alan little’s weblog

aloo chana masala

28th February 2004 permanent link

The slow morph into Alan’s Recipe Weblog continues with my own recipe for aloo chana masala, chickpea and potato curry. This makes no claim to be an authentic Indian recipe, but after over twenty years’ more-or-less informed experimentation, followed by two years of actually having had proper Indian cookery lessons, I think I’ve about got it right.


Serves two to four people, depending on how hungry they are

Partly boil the poatoes. (It’s good if they are firm-cooking ones that don’t go floury when boiled).

Blend the ginger, garlic, cinnamon, fenugreek seeds and coriander seeds to a paste. I add a little water and use an old electric coffee grinder. A mortar & pestle would both be more authentic and probably get a finer texture.

Heat the sunflower oil in a wok or saucepan. Add the cumin seeds and cook until they froth and sputter (this smells wonderful). Add the onions. Fry until soft. Add the garlic-ginger (etc.) paste and stir. Add the cardamoms, chillis, half the sambar powder, tamarind (or mango powder), salt and tomatoes. Stir and cook vigorously until the tomatoes are soft. Reduce the heat, add the potatoes and turmeric. Stir and simmer gently for about ten minutes. Add the chickpeas and simmer gently for about another five minutes. Add the rest of the sambar powder and half the coriander leaves, stir and simmer gently for about another five minutes. Garnish with the rest of the coriander leaves.

Serve with rice and/or chapatis and cucumber-yoghurt raitha (just finely chopped cucumber with yoghurt).

I know this weblog has the occasional Indian reader, because I’ve heard from a couple of you (Ramakrishna, sorry, I lost your email address when my laptop went sick). If anybody feels like sending me their grandmother’s absolutely authentic and wonderful recipe for aloo chana masala (or for anything else, for that matter) I will be eternally grateful.

(*) Cooking dried chickpeas is a pain. It’s almost impossible to get them tender, even if you soak them for twelve hours or more and pressure cook them. These days I mostly use tinned. 8oz is one medium sized tin.

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