Aloo Chana (Kurma Style Chickpea Potato Curry)

Updated: February 7, 2024, By Swasthi

Make this Aloo Chana Kurma for a delicious flavor-packed vegetarian South Indian meal. Serve it with plain rice, millets, Dosa, uttapam, poori, chapati, roti, parotta, parathas or any flavored rice like Ghee Rice. When you think of a South Indian meal, most of us imagine a delicious kurma and this Aloo Chana kurma is a superstar! In this post I share the recipe to make it in a regular pot on the stovetop and also in the instant pot.

Aloo Chana

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About Aloo Chana

Aloo Chana kurma is a one pot dish of aloo – potatoes and chana – chickpeas cooked with spices, yogurt and coconut. It is naturally gluten-free and can be made vegan if you omit or substitute the yogurt.

You will come across this kurma style Aloo Chana in South Indian restaurants, tiffin centers, street side eateries and even in weddings and party meals. A lot of restaurants & tiffin places serve this with poori, chapati, parotta or with ghee rice as a set meal.

It is easy to make and comes together under 45 minutes, if you have boiled chana and aloo (for stovetop version). Aloo and Chana are very flavorful and have a mouth melting texture in this flavorsome kurma.

Kurma is different from a Korma and often has coconut or yogurt, nuts or seeds as the main ingredient for the gravy. While it can be made only with yogurt, this recipe uses a small amount of raw coconut to make the dish lighter.

My recipe does not call for plenty of oil/ghee and yogurt which can make the dish extremely heavy.

In the absence of raw coconut, it can be substituted with thick canned coconut milk. A small amount of cashews are used but they can be replaced with cashew or almond butter. For a nut-free option you can omit the cashews and use white poppy seeds or fried gram (roasted gram dal).

This dish is more well-known for milder heat and flavors so it won’t taste hot and spicy like many other Indian dishes.

Here are more recipes with chickpeas
Chana Masala
Chickpea Curry
Chana Saag
Punjabi Chole

Photo Guide

How to Make Aloo Chana (Stepwise Photos)

This recipe can be made in a regular pan or in the instant pot. Note that if you use a pan, you need preboiled potatoes but for Instant pot you will use raw potatoes.

Preparation

1. You will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 cup boiled chickpeas (or 1 – 15 oz. can chickpeas drained & rinsed or ½ cup dried chickpeas, read pro tips section below to know how I prepare)
  • 1 large (225 g, ½ lb.) potatoes (diced to 1½ inch. If you use a pan, boil in 1 cup water, while you prepare the rest of the ingredients)
  • 1 cup onions (120 grams sliced or chopped from 1 medium)
  • 1 to 2 green chilies (slit, omit for low heat)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste (or ½ inch ginger peeled & 3 garlic cloves crushed/minced)
  • ¾ cup chopped tomatoes (1 medium, 125 grams deseeded, peeled if preferred)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons mint leaves (chopped pudina, about 15 to 20)

2. You will need the following spices, feel free to leave out any whole spices but they are recommended.

  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¾ to 1 teaspoon garam masala (adjust to taste)
  • ¾ to 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (¼ tsp more to adjust)
  • 1 small bay leaf or 1 sprig curry leaves (or I use both, forgot to picture)
  • 1 star anise, 1 strand mace
  • ½ teaspoon shahi jeera / caraway seeds or cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 3 green cardamoms, 3 cloves
  • 3 inch cinnamon piece (1 inch if using cassia)

3. If you don’t have raw coconut, you may use coconut milk. To a small grinder jar, add ⅓ cup grated raw coconut, 10 cashew nuts (or 1 tbsp fried gram), 1 teaspoon fennel seeds and pour ½ cup water.

To substitute the above ingredients, use ⅓ cup thick canned coconut milk, 1 tablespoon nut butter and ¾ tsp ground fennel. Add them to a small bowl and whisk together with a fork.

4. Grind to a smooth paste.

Make Aloo Chana

5. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a pan or instant pot (on sauté mode) and add the whole spices. When they begin to sizzle, add curry leaves and onions.

6. Saute until they turn golden. Add ginger garlic and green chili.

7. Saute for 1 minute and add tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes break down to a mush.

8. Add mint leaves and saute until aromatic for 1 to 2 mins.

9. Stir in the salt, turmeric, chili powder and garam masala.

10. Turn down the heat and add ⅓ cup whisked yogurt. Use thick yogurt only.

11. Cook down for 2 to 3 mins.

12. Mix in boiled chickpeas, potatoes & ¾ cup stock/water. (Note use boiled potatoes if using a normal pan/pot & use raw potatoes only to cook in IP).

