School was a hop skip and jump away from Boat Basin, an iconic strip of food joints that had some of the best food Karachi has to offer. Most people will sit in their cars and order food from the servers who will come up to the window. You could get a burger from Chips, a slush from Mr. Burger, Chicken Tikkas from Tandoori Hut, Caramel Crunch Ice Cream from Rajoos and a Cold Coffee from Baloch all without moving an inch. And then that Aloo Chana and Poori. Woah. Just thinking about it is making me happy and hungry.
My favorite Boat Basin memories are the early morning ones - the times where close friends and soon to be friends would show up long before the city was awake to sit on damp plastic chairs, huddling in to ourselves as we held our cups of chai tight and anxiously awaited our halwa puri breakfast. Now we call it halwa puri, but most of the times it was a 'hold the halwa, bring me puris and aloo chana" breakfast.
Why these aren't the same, but are still my favourite
Nowadays I have Aloo Chana more often for dinner and lunch than I do breakfast. My favourite version to make at home is this one - it is not quite the same as the breakfast cholay. When I originally shared this recipe years ago it felt like it was, but now that I am older and pay more attention to what I eat the flavour differential seems clear to me.
I still make this most though because it is a great way to have a filling vegetarian main and because when it has these flavours I don't get that whole breakfast for dinner vibe! That said if you want to know how to get that Pakistani breakfast chole taste keep reading!
How to make "Nashtay Walay" Aloo Cholay
If you want to add some of that Boat Basin Nashta flair then I have three tips for you. Brace yourself because one will sound a little strange.
- Cook the cholay with a teabag - the teabag will give the cholay a colour and flavour that will take you straight back to those chickpeas
- Omit the tomatoes - really!
- Add a dollop of achar.
I do strongly recommend you try this Aloo Chana recipe as is and preferably with a South Asian brand of canned chickpeas since they tend to be smaller and softer. I love having these chholay with roti, but the girls like them over rice. Can you still serve these with pooris? Of course!
Love them chickpeas? So do I! Here are two other favourites with chickpeas in them!
Tried this recipe? Please rate it below and if you make it then tag me on instagram @flourandspiceblog - I'd love to see your recreation!
Aloo Chole/Chana or Potato and Chickpea Curry
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 cup potatoes cut into ½ cm thick pieces
- 1 onion diced
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
- 2-3 cloves
- 4 black peppers
- 1 inch ginger (grated) or 2 tsp ginger paste
- 4 cloves garlic crushed or 1 tsp garlic paste
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 1 ½ tbsp red chilli powder
- 1 ½ - 2 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 2 tomatoes finely diced
- 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
- as many green chillies as you can eat - I used 4-5 thinly sliced
- lemon wedges for serving
- Heat ¼ cup of oil in a large saucepan or wok, add cumin seeds, cloves, peppers, and kalonji. The seeds will sputter and smell amazing
- Add onions and fry till golden
- Now add the ginger and garlic, stir for a minute or two then add the rest of your dry spices i.e. coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder, and salt.
- Saute for two minutes then throw in the chopped tomatoes, cook till 'bhunn' i.e masalas form a cohesive paste and oil rises above them.
- Now add your chickpeas, potatoes, and baking soda. Stir well, then add one cup of hot water and cover your pan. Bring the mixture to a boil then let it simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are done.
- Mash the potatoes and chickpeas slightly with the back of a large spoon to create a thicker gravy. Taste for salt - you may need to add more.
- Then top with cilantro, chillies, and serve with lemon wedges, achar and hot puris. Yum.
My husband loves Choley 🙂 . This looks so yummy!
This Cake is Desi says
Ohh I have so many memories of boat basin, we used to stop by there every time I went to my in-laws. The cholay look awesome:)
love in the kitchen says
I love your description of the boat basin and the food there. What a great memory. The cholay does look SO delicious.
Aruna Panangipally says
I love Aloo Choley! I have never used Kalonji in Choley and will certainly do the next time. 🙂
Traditionally Modern Food says
Choley looks super yum:-)lovely clicks
Thanks so much!
alu choley is classic north Indian curry. Have fond memories of this aromatic dish:)
Your Boat Basin memories have taken me into my own "Boat Basin" days! Lovely post and so looking forward to try this version of cholle! It's my hubby's fav. 🙂
aww thank you!!! hope he enjoys it as much as we do!
Yum! That looks spicy and delicious. Getting food in the car in the market (pani puri and rolled paratha) was one of the first things we ate on my first trip, it was such a fun experience!
I love aloo puri! My mom usually cooks it so this is a great go-to recipe for doing it on my own 🙂
Hi Yasmin! thanks for stopping by 🙂
Thank you for such an easy to follow and tasty recipe!
bristol plasterers says
This sounds lovely. Going to give this a go. thanks for sharing this recipe.
please do! would love to hear how this turns out!
Why do people comment on a recipe before trying it? What's the point? I'd like to know if others have tried the recipe and how it turned out for them to help me decide whether to try it myself. Commenting that it looks yummy is totally useless. Just saying...
I used to wonder that myself 🙂 Then I realize when you actually start blogging the feedback/encouragement actually means a lot. Looks yummy is a compliment I am happy to take, of course tastes amazing would be even better!
I tried this recipe yesterday and it was delicious. My family loved it. Thanks for such a fool proof recipe.
Thanks so much Mariam!!! Am thrilled that you guys liked it and thanks so much for taking the time to let me know - totally appreciate it!
How much baking soda?
I am SO SO sorry I missed this but a small pinch, 1/4 tsp-ish I'd say. Will update the post 🙂
Thank you, Sarah, for these simple yet awesome recipes. It's indeed a gastronomic delight. I would suggest it would be nice if you could mention the quantity of the ingredients in grams. For example, the quantity of chickpeas mentioned in the above recipe is "one can". Not every one needs to buy canned or tinned chickpeas. Thank you, once again for sharing these recipes and keep up the good work.
That's such a good point Susan! Thank you for your kind works and the suggestion - editing the recipe now!
I’d like to try making this with the tea bag but am confused as to when to add it? Sorry if that is a silly question! Thanks! 🙂
Hi! Ok so I usually put the tea bag in the end for about 5-8 minutes. If you cook it too long it gets a bit of a bitter taste!
awesome! tysm! 🙂
PURVEZ DESAI says
I had found a recipe for the very simple carrot achaar they serve with the choley puri and was dying to eat it with the authentic item.
WELL!! THIS IS IT!! I cooked the breakfast version with the teabag and no tomato and I was suddenly sitting in Karachi again.
First of all THANK YOU!!!! Hearing that made my day!!! Also you know I am going to ask you for this achar recipe! I love that particular achar so much!
Love the simple recipe 🙂
Sarah Mir says
Thank you Tanzeela!
Just wondering why add baking powder?
Sarah Mir says
Hi Najwa! I typically add a tiny bit of baking soda (not powder) to help the chickpeas tenderize and absorb more flavour!