I’m a huge fan of Caribbean food. Give me some jerk chicken, curry goat, oxtails, escoveitch fish, or roti any day, and I’ll be happy. I also love caribbean spices such as allspice and thyme, and the flavorful bite of scotch bonnet (habanero) peppers. I can eat patties all day, but there’s a great snack from Trinidad called “Doubles,” which is two pieces of fried dough stuffed with a chickpea mixture, and channa aloo is actually that delicious filling. This dish is also my goto Trini recipe–especially when there’s not much in the cupboard but a can of chickpeas, and I’m looking for something quick, easy and delicious. It’s usually eaten with roti, a traditional West Indian flat bread, but eat it with rice and you’re getting a perfect protein. So good, I bet you won’t believe it’s also vegan, so indulge in something healthy too.
From Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad & Tobago (Hippocrene Books) by Ramin Ganeshram
1 cup dried, or 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas
2 tablespoons canola oil
½ small onion, chopped (optional)
6 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon chopped shado beni or cilantro leaves
¼ Scotch Bonnet or other hot red chili pepper
2 tablespoons Trinidad curry powder
1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, cut into ½ -inch chunks
1.) If using dried chickpeas, soak them in 3 cups water overnight; drain and rinse. In a deep saucepan, cook the chickpeas in 3 cups of fresh water, simmering until tender (about 15 minutes). If using canned chickpeas, drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
2.) Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pot and add onion, garlic, shado beni (or cilantro) and hot pepper. Cook for 1 minute, stirring often
3.) Add the curry powder and cook, stirring constantly for 30-45 seconds (Do not allow curry to scorch).
4.) Stir in the chickpeas and potatoes. Cook covered for 1-2 minutes. Add just enough water to cover the potatoes and simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Salt to taste. Serve with hot roti.
Makes 4-6 servings