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.

chole biryani recipe

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.

chana biryani served in a plate with a side of lemon wedges

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.

soaked chickpeas in water

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.

soaked rice in water

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
spices added to pressure cooker

4. Add ½ teaspoon salt or as required.

salt added to pressure cooker

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

bringing water to a boil

6. Then add the strained rice.

soaked rice added

7. Cook the rice grains on high heat.

cooking rice

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

75% cooked rice

9. Immediately strain the cooked rice. Keep aside.

strain the cooked rice

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
added herbs to pressure cooker

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

sauteing spices

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

sliced onions added

13. Stir and mix very well.

mix onions with spices

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

sauteing onions

15. Saute till the onions become golden.

sauteing onions till golden

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

fried onions on a plate

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

ginger garlic and green chilies added

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

sauteing ginger garlic paste

19. Then add ½ cup chopped tomatoes.

chopped tomatoes added

20. Saute for a minute.

sauteing tomatoes

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

spices added

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

mixing spices with masala

23. Add the soaked and drained chickpeas.

soaked chickpeas added

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

mixing chickpeas with the masala

25. Add 2.25 cups of water.

water added

26. Season with salt as required.

salt added

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.

pressure cooking chickpeas

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.

cooked chana gravy in pressure cooker

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

coconut milk added

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

mixing coconut milk with gravy

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.

saffron dissolved in water

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.

adding coriander & mint leaves

33. Next layer with all of the rice.

layered with rice

34. Next top with the fried onions.

topping biryani with fried onions

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

more layering in chana biryani

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

adding saffron water

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.

top layer of chole biryani

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

placing moist kitchen towel

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

placing a lid

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.

cooked dum biryani

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.

chana biryani served on a plate with a side of thinly sliced onions


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chana biryani

Chana Biryani

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.
4.88 from 8 votes
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Cuisine Hyderabadi, South Indian
Course Main Course
Diet Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 3
Units

Ingredients

For chana gravy

  • 2 to 3 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (shahi jeera)
  • 2 to 3 green cardamoms
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1.5 inch cinnamon
  • 1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
  • 2 to 3 cloves
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onions – 160 grams onions or 2 large onions
  • ½ cup chopped tomatos – 100 grams tomatoes or 1 large tomato
  • ½ tablespoon finely chopped ginger – 5 grams or 1 inch ginger
  • ½ tablespoon finely chopped garlic – 5 grams or 8-10 medium sized garlic cloves
  • 2 to 3 green chilies slit or sliced diagonally
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder (ground coriander)
  • 1 cup dried white chickpeas (chole or chana) – 200 grams chana, soaked overnight in enough water
  • 2.25 cups water for pressure cooking chana gravy
  • salt as required
  • ¾ to 1 cup coconut milk or about 200 to 250 ml coconut milk

For cooking rice

  • 1 cup basmati rice – heaped, 200 grams
  • 3 cups water – for cooking rice
  • 2 to 3 green cardamoms
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 to 1.5 inch cinnamon (dalchini)
  • 2 to 3 single strands of mace
  • 1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
  • 3 cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt or add as required

For layering biryani

  • ½ cup chopped mint leaves – 10 grams
  • ½ cup chopped coriander leaves – 10 grams
  • 2 teaspoons ginger julienne
  • 1 tablespoon warm water + 1 pinch of saffron strands
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons rose water or kewra water (pandanus water)

Instructions
 

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.

Notes

  • 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 Info (Approximate values)

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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32 Comments

  1. I just chanced upon your recipes – tried the black chick peas curry – Turned out beyond expectation- i cubed a potatoe & added to the masala to cook. It thickened – LovelyTqvm . Can i substitute the black chick peas for White chick pea in the Biryani please as i need to use up the opened pkt. Tqvm in advance.

    1. Thanks and nice to know. Yes sure you can sub the black chickpeas with white chickpeas in this recipe.

  2. Hai sister, am ur big fan I used try ur dishes daily and Learning basics too from ur blog. It is very easy with picture describtion and from tamilnadu and I have shared ur blog link to my friends and relatives those who r going to get married because ur blog will enable them to learn cooking basics just like from mom and grandma now we r leaning cooking techniques from you sister… I used prepare Chole biryani with normal rice in pressure cooker today am going to try ur method sister4 stars

    1. thank you kalpana. i feel good when readers make recipes successfully from the blog and when they like the recipes too in terms of taste and flavor. thus the purpose of making a cooking website and sharing recipes is accomplished. thanks also for sharing the blog with your friends and relatives. i hope the chana biryani goes well for you. thanks once again and happy cooking.

  3. We tried this recipe. It came out really good. We used little less water with Chana and used curd in place of coconut milk.
    Thanks for this recipe.5 stars

    1. thanks jayanti for the feedback and rating. yes coconut milk can be used. welcome and happy cooking.

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