This is a real proper curry, made from scratch and easy, with great depth of flavour and it’s healthy. You won’t need to hunt down any unusual spices, you might even have them all (I did!). This is one of those satisfying meals that carnivores don’t even think of as vegetarian. (I am, of course, referring to myself 🙂 )
This curry. It tastes just like Indian curry you get from restaurants. I really mean that. It’s not flat tasting, it has great layers in it, real punchy flavours. And it’s made from scratch – no curry pastes here!
The roots of this particular curry is Trinidad in the Caribbean. But it really tastes very similar to Indian vegetable curries (the tomato based ones, not the creamy ones).
I don’t know if you’ve ever made Indian curries at home before, but I have. And with a few exceptions – like the Butter Chicken recipe I shared last year (GOLD discovery!) – the list of spices required is quite lengthy. And almost without fail, there are spices that I need to hunt down at speciality spice stores or Indian grocery stores.
And therein lies the reason why I am obsessed with this. Half the ingredients required for an Indian curry. Made with spices you can get from your local supermarket. And just as much flavour. Big flavours. BIG.
This is a recipe by Imma from Immaculate Bites, an African-Caribbean food blog. Until I came across Imma’s site, I actually didn’t know that much about Caribbean cuisine. Did you know that Caribbean food is a fusion of many different cuisines, including African, American Indian, European, Indian, Arabic and Chinese? Traditions brought to the region by the population.
And this Chana Aloo Curry (Chana = chickpeas, Aloo = potatoes), is one such example. A Caribbean recipe that tastes very Indian!
I’ve made quite a few recipes from Immaculate Bites. Which is unsurprising given I love the flavours of Caribbean and African food (big flavours and I’m all about flavour explosions!). Actually, last year I shared a recipe of hers on RecipeTin Eats – Jamaican Jerk Chicken. (Seriously so amazing!)
As soon as I saw this chickpea curry recipe on Immaculate Bites, I made it straight away. Not kidding, I really did because I had all the ingredients (you might too!!).
Then I sent Imma a snapshot gleefully, declaring it to be a keeper. I made it again a week later. And again, and again. I even made it to take on a camping trip last year (so easy to reheat over a fire!).
I’m totally obsessed with this. I know the recipe off by heart.
I’ve mucked around with her recipe a wee bit and made notes of what I’ve changed in the recipe below. The main thing is that I added canned tomato because I find that it makes a thicker sauce. I’ve seen a number of versions of this recipe online and some use tomato, some don’t. 🙂
OH! One more thing I love about this – change it up to make it lower carb by swapping out the potatoes and/or chickpeas with diced veggies like zucchinis, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. Fab.
Meat free for carnivores. This is my type of vegetarian food! – Nagi x
- 3 tbsp cooking oil (I used vegetable)
- 1 large onion , diced (brown, white, yellow)
- 2 large garlic cloves , minced
- 2 tbsp curry powder (Note 5)
- 1 tsp All Spice powder
- 1 tsp nutmeg powder (or 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg) (Note 1)
- 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (can substitute with sweet or ordinary paprika)
- 2 tsp dried thyme leaves (or 3 tsp fresh thyme leaves)
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper (Note 2)
- 1 tsp white pepper (or 1/2 tsp black pepper)
- 1 1/2 cups potatoes , cut into 1.2cm / 1/2" cubes
- 28 oz / 800g canned chickpeas (2 x 14oz/400g) , drained
- 14 oz / 400g canned diced tomatoes (Note 3)
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth/stock
- 2 scallion/shallot stems , sliced (green & white part)
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley , finely chopped (plus more for garnish) (Note 4)
- Salt to taste
Heat oil in a large pot or very deep skillet over medium high heat.
Add the Flavour Base ingredients and cook for 3 minutes until the onion is translucent.
Add the potatoes and cook for a further 2 minutes. If the spices start to stick to the bottom of the pot, add a tiny splash of water.
Add the chickpeas, tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring to simmer then turn down the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked and the sauce has thickened.
Adjust salt to taste, stir through scallions/shallots and parsley.
Serve with rice.
1. I omitted Nutmeg once and the flavour was still lovely. Could not actually tell it was missing.
2. The original recipe called for 1 scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, finely chopped, to be added to the curry once the liquids have been added. I don't know where to get these chilis where I live (Sydney, Australia) so I just used cayenne pepper instead for heat. I doubt that the flavour has been impacted very much.
3. The original recipe did not call for canned tomatoes. Some Trinidad Chana Aloo Curry recipes do. I added it to create a slightly thicker sauce.
4. Though the original recipe calls for parsley, I often make this with coriander (fresh) because it goes so well with curry!
5. This can be made with any curry powder you have / want. Curry powders differ in spiciness so if you are using a spicy one, adjust the quantity to taste! I use Clives of Indian Curry Powder (sold at Woolworths and Coles in Australia) which is quite mild. I do also use the Clives of India Hot Madras Curry Powder - when I feel like making it extra spicy!! Adjust the curry powder to your taste depending on how spicy you like your curries!