Caribbean Cookbook: Divali in Trinidad

November 2, 2013

CURRY CHANNA AND ALOO (Chickpeas and Potatoes)

Trinidadians love curry! And this recipe is a staple. It forms the base of most roti dishes you buy at any of our many roti shops. Please note the curry used is yellow (madras) curry and it must be cooked properly BEFORE you add any other ingredients.


1 lb dried channa
2 tbsps curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
12 cloves garlic, grated (divided in half)
1 tbsps minced chadon beni (substitute with cilantro if not available)
ยฝ cup extra virgin olive oil
ยผ tsp methi (fenugreek) (optional)
ยฝ large onion, sliced
Hot pepper, to taste
5-6 small potatoes (or 3 large), cut into quarters lengthwise
4 scallions, roughly chopped (optional)
3 large sprigs thyme (5 or 6 small)
2 tsp ground, toasted geera (cumin)
Salt (to taste)

Prep Work (Peas)

1. Remove any stones and debris from peas and wash with several changes of water. Soak in about 5 cups of water overnight. Drain.

2. Boil peas in water over high heat and once it begins to boil vigorously, reduce heat to medium until peas become tender.

3. Strain, reserving liquid. Add water to whatever liquid you get until you have about 5 cups.

Cooking Instructions

1. Mix curry, turmeric, half of garlic (6 cloves), cilantro and 5 tbsps of water in a small bowl.

2. Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pot.

3. When hot, add methi, cook until it darkens.

4. Add the onion and hot pepper, cook for 3 minutes then add remainder of garlic and cook until the edges of the onion become golden brown.

5. Add curry paste and continue to cook until mixture darkens, becomes grainy and fragrant and separates from oil, about 3-5 minutes. At this point you can rinse the “curry paste” bowl with a little water{1 tablespoon} and add to pot.

6. Add potatoes and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

7. Add chickpeas, scallion, thyme and salt. Cook about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent chickpeas and potatoes from sticking.

8. Add reserved liquid and enough water to cover the chickpeas and potatoes, about 5 cups.

9. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, until potatoes are tender and sauce thickens
Remove cover, stir in cumin and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

10. Remove from heat and let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving to allow sauce to thicken further. Serve with rice, naan or roti.

Now. good luck cooking, Happy eating and Shubh Divali.