Chana Pulao, also called Chickpea Pulao, is an easy, flavorful recipe perfect for weeknights. With just 10 minutes of prep time, this one-pot pulao can be made in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop. It is great as a side dish or even as a main dish with raita and salad!

Chana Pulao with garnished with cilantro leaves and raita on the side.
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On days when there is not much time, and we just want a quick yet healthy meal, this Chana Pulao comes to the rescue.

I always keep canned chickpeas and beans in the pantry; they are so helpful when putting together these quick meals. You can also use boiled chickpeas cooked from scratch in this recipe.

You can make this easy one-pot recipe in no time with a can of chickpeas, basmati rice, some aromatics, and spices. My kids love it and are happy when I pack it in their lunch boxes.

I shared the recipe when making this pulao for my kids on Instagram stories, and so many people asked me for it. So, I am sharing it here for you all.

Chickpeas are a favorite in our house, and we make many dishes, such as chana masala, coconut chickpea curry, chickpea salad, and chana saag.

Watch How to Make Chana Pulao

What is Chana Pulao?

Kabuli Chana Pulao, also called Chickpea Pulao or Chole Chawal, is an easy and flavorful dish made with rice, garbanzo beans, aromatics, and whole spices. This pulao can be made as a one-pot dish with minimal ingredients and cooked to perfection in the instant pot or stovetop.

Chickpea Biryani, made of Garbanzo Beans and Rice garnished with cilantro leaves.

Chickpeas are a great source of protein, making this a healthy-ish pulao recipe. You can also add vegetables to this chickpea pulao for extra nutrition. This is a vegetarian and gluten-free dish!

I like to keep this recipe simple and not add a whole lot of ground spices. The flavors of whole spices and garam masala shine in this pulao. I am also not a fan of tomatoes in this chickpea rice, but feel free to add them if you like.

Here are some more pulao recipes that you will enjoy: peas pulao, chana dal pulao, beet pulao, chicken pulao, and vegetable rice pulao.

Ingredients

All the ingredients required to make Chana Pulao

Basmati Rice: I use extra long-grain basmati rice for this recipe (and many others). After cooking, the long-grain rice remains fluffy and separate. 

Ghee or Oil:  You can use ghee or oil or a combination in this recipe. I love to use ghee, as it gives a richer taste to the final dish. To keep the rice vegan, use any plant-based oil of your choice.

Whole Spices: Use bay leaf, cumin seeds, black cardamom, green cardamom, cinnamon stick, and cloves. They make the pulao aromatic and add a subtle flavor.

Yellow onion: I used yellow onions, but you can use red onions if you like.

Green Chili Pepper:  It is optional, but I highly recommend it because it adds flavor and spice to the pulao. Use Thai, birdseye, or Serrano peppers.

Ginger: Grate some ginger to add a subtle warmth and depth of flavor to your chana pulao.

Chickpeas: They are the star ingredient of this dish, providing a hearty source of protein. I used canned chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans. You can also cook chickpeas at home in a pressure cooker to use in this recipe.

Garam Masala: A mixture of ground spices will give the dish flavor and depth.

Cilantro Leaves: Use fresh cilantro leaves for garnishing and a pop of color to the final dish.

How To Make Chana Pulao?

Chana Pulao can be prepared using the Instant Pot or on the stovetop.

  • Before starting with the chana chawal recipe, put the rice in a small bowl and wash it gently till you can see a surface of clear water. Keep them soak in water for around 20 minutes. 
  • Drain the canned chickpeas in a colander and gently rinse under tap water.

Stovetop Method

  • Take a nonstick pan or Dutch oven and heat some oil and/or ghee in it over medium heat. Then, add whole spices and saute them till you get the aroma. 
Whole spices along with oil or ghee added to hot pan
  • Add the thinly sliced yellow onion and saute until they turns golden brown while stirring frequently. 
  • Add grated ginger and diced green chili and cook for another minute. 
Adding Yellow onions along with green chillies, grated garlic and garam masala
  • Drain the water from the soaked rice.
  • Now, add chickpeas to the pan.
Adding boiled Chickpeas to the pan
  • Add the rice, garam masala, and salt and mix them well.
Adding Basmati Rice to the pan along with water
  • Add the water and stir. Raise the heat to high and wait until it boils.
Add chickpeas, rice and water to make chickpea biryani
  • Once you see a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid, and cook until all the water gets soaked.
  • Turn off the heat and allow the pulao to rest without stirring.
  • Use a rice spatula or fork to fluff the rice. Garnish with cilantro leaves, and your chickpea rice is ready to be served.
Chana Pulao garnished with cilantro leaves in a frying pan.

Instant Pot Chana Pulao Method

  • Start the Instant Pot in saute mode. Add oil or ghee. Once it gets heated, add whole spices and saute until you can smell its aroma. 
  • Add the thinly sliced yellow onion and saute until they have a golden brown color. Add grated ginger and green chili and continue sauteing for another minute. 
  • Add garam masala, chickpeas, and rice to the Instant Pot. Pour in water and stir it all well.
  • Press Cancel and cover the Instant Pot with a lid. Cook on high pressure.
  • Once the pulao is cooked, open the Instant Pot and fluff the rice with a spatula or fork.
  • Transfer the pulao to a serving plate and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves. Enjoy!

Note: I suggest removing the steel insert from the instant pot to ensure that the lower layer of rice does not overcook.

Chickpea Pulao garnished with cilantro leaves

Expert Tips for Chana Pulao

Rice-to-Water Ratio: For fluffy rice, it is recommended to consider the rice-to-water ratio. With basmati rice, the ratio in the recipe tends to hit the mark perfectly. You might need to tweak that ratio a bit if you prefer different rice. 