13. Pour the coconut. I forgot to add curry leaves earlier so added it here.

14. Stovetop: Bring it to a gentle boil. Cover and simmer for 6 to 8 mins, until thick and aromatic. If it turns too thick, add a splash of hot water as you cook. If it is runny, mash a few potatoes.

Instant pot: Pour another half cup water. Cover the Instant pot and pressure cook for 5 mins. The IP beeps when it is done, press cancel and wait for 2 mins. Gently release the pressure manually. Be careful of the hot pressure.

15. Aloo chana is done when the chickpeas and potatoes are tender and very soft or slightly mushy. The gravy is slightly runny at this stage but turns thick after cooling. Taste test and add more salt or garam masala or kasuri methi if you want.

Garnish Aloo Chana with chopped coriander leaves. Serve with plain Basmati rice, ghee rice, pulao, chapati, roti or dosa.

Aloo Chana Recipe

Pro Tips

  • Prepare dried chickpeas: If you use dried chana, soak half cup chickpeas overnight and pressure cook with 1 cup water till al dente, not completely soft. I cook mine for 13 mins in the instant pot. Since we pressure cook them again for another 5 mins in the kurma. You will be left with ¾ cup water/chana stock, use that when you cook the aloo chana. I usually pressure cook them while I prepare the rest, this saves some time.
  • Canned Chickpeas: Drain and rinse the chickpeas well. They should be tender and not too soft. Every brand is different, if in doubt don’t use IP to pressure cook them. Instead cook them in a pot.
  • Potatoes: You don’t need to boil the potatoes to cook aloo chana in Instant pot. If you use a pan/pot, boil them in 1 cup water, until 95% done – al dente, almost cooked but not mushy or water logged. If you want you may use half tsp garam masala while boiling them to flavor.
  • Green Chilies & Chili powder: If you don’t use enough green chilies or chili powder your kurma will taste sweet due to the coconut and nuts. Using a lot of chili powder alters the flavor of kurma.
  • Most of the commercial nut butters are made from roasted nuts so your kurma won’t have that typical milky coconut flavor if you use it.
  • Whole spices are an essential ingredient set in a kurma recipe but you may omit them and use more garam masala. That alters the flavors because whole spices impart a delicate flavor to the kurma. However it still tastes good without the whole spices.

Recipe Card

aloo chana recipe

Aloo Chana (Kurma Style Chickpea Potato Curry)

5 from 23 votes
South Indian kurma style Aloo Chana made with chickpeas, potato, spices, coconut and yogurt. It is eaten with plain rice, pulao, chapati, dosa or ghee rice.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Servings3
AuthorSwasthi
Diet : Gluten Free, Vegetarian

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • 2 cup boiled chickpeas (or 1 – 15 oz. can chickpeas or ½ cup dried chickpeas, read notes)
  • 1 large (225 g, ½ lb) potatoes (diced to 1½ inch, boil if using a pan, read notes)
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup (120 grams) onions (sliced or chopped, 1 medium)
  • 1 to 2 green chilies (slit, omit for low heat)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste (or ½ inch ginger & 3 garlic cloves crushed/minced)
  • ¾ cup (125 grams) chopped tomatoes (1 medium, deseeded, peeled if preferred)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons mint leaves (chopped pudina, about 15 to 20)
  • cup yogurt (thick curd, omit for a vegan version)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¾ to 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • ¾ to 1 teaspoon garam masala (adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (¼ tsp more to adjust)
  • 2 tablespoons coriander leaves (or 1 tsp kasuri methi or both)
  • ¾ cup water/stock (use chickpea cooked stock if possible)
  • ½ cup water (only for instant pot)

Coconut paste or substitutes below

  • cup grated raw coconut (or ⅓ cup thick canned coconut milk)
  • 10 cashew nuts (or 1 tablespoon nut butter or fried gram)
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (¾ tsp ground fennel)
  • ½ cup water (omit if using substitutes)

Whole spices (omit if you don’t have any)

  • 1 small bay leaf or 1 sprig curry leaves (or both)
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 strand mace
  • ½ teaspoon shahi jeera / caraway or cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 inch cinnamon piece (1 inch if using cassia)


Instructions

  • Add coconut, cashews, fennel seeds and water to a small grinder and make a smooth paste. Keep aside.

