Rice/ vegetarian

Pakistani Chana Pulao – Chickpea Pilaf

April 26, 2013 (Last Updated: September 4, 2020)
Chana Pulao
Jump to Chana Pulao Recipe

People, let’s talk about Chana Pulao. Actually first let’s talk about Ginger. See how I capitalized it just there? That’s because I have recently discovered a love for it thanks to this pilaf. You see garlic and I – we are tight – in my mind it goes with everything – well, almost everything. I went to this restaurant in San Francisco once called the Stinking Rose where each dish has garlic in it. Even the desserts. That I was not such a fan of. Anyway, back to Ginger with a capital G. I realize that it has a purpose and therefore I use it quite frequently in my food, but I do the same with cloves and would never eat one of those babies.

Ginger in Chana Pulao

What I think makes the ginger flavor so beautiful in this Chana Pulao is that you thinly slice your peeled ginger and then stir fry it in a little oil until it has delicate golden brown edges and a