This chana aloo masala pie has creamy and aromatic curried chickpeas and potatoes wrapped in a savoury pie crust and baked to golden perfection. As with many things that come out of my kitchen, this was wholly improvised and borne of a bunch of random odds and ends bound for the bin. It’s nothing short of marvellous turning old scraps into something new and beautiful.
From Gazpacho to Masala
One of my favourite things about cooking is that under different circumstances the same set of ingredients can make such vastly different dishes. Flour, tomato, garlic and oil can make pasta with tomato sauce, pizza, focaccia, Spanish tomato bread, gazpacho with croutons – and countless other dishes.
What this really highlights is that preparation methods can make all the difference, and that’s what this dish represents. It’s the pure pleasure of novelty wrought out of necessity that leads to something new and interesting.
The basic ingredients for this dish – garlic, onion, ginger, spices, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, chickpeas – can be transformed into vastly different preparations depending on the cooking methods and sensibilities of the cook.
In this case, I went the Indian inspired route. By slow cooking the carrots with aromatics and spices in a relatively dry skillet, and incrementally adding small amounts of liquid when the ingredients start browning, it produces a complex flavour profile much like the cooking of a risotto. All of this is blended into a luscious sauce and mixed with potatoes and chickpeas then wrapped in lovely savoury pie dough and baked to perfection.
Cooking Potatoes & Tomatoes
One of the factors that shaped this dish is that the carrots and potatoes needed to be softened and cooked before adding the diced tomato. About a year ago when making a similar variation on chana masala, I learned from my mum that tomato slows the cooking of potatoes. Seeing me add cubed potatoes to a simmering skillet of tomato she remarked “you know the potatoes won’t cook like that don’t you?”
If you can believe it, in my more than 15 years of cooking I had never come across this particular piece of kitchen lore. I didn’t believe her at first. In fact, I did everything I could to not believe her. But as my simmering skillet passed the two hour mark with potatoes still fork firm, a new reality dawned on me.
So now I tread lightly when cooking with tomatoes and potatoes in the same dish, which of course happens quite often since it’s a great combination in so many cuisines around the world.
With that in mind, I approached these ingredients knowing I needed to thoroughly soften the carrots and potatoes before introducing the diced tomatoes. I’m not sure if this principle also applies to carrots. From my understanding it’s something to do with the acidic nature of tomatoes. I assume it would impact other starchy vegetables similarly so I erred on the side of caution.
For the final dish I wanted the aromatics, diced tomato and carrots to be blended into a velvety sauce surrounding lovely chunks of chickpeas and potatoes. As such, (and for the sake of expediency) I prepared the potatoes separately and added them after I had cooked down the onion, garlic, ginger, carrot and spices and blended them with the diced tomato.
If you like this concept you may also like samosa pie. If you happen to have some extra filling or pie dough like I did since I used a shallow tart mold, you can make some mini chana aloo masala pies in a muffin tin. I make about 4 extra minis and took them to work for coworkers.
Until next time,
Chana Aloo Masala Pie
This chana aloo masala pie has creamy and aromatic curried chickpeas and potatoes wrapped in a savoury pie crust and baked to golden perfection.
- Prep Time: 40
- Cook Time: 35
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
- Category: Vegetarin
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Indian Fusion
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1 inch piece ginger
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin medallions
- 2 cans of chickpeas, drained
- 1 habanero pepper, finely diced
- 1 tbsp butter, ghee or oil
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 15 oz yellow potatoes, cooked (I microwaved) and then diced
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp red chilli flakes
- Salt to taste (around 1/2 tsp)
- 1/2 tsp ground fenugreek (or substitute more curry powder if you don’t have fenugreek)
- 24 oz pie dough
- 1 egg for egg wash (optional)
- Preheat oven to 185 C / 375 F
- Heat oil, butter or ghee in a skillet over medium heat
- Add the onion, garlic, ginger and habanero and cook until aromatic
- Add the carrots and cook until softened, adding water a few tablespoons at a time if the carrots stick or dry out too much
- Once the carrots are soft, add the tomato and continue cooking for about 5 minutes
- Blend all of skillet contents – I used an immersion blender but you can also remove to a standing blender and then return them to the skillet once pureed
- Add the chickpeas, potatoes and the seasoning, mix to combine and then remove from heat and set aside while you prepare your pie dough
- Spoon the chickpea into the prepared pie dough. I chose to have a top for my pie but you could also leave it open (like I did for my samosa pie)
- If you have a top crust on your pie, you may want to egg wash it
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for around 35 minutes or until golden
Keywords: chana aloo, chana aloo masala, chana, chana pie, chana aloo masala pie, chickpea pie, chickpea masala, potato pie, chickpea and potato pie