Do not stir: Resist the temptation to stir while the pulao is cooking. Once the pulao is ready, let it rest for a few minutes, then fluff gently.

Chickpeas: If you’re not keen on using canned chickpeas, fear not! You can easily prepare chickpeas at home using your trusty Instant Pot or a good old stovetop pressure cooker.

Want to add veggies? You can surely incorporate an array of colorful and nutritious veggies into this pulao. Add some carrots, green peas, green beans, mushrooms, or bell peppers for extra texture and flavor.

Vegan Pulao: To make this recipe vegan, use your favorite plant-based oil instead of ghee.

Variations

Spinach and Chickpea Pulao: Add a generous handful of chopped fresh spinach leaves to the pulao for a boost of color, flavor, and nutrition.

Coconut Chana Pulao: For a tropical twist, substitute some of the water with coconut milk and toss in a handful of shredded coconut along with the rice and chickpeas. Get a creamy, fragrant pulao with a hint of sweetness.

Chana Pulao with Nuts and Dried Fruits: Elevate the dish by adding a handful of toasted nuts (like almonds, cashews, or pistachios) and dried fruits (such as raisins or apricots) to the pulao. They’ll add a delightful crunch and sweetness to each bite.

Herbed Chana Pulao: Fresh herbs can take the flavor of your pulao to the next level. Stir in a handful of chopped mint, or parsley, along with cilantro just before serving for a burst of freshness and vibrant color.

Chana Briyani with whole spices, garam masala and cilantro leaves

Can I use Brown Rice to make Chickpea Pulao?

To make this recipe with brown rice, I suggest using dry chickpeas that have been soaked overnight and cooked in a pressure cooker.

To cook in the instant pot, follow the same recipe with brown rice and overnight-soaked chickpeas. Then, pressure cook for 22 minutes on high pressure and let the pressure release naturally.

Storage Suggestions

Keep your chana pulao leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

This dish will also freeze well. Transfer to individual portions and store in freezer-safe containers for up to 3 months. 

To enjoy it again, thaw it overnight in the fridge and warm it in the microwave or a pan on the stovetop.

What to Serve with Chana Pulao?

Serve this chickpea pulao with a side of veggies or grilled chicken. This Kabuli chana pulao pairs well with cucumber raita and my favorite kachumber salad. You can also serve with pickle and papad.

More Indian Rice Recipes

5 from 4 votes

Chana Pulao (Chickpea Pulao)

Chana Pulao, also called Chickpea Pulao, is an easy, flavorful recipe perfect for weeknights. With just 10 minutes of prep time, this one-pot pulao can be made in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 cups Basmati Rice, extra long grain
  • 2 tablespoon Ghee or Oil
  • 1 cup Yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Green Chili Pepper, finely chopped, I use Serrano or Thai chili, optional
  • 1 teaspoon Grated Ginger
  • 15 ounce Canned Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 3/4 cups Water, or for instant pot method, use 1 3/4 cup
  • Cilantro leaves, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Whole Spices

Instructions 

  • Place the rice in a small bowl and gently wash until the water runs mostly clear. Soak in water for 20 minutes.

Stovetop Method

  • Heat oil or ghee in a nonstick pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add whole spices, and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Add the onions and sauté until they are golden brown, about 7 minutes while stirring frequently.
  • Add the grated ginger and green chili, and saute for another minute.
  • Drain the water from the soaked rice. Add chickpeas, rice, garam masala, salt, and stir. Pour in the water. Raise heat to high. Let it come to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid, and allow to cook for 12-15 minutes or until all the water is soaked. Turn off the heat and allow to rest for another 5 minutes. Do not stir at this time.
  • Use a rice paddle or fork to fluff the pulao. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with raita or plain yogurt.

Instant Pot Method

  • Start the Instant Pot in sauté mode. Add the oil and/or ghee. Once it is hot, the whole spices and saute for about 30 seconds until their aroma is released.
  • Add the onions to the Instant Pot and sauté them until golden brown, about 6-7 minutes while stirring frequently. Add the grated ginger and green chili, and saute for another minute
  • Add salt, garam masala, and chickpeas to the Instant Pot. Stir the 1 3/4 cups of water in the Instant Pot. Then, add the rice and mix it with the other ingredients in the Instant Pot.
  • Turn off the sauté mode and close the Instant Pot's lid. Set the Instant Pot for 4 minutes on high pressure. When the Instant Pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then manually release it.
  • Open the lid of the Instant Pot and fluff the Pulao with a rice paddle or fork. Transfer the Pulao to a serving tray. Note: it is best to remove the steel insert from the instant pot so the lower layer of rice does not overcook.
  • Garnish with cilantro and enjoy!

Video

Notes

Rice-to-Water Ratio: For fluffy rice, it is recommended to consider the rice-to-water ratio. With basmati rice, the ratio in the recipe tends to hit the mark perfectly. If you prefer different rice, you might need to tweak that ratio a bit. 
Do not stir: Resist the temptation to stir while the pulao is cooking. Once the pulao is ready, let it rest for a few minutes, then fluff gently.
Chickpeas: If you’re not keen on using canned chickpeas, fear not! You can easily prepare chickpeas at home using your trusty Instant Pot or a good old stovetop pressure cooker.
Want to add veggies? You can surely incorporate an array of colorful and nutritious veggies into this pulao. Add some carrots, green peas, green beans, mushrooms, or bell peppers for extra texture and flavor.
Vegan Pulao: To make this recipe vegan, use your favorite plant-based oil instead of ghee. 

Nutrition

Calories: 295kcalCarbohydrates: 51gProtein: 7gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 814mgPotassium: 218mgFiber: 5gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 17IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 58mgIron: 2mg

Additional Info

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

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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5 from 4 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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