Chana Dal Pulao is a delicious protein-rich vegetarian dish made with chana dal (split yellow chickpeas) and basmati rice cooked along with the aroma of whole spices. Enjoy with yogurt or raita.

chana dal pulao in a white bowl with raita and onion salad on the side

This is a guest post from Khushboo Agarwal Murarka. This is an attempt to feature delicious home-cooked meals in everyday life. 

What could be better than an authentic and easy one-pot meal? This Chana Dal Pulao fits the bill perfectly.

Quick, simple, and of course, nutritious. I make this pilaf in my favorite instant pot, set it on the rice mode, and go to get ready. Come back, and chana dal pulao is ready.

Oh…I love the perfectly cooked grains of rice. Perfect to enjoy for lunch or pack for lunch too. So here is the simple recipe for Chana Dal Pulao. 

If you are looking for other recipes with Split Chickpeas, check out my delicious Chana Dal recipe.

Why you will love this Easy Chana Dal Pulao?

✓ Easy to make

✓ A simple one-pot meal

✓ Protein-rich and nutritious

✓ Its rich, vibrant color is a perfect addition to any lunch or dinner spread.

Want more Vegan Recipes? Check out this collection of 65+ Vegan Indian Recipes.

Ingredients

This healthy chana dal pulao has the usual pantry ingredients that you might have at home:

Basmati rice: I like to use long-grain rice when making this recipe. This holds its shape and has the perfect fluffy grains once cooked.

Chana Dal: These are split chickpeas. For this recipe, it is important to soak the chana dal for an hour in hot water. Or you can also soak it for 4 hours in regular tap water.

Onions & Garlic: We love to add these aromatics to the rice. You can skip onions if you like. The rice will still turn out well.

Whole Spices: I add cinnamon, bay leaf, green cardamom, cloves, cumin seeds, and whole red chili to the rice. These add a wonderful aroma to the rice. (Note: it is okay to skip if you don’t have these in your pantry)

Spices: Add the basic spices such as turmeric, red chili powder, garam masala, and salt.

Liquid: I use water, but if you like, you can also use broth in this recipe.

Lime juice: Gives a wonderful tangy flavor to the dish.

Cilantro: Garnish with cilantro leaves

Chana Dal Pulao Ingredients

How to Make?

Pressure Cooker Method

  • Rinse the Chana Dal and soak for 1 hour in hot water. Or you can soak for 4 hours in regular tap water. Then drain the water.
  • Rinse the basmati rice when ready to cook.
  • Start the pressure cooker in SAUTE mode and heat it. Add ghee/oil and all the whole spices. Sauté them for 30 seconds. 
  • Add the onions, ginger, and garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until the onions are translucent. 
  • Add the rinsed basmati rice to the pot. Drain the water from the soaked Chana Dal and add it to the pot. Then add all the spices. 
  • Add water and give it a good stir. Press Cancel and close the pressure cooker lid with the vent in the sealing position. 

Set the instant pot to RICE mode for 12 mins (low pressure).  When the instant pot beeps, quick release the pressure manually. 

For the stovetop pressure cooker, cook until 2 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

Add lime juice, and fluff the rice.

Perfect fluffy chana dal pulao rice in the instant pot

Garnish with cilantro, and Chana Dal Pulao is ready to be served. 

hana Dal pulao in a bowl

Stovetop Method

You can also make this pulao in a pot on the stovetop. Follow the same steps as in the above method until adding water on a medium-high flame.

Add 2 1/4 cups of water for this method. Then let the ingredients come to a boil. Now simmer to low flame and cover the pot with a lid. Cook until the water is completely absorbed.

The Chana Dal Pulao is ready to be enjoyed. Sprinkle lime juice and garnish with cilantro.

Variations

You can make this healthy turmeric rice with different combinations, such as:

  • Chana Dal Brown Rice Pilaf – Follow the same steps above to prep the rice. Then cook all the ingredients for about for 20 minutes on high pressure in the instant pot. Cook the same for about 35-45 minutes covered on the stovetop.
  • Chana Dal Khichdi with Vegetables – You can add vegetables similar to my veg pulao recipe in this pulao as well. eg. green beans, bell pepper, green peas, and carrots would all work well.

How to Serve?

