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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Ingredients for Trini channa and aloo
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).
- baking powder
- Caribbean green seasoning: made with chadon beni, garlic, pepper and other herbs like Spanish thyme, thyme and more. Check out this post on how to make Caribbean green seasoning.
- 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. You can find Trini curry blends on Amazon.
- oil: any vegetable oil can be used for this recipe.
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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.
This dish goes well with rice too.
Channa and aloo video:
Curry channa and aloo recipe
Trinidad curry channa and aloo recipe
- 1½ cup dry channa (chickpeas)
- 10 cups water
- 3 small potatoes (chopped)
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 3 tbsp Caribbean green seasoning (ground)
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 – 1½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp oil
- pepper to taste
- Rinse channa thoroughly.
- Place in a bowl with 5 cups of water and cover. Leave to soak overnight.
- Rinse the channa again thoroughly at least three times.
- Mix the soaked peas with baking powder, green seasoning, sugar, and half of the salt.
- Set aside.
- In a large pot on medium heat, add oil and allow to heat up.
- Sauté onions until translucent.
- Add garlic and pepper. Sauté for two minutes.
- Mix in curry powder.
- Patch the curry for two minutes.
- Add ¼ cup of water and stir.
- Cook until the curry becomes a thick paste (5 minutes).
- Mix in potatoes.
- Add seasoned channa.
- Patch for ten minutes (the potatoes and chickpeas should release their own water).
- As the contents dry, add the remaining water, enough to completely cover the peas. Add more water for a thinner sauce.
- Cook until the channa is soft.
- Mash several peas to thicken the sauce.
- Taste test the peas and add the remaining salt (adjust down for lower salt intake)
- Serve hot.