KABULI CHANA PULAO – काबुली चना पुलाव (Spicy Chickpea Pilaf)

One pot meals are so good for more reasons than one – they offer a light yet satiating and wholesome meal, they come together fast (most of them) which means spending less time near the stove in stifling heat and also less dishes to wash. They offer you the liberty to play around with whatever ingredients you want, vegetables, protein you wish to club with your carbs for a complete and well-rounded meal.

This aromatic, protein rich, chana pulao is one such nutritious delicious meal to enjoy during any weather or time. And it is ideal to pack for tiffin along with some kachumber (Indian salad) and some raita.

Feel free to add veggies to amp up the taste and nutritional value of the pulao. I mostly add potatoes and french beans (not this time though) but capsicum works like a charm with chickpeas, if you remember my Dhabe Wale Chhole you would certainly know what I am saying. Other veggies that go well are cauliflower, french beans, carrots and broccoli. You can also check out my Kala Chana Biryani for another wholesome and toothsome gluten free vegan meal.

I always say this for my pulao and biryani posts and I say it yet again, do not get intimidated by the number of spices in the ingredient list. You just need to place them all in a bowl and pop them in the hot oil. Rest of the ingredients are just the regular ones such as salt, chilli powder, onions, ginger garlic paste. This recipe serves two to three and it can easily be doubled.

For Chickpeas

½ C Dried Chickpeas

1 small piece of Black Cardamom

1 small Bay Leaf

Salt to taste

1 pinch Asafoetida

For Pulao / Pilaf

½ C Basmati Rice

1 Bay Leaf

½ inch Cinnamon

3 Cloves

Half Star Anise or a small piece of it

¼ tsp Caraway Seeds / Shah Jeera

1 small Black Cardamom

3 – 4 Green Cardamoms

6 – 8 Peppercorns

2 tbsp Oil (more, only if required)

1 Red Onion (80 gm approx.), sliced

3 – 4 cloves Garlic

½ inch fresh Ginger

3 Green Chilli

1 ripe Red Tomato (70 – 75 gm), finely chopped

½ tsp Salt (or to taste)

¾ tsp Coriander Powder

½ tsp Garam Masala

¼ tsp Red Chilli Powder

2 tsp Yogurt (I used the thick store brought one)

3 tbsp Mint Leaves

3 tbsp chopped fresh Coriander

½ tsp crushed Kasoori Methi

Wash and soak the chickpeas overnight in at least four times the amount of water vis-à-vis the chickpeas.

Wash the basmati rice in plenty of water at least four to five times discarding the water after each wash till the water runs clear. Soak the rice in ample of water and soak it for the amount mentioned on the package. I soak mine for half an hour. Soaking is important coz it helps the rice to cook well and this way the pulao has a nice texture.

Using a mortar and pestle, grind together the garlic, ginger and green chillies to attain a rough paste (that’s how I prefer it) Set aside.

Drain the excess water and transfer the chickpeas in the pressure cooker and add one and a half cups of water, salt, bay leaf, black cardamom and asafoetida to it. Pressure cook on high heat till six pressure whistles escape. Switch off the heat and allow the pressure to release on its own.

Heat oil in a sauce pan (with a lid) and reduce the heat. Add the whole spices. Be careful as the cloves and black pepper corns have the tendency to burst in oil. Once the spices become aromatic, add the sliced onions. Increase the heat and fry, stirring often, till they turn golden in colour.

Add two tablespoons of water followed by the ginger garlic chilli paste. Fry, stirring continuously, till the paste is no longer raw.

Add tomato and cook till it softens, stirring frequently. Add coriander powder, garam masala, red chilli powder, salt and stir well.

Remove the pan from heat and after a minute, add the yogurt, one and a half tablespoon each of mint leaves and fresh coriander. Stir well.

Strain the chickpeas by passing them through a sieve and reserve the liquid. Measure the liquid. It should be one cup. If not, add some water and bring the amount to attain one cup. We shall be using this liquid for cooking the pulao. Set aside.

Place the pan on the heat again and add the chickpeas along with the kasoori methi and stir well. Next, add the drained rice and stir them in, very gently, so as not to break the grains of rice.

Add the reserved liquid. Give a very gently stir (just once) and bring the contents to boil and cover the pot with a tight lid. Reduce the heat to minimum and cook the pulao for fifteen minutes or as per the instructions given on the package.

Switch off the heat after fifteen minutes and remove the pan from heat. Let it sit for at least fifteen to twenty minutes before opening the lid.

Gently fluff the rice and serve hot with the accompaniments of your choice. The preferred ones are kachumber and raita or ghee and may be some green chutney or pickle, if you fancy.

Serves – 3

Thank you for your visit and see you soon again, with another exciting recipe!

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