Chana Pulao is a delicious, Indian-style chickpea and rice one-pot casserole. It is gluten-free, vegetarian, and so easy to cook in an instant pot or pressure cooker.
Chana Pulao is a one-pot meal of rice, chickpeas, potato, onion, and spices. It is also known as chole ka pulao, channa rice, chickpea rice, or kabuli chana pulao. All these names describe – a wholesome, packed with flavors, Indian-style spicy rice casserole.
I love one pot meals and that’s the reason I love my Instant Pot so much. Cleaning dishes is just not my thing so if there’s a chance to cook everything in one pot, you can be pretty sure that I will do just that.
Pulao (or pilaf) is something that I often make. It’s fragrant with spices and you can basically add any veggies to make it a hearty and complete meal.
More Reasons To LOVE Chana Pulao
- easy to pack and reheat
- gluten-free and vegetarian
- one-pot, wholesome, fulfilling
- perfect for lunch box or potluck
- instant pot and stovetop friendly recipe
As with most pulao, the recipe starts with spices.
I used a whole bunch of whole spices like bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, green cardamom and cumin seeds. You can skip some of these if you don’t have them.
Or add other spices if you want like black cardamom, whole peppercorns.
Other than the whole spices, the only two spices that I have added to this chana pulao is smoked paprika and garam masala.
Some fresh cilantro and squeeze of lemon juice and this was as good as it can get.
Ingredients used for this recipe:
For this chana pulao recipe, I used canned chickpeas because i planed instant and this is the only available on hand. I try to use raw beans and chickpeas since that’s what I grew up with.
In India, we didn’t really have a concept of canned food and it’s still not very common.
You can use canned chickpeas if you like, just follow the same recipe as it is and use canned chickpeas in place of soaked. If you plan to use raw chickpeas, make sure to soak them for 4 hours at least.
If you are using canned chickpeas…
- Saute Time: 7 Minutes
- Cook Time: 3 Minutes
- Total: 10 Minutes
Drain the canned chickpeas in a colander or sieve. Rinse with water to get rid of preservatives and starchy liquid. Add them to the masala along with uncooked rice. Cook for 3 minutes in PRESSURE COOK mode and the pulao is ready!
If you are using dried chickpeas…
- Saute Time: 10 Minutes
- Cook Time: 33 Minutes
- Total Time: 43 Minutes
Rinse and soak chickpeas in water for 4 – 5 hours or overnight. Drain all the soaked water. Transfer the chickpeas to the inner pot of the IP along with masala (as suggested in the recipe).
Rice: Use long-grain basmati rice or any other medium-grain white rice with less starch for making the pulao.
Vegetables: I add diced potato. You can add green peas, carrot, beans, fenugreek leaves, or any other vegetables of choice.
Whole Spices: Black and Green Cardamom, Bay Leaf, Cumin Seeds
Spice Powders: Garam Masala or Chana Masala or Biryani Masala, Turmeric Powder, Red Chili Powder
Cooking Oil: You can use either ghee or vegetable refined oil. I use refined oil and add ghee separately while pressure cooking the pulao.
Other Ingredients: Red Onion, ginger garlic paste, Salt, Green Chili
Instant Pot Cooking Method
Step 1) Set the Saute mode for 10 minutes. Add cooking oil, bay leaf, cardamom, and cumin seeds to the inner pot of IP. Saute spices for 20 – 30 seconds to release the aroma.
Step 2) Next, add sliced onion and fry till the onion become light golden.
Step 3) Add ginger-garlic paste, soaked chickpeas (no water), salt, spices, and stir to combine. Saute for 1 – 2 minutes. (If you are using canned chickpeas then at this stage you can add rice, potato, water and cook the pulao for 3 minutes.)
Step 4) Next, add water and stir. Seal the lid of the IP. Cancel SAUTE Mode. Set PRESSURE COOK Mode for 15 minutes. (IF you are using raw chickpeas set the pressure cook mode for 30 minutes)
Step 5) After IP beeps, release the pressure. Open the lid and check chickpeas for doneness.
Step 6) Add potato and soaked/drained rice. Stir to combine. Seal the lid. Set PRESSURE COOK mode for 3 minutes
Step 7) After the set cooking time, open the lid and fluff the rice using a fork.
How To Cook On Stovetop
Can this kabuli chana pulao recipe be made on a traditional stovetop pressure cooker if I don’t have an Instant Pot? Yes, you can easily make this chana pulao in the traditional pressure cooker.
Follow the pulao recipe ingredients, measurements, and cooking method. Cook soaked chickpeas for 2 – 3 whistles on low heat. Allow the steam to release naturally.
Add soaked rice, stir to combine, and once again cook for 1 whistle. Open the lid, and fluff the pulao using a fork.
Usually, I prefer slow-cooking rice without a lid in the pressure cooker. Once the rice is cooked, the liquid is dried, cover, and slow cook (dum cook) pulao for 3 – 5 minutes at the lowest heat.
Tips And Tricks
I use 1 cup of water to cook 1 cup of canned Chickpeas and 1 cup of rice. Adding too much liquid to cook rice always results in a mushy and sticky pulao.
You can add biryani Pulao Garam Masala if you like.
Here are a few side-dish suggestions that compliment chana pulao:
Mint Raita or Beetroot Raita
Pickled onions or any kachumbar salad