Trinidad curry channa and aloo is a delicious T&T favorite. It is made with chickpeas (or channa), potatoes (or aloo), and a curry powder blend unique to the Caribbean.
This curry is not the same as the East Indian version. But, it is still as tasty.
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Curry channa and aloo ingredients
For this recipe, you’ll need:
- channa: also called chickpeas and garbanzo beans. I usually use the dried peas but you can make this recipe with canned chickpeas and skip the pre-soaking (Step 1).
- aloo: Russet Idaho potatoes are commonly used for this recipe.
- Caribbean green seasoning: made with chadon beni, garlic, pepper and other herbs like Spanish thyme, thyme and more. You can buy the seasoning on Amazon or make your own using my Caribbean green seasoning recipe. By the way, Amazon also has chadon beni for sale.
- baking powder: I always use aluminum free baking powder in all my recipes.
- pepper: I usually use fresh pepper like scotch bonnets and pimentos. But, feel free to use your favorite fresh peppers or swap for chilli or cayenne pepper.
- curry powder: This curry blend is popular on the islands and contains coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, salt, fennel, mustard and chilies.
- oil: any vegetable oil can be used for this recipe.
How to make Trinidad curry channa and aloo
Soak the channa
Step 1: Dried chickpeas must be soaked before cooking – otherwise you’ll be left cooking the peas for hours. Check the chickpeas to remove any odd looking bits and peas. Rinse thoroughly. Place in a bowl with water – you’ll want to use four to five times more water than peas as they will expand. Cover the bowl and leave on the countertop overnight or for at least 6 hours.
Step 2: After the soaking time, rinse the chickpeas thoroughly (at least three times) to remove any of the overnight liquid. If you are using canned channa, you can also rinse the peas out before moving on.
Prep the ingredients
Step 3: Add baking powder, sugar, half of the salt and green seasoning to the channa. Mix to incorporate and set the seasoned channa aside.
Step 4: Peel the potatoes and cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces.
Step 5: Chop the onion, garlic cloves and pepper.
Sauté the aromatics
Step 6: Place a large pot on medium heat. Leave it to heat up before adding vegetable oil.
Step 7: Add the chopped onions and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until the onions are translucent. Next, add in garlic. Sauté everything for another minute or two.
Cook the curry
Step 8: Add the curry powder to the sauteed onion garlic and pepper. Mix thoroughly. If the curry powder is too dry, you can add a little more oil. Stir often to patch the curry powder for 2 minutes. You’ll want that curry to cook thoroughly.
Step 9: Add about a quarter cup of water.
Step 10: Stir and leave to cook down to form a thick curry paste. This can take about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the heat.
Add the channa and aloo
Step 11: With the curry well cooked, it is time to add the seasoned chickpeas and potatoes. Stir to make sure the curry coats all of the ingredients. Continue to stir often to prevent the ingredients from sticking to the pot. They should release a little water of their own. If the pot is too hot and the ingredients begin to stick, add about a quarter cup of water and stir. Cook for about 10 minutes.
Step 12: As the ingredients start to soften, add enough water to cover the chickpeas and potatoes. The water level should be about one to two inches above the peas.
Step 13: Leave to cook until the chickpeas and potatoes are fully cooked. This can take anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour. Don’t cover the pot while cooking since the water can bubble over.
Step 14: When completely cooked, crush a few chickpeas into the curry sauce. Doing this will thicken the sauce nicely. Taste test and add any additional salt.
What to serve with channa and aloo
Curry channa and aloo is a very versatile side dish. Enjoy it with buss-up-shut roti or dhalpuri roti. Other vegan sides like pumpkin, mango talkari and sweet rice are served after Hindu prayer ceremonies and at Hindu weddings.
Curry channa and aloo recipe
Trinidad curry channa and aloo (chickpeas and potatoes)
- 1½ cups dried channa (chickpeas)
- 5 cups water (for soaking)
- 3 tbsp Caribbean green seasoning (with chadon beni, garlic, and pepper)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
Channa and aloo
- 3 small potatoes
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 pimento peppers (or any pepper of choice)
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp curry powder (Caribbean version)
- ½ – 1 tsp salt
- 5 cups water (for cooking)
- Rinse channa thoroughly.
- Place in a bowl with the 5 cups of water and cover. Leave to soak overnight (about 8 hours).
- Rinse the channa again thoroughly at least 3 times. Drain water.
- Mix the soaked peas with green seasoning, baking powder, sugar, and ½ tsp salt.
- Set aside.
Channa and aloo
- Peel the potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces.
- Peel and chop the onion and garlic. Dice the pepper.
- In a large pot on medium heat, add oil and allow to heat up.
- Sauté the chopped onions until translucent.
- Add garlic and pepper. Sauté for 2 minutes.
- Mix in curry powder.
- Patch the curry for 2 minutes.
- Add ¼ cup of water and stir.
- Cook until the curry becomes a thick paste (5 minutes).
- Mix in the potatoes and seasoned channa.
- Patch for 10 minutes (the potatoes and chickpeas should release their own water).
- As the channa and potatoes become dry, add the remaining water (5 cups), enough to completely cover everything. Add more water for a thinner sauce.
- Cook until the channa is soft (this can take 40 mins to 1 hour).
- Mash several peas with the back of a spoon to thicken the sauce.
- Taste test the peas and add the remaining salt (adjust down for lower salt intake)
- Serve hot.
- Use canned channa as a substitute for dried channa. This will eliminate steps #1 and #2, reducing the prep time. The canned channa will also cook faster so add the potatoes to the curry paste first and allow to cook for about 10 minutes before adding the chickpeas and water (use less water too). Cook until the channa and aloo are both soft.