Chana Pulao (chickpea pilaf with pomegranates)

Chana Pulao or chickpeas pilaf is an easy one pot meal that is your solution to veggie nights and for days when you want to serve something more than the same old vegetable biriyani. Studded with protein rich chickpeas, fragrant from the garam masala, this basmati rice pulao/pilaf is easy and quick. Served with a simple baghara raita and pomegranates, this is one delicious pot of rice. 

Chana Pulao or chickpeas pilaf is an easy one pot meal that is your solution to veggie nights and for days when you want to serve something more than the same old vegetable biriyani.

“Mine was the twilight and the morning. Mine was a world of rooftops and love songs.”― Roman Payne.


This chana pulao /chickpea pilaf (or is it chole?) happened one rainy night, in the month of February.  The night was cold and damp. I was feeling lazier than usual, babyD was sick and I couldn’t deal with anything too complicated for dinner. On top of that it was #MeatlessMondays! Result??

Chana Pulao or chickpeas pilaf is an easy one pot meal that is your solution to veggie nights and for days when you want to serve something more than the same old vegetable biriyani.

This incredibly flavorful and fragrant pot of rice. If you have been to India or even follow Indian cuisine, chances are you already are familiar with the entire gamut of delicious rice dishes that India has to offer. Steamed rice is a way of life for most of us and no Indian worth his salt can say in all honesty that he doesn’t succumb to the simple yet siren calls of a plate of steaming hot rice and spicy chicken curry. Or how about the eastern Indians who can’t live without their rice and maach/maacha?? This fish as prepared by my mom, is a must at home, and so is the accompanying bowl of hot rice! 

We have easy and quick stir fries (invariably inspired by the great Orient), schezwan fried rice and fried rice in burnt garlic are common at homes. Be it your mother’s signature green pea and dry fruit pulao (remember the first time you made it..and how you jumped about at the sight of the perfectly cooked yet separated long grain? I know I do!!) or the  Thai chicken fried rice, we all need to indulge in rice atleast once a week! For us at the Singh casa, my Hyderabdi chicken dum biriyani has been an ongoing bi-weekly Sunday ritual for almost the last 9 yrs now. Its a dish that first own P over, and now my whole family swears by it. Have you tried it yet? That’s not all. We also have the Vegetable biriyani that’s a much simpler version of its non veg counterparts. Its actually one of the easiest rice dishes to make and you must have this in your repertoire. And lets not forget Kheer!!! How can one mention rice and not talk of kheer…! I know I cant. My rice pudding /kheer is slow cooked and creamy and so so good you will find it really difficult to put your spoon down! I am talking from experience here 😛


Even so, inspite of so many variations, one does get bored. And when boredom happens, good things generally follow. 

Speaking of which, I am doing a Valentine’s day inspired tablescape for y’all..and I have curated a whole bunch of recipes that can get you through on Valentine’s Day. Starting from breakfast, to starters and dude- friendly main course, its got desserts to wow without taking too much effort or time and some nice cocktails too. AND I will be adding new dishes to it till the actual D-day…er… V -day! Its right on my home page..go on take a look and start making the shopping list! 

valentines day

This, dish here was an inspired moment. Originally I had boiled the chickpeas to make Chole bhutore. But on the night, I just didn’t feel like it. A quick check in the refrigerator told me I had half a red bell pepper that was about to go bad, loads of herbs and some fresh yogurt that I so wanted! Also, since I was in a rush to take care of D , I wanted something that wouldn’t require too long and that I could finish up while she remained busy painting or watching Peppa Pig for 30 mins ( I want to say she painted like a good girl :P) 

Chana Pulao or chickpeas pilaf is an easy one pot meal that is your solution to veggie nights and for days when you want to serve something more than the same old vegetable biriyani.

So there, this chana pulao was created with fragrant basmati rice cooked in a spicy masala alongwith boiled chickpeas,tomato and red bell pepper, layered plenty with birriza ( fried onion slivers), fragrant from garam masala and fresh herbs and finished off with some dry fruits, fresh poms and saffron! 

Result?? A mouth watering, healthy and one pot meal of chana pulao or chickpea pilaf that will fill your stomach and satiate your senses at the same time. 

Chana Pulao or chickpeas pilaf is an easy one pot meal that is your solution to veggie nights and for days when you want to serve something more than the same old vegetable biriyani.

Serving suggestions:  Best served hot with Baghara Raita (with poms), onion slices and lemon wedges!

PS: You can use canned chickpeas for this, ensure you drain and rinse really well. 

