Pakistani Chana pulao

This immediate pot Pakistani Chana pulao is simple, flavorful, and it takes less than 20 minutes of general prep time. Ideal for a weeknight dinner yet elegant sufficient for guests.


  • 1 ½ cups aged long grain basmati rice
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil such as grape seed or avocado
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/3 inch piece ginger, crushed
  • 2 small bay leaves, or 1 large
  • ½ tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1- inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 1 small black cardamom, optional
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 15 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 tsp heaped salt, or to taste
  • 2 cups water

How to make chana pulao

  • Rinse and then soak ¾ cup chickpeas/chole/chana overnight or for 8 to 9 hours in enough water.
  •  Drain them well. Then add to the pressure cooker. Also add about ½ tsp of salt.
  •  Add 3 to 3.5 cups water.
  • Pressure cooks for 12 to 14 whistles or for about 20 minutes, till the chickpeas are tender and cooked very well.
  •  Again drain the cooked chickpeas and keep aside.
  •  Rinse 1 cup heaped basmati rice very well in water till the water runs clear of starch. then soak the rice in enough water for 30 mins. Later strain and keep aside.
  •  In a small grinder or chutney grinder or magic bullet, add ¾ inch ginger (chopped), 3 to 4 garlic (chopped), 1 tbsp chopped mint leaves, 3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves and 1 green chili (chopped).
  •  Make a semi-fine or a fine paste of the ingredients with ½ to 1 tbsp water. Keep this green paste aside.

Making chana pulao

In a pressure cooker heat ghee or oil and add all the whole spices – ½ tsp caraway seeds, 1 black cardamom, 2 green cardamom, 1 to 2 single strands of mace, 1 inch cinnamon, 2 to 3 cloves and 1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf). Sauté the whole garam masala or whole spices for some seconds till fragrant. Then add sliced onions.

 Sauté the onions till light brown or golden brown. Now add the green paste and sauté till the raw aroma of the ginger-garlic goes away. Next add the chopped tomatoes. Stir and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Then add a pinch of turmeric powder, ¼ tsp red chili powder and a pinch of garam masala powder. Mix well. Add basmati rice. Mix well and sauté the entire mixture for a minute. Add ½ tsp lemon juice.

Then add a pinch of saffron threads (optional). Mix everything well. Add the drained cooked chickpeas. Then add water. Season with salt and stir well. Pressure cook on a medium for 2 to 3 whistles or for 10 to 12 minutes. I pressure cooked for 2 whistles. When the pressure settles down on its own, then open the lid of the cooker. Gently fluff the rice. Garnish with coriander leaves or mint leaves and Serve Chana pulao hot with raita, pickle, papad or any veg salad.

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