A flavorful and nutritious Punjabi rice recipe, this Wadi chawal is a delicious wholesome meal. Made with aromatic whole spices, wadiyan and basmati rice, this wadi pulao or biryani is a heathy meal for the whole family.
This Punjabi wadi chawal is also called as Wadiyan wale chawal. My family loves wadiyan, and my sister gets these specially from Amritsar. I store them in the refrigerator for longer shelf life.
One tip - If you are using the authentic wadiyan, these can be super spicy. So as you will see in the recipe, I use just 1-2 wadiyan per cup of rice. Especially when making this pulao for kids, I recommend to add just one wadi for one cup of rice.
What is Punjabi wadi?
Punjabi wadi are actually sun-dried dumplings made with lentils and Indian spices. The lentils are ground to paste along with the spices and the ground paste is spread as small chunks to sun-dry.
The wadi has a meaty taste and texture and can be substituted for both meat and soya chunks. They are also vegan and gluten-free. Although wadis are not generally that spicy, but some wadiyan like Amristari wadi can be quite spicy.
Wadi's can be made with different dal, the Amritsari wadiyan I am using here are made with Urad dal. There are also moong dal wadiyan, which are more easily available everywhere. Moong dal wadi's are not to spicy.
You can add them to rice like in this recipe, or make a curry such as Aloo Wadiyan.
It is so interesting that many different regions in India make dumplings similar to wadiyan. See this article to find out more.
How to make Vadi Chawal?
To make this Punjabi Vadi recipe, I usually use the urad dal wadiyan. Make sure that you add only one wadi for each cup of rice, as they are quite spicy. Break down the wadi to small pieces, as shown in the image above. You can use a mortar and pestle (silbatta or hamaan dasta in hindi)
Before you get started on this vadi recipe, rinse and soak the basmati rice about for 20 minutes while you are prepping the other ingredients. Rinse and drain the rice before you start making this pulao. Also, thinly slice onions and green chilies.
Frying the wadi
- Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan and let it heat. Add the crushed wadi to the ghee/oil and sauté a bit till it becomes brown in color.
- Remove the wadi from the pan and set aside in a clean and dry plate or bowl
Making the pulao on stovetop
- In the same pan, add some more oil/ghee and add the whole spices, sauté them well till they release their aromatic flavor.
- Then add the diced onions and green chilies and sauté them till the onions become golden brown.
- Now add the drained rice along with the wadi, garam masala, salt and stir them well.
- Add the water and stir well so that nothing gets stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Turn the heat to low and cover the pan. Let it cook till the water gets absorbed, and rice are cooked. Then turn off the heat.
- Add lime juice to the pulao and fluff the rice with a fork. Let it sit uncovered for a few minutes.
- You can serve this pulao with a side of cooling cucumber raita.
How to make this Punjabi wadi chawal in Instant pot?
- Follow the instructions above to saute the ingredients on sauté mode.
- Then cook the rice in Rice mode for 12 minutes on low pressure and when the cooker beeps, do a 5 minute NPR. This means let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then manually release the pressure and open the instant pot.
- Add lime juice and fluff the rice with a fork.
- Leave it uncovered for a few minutes and then serve it with cooling yogurt.
Hope you enjoy this authentic Punjabi Wadi Chawal recipe.
Here are some more rice recipes you might enjoy:
Wadi Chawal (Punjabi Wadi Rice)
- 2 cup Basmati Rice rinsed
- 2 Urad Dal Wadi crushed into ½ inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- 1 tablespoon Ghee use plant-based oil for vegan
- 1 Green Chili Pepper diced, optional
- 1 cup Onions sliced
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala adjust to taste
- 4 cup Water see notes, 2.5 cups for instant pot
- 1 tablespoon Lime juice optional
- Rinse the rice and soak for 20 minutes. Then drain and keep aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil a heavy bottom sauce pan on medium-high heat. Add the crushed wadi and saute it until it is lightly browned while stirring continuously. This takes about a minute. Take out and keep aside
- In the same pan, heat the ghee. Add all the whole spices and saute them for 30 seconds until their aroma releases.
- Then add diced green chili pepper, sliced onions and sauté for 2-3 mins until golden brown.
- Now add the drained rice, wadi, salt, garam masala and stir well. Now add the water and stir.
- Adjust the heat to low. Cover the pan and cook until all the water is absorbed. This will take about 10-15 minutes. Turn off heat.
- Add lime juice and fluff the rice with a fork. Let it sit uncovered for 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy with cooling raita!
Instant Pot Method
- Follow the instructions to saute the ingredients on saute mode.
- Cook on Rice mode for 12 minutes on low pressure. When the pressure cooker beeps, do a 5 minute NPR, which means let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then manually release the pressure by turning the valve to venting position.
- Open the lid, add lime juice and fluff rice with a fork. Let it sit uncovered for 5 minutes. Serve & enjoy!
- When cooking the pulao on stovetop in a pan or in a stovetop pressure cooker, use 1 cup rice to 2 cups water ratio.
- When cooking the pulao in instant pot, use 1 cup rice to 1-¼ cup water ratio.
- If using Amritsar Urad dal wadi, just add 1-2 wadi per cup of rice for this pulao. I used 1 wadi for each cup of rice in this recipe, so that kids can eat the pulao too.
Note: Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.