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Chana Aloo Masala

Chana Aloo Masala is a classic chickpea and potato curry seasoned with ginger, garlic, and heady spices. It’s a hearty dish that is absolutely loaded with flavor.

low angle shot of a bowl of chana aloo masala with a spoon in it.

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This Chana Masala tastes just as good as anything you’ll get from an Indian restaurant, and it’s super quick and easy to make. The intense flavors are layered for maximum savoriness.

The ingredient list for this chana aloo curry may seem a bit long, but the ingredients are all common ingredients that you’ll find in your neighborhood supermarket. You likely have most of them in your pantry already!

Overhead shot of a bowl of chana aloo masala with a spoon in it.

Why you’ll love this curry

This simple chickpea and potato curry is very flavorful. If you’ve ever had Chana Masala or Chana Aloo Masala in an Indian restaurant, you’ll find this version to be very similar and every bit as delicious.

This aloo chana masala recipe is vegetarian, but because it’s made with chickpeas (chana), it’s got plenty of protein and is very filling.

Adding potatoes (aloo) means that the dish has plenty of carbs to call it a meal. While you can serve it with rice or naan, it’s also great on its own.

Ingredients you need

For the complete list of ingredients with quantities and detailed prep and cooking instructions, please see the recipe card that appears at the end of this post.

Chana Masala or Chana Aloo Masala are basically a curry or stew of chickpeas (chana) and potatoes (aloo) in a thick, savory sauce. Like many curries, the ingredient list is a bit long, but using the spice blend garam masala keeps it from being unwieldy. Here’s what you need:

  • Oil: Use any neutral flavored, high smoke point cooking oil here. You can use safflower oil, canola oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil, avocado oil, etc.
  • Aromatics: Use white or yellow onion and jarred ginger garlic paste. If you don’t have ginger garlic paste, substitute 2 finely minced garlic cloves and 1 ½ teaspoons of finely minced ginger.
  • Spices: This recipe uses a spice mixture, Garam Masala, that contains several spices—usually cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, and possibly other spices. You’ll also add ground cumin or cumin powder, ground coriander or coriander powder, amchur (dried mango powder), ground turmeric or turmeric powder, Kashmiri chilli powder (or substitute cayenne pepper or another red chili powder), and salt.
  • Potato: Aloo means potato. I like to use a thin-skinned potato variety like Yukon Gold. Because the skin is thin, there is no need to peel the potato. If you use a thicker thinned variety, you may want to peel it before dicing.
  • Chickpeas: Chana means chickpeas and they’re one of the main ingredients here. I use canned chickpeas here to make this a really quick recipe, but you can use dried chickpeas. Soak them overnight in water, then simmer in a generous amount of lightly salted water for about 60 minutes. Or you can cook the dried chickpeas in the Instant Pot (no soaking required) as I do for my Instant Pot Hummus. Rinse 1 ½ cups of dried chickpeas and then put them in the Instant Pot with about 6 cups of water. Pressure cook for 30 minutes, then you can proceed with this recipe as written substituting the pressure cooked chickpeas for the canned chickpeas.
  • Tomato: Use a can of crushed tomatoes. This adds thickness and depth of flavor to the sauce, as well as giving it a rich, red color.
  • Vegetable broth: This will make the curry nice and saucy. You can substitute water if you don’t have broth.
  • Cilantro: This bright, flavorful herb adds freshness and specks of bright green to play off the rich, ruddy hue of the curry. You can garnish the stew with additional chopped cilantro if you like.

How to make it

For the complete list of ingredients with quantities and detailed prep and cooking instructions, please see the recipe card that appears at the end of this post.

