October 16, 2021

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Chana Biryani | Chickpea Biryani

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Chana biryani is an aromatic, spiced and delicious dum cooked layered biryani made with white chickpeas, basmati rice, coconut milk, onion, tomatoes, herbs and spices. It makes for a delicious, filling and comforting weekend lunch or dinner. Gluten-free and vegan recipe.

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Biryani is a favorite rice-based dish with us. During weekends I often make various types of Biryani. Apart from the usual veggie biryanis, I also make biryani with safed chana or white chickpeas.

Basically there are two ways I make this biryani. One with curd and the other with coconut milk. In this post, I am sharing the coconut milk version. You can even skip coconut milk with the curd and use the same recipe.

If you like chickpeas and biryani, then you will like this biryani made with chickpeas as well.

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In this recipe of chole biryani, I have not cooked the chickpeas first. The chickpeas are cooked with gravy itself in the stovetop pressure cooker. So saves time and you just need to make the chana gravy and rice before assembling and dum cooking.

Since chickpeas are the star ingredient in this dish. Ensure that they are in their shelf life and not aged. If the chickpeas are aged then take lot of time to cook and also don’t taste so good. So I highly recommend using best quality of chickpeas.

Also remember to soak the chickpeas for 8 to 9 hours or overnight.

Serve chole biryani hot or warm with a side of raita, pickle, papad or kachumber. You can also serve them with yogurt.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to Make Chana Biryani

Prepping

1. Rinse 1 cup white chickpeas (200 grams) a couple of times in fresh water. Then soak them in enough water overnight or for 8 to 9 hours. Later drain all the water from the chickpeas. Rinse the chickpeas and keep them aside.

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2. Soak 1 cup heaped basmati rice in enough water for 20 to 30 minutes. Later after 20 to 30 minutes drain all the water from the rice and keep it aside.

For making biryani I always prefer and recommend using aged basmati rice. However you can also use any non-sticky variety of long grained rice.

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3. Heat 3 cups of water in a pan or pot. When the water becomes hot, add the following spices:

  • 2 to 3 green cardamoms
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 to 1.5 inch cinnamon
  • 2 to 3 single strands of mace
  • 1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
  • 3 cloves
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4. Add ½ teaspoon salt or as required.

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5. Bring the water to a rolling boil on high heat.

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6. Then add the strained rice.

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7. Cook the rice grains on high heat.

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8. When the rice grains are 75% cooked or there is a slight bite in them, then switch off the heat.

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9. Immediately strain the cooked rice. Keep aside.

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Making gravy for chana biryani

10. So when the rice is getting soaked and cooking, you can prepare the chana gravy. Heat 2 tablespoons of any neutral flavored oil and add the following spices:

  • 1 teaspoon shahi jeera
  • 2 to 3 green cardamoms
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1.5 inch cinnamon
  • 1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
  • 2 to 3 cloves
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11. Saute the spices for a few seconds till they splutter.

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12. Then add the 1 cup tightly packed thinly sliced onions (about 160 grams onions).

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13. Stir and mix very well.

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14. Saute the onions stirring often on low to medium heat. For quick cooking of the onions, add a pinch of salt.

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15. Saute till the onions become golden.

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16. Switch off the heat and take half of the fried onions on a plate.

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17. Add ½ tablespoon finely chopped ginger, ½ tablespoon finely chopped garlic and 2 to 3 green chilies (sliced).

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18. Switch on the burner and saute for some seconds or till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.

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19. Then add ½ cup chopped tomatoes.

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20. Saute for a minute.

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21. Next add ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon red chili powder and 1 teaspoon coriander powder.

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22. Stir and mix the spice powders very well with the rest of the ingredients.

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23. Add the soaked and drained chickpeas.

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24. Mix the chickpeas very well with the rest of the masala.

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25. Add 2.25 cups of water.

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26. Season with salt as required.

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27. Pressure cook the chickpeas on a medium to high heat for 18 to 20 minutes. If cooking in a pan, then add water accordingly and simmer till the chickpeas are cooked well.

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28. When the pressure falls down on its own, then only remove the lid and check the chickpeas. They should be cooked well and softened. Do note that the chickpeas should not have a bite in them.

If the chickpeas are undercooked, then pressure cook for a few more whistles. The time taken to cook chickpeas, depends on their quality and intensity of the flame, so cook accordingly. The gravy has to be of medium consistency and not thin.

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29. Then add ¾ to 1 cup thick coconut milk (200 to 250 ml).

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30.  Stir and mix very well. Check the salt in the chana gravy and if required add more.

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31. When the chickpeas are cooking, warm 1 tablespoon water and add a pinch of saffron strands. Stir and keep aside. You can also use milk instead of water.

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Assembling and layering chole biryani

32. Now we will begin with the layering process. Add ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves, ¼ cup chopped mint leaves and 1 teaspoon ginger julienne.

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33. Next layer with all of the rice.

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34. Next top with the fried onions.

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35. Then layer with ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves, ¼ cup chopped mint leaves and 1 teaspoon ginger julienne.

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36. Sprinkle the saffron dissolved water evenly. You can also add 1 to 2 teaspoon of rose water or kewra water (pandanus water).

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37. This is how the top of the layer looks like. I made the layers in the stovetop pressure cooker itself and just two main layers each of the chickpea gravy and rice. If you want you can make four layers also.

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38. Now place a moist kitchen towel on the pressure cooker.

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39. Place a tight lid. Keep the cooker on a heated tawa or skillet.

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40. Dum cook chana biryani for 25 to 30 minutes on low heat. Give a resting time of 5 to 7 minutes.

