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.
What is in this curry channa and aloo recipe
For this recipe, you’ll need:
- dry channa or chickpeas or garbanzo beans
- Caribbean green seasoning with chadon beni, Spanish thyme, garlic, and pepper
- curry powder (which contains coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, salt, fennel, mustard and chilies – the local Chief brand is most popular)
- baking powder
If you enjoy recipes like this, check out all the Trini lunch recipes on this blog.
How to make Trinidad curry channa and aloo
Soak the channa
Dried chickpeas must be soaked before cooking – otherwise you’ll be left cooking the peas for hours.
Step 1: Check the chickpeas to remove any odd looking bits and peas. Rinse thoroughly. Next, place in a bowl with water. You’ll want to use four to five times more water than peas as they will swell. Cover the bowl and leave on the countertop overnight or for at least 6 hours.
Step 2: The next morning, be sure to rinse the chickpeas thoroughly (at least three times) to remove any of the overnight liquid.
If you plan on using canned chickpeas, you can skip this step. Open the can and rinse the chickpeas properly.
Season the channa
With the channa thoroughly washed, it is time to season it.
Step 3: Mix the peas with baking powder, sugar and half of a teaspoon of salt. Add green seasoning and pepper too. You can make your own fresh green seasoning at this point by grinding washed chadon beni (culantro) leaves, cilantro, Spanish thyme, fine thyme, peeled garlic cloves, and pepper with a little water. Set the seasoned channa aside.
Prep all other ingredients
Step 4: Peel and chop the potatoes, onion and garlic cloves.
Sauté the aromatics
Step 5: Place a large pot on medium heat. Leave it to heat up before adding vegetable oil.
Step 6: Next, add your chopped onions and cook for a few minutes until translucent. Next, add the garlic and pepper. If you’ve used enough pepper in the freshly grated green seasoning, you can skip adding pepper at this point. Sauté everything for another minute or two.
Cook the curry
Step 7: Add the curry powder to the onion and garlic. 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 8: Add about a quarter cup of water.
Step 9: 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 potatoes
Step 10: With the curry well cooked, it is time to add the seasoned chickpeas and potatoes. Stir to make sure the curry thoroughly coats 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 11: 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 12: 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 13: 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.
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 (five 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 remainder of the water 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.