Makes a great next day lunch!! 




chole pulao FG9

5.0 from 6 reviews
Chana Pulao (chickpea pilaf with pomegranates)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Chana Pulao or chickpeas pilaf is an easy one pot meal that is your solution to veggie nights and for days when you want to serve something more than the same old vegetable biriyani.
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4
  • Chickpeas/kabuli chana/chole - ¾cup
  • 1 heaped cup basmati rice, 1 cup
  • 3 medium to large onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper , chopped into fine dice
  • 2 tbsp yogurt/dahi
  • 2 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 1 tsp kashmiri red chili powder
  • ¼ tsp garam masala powder
  • a pinch of turmeric powder/haldi
  • Kasuri Methi / Drued fenugreek leaves - 2 tbsp
  • a pinch of saffron strands (kesar)
  • Dry fruits - assorted.
  • Pomegranate aril - 4 tbsp.
  • 1.75 cups water for pressure cooking the rice
  • a few chopped mint or coriander leaves for garnish ( almost ½ cup each)
  • salt as required
  • whole spices:
  • 2 small green cardamom/hari elaichi or choti elaichi
  • 2 single thin strand of mace/jayitri or javitri
  • 1 tej patta/indian bay leaf
  • 2 to 3 cloves/laung
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick/dal chini
  • ½ tsp caraway seeds/shahjeera
  • 1 black cardamom/badi elaichi
  • Grind into paste:
  • ½ inch ginger, 6 garlic cloves, 1 green chili.
  1. Rinse and soak the chickpeas/chole overnight or for 8 to 9 hours in enough water.
  2. Drain them well. then add to the pressure cooker. add 3 to 3.5 cups water.
  3. also add about ½ tsp of salt and pressure cook for 8-9 whistles or more, till the chickpeas are tender and cooked well.
  4. Drain the cooked chickpeas/chole and keep aside.
  5. Rinse the rice very well in water till the water runs clear of starch.
  6. Then soak the rice in enough water for 30 mins. strain and keep aside.
  7. Make a smooth paste of the ingredients, mentioned under "Grind into paste" in a grinder or magic bullet with very little water. keep this green paste aside
  8. Slice the onion and chop the tomato and red bell pepper.
  9. Fry onion slices from 2 onions till golden brown and keep aside.
  10. Soak saffron in a little luke-warm milk and keep aside.
  11. Preparing the pulao:
  12. In a pressure cooker heat ghee or oil and add all the whole spices – caraway seeds, cardamoms, mace, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf.
  13. saute the whole garam masala or whole spices for some seconds till fragrant, and then add sliced onions from 1 onion.
  14. Saute the onions till golden brown. Add the ginger-garlic-chili paste and saute till the raw aroma of the ginger-garlic goes away. Add the chopped tomatoes, red bell pepper and saute for two minutes.
  15. Next add the turmeric powder, red chili powder and garam masala powder. Add the kasuri methi and saute the tomatoes for a minute or so and add the drained cooked chickpeas. Mix well and saute the entire mixture for a minute. Cook for 7-10 mins to let the chickpeas soak in the masala.
  16. Add the basmati rice.
  17. Add the curd, half of the fresh herbs, saffron threads soaked in milk and again mix everything well.
  18. Add 1.75 cups of water.
  19. Season with salt and pressure cook for 1 whistle. Don't open the cooker..
  20. Once the pressure settles down on its own, then open the lid of the cooker. and gently fluff the rice.
  21. Garnish with coriander leaves and mint leaves, dry fuits and pomegranate arils.
If you don't have a pressure cooker, make this in a large dutch oven or pan.
Proceed as written till the chickpeas are cooked in the masala. Then add the pre- cooked (aldente) rice to the chickpea, seal with a foil and cook on low heat for 10-15 mins.
Leave it covered for 15 mins, before opening the foil and fluffing the rice prior to serving.

29 thoughts

  1. I love to read your posts Swayam! There really is nothing better than Indian rice dishes, in my humble opinion, and this one is no exception. This is a simple, approachable, and delicious dish that should encourage your readers to try cooking Indian food rather than reserving it for a night out… Love, love, love! Happy Valentine’s Day!

    1. Thanks so much Tamara! I am so glad you enjoy Indian food so much. yes, it really is delicious…Give this a go love. You will definitely enjoy it! 🙂

  2. This is exquisite food art, at its very finest. Thanks for this wonderful pilaf, it’s the most beautiful we’ve ever laid eyes on, we can only imagine how magical it must taste!

  3. Your photos are gorgeous! This pilaf sounds amazing, too. So many wonderful flavors and spices. Oh, and my son loves Peppa Pig, too 🙂

    1. Peppa is all the rage! I like Peppa too though..and love it when my baby tries to talk like her, calling me “mummy” rather than mama :P:P Thank you so much 🙂 Its good.. hope u give it a go sometime!

  4. What a lovely post. I love chana pulao and your addition of pomegranate and cashew nuts is just brilliant. Beautiful photos. I’ll be trying this soon for sure 🙂

    1. Thanks Wajeeha! It sure was delicious.. And seriously how awesome are poms?? Love the little pops of sweetness here and there 🙂 Do lemme know once you make it!

    1. Which ingredients you don’t have?? Although I’m pretty sure you can make a lovely version.. Do give this a go! If you don’t have a pressure cooker, follow my recipe notes ?

        1. Oh. Not too much of a difference. Still worth a try for sure ? But I so wish you could source some dried fenugreek leaves.. That makes the dish very fragrant

  5. Hello Swayam,
    This recipe looks amazing, but I really love your photography style. Everything is so beautiful styled and the colors are so rich and warm.

    If you didn’t know, we now have a group pin board for Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop Link Party. We are pinning one image from each blogger that joins us each week. We would love to have you follow along.

    Thank you for sharing with us at Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop Link Party

    Olivia- Co-hostess
    Reinvented Collection

  6. Made the pulao and the raita …must say super yum and what a fab combo of flavours …love all your recipes swayam and the write ups that accompany them of course

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