When the cooking is complete, check the bottom layers with a fork or spoon and there should not be any liquids. If there are any liquids, then continue to dum cook for some more minutes.

If baking – then bake the chana biryani at 180 degrees Celsius (356 degrees Fahrenheit) in a preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Please remember to use an ovenproof glass utensil like the pyrex bowl for baking in the oven. You will have to assemble the chole biryani as mentioned above in the ovenproof utensil. Cover with aluminum foil and then bake.

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41. Serve chole biryani hot or warm with raita, salad, yogurt or shorba. This protein-packed chickpeas biryani not only tastes good but is also very filling and healthy.

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More tasty recipes

If you made this recipe, please be sure to rate it in the recipe card below. Sign Up for my email newsletter or you can follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest or Twitter for more vegetarian inspirations.

Chana biryani is an aromatic, spiced and delicious dum cooked and layered biryani made with white chickpeas, basmati rice, coconut milk, onion, tomatoes, herbs and spices.

Prep Time 45 mins

Cook Time 30 mins

Total Time 1 hr 15 mins



Servings 3

Units

For chana gravy

For cooking rice

For layering biryani

Preparation

  • Rinse 1 cup white chickpeas a few times in fresh water. Then soak them in enough water overnight or for 8 to 9 hours. Later drain all the water, rinse the chickpeas and keep aside.

  • Soak 1 cup heaped basmati rice in enough water for 30 minutes. Later strain the rice and keep aside.

  • Heat 3 cups water in a pan or pot. When the water become hot, add the following spices – green cardamoms, black cardamom, cinnamon, strands of mace, tej patta and cloves.

  • Add salt as required.

  • Bring the water to a rolling boil on high heat.

  • Then add the soaked rice.

  • Cook the rice grains on high heat.

  • When the rice grains are 75% cooked or there is a slight bite in them, then switch off the heat.

  • Immediately strain the cooked rice. Keep aside.

Making chana gravy for biryani

  • So when the rice grains are getting soaked and cooking, you can prepare the chana gravy.

  • Heat oil and add these spices – shahi jeera, green cardamoms, black cardamom, cinnamon, tej patta and cloves.

  • Saute the spices for a few seconds till they splutter.

  • Then add thinly sliced onions. Stir and mix very well.

  • Saute the onions stirring often on a low to medium heat.

  • For a quick cooking of the onions, add a pinch of salt.

  • Saute till the onions become golden.

  • Switch off the heat and take half of the fried onions in a plate.

  • Add finely chopped ginger, finely chopped garlic and green chilies (sliced).

  • Switch on the burner and saute for some seconds or till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.

  • Then add chopped tomatoes and saute for a minute.

  • Next add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and coriander powder.

  • Stir and mix the spice powders very well with the rest of the ingredients.

  • Add the soaked and drained chickpeas.

  • Mix the chickpeas very well with the rest of the masala.

  • Add 2.25 cups water. Season with salt.

  • Pressure cook the chickpeas on medium to high heat for 18 to 20 minutes.

  • When the pressure falls down on its own, then only remove the lid and check the chickpeas. They should be cooked well and softened. 

  • Do note that the chickpeas should not have a bite to them. If not cooked well, then pressure cook for a few more whistles. The time taken to cook chickpeas, depends on their quality, so cook accordingly.

  • Then add ¾ to 1 cup thick coconut milk (200 to 250 ml). Stir and mix very well. Check the salt in the chana gravy and if required add more.

  • When the chickpeas are cooking, warm 1 tbsp water and add a pinch of saffron strands. Stir and keep aside. You can also use milk instead of water.

Assembling and making chana biryani

  • Add ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves, ¼ cup chopped mint leaves and 1 teaspoon ginger julienne to the chickpeas gravy.

  • Layer with all of the rice.

  • Next top with the fried onions.

  • Then layer with ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves, ¼ cup chopped mint leaves and 1 teaspoon ginger julienne.

  • Sprinkle the saffron dissolved water evenly.

  • Now place a moist kitchen towel on the pressure cooker.

  • Place a tight lid. Keep the cooker on a heated tawa/griddle.

  • Dum cook the biryani for 25 to 30 minutes on a low heat. Give a resting time of 5 to 7 minutes.

  • Later serve chole biryani with a raita, salad or biryani shorba.

  • Coconut milk can be substituted with 1 cup fresh curd.
  • Substitute caraway seeds with cumin seeds.
  • Dry fruits like cashews, almonds and raisins can also be added.
  • Ghee can be used instead of oil. It will make the biryani more flavorful and rich.
  • Since chickpeas are the hero ingredient in the dish. Ensure to use best quality chickpeas. They should not be in their shelf life and not aged. Also ensure that they are cooked well and there is not even slight bite in them.

Nutrition Facts

Chana Biryani

Amount Per Serving

Calories 662 Calories from Fat 144

% Daily Value*

Fat 16g25%

Saturated Fat 3g19%

Polyunsaturated Fat 2g

Monounsaturated Fat 9g

Sodium 932mg41%

Potassium 1001mg29%

Carbohydrates 113g38%

Fiber 18g75%

Sugar 14g16%

Protein 20g40%

Vitamin A 870IU17%

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 3mg15%

Vitamin B6 1mg50%

Vitamin B12 1µg17%

Vitamin C 21mg25%

Vitamin D 30µg200%

Vitamin E 5mg33%

Vitamin K 22µg21%

Calcium 196mg20%

Vitamin B9 (Folate) 410µg103%

Iron 6mg33%

Magnesium 139mg35%

Phosphorus 374mg37%

Zinc 4mg27%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Chana Biryani post from the archives (January 2016) has been republished and updated on 3 October 2021.

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