Chickpea (Chana) Biryani

Chickpea (Chana) Biryani -

The first time my mum made this biryani, I was a little skeptical as to how it would turn out (blame it on my lack of culinary skills at that point). But years later, when I became interested in cooking, this was one of the first recipes I learnt from her. Simply because, it is one of the easiest dishes to cook when the biryani craving hits.

I know for a lot of people, biryani has to be with meat; anything else is considered a sacrilege.

But I disagree. Meat based biryanis are delicious ofcourse, but a well made vegetarian biryani can be just as delicious and enjoyable. It’s all about infusing maximum flavour into the rice. And for chickpea lovers, this is real treat.

If using canned chickpeas, this is a one pot meal. Else, you will need to  cook the chickpeas before adding it to the biryani. It’s perfect as a weeknight meal or when you have vegetarian guests over; team it up with a raita of choice and some pickles to complete the experience.


  1. 1 cup dried chickpeas (soak overnight or in warm water for at least 1-2 hours)
  2. 2 cups basmati/long grained rice (soak for at least 30 minutes)
  3. 2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
  4. 2 tbsps vegetable oil
  5. 3 cloves
  6. 2 bay leaf
  7. ½ inch cinnamon bark
  8. 4 green cardamom
  9. 2 large garlic cloves; grated
  10. ½ inch ginger; grated
  11. 2 large red onion; finely sliced
  12. 2-3 green chilli (depends on the heat of the chilli)
  13. 2 large ripe red tomato; finely sliced
  14. ¾ tsp turmeric powder
  15. 1 tsp red chilli powder
  16. ¼ tsp garam masala
  17. Salt; to season
  18. ½ cup fresh coriander leaves ; finely chopped
  19. 4 cups water


Note – Soaking the rice and chickpeas enables faster cooking.

  • Wash and soak the rice, drain and keep aside.
  • Cook chickpeas in salted boiling water till just done. The chickpeas must still have a bite so take care not to overcook or it turns mushy when cooked again with the rice; drain and keep aside
  • Heat ghee and oil in a large heavy bottom pan and add the whole spices. Fry on low heat for a few seconds.
  • Then add the garlic, ginger and sliced onions; sauté till the onions turn light brown.
  • Next add the chillies and tomatoes; sauté till the tomatoes are broken down and mushy.
  • Add the turmeric powder, garam masala and red chilli powder; mix well to combine. Also add half of the coriander leaves and cook for another 30 seconds.
  • Add 4 cups water; season with salt and bring to boil.
  • Then add the rice and cooked chickpeas (chana); mix, taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Cook covered on medium heat till most of the water has been absorbed. Then lower the heat and cook till all the water has been absorbed and the rice has cooked through.
  • Garnish with the remaining coriander leaves and serve warm.

6 thoughts on “Chickpea (Chana) Biryani

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