add the onion, garlic, pepper and shadow beni and stir around. To give this a bit of time to cook, add about 4 tablespoons of water. (you’ll cook the curry mixture for 4-8 minutes in total)

curry channa ingredients

curry channa recipe

curry for channa

fry curry for channa

When the onion and garlic is soft and the liquid is all burnt off, add the potato and stir around to coat every piece with the curry mixture we just made. Immediately after add the channa and stir.

curry chickpeas

trini curry channa

channa and aloo

Pour in the 2 and 1/2 cups of water, add the salt and a dash of black pepper then bring to a boil and reduce to a gentle simmer (pot closed). Allow this to cook for about 20 minutes or until the potato is tender. By now the water would have dried up and a thick sauce should have started to form. I like this dish with a bit of a thick gravy or sauce so using the back of my cooking spoon I  press down on the potato and some of the channa. Then stir around so any runny liquid will get nice and thick. If you notice that after the 20 minutes cooking time you have little or no liquid in the pot, feel free to add some more and bring it to a boil. Same trick applies.. push down using the back of your spoon to help thicken the sauce.

trini curry channa and aloo

curry aloo and channa

trinidad curry channa

Sometimes you wonder why it’s taken you this long to make something you usually purchase, when it’s so simple to make. leave me your thoughts below.

Happy Cooking


p.s. hops bread is a a local bun the size of a hamburger bun in Canada and the US. It’s the main bun used for making sandwiches and you can get a fresh made batch at any of the local bakeries.

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33 Responses to “Curry channa with aloo.”

  1. Ian Abraham says:

    I don’t particularly like the tsste of canned channa. I use dry channa. Soak it and cook it in the pressure cooker. The result is the same – delicious. It only takes a bit longer.

  2. Michelle says:

    I live in Singapore, and while there is a new Trinidadian restaurant, there is no roti on the menu! I miss roti from Canada – at friend’s houses and great roti places… SO, this recipe did the trick for me today, for sure… I paired it up with Chris’ Pepper Sace recipe, and added spinach to the roti… I’m surprising my husband with it tonight and I also know that not only is he going to have a happy Friday night, I’m having an awesome rest of the weekend now!!! Thanks Chris!!!!

  3. Shay says:

    Couldn’t believe how close this recipe came to the channa I usually buy from my favorite Trini restaurant. I boiled it a little longer than what the recipe called for and I didn’t use as much onion, but it still came out yummy. My two year old loves it (I used very little pepper) and I’m so happy you shared this!!!! Thanks

  4. Brenda says:

    I love this recipe Chris,thanks

  5. Mark H says:

    Chris this is the food I eat whilst here in Trinidad, I will make it soon, thanks to you and your lovely recipe you are turning me into a chef.Nuff Respect Chris

  6. Gani says:

    Ok so this recipe is everything. It reminds me a little bit of the doubles men by the maxi taxis in curepe and Diwali picked into greatness….. I make it all the time and forgot to comment. Great recipe and representation of Trinidad.

  7. Mel says:

    I love this recipe, thank you!! I didn’t realize this dish could be so easy to make. Even my toddler daugter loves to eat this (we just omit the hot pepper). Thank you!!

  8. Anna Kataoka says:

    Hi Chris: I added a bit of geera, which I got from my Grenadian granny. Th taste of my aloo gobi became nutty.

    Would you, actually, recommend adding geera?

  9. Laura says:

    I am an american whitey lol.. and I love love trini food, thanks to my best friends family!! I absolutely LOVE channa and aloo….. i have watched her mother make it a few times over the years, and today i decided to give it a whirl… I found ur recipe to be the closest to hers online, and OMG its absolutely amazing…delish, just like hers!!! I love love it, and I love love knowing I can make it :)

  10. njyarna says:

    Chris, made this recipe here in Peru to get a taste of home over a long weekend. True to form. Probably with a special extra using native potatoes. Sadly, no trini pepper here, or anything close to it. But that is why I keep a store of kuchela. Thanks!

  11. forestparks says:

    Made this last night and my god it was yummy and just like the simple curry I have had from various Roti shops in London. So pleased I found a decent recipe!

    So I added a touch of cinnamon and a little more salt than you and also had to boil a little longer to get it to thicken (will try simmering with the pot open next time).

    I'm going to try and use less oil, sweet potato and add a another vegetable (maybe green beans) next time.

    I've been getting worried because I am moving to Hungary and I am not sure how widespread Caribbean food is there! About time I learned to make it for myself.


  12. Ally says:

    you know what I have an issue with. My chana never seems to cook down in the same texture as buying it from the doubles man. I am cooking chana now and i just mashed it down, so I'll see if I get it right this time lol

  13. rich says:

    I made this recipe last week and it testes very similar to my local Trini Roti Shop. Great recipe, Chris.

  14. Samar says:

    I just tried this today and it turned out excellent. Thanks so much for sharing!


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