How to Make Aloo Chana

  • Heat oil a pan or instant pot (on sauté mode) and add the whole spices. When they begin to sizzle, add curry leaves and onions.
  • Saute until they turn golden. Add ginger garlic and green chili. Saute for 1 minute and add tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes break down to a mush.
  • Stir in the salt, turmeric, chili powder and garam masala. Add mint leaves and saute until aromatic for 1 to 2 mins.
  • Add yogurt and cook down for 2 to 3 mins. Mix in boiled chickpeas, potatoes, stock/water and coconut. (Note use boiled potatoes if using a normal pan/pot & use raw potatoes only to cook in IP).
  • Stovetop: Bring it to a gentle boil. Cover and simmer for 6 to 8 mins, until thick and aromatic. If it turns too thick, add a splash of hot water.
  • Instant pot: Pour half cup water. Cover the Instant pot and pressure cook for 5 mins. The IP beeps when it is done, press cancel and wait for 2 mins. Gently release the pressure manually.
  • Aloo chana is done when the chickpeas and potatoes are tender and very soft. The gravy is slightly runny at this stage but turns thick after cooling. Taste test and add more salt or garam masala or kasuri methi if you want.
  • Garnish Aloo Chana with chopped coriander leaves. Serve with plain rice, ghee rice, pulao, chapati, roti or dosa.


Notes

  • If you use dried chickpeas, soak half cup chickpeas overnight and pressure cook with 1 cup water till al dente, not completely soft. I cook mine for 13 mins in the instant pot. You will use this chana cooked water (will be left with ¾ cup) when you cook the aloo chana.
  • You don’t need to boil the potatoes if cooking aloo chana in Instant pot. Else boil them in 1 cup water, until 95% done – al dente, almost cooked but not mushy or water logged. If you want you may use half tsp garam masala while boiling them. 
  • Avoid over stirring the curry a lot, as the potatoes tend to get mushy.

Video

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NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Aloo Chana (Kurma Style Chickpea Potato Curry)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 365 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Fat 22g34%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Trans Fat 0.1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5g
Monounsaturated Fat 11g
Cholesterol 3mg1%
Sodium 935mg41%
Potassium 608mg17%
Carbohydrates 35g12%
Fiber 11g46%
Sugar 9g10%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 416IU8%
Vitamin C 12mg15%
Calcium 131mg13%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
This chickpea potato curry is delish! I have finally been able to make something Indian without a can of coconut milk. This time I cooked it on the stovetop but looking forward to make it in a 8 qts Instant pot. Do you think I can make 2x in it? Would the pressure cook time change? Thanks for your reply.

5 stars
I made this tonight and as a relatively new vegetarian it’s a definite winner! One of my faves. Thank you.

5 stars
Love this recipe. I have made it a few times now and have meant to say thank you. I usually have it with lime juice over the top, lots of chopped coriander, some homemade Nan bread, Madras Pappadums, mango chutney and some lime pickle.

I have just made this again, so, thank you.

5 stars
This recipe turned out so well. I usually boil a large batch of chana and freeze for later. It was so easy to make this in the IP and we made 3x to refrigerate for another meal. Delicious! Thank you and keep posting.

5 stars
Delicious! Thanks so much for sharing your amazing recipes,.

5 stars
My meat eating husband loves this aloo chana. He usually hates coconut but this was an exception. The almond butter really made it delicious. Thank you for the amazing recipes.

5 stars
Thank you it turned out great. Please share more IP recipes. We made 3x and have a lot of leftovers. Next time I would cut down the timing to 3 mins. Can this be frozen?

5 stars
Delicious but not enough green chilies. I used 6 to up the heat level. It was perfect with poori.

5 stars
I made this last night. It was fabulous. I just had some bread with it (hot and tired!), but it made a perfect amount for two servings. I shall add this to my favourites!

5 stars
Love all your recipes! They always turn out so good! I was trying to find Thai curries on your page, but couldn’t find any. Would love to see your recipe for a vegetarian Thai curry!

5 stars
Adipoli aloo chana! Thank you

Oh this looks incredible and delicious! Would this work with canned black beans or pinto beans.

5 stars
I first came to your site many years ago looking for a paneer recipe and tried your garlic paneer. Since then I am hooked to your recipes. This aloo chana sounds crazy and we are making it this weekend. Thank you for another amazing recipe