Curry channa and aloo (chickpeas and potato) is a classic vegetarian curry dish hailing from the Caribbean… with a strong Indian influence. Due to the fact that Indian indentured laborers where brought in from India after slavery was abolished to upkeep the sugarcane industry. I started adding chicken to the mix as a means of adding more flavor and added texture to the mix. Plus it’s a great way to use chicken breast, without it going dry and bland. I may have mentioned that I’m no fan of chicken breast – more a dark-meat kinda guy. In this recipe we’ll cut back on the overall cooking time by using canned chickpeas (Channa) and in an upcoming post, I’ll show you how to use shrimp instead of chicken.
1 lb boneless chicken breast
1 can chick peas (about 2 cups)
1 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 scotch bonnet
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon caribbean green seasoning
2 tablespoon veg oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 cloves garlic
1/2 small onion
2 tablespoon cilantro (or shado beni | culantro)
2 cups water
1 large potato
2 slices ginger (optional)
Important: If doing this recipe gluten free, please go through the full list of ingredients to ensure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs (specially the curry powder – some brands contain flour as a filler).
Place the cubed (1 inch pieces) chicken in a bowl and season with the chopped tomato, salt, black pepper, Caribbean green seasoning, chopped scotch bonnet (no seeds) and diced tomato. Mix well and allow to marinate for 30 minutes. Remember to wash your hands with soap and water after handling such hot peppers.
In a deep saucepan heat the oil on a low heat, then add the diced onion and garlic and cook (low heat) for about 3 minutes. Then add the curry powder (your fav) and cook for another 3-4 minutes on low. This step we’re cooking the rawness of the curry and highlighting the spices which make up the curry blend.
Turn the heat to med/high and add the seasoned chicken pieces to the pot and stir well. The idea is to deglaze the bottom of the pan to pick up all the curry goodness. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring often. the chicken will spring it’s own juices.. that’s natural.
Add the 2 cups of water to the same bowl you marinated the chicken in to pick up any remaining marinade..we need that. By this time the liquid in the pan will start burning off and you’ll start seeing the oil we started off with. Add the cubed potato (large pieces) and chickpeas (be sure to wash and drain).
Stir well, add the water, ginger and bring to a boil. As it comes to a boil, reduce to a rolling boil and cook with the lid slightly ajar for about 25 minutes. Basically until the pieces of potato are tender and you have a nice thick gravy.
Taste for salt and adjust if necessary (remember we only added salt when we seasoned the chicken) – that was enough for me. If by chance you find that your gravy is too thin, use the back of your cooking spoon to crush some of the chickpeas and potato and it will thicken things. Top with the chopped cilantro (or shado beni) and enjoy (with rice or roti)!
Such a classic curry dish and so easy to put together. Remember in the coming weeks I’ll have something very similar, except we’ll be using some plump shrimp for a totally different flavor – you’ll be blown away with that one.