Chana Aloo Masala is easy to make! I use some kitchen shortcuts here like using canned chickpeas, jarred ginger garlic paste, the spice mixture garam masala, and thin-skinned potatoes that don’t need to be peeled. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or deep skillet and saute the chopped onions and ginger garlic paste until the onions are soft and beginning to brown.
  2. Stir the spices and cook briefly while continuing to stir the mixture.
  3. Add the cubed potatoes, chickpeas, tomatoes, and broth (or water) and simmer over medium heat until the potatoes are tender.
  4. Remove from the heat, stir in the chopped cilantro, and serve hot.

tips for succesS

  • You can substitute cayenne pepper for the Kashmiri chili powder. Use about half as much cayenne or to taste.
  • I like to use a thin-skinned potato variety like Yukon Gold. Because the skin is thin, there is no need to peel the potato. If you use a thicker thinned variety, you may want to peel it before dicing.
  • I use canned chickpeas here to make this a really quick recipe, but you can use dried chickpeas. Soak them overnight in water, then simmer in a generous amount of lightly salted water for about 60 minutes. Or you can cook the dried chickpeas in the Instant Pot (no soaking required) as I do for my Instant Pot Hummus. Rinse 1 ½ cups of dried chickpeas and then put them in the Instant Pot with about 6 cups of water. Pressure cook for 30 minutes, then you can proceed with this recipe as written substituting the pressure cooked chickpeas for the canned chickpeas.
  • This Chana Masala will keep well in the refrigerator. Store it in a covered container for up to 5 days. I don’t recommend freezing it, though, because the texture of the potatoes will suffer. 
low angle shot of a bowl of chana aloo masala.

How to serve it

This Chana Masala is filling enough to make a meal all on it’s own. If you like, you can add additional toppings to dress it up. I like to add plain yogurt or Cucumber Raita, Tamarind Chutney, Cilantro Mint Chutney, or Garlic Chutney. You can also top it with additional chopped cilantro or sliced scallions or chives.

Potatoes add plenty of starch and carbs to make this a satisfying one-dish meal, but you can add rice, naan, paratha, or roti if you like.

If you’d like to serve it as part of a more elaborate Indian meal, you might start with Dal Soup, Chicken Pakora, Paneer Pakora, Samosas, or Onion Samosas. You can also pair it with other Indian entrees like Palak Paneer, Chicken Korma, Chicken Biryani, or Shrimp Biryani.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Chana Aloo Masala

overhead shot of a bowl of chana aloo masala.

Chana Masala is a classic chickpea curry seasoned with ginger, garlic, and heady spices. Chana Aloo Masala is the same thing, but with potatoes (aloo) added. It’s a hearty dish that is absolutely loaded with flavor.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon amchur (dried mango powder)
  • ¾ teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and ginger garlic paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. 
  2. Stir in the garam masala, cumin, coriander, amchur, chili powder, turmeric, black pepper, and salt and cook, stirring, for about 45 seconds.
  3. Add the potatoes and chickpeas and stir to mix well with the onions and spices. Stir in the tomatoes and broth or water and then bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat, stir in the chopped cilantro, and serve hot.

Notes

1. You can substitute cayenne pepper for the Kashmiri chili powder. Use about ½ as much cayenne or to taste.

2. I like to use a thin-skinned potato variety like Yukon Gold. Because the skin is thin, there is no need to peel the potato. If you use a thicker thinned variety, you may want to peel it before dicing.

3. I use canned chickpeas here to make this a really quick recipe, but you can use dried chickpeas. Soak them overnight in water, then simmer in a generous amount of lightly salted water for about 60 minutes. Or you can cook the dried chickpeas in the Instant Pot (no soaking required) as I do for my Instant Pot Hummus. Rinse 1 ½ cups of dried chickpeas and then put them in the Instant Pot with about 6 cups of water. Pressure cook for 30 minutes, then you can proceed with this recipe as written substituting the pressure cooked chickpeas for the canned chickpeas.

4. This Chana Masala will keep well in the refrigerator. Store it in a covered container for up to 5 days. I don’t recommend freezing it, though, because the texture of the potatoes will suffer. 

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By on October 18th, 2022

ABOUT ROBIN DONOVAN

Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 50 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners5 Ingredient Cooking for TwoSushi at HomeThe Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and others. → More about Robin

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