Breakfast/Brunch/ Pakistani Food Recipes/ vegetarian

Aloo Chole or Aloo Chana

June 6, 2015 (Last Updated: September 3, 2020)
Jump to the Aloo Chole Recipe

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 Chole 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 chole” breakfast.Ā 

Aloo Chole in a bowl, rice in the background, daal in a small bowl, a wedge of lemon and a glass of water.

Why these aren’t the same, but are still my favourite

Nowadays I have Aloo Chole 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 chholay. 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 Chole

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 chholay with a teabag – the teabag will give the chholay 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 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!

Murgh Cholay
Murgh Chholay – Chicken and Chickpea Curry
Chholay Palak – a milder kid friendly curry

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!

5 from 5 votes
Aloo Chole/Chana or Potato and Chickpea Curry
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins

A simple satisfying vegetarian curry made with chickpeas and potatoes.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Pakistani
Keyword: Chholay, Cholay, Chana, Nashta, Breakfast
Servings: 4
Author: Sarah – Flour & Spice
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cup potatoes cut into 1/2 cm thick pieces
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 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 1/2 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 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
  1. Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a large saucepan or wok, add cumin seeds, cloves, peppers, and kalonji. The seeds will sputter and smell amazing

  2. Add onions and fry till golden

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.
  6. 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.

  7. Then top with cilantro, chillies, and serve with lemon wedges, achar and hot puris. Yum.

A Pakistani recipe for a spiced potato and chickpea curry. A bowl of the curry with sliced onions, cilantro and green chilies.

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  • Reply
    June 6, 2015 at

    My husband loves Choley šŸ™‚ . This looks so yummy!

  • Reply
    This Cake is Desi
    June 6, 2015 at

    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:)

  • Reply
    love in the kitchen
    June 6, 2015 at

    I love your description of the boat basin and the food there. What a great memory. The cholay does look SO delicious.

  • Reply
    Aruna Panangipally
    June 6, 2015 at

    I love Aloo Choley! I have never used Kalonji in Choley and will certainly do the next time. šŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Traditionally Modern Food
    June 7, 2015 at

    Choley looks super yum:-)lovely clicks

  • Reply
    June 7, 2015 at

    alu choley is classic north Indian curry. Have fond memories of this aromatic dish:)

  • Reply
    June 8, 2015 at

    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. šŸ™‚

    • Reply
      June 8, 2015 at

      aww thank you!!! hope he enjoys it as much as we do!

  • Reply
    June 15, 2015 at

    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!

  • Reply
    June 16, 2015 at

    I love aloo puri! My mom usually cooks it so this is a great go-to recipe for doing it on my own šŸ™‚

    xx Yasmin

    • Reply
      June 17, 2015 at

      Hi Yasmin! thanks for stopping by šŸ™‚

  • Reply
    June 17, 2015 at

    Thank you for such an easy to follow and tasty recipe!

  • Reply
    bristol plasterers
    July 22, 2015 at

    This sounds lovely. Going to give this a go. thanks for sharing this recipe.


    • Reply
      July 22, 2015 at

      please do! would love to hear how this turns out!

  • Reply
    August 11, 2015 at

    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…

    • Reply
      August 11, 2015 at

      I used to wonder that myself šŸ™‚ 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!

  • Reply
    August 18, 2016 at

    I tried this recipe yesterday and it was delicious. My family loved it. Thanks for such a fool proof recipe.

    • Reply
      August 22, 2016 at

      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!

  • Reply
    September 7, 2017 at

    How much baking soda?

    • Reply
      September 27, 2017 at

      I am SO SO sorry I missed this but a small pinch, 1/4 tsp-ish I’d say. Will update the post šŸ™‚

  • Reply
    May 9, 2018 at

    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.

    • Reply
      May 13, 2018 at

      That’s such a good point Susan! Thank you for your kind works and the suggestion – editing the recipe now!

  • Reply
    March 31, 2020 at

    Hi Sarah!
    Iā€™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! šŸ™‚

    • Reply
      April 4, 2020 at

      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!

      • Reply
        April 6, 2020 at

        awesome! tysm! šŸ™‚

        • Reply

          April 6, 2020 at

          thank YOU!

    Penny for your thoughts?