How to make Channa Batata – Tangy Chickpea and Potato Curry

Channa Batata Chickpea curry Hungry for halaal 5


I first tasted this tangy, spicy dish when I lived in Malawi for a while after getting married. The Indian community in Malawi spend a lot of time socialising over food. Could be because there’s precious little else to do there except socialise. At the time in Blantyre 12 years ago, there wasn’t even a movie theatre and the biggest shopping mall around was a Shoprite Park. There are plenty beautiful, natural sights to see, but on a day to day basis, if you were not working a job, finding things to fill your time was, lets say……. challenging.

So needless to say the ladies of the Malawi Indian community have perfected the art of cooking to a fine degree. They even published a recipe book, called Spice and Splendour by “The Muslim Ladies Committee Malawi”.  Ironically though, it was my mother in law who first made the dish for a dinner function we held. And she’s Zimbabwean, not Malawian. I enjoyed it so much I gobbled up what stayed over out of a bowl with a spoon. The tangy flavours of tamarind mixing with spices, tomato and curry leaves gives you that more-ish flavour that has you unable to stop.

This is a great Meat Free Monday dish and is suitable to serve as a meal. The chickpeas offer protein and the potatoes make this a substantial enough dish that is lovely served with roti and an array of pickles. Here is my version of this tangy vegetarian favourite.

I’ve used canned chickpeas as it just speeds up the whole process. But a cup of dried chickpeas soaked and boiled till soft can also do the trick.

Channa Batata Chickpea curry Hungry for halaal 3Some of your ingredients


Channa Batata Chickpea curry Hungry for halaal 1Braise your spices to release their flavours


Channa Batata Chickpea curry Hungry for halaal 2That tangy gravy…. mmmmmmm


Channa Batata Chickpea curry Hungry for halaal 4Voila!

How to make Channa Batata – Tangy Chickpea and Potato Curry
Recipe Type: Curry
Cuisine: Indian
Author: Hungry for Halaal
  • 1 tin Chickpeas, drained
  • 2 small potatoes, diced and parboiled
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic & ginger paste
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 onion chopped finely
  • 1 Tblsp Tamarind paste dissolved in a quarter cup hot water
  • 1 tsp fine cumin
  • 1 tsp fine coriander
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • fresh chilli to taste
  • handful of curry leaves
  • Chopped fresh coriander
  1. Heat 2-3 Tblsp of oil or ghee on medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and saute for for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic & ginger, spices and the curry leaves and saute for a minute till fragrant.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook till soft.
  5. Mush up the tamarind in the water with your fingers. Then strain it as sometimes there is a bit of grittiness. Discard any pips.
  6. Add the potatoes, chickpeas, tomato paste, tamarind paste, chillies and salt to the pot.
  7. Mix through and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Simmer a bit longer if you want it to thicken a bit more. Just be careful the potatoes don’t get too mushy.
  8. Taste and adjust for salt.
  9. Add the fresh coriander just before removing from the heat.


Spice and Splendour Hungry for Halaal





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