  • You can serve this pulao with a side of veggies, grilled chicken, or vegetables.
  • Serve it alongside simple yogurt or raita like cucumber raita, along with masala papad and your favorite pickle.
  • You can serve it with a curry such as vegetable korma, or aloo gobi.

How to Store?

This chana dal pulao can be stored in an air-tight container and refrigerated for up to two days. Or freeze it for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe container. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator.

To reheat the rice, microwave for 30 seconds. You can cover it with a wet paper towel while heating it so that the rice retains its moisture.

Enjoy this easy, healthy, and delicious Chana Dal Pilaf.

Check out other Instant Pot Rice recipes you might enjoy:

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4.89 from 18 votes

Chana Dal Pulao

Chana Dal Pulao is a delicious protein-rich vegetarian dish made with chana dal (split yellow chickpeas) and basmati rice cooked along with the aroma of whole spices. Enjoy with raita and salad.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

Spices

Instructions 

  • Rinse the Chana Dal and soak for 1 hour in hot water. You can also soak in regular tap water for 4 hours.

Instant Pot Method

  • Start the instant pot in SAUTE mode and heat it. Add ghee and all the whole spices. Sauté them for 30 seconds.  
  • Add the onions, ginger and garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until the onions are translucent.
  • Add the rinsed basmati rice to the pot. Drain the water from the soaked Chana Dal and add it to the pot. Then add all the spices.
  • Add water and give it a good stir. Press Cancel and close the instant pot lid with vent in sealing position. 
  • Set the instant pot to RICE mode for 12 mins (low pressure).  When the instant pot beeps, quick release the pressure manually.
  • Add lime juice, and fluff the rice. Garnish with cilantro and Chana Dal Pulao is ready to be served. 

Stovetop Pressure Cooker Method

  • For stovetop pressure cooker, add 2 cups of water and cook for 2 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

Stovetop Method

  • Follow the same steps as in the above method until adding water on medium-high flame.
  • Add 2 ¼ cups of water for this method. Then let the ingredients come to a boil. Now simmer to low flame and cover the pot with a lid. Cook until the water is completely absorbed.
  • The Chana Dal Pulao is ready to be enjoyed. Sprinkle lime juice and garnish with cilantro.

Video

Notes

Vegan Variation: Use your favorite plant based oil to make this pulao. 
Chana Dal Khichdi with Vegetables – You can add vegetables similar to my veg pulao recipe in this pulao as well. eg. green beans, bell pepper, green peas, carrots would all work well.
Serving: Serve it alongside with simple yogurt or raita like cucumber raita along with masala papad and your favorite pickle.

Nutrition

Serving: 212gCalories: 343kcalCarbohydrates: 58gProtein: 8gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 598mgPotassium: 210mgFiber: 8gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 301IUVitamin C: 36mgCalcium: 86mgIron: 2mg

Additional Info

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten-free, Vegan
Tried this recipe?Mention @pipingpotcurry or tag #pipingpotcurry!

About Khushboo:
Hi, I am Khushboo. Working mom of 2 munchkins (3.5 years and .5 years old). I started cooking only after marriage as I landed up in this big country, USA, where we have to be independent for most of the things we do. I thank my husband to get me started on cooking. It’s been close to 8 years now and I simply enjoy cooking something new and different everyday, and above all love to cook in the Instant Pot.

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

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30 Comments

    1. Hi Jimmy – I have a chicken biryani recipe, but not a meat version of this pulao. If you like, you can add chicken cut into 1-1.5 inch pieces after the onions are sautéed. Then sauté the chicken for 2 minutes before adding the rice and dal. Hope you enjoy it!

  1. Second time in two weeks I’ve made this recipe because it’s so perfect! Added frozen carrot slices, frozen peas, & lots of fresh chopped spinach to make a complete one pot meal. Perfect warm & nutritious winter comfort food!

    Soaking the chana dal made a world of difference in the texture & softness of the cooked dal. I wonder if it’s possible to freeze soaked chana dal (after it’s been drained & well-dried)? Imagine having a freezer full of soaked dals & your curry base ready to go any time! 🙂

    1. Hi Susan – Happy to hear you have been enjoying the pulao. I have not tried freezing soaked dal, but it might work similar to freezing soaked beans.

  2. Thank you so much for another wonderful recipe. The whole spices add great flavor to the pulao. I have tried both instant pot and stove top method. They both cooked perfectly. Have also made it without onion garlic for temple parshaad and it came out very well.