Chana Pulao | Chickpea Pilaf

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In the kingdom of rice recipes, the Chana Pulao is still as simple as pie. The soft Chana (chickpeas) and balanced flavor of rice give a real appetizing experience. The authenticity, indulgence, and delightful nature of Chana Pulao will insist you to indulge yourself in plate-licking. 

chana pulao

The taste and aroma of Chana Pulao will always be remain in my heart because since my childhood we often prepare this delight on special occasions and invitations. 

You know, it resembles more like that degi pulao and Afghani Pulao that Pakistani people often make at wedding ceremonies or other functions. For me, making Chana Pulao is really fun, and making the taste more like a degi pulao (restaurant style) is a real art, and today, I will share that art with you. 

From my sons to my husband, everyone is a die-hard fan of drooling chana Pulao recipes. I love the softness and juiciness of chickpeas that melt in the mouth and give a soul-soothing experience. 

Why Will You Love Chickpea (Chana) Pulao?

  • Umami Taste: The umami and balanced flavor of this Pulao always quenches my cravings for Rice. The game-changer item in this recipe is the deeply brown onions that make it so flavorful. 
  • Satisfying: Nor spicy nor tangy, the salty and balanced taste of Chana Pulao makes a super satisfying recipe. Whenever you’re feeling a bit hungry, try this recipe, and you will thank me later. 
  • Easy To Make: Oh! The thing that makes me a big fan of this dish is the ease of cooking. It’s like a dump-and-go recipe, and you can even make it in one pot. The only thing that takes time is the boiling process of chickpeas. 
  • Versatile: My readers always ask me about the versatility of each dish. And here in Chana Pulao, you can add a bit of butter chunks, Chinese carrots, or capsicum to make it a more cherished dish.
chana pulao recipe

What Kind of Rice Should You Use For Chana Pulao?

Now, this is a real talk. The type of rice matters a lot in today’s recipe; you can’t use any type of rice except the Basmati rice (we also use it to make Biryani). Some rice makes khichdi and ruins the entire recipe. 

I tend to use tall Basmati rice that looks more scattered and shriveled up after cooking. Also, basmati rice has more taste than any other type of rice. Avoid using short-grain, brown, or sella rice for the Chana Pulao recipe. 


ingredients of chana pulao
  • Basmati Rice: I’m using store-bought basmati rice that is tall and thin. 
  • Onions: This ingredient is crucial for today’s recipe. The deep brown onions bring a more authentic and robust taste. Don’t use a chopper to cut onions, just a knife is the best way to make slices. 
  • Tomatoes: Few folks don’t want to add tomatoes. But I’m substituting chopped tomatoes because they bring a sweet-tart flavor, enhancing the depth and richness of the dish. 
  • Potatoes: Potatoes are optional; they just elevate the nutritious value of the recipe and improve the texture. 
  • Garlic: The aroma of garlic makes me so pleasant. The garlic’s pungency and warmthness add a robust flavor to the recipe. 
  • Chickpeas: I’m using Kabuli Chana. To decompose the chickpeas, I’m using a pressure cooker. 
  • Cumin Seeds: I’m adding cumin seeds to uplift the warmth and robust flavors in the recipe. Along with the cumin seeds, you can also use some black peppers and cloves. 
  • Bay Leave & Black Cardamom: You can skip both these if they are not available in your kitchen. Both these items are aromatic and add an intense taste. 
  • Spices: Unlike the other rice recipes, the Chana Pulao doesn’t require any hard-to-find spices. I’m using mix masala powder (homemade), and salt are enough to elevate the taste of this culinary. If you don’t have mixed masala, then simply add some red chili powder.
  • Green Chilli: I’m using some green chilis to make the recipe a little tangy. But keep in mind that for chana pulao, you don’t need to add a blast of spices.

How To Make Chana Pulao

1- Cook The Chickpeas:

  • Soak the chickpeas (Chana) in water for 30 minutes.
  • Unleash the water and transfer the chickpeas to the pressure cooker.
  • Add 4 glasses of water to the pressure cooker and 1 tablespoon of salt.
  • Turn on the flame and let the chickpeas to pressure cook for 45 to 50 minutes on medium flame. You can also do the same process in Instant Pot.
  1. Clean The Rice:In another bowl soak the rice for 10 minutes and then gently wash with the clean water. 
soak the rice
  1. Sauté The Onions:Next, add the oil or ghee in a pan and sauté the onions until brown. For pulao, you need an extra brownish gravy of onion. Keep stirring to prevent the onions from sticking to the bottom. Also, add finely minced garlic for an extra robust taste. 
saute onion
  1. Add Garam Masala: Toss all the Garam Masala, including cumin seeds, bay leaf, black cardamom, and cloves, mix that medley, and close the lid for one more minute. Keep the flame low. 
bay leave
  1. Add Water & Salt: It’s time to dilute the rich taste of dark brown onions, and for this, add a splash of water along with the salt. Again, you have to close the lid for 2 minutes and turn the flame to medium. For restaurant-style pulao, we need dark, rich, and savory gravy of onions, so closing the lid is the best way to achieve this.  
adding salt
  1. Add Chickpeas: The next thing is to add the Chana (chickpeas) in the gravy, and also include tomatoes, and mix masala. Be cautious when stirring here; avoid using too much force otherwise the chickpeas may begin to break apart.
add masala
  1. Adding Rice & Potatoes: Keep the heat to medium and introduce the rice to the gravy. I’m pouring 3 glasses of water. You can adjust the amount according to the amount of rice. Also, add green chillies and potatoes if you want. Stir it well and gently, and cover the wok for 10 minutes.
add rice
  1. Dam (steaming): Dam (steaming): The final step is the steaming (Dam). For this purpose, I’m taking advantage of the griddle (tawa). Transfer the pan or pot to the griddle. Set the flame to low and wait for 10 minutes, allowing the rice to absorb all the water.

My Pro Tips For Making The Chana Pulao Subtle & Flavorful 

  • Balancing the amount of water in Basmati rice is the prime factor that contributes to the fluffiness of rice. So, for 1 cup of rice, use 2 cups of water. For 2 cups of rice, use 4 cups of water, and so on. 
  • Avoid using any kind of fiery, tangy, or citrus spices in this recipe. The Chana pulao is more umami flavor profile instead of spicers. Only the garam masala, mixed masala, and salt are enough to make the pulao indulgence. 
  • Basmati rice is soft. That’s why, while stirring, you have to be careful. Don’t forcefully stir the spatula. Also, stir occasionally and avoid frequent stirring. 
  • Closing the lid in steps 4 and 7 is key to making rice more subtle and flavorful. Covering the top will infuse an authentic taste of onions in the rice.


For doubling the recipe, just double all the ingredients and water, too. Like if you want to make 2 cups of rice then use 1.5 to 2 cups of water. Also, maximize the simmer time to 3 minutes and the steaming time to 2 minutes. 

Chana Pulao is too easy to store. Just transfer the pulao to the plate and keep it in the fridge. At meal time simply transfer that refrigerated rice in a pan and heat them on a low flame. You can also use the microwave to heat the pulao. 

No, yogurt has a lot of moisture that can ruin the firmness of our rice and make it too loose, like Khichdi. Also, the citrus taste of yogurt might eradicate the umami flavor of pulao. So avoid using any kind of yogurt for this recipe. Instead of this, serve the diary yogurt with Pulao for a more savory taste. 

What To Serve With Chana Pulao?

You can serve some side dishes like chapli kababs, ban kabab, or shami kababs with chana pulao. To make your bites zesty, the mint chutney is a must-have item. I also serve pickles, raita, and salads with the Chana Pulao. 

Other Rice Recipes

chana pulao

Chana Pulao

In the kingdom of rice recipes, the Chana Pulao is still as simple as pie. The soft Chana (chickpeas) and balanced flavor of rice give a real appetizing experience. The authenticity, indulgence, and delightful nature of Chana Pulao will insist you to indulge yourself in plate-licking. 
No ratings yet
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani


  • 1 Cup Oil
  • 1 Potatoes
  • 1 Cup Chickpea
  • 1.5 Cup Rice
  • 2 Onions
  • 3 Tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1 Black Cardamom
  • 2 tbsp Salt (According to your taste)
  • 2 tbsp Mix masala
  • Green Chillies
  • Bay Leave
  • Black Pepper
  • Cloves


Boil The Chickpeas:

  • Soak chickpeas in water for 30 minutes, then transfer them to a pressure cooker. Add 4 glasses of water and 1 tablespoon of salt in cooker. Pressure cook on medium flame for 45-50 minutes. Alternatively, use an Instant Pot for the same process.

Clean The Rice:

  • Now soak rice in a bowl for 10 minutes, then wash gently with clean water.

Cook The Pulao:

  • In a pan, sauté onions in oil or ghee until brown. Stir constantly to avoid sticking. Add finely minced ginger for extra flavor in the brownish onion gravy for pulao.
  • Add Garam Masala, including cumin seeds, bay leaf, black cardamom, and cloves in a pan. Mix and cover for one minute on low flame.
  • To balance the rich taste of dark brown onions, add water and salt. Close the lid for 2 minutes on medium flame to achieve a restaurant-style pulao with a dark, rich, and savory onion gravy.
  • Add chickpeas to the gravy, along with tomatoes and mixed masala. Be cautious while stirring to prevent chickpeas from breaking apart.
  • Keep the heat to medium, add rice to the gravy, and pour 3 glasses of water (adjust as needed). Optionally, include potatoes. Stir gently, cover the wok, and let it cook for 10 minutes.
  • For the final steaming (Dam), place the pan or pot on a low-flame grill (tawa). Wait for 10 minutes, letting the rice absorb all the water.


Keyword chana pulao, chickpea pulao
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