Legendary Dishes | Aaloo Chole / Aaloo Cholay / Aloo Cholay (spicy chickpeas and potatoes)


Aloo cholay is not only one of the great potato dishes of the world, it is also one of the great breakfast dishes. It is the breakfast you will find on the streets of Pakistan. It comes as part of a three-item meal called halwa puri cholay, served with lassi, and finished with chai.

The primary ingredients are chickpeas, potatoes, root ginger, ground dried turmeric, ground cumin, ground red chilli, garam or chaat masala, tamarind juice and fresh mint.

The garnish is fresh green chillies, tomatoes, onions, coriander leaves and lime or lemon wedges. Some recipes include fried onion, garbanzo beans instead of chickpeas, and lemon juice instead of tamarind juice.

The value of this dish is that it can be made quickly by using tinned chickpeas and left-over or tinned potatoes.

Aloo cholay can be prepared hot and cold.

It goes well with hot crispy puris but can also be eaten with chapati, naan or paratha breads.

  • 1.5 litres water (for cooking dried chickpeas) / 250 ml water
  • 500 g potatoes, cut into 4 cm dice
  • 250 g chickpeas
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 150 g onion, sliced
  • 100 g ginger, grated
  • 1 lemon / 1 lime
  • 4 tbsp tamarind juice / lemon juice
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp chaat masala / garam masala
  • 2 tsp ghee
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp mint
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Salt, pinch

If using dried chickpeas soak overnight with a pinch of bicarbonate of soda. Then place chickpeas in a large pot, add water, salt, bicarbonate of soda and ginger, boil, cover and simmer until they are tender, usually up to two hours. Drain and retain water.

If using tinned chickpeas thoroughly rinse and drain.

Option 1 (Hot)

Fry onions until they are lightly browned (to be mixed in before serving).

Heat ghee in a large pot. Add the chilli powder, cumin and masala. Follow with the ginger and then the potatoes. Fry this potato mixture for a few minutes. Add chickpeas, sufficent water to loosen the mixture, followed by the choice of juice and the turmeric. Stir.

Cover and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are cooked.

Stir in the mint and the fried onions.

Garnish with sliced onions, sliced tomatoes, green chillies sliced thin lengthwise and lime wedges.

Option 2 (Cold)

Grind 15 small red chillies with a tablespoon of cumin seeds, mix with well cooked chickpeas, cooked potatoes, masala and tamarind juice, as much as you like.

Serve in a large bowl, with a garnish of mint, coriander leaves, green chillies, tomatoes, onions and lime wedges.