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.
Recipe by La Petit Chef at