Chana Aloo Masala (Potato Chickpea Curry)This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclosure.
This flavorful authentic chana aloo masala recipe is an easy Indian chickpea curry, with warm spices, hearty chickpeas and creamy potatoes! It’s naturally gluten-free, vegan, and family friendly too!
Chana masala is one of my favorite classic Indian dishes, and it’s also one of my go-to one pot meals to make at home when I need something healthy, hearty and filling.
And while I love the base recipe for chana masala, sometimes I like to switch things up by adding potatoes into this Indian chickpea curry, because they make this dish even more satisfying and pair so nicely with the chickpeas.
This chana aloo masala recipe (which translates to: chickpea potato curry) is one of those savory recipes that will never steer your wrong! The combination of chickpeas, potatoes, and spices in a thick gravy is delicious and dependable.
I like to serve this with some fresh cilantro as a garnish, and with whole grain tortillas or roti (like this guyanese roti), vegan naan, vegan biryani, and a dollop of vegan coconut yogurt or plain creamy yogurt (if you don’t need this chana aloo recipe to be vegan) that melts over the chickpeas and adds a cooling element to this spicy dish.
👩🏽🍳 Why This Recipe Works
- Super easy
- Vegan and gluten free
- Tastes just like restaurant style chana masala
- Healthy and low in calories
- One pot meal
- Rich source of plant protein
- Family friendly
- Super flavorful with rich Indian spices
- Ready in less than an hour
- Best chana aloo masala ever!
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This aloo chole recipe calls for a few simple ingredients that are pantry staples, and a set of basic Indian spices that can easily be found online, at your local Indian grocery store, spice shop, and in many cases in the aisle of your grocery store.
- Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans): I use canned chickpeas for this chana aloo curry for ease and to save time. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Save the chickpea water (aquafaba) to use in vegan recipes. You can also use dried chickpeas, but you will need to cook them first before adding them to this recipe. If you are using canned chickpeas, no soaking is required!
- Red Onion And Garlic: Finely dice your red onion. I love using red onion in this recipe because it adds color and a touch of sweetness. The garlic brings out a fragrant aroma.
- Canned Whole Peeled Tomatoes: With this recipe you want both the juice and the tomatoes from the can. Do not drain the tomatoes. Dump the whole can of peeled tomatoes into the pot. Then you’ll use a potato masher to combine them into a rich sauce. You’ll need a large 32 ounce can of tomatoes, use organic if possible. You can use fresh tomatoes but I’ve found that canned tomatoes has a richer flavor and makes prep way easier! If you can’t find whole canned tomatoes, you can also use canned diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, or tomato puree (but you’ll need to adjust the quantity to ensure your potato chana masala doesn’t become too watery).
- Baby Red Potatoes: I love using baby red potatoes in this recipe! They are starchy, and cook up quickly. Cut into small cubes about the same size as the chickpeas for even cooking, and a balanced bite!
- Indian Spices: This aloo chana recipe calls for a set of whole spices and powdered spices. Here’s what you’ll need to gather: Cumin Seeds, Ground Coriander, Ground Ginger (you can also use fresh ginger), Garam Masala, Cardamom Pods, Cayenne Pepper (you can also use a serrano pepper cut in half, or an equal amount of Red Chili Powder), Ground Cumin, Chili Powder, Salt.
- Yogurt and Fresh Coriander Leaves (Cilantro): Finish this dish with some chopped fresh cilantro and a dollop of creamy plain regular or vegan yogurt. It melts over the top and adds a richness to this recipe!
- Dried Chickpeas: Instead of using canned chickpeas, go ahead and make dried chickpeas from scratch. It will take a bit more time and planning, but it totally works in this aloo chana curry. If making this recipe with dried chickpeas, it’s important to soak them overnight. You can then cook them on the stovetop or in the pressure cooker for faster results. Once they’re cooked, you can use them in this recipe the same way you’d use the canned chickpeas.
- Use A Spice Mixture: If you don’t have all of the spices listed, use a high quality garam masala mix, curry powder, chole powder, or chole masala mix. Customize the amount of spices in this dish to your own tastes.
- Add More Vegetables: For a less traditional, yet still super flavorful recipe, add your favorite vegetables. Spinach or other leafy greens, frozen peas, green beans, or cauliflower would all be excellent additions. If adding more veggies, be sure to chop them finely.
- Make It Spicier: For a spicier version of this dish, use a serrano pepper with seeds, more cayenne pepper, hot sauce, or your favorite spicy chutney!
🔪 How To Make Chana Aloo Masala
Cook The Onions: Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and red onion and cook, stirring frequently until it is deeply caramelized (this removes the raw smell and taste of the onions).
Roast Spices, Add Potatoes & Tomatoes: Reduce to medium heat. Add the garlic, cumin seeds, coriander powder, ginger, garam masala, and cardamom pods, and fry them, stirring constantly, until the cumin seeds pop and the spices are fragrant and toasty, about 30 seconds. Reduce to medium-low heat. Pour in the juice and the tomatoes from the can and crush them in the pot with a potato masher. Add the salt and the potatoes.
Add Chickpeas: Raise the heat to medium-high, and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, add the cilantro and cayenne, and all of the rest of the spices, and simmer the sauce until it reduces a bit and begins to thicken. Add the chickpeas, and stir to combine. Keep simmering the channa and potato curry on low until the chickpeas and potatoes soften (about 30 minutes).
Serve! Serve these Indian chickpeas and potatoes warm, and top with cilantro and/or yogurt depending on how you like it!
Chana Masala (aka channa masala, or Punjabi Chole) is a popular Indian curry dish made with chickpeas in a rich flavorful gravy. The chickpeas are cooked and simmered with tomatoes, onions, and lots of traditional Indian spices including cumin, cloves, ground coriander, peppercorn, cardamom, and others.
Chole masala and chana masala are very similar, but they are not exactly the same. The main difference between the two is the amount of gravy. Chana masala is cooked in a thick tomato based curry, while chole masala is on the drier side and typically doesn’t have that tomato based sauce.
Both chana and chole masala are a mild chickpea curry recipe, and perfect for beginner cooks as it’s almost impossible to mess up!
The answer is – it depends! The base ingredients for chana masala (chickpeas, spices, tomatoes) are all super healthy for you. But restaurant chana masala can be less healthy because often the delicate chickpeas are smothered too much oil, creating a high fat, high calorie recipe.
When made at home, chana masala is a healthy and well balanced meal. My version of aloo chana masala is made with less oil and so is healthier than the traditional version, but tastes as good as any dish you’d get at Indian restaurants!
Here’s why this aloo chana masala recipe is healthy for you:
#1 | High in Protein & Fiber: Chickpeas are an excellent source of plant-protein and fiber that keeps you feeling fuller longer. One serving of this dish has nearly 10 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber.
#2 | Good Source of Nutrients: This healthy chana masala with potatoes is a particularly a good source of folate, and manganese.
#3 | Low in Calories and Fat: A hearty serving comes in at under 230 calories! Traditionally this dish has quite a bit of oil, but without the extra oil, it is a well balanced meal.
There are plenty of ways to serve this easy chana masala recipe! Some of our favorites include:
With Grains: This simple aloo chole masala is often served with some sort of grain like quinoa, brown rice, jasmine rice or basmati rice. For a low carb option, you can also use cauliflower rice!
With Breads: Naan is the traditional option to pair with this Indian chickpea curry, but you can use any type of “bread” you like! Indian breads like roti, paratha, or pooris all work well; or you could even use whole wheat tortillas or gluten-free tortillas for a GF option!
With Toppings: Plain Greek yogurt or vegan yogurt add a nice creaminess and cooling element to the dish. You can also serve this with a variety of chutneys, a squeeze of lemon juice, or fresh herbs like cilantro!
You can also serve this alongside a bigger spread – with other curries, dahls, and Indian vegetable dishes!
Store In The Fridge: Allow the potato chana curry to cool completely. Transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Store In The Freezer: Transfer the aloo and chana curry to a freezer safe, airtight container. Label with the date, and contents. Keep in the freezer for 2-3 months. When ready to reheat, remove from the refrigerator, and thaw overnight. Then warm in the microwave or on the stovetop.
💭 Expert Tips
- Drain and rinse chickpeas if using canned. You don’t want the canned chickpea water (aquafaba) to end up in this aloo masala curry as it will make this dish too watery.
- Sauté spices until they become fragrant, and the seeds pop and sizzle. Make sure your spices are fresh for the best flavor!
- Prep all ingredients at the same time and keep them ready. Once you start cooking, you’ll have to get each of the ingredients into the pot fairly quickly, so having everything prepped and ready to go is best.
- Cut the potatoes small. Cube the potatoes roughly the same size as the chickpeas for even cooking and to ensure that the potatoes cook all the way through.
- To thicken the curry, feel free to use a potato masher and partially mash some of the potatoes and chickpeas to thicken up the aloo and channa curry sauce.
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🎥 Watch How to Make It
Chana Aloo Masala
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium red onion coarsely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ¼ tsp ground ginger or 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 4 cardamom pods lightly crushed
- 28 ounces whole peeled tomatoes 1 can
- 1 tsp salt more to taste
- 1 tbsp cilantro leaves chopped, plus more for garnish
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper add more to taste
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 30 oz chickpeas, drained and rinsed 2 (15 oz) cans
- 5 baby red potatoes diced
- 6 tbsp plain non fat Greek yogurt or coconut milk yogurt optional, for serving
- Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the oil and red onion and cook, stirring frequently until it is deeply caramelized. Reduce the heat to low.
- Add the garlic, cumin seeds, coriander, ginger, garam masala, and cardamom pods, and fry them, stirring constantly, until the cumin seeds pop and the spices are fragrant and toasty, about 30 seconds.
- Pour in the juice and the tomatoes from the can and crush them in the pot with a potato masher. Add the salt and the potatoes.
- Raise the heat to medium-high, and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, add the cilantro and cayenne, and all of the rest of the spices, and simmer the sauce until it reduces a bit and begins to thicken. Add the chickpeas, and stir to combine.
- Keep simmering the curry on low until the chickpeas and potatoes soften (about 30 minutes).
- Serve and top with cilantro and yogurt.
- To Store and Keep: Transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Or freeze for later. Transfer the masala to a freezer safe container. Push out any air, to avoid freezer burn. Label with the date, and contents. Keep in the freezer for 2-3 months. When ready to reheat, remove from the refrigerator, and thaw overnight. Then warm in the microwave or on the stovetop.
- Drain and rinse chickpeas if using canned.
- Sauté spices until they become fragrant, and the seeds pop and sizzle. Make sure your spices are fresh for the best flavor!
- Cube the potatoes roughly the same size as the chickpeas for even cooking and spoonfuls.
- Serve topped with fresh herbs like cilantro and creamy plain Greek yogurt.
- For a spicier version of this dish, use a serrano pepper with seeds, or your favorite spicy chutney!