Seasoned » Recipes » Recipe

Vegetable Kingdom: Chickpeas, Fennel, and Potatoes

Bryant Terry's Chickpeas, Fennel, and Potatoes

I first moved to Brooklyn in 1997 to attend graduate school at NYU. My homeboy from college, Mike Molina, and I got an apartment in Crown Heights on Schenectady Avenue near the Utica stop on the MTA’s 3/4 line. Coming from New Orleans, where we went to college, a Black neighborhood in Brooklyn was the perfect place for us to land in NYC. Most of the folks living in our building were from the Caribbean, and there were lots of independently owned West Indian businesses, including a plethora of Rastafarian-owned health food stores and juice bars. Feeling stuffed the day after late-night munchies? A shot of ginger juice from down the block would take care of that. Wanting to alkalinize/energize before a long day on campus in Manhattan? A large green smoothie with ginseng from the juice spot by the subway, please. There were also lots of good, fast, and cheap Caribbean restaurants in the neighborhood. My two favorite quick bites were veggie patties stuffed inside warm coco bread from any number of Jamaican spots around the way and doubles—fried flatbreads with a curried chickpea filling—at a hole-in-the-wall Trinidadian restaurant on Utica Avenue.


At that same Trini spot, I would sometimes get chana and aloo, a mixture of chickpeas and potatoes simmered in curry sauce, and it was delicious. This recipe is my ode to that dish. I incorporate fennel, using it like I would an onion, to add its subtly sweet anise flavor. The cilantro sauce takes this to the next level. Eat it with a green salad to balance everything out.

Bryant Terry's Chickpeas, Fennel, and Potatoes

Vegetable Kingdom: Chickpeas, Fennel, and Potatoes

Bryant Terry
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Global


Makes 4-6 servings

  • 3/4 cup dried chickpeas, picked through and soaked overnight in water plus 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 large white onion
  • 5 garlic cloves: 3 cut in half, 2 minced
  • 1 dried red chile
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 8 to 10-ounce fennel bulb, trimmed (fronds reserved), quartered, cored, and finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon-1 tablespoon seeded minced habanero chile
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup Cashew Cream (recipe follows)
  • Cilantro Sauce (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves plus 1/4 cup packed whole leaves
  • Freshly ground white pepper

For the Cashew Cream (makes about 1 cup)

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight and drained well

For the Cilantro Sauce (makes about 1 cup)

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 jalapeño


  • Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Drain the chickpeas and pour them into a medium saucepan or Dutch oven. Add water to cover by 3 inches. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to medium and add the bay leaf, onion, halved garlic cloves, and dried chile. Partially cover and simmer until just tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add 1 tablespoon salt and simmer for 5 minutes more. Drain the beans, remove the bay leaf, onion, garlic cloves, and chile, and discard.
  • While the chickpeas are cooking, in a large bowl, combine the potatoes, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a few turns of white pepper and toss well with clean hands to combine. Spread the potatoes over the prepared baking sheet in one layer and roast until tender and starting to turn golden on the edges, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  • In a small skillet, combine the turmeric, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, mustard seeds, cinnamon, clove, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Toast the spices over medium heat, shaking the pan so they don’t burn, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Immediately scrape the spices into a mortar or spice grinder. Grind into a fine powder and set aside.
  • In the pot you used to cook the chickpeas, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the fennel and sauté until it begins to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and the habanero and sauté until the garlic is fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the spice blend and cook, stirring, until well combined, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste until well combined. Pour in the stock and cashew cream and add the potatoes and chickpeas. Stir well to combine, decrease the heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan occasionally, until the flavors have melded and the curry has thickened, about 20 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
  • To serve, spoon the chickpeas, fennel, and potatoes into bowls. Top with cilantro sauce and garnish with chopped cilantro, whole cilantro leaves, and a smattering of the reserved fennel fronds, if you like. Give the whole thing a big squeeze of lime juice and serve.
  • Play the Song “Bucktown” by Smif-N-Wessun from Dah Shinin’

Make Cashew Cream

  • Combine the cashews and 1/2 cup water in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Make the Cilantro Sauce

  • In a small skillet, combine the garlic, olive oil, coriander, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook just until the garlic is fragrant, about 11/2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  • Transfer the oil mixture to a blender. Add the cilantro, lemon juice, jalapeño, and 1/4 cup water and blend until smooth. If necessary, season with additional salt to taste. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


Vegetable Kingdom by Bryant TerryReprinted with permission from Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes by Bryant Terry, copyright © 2020. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Photography copyright: Ed Anderson © 2020
Keyword chickpeas, fennel, Healthy, potatoes, Recipe, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Follow Us

Stand up for civility

This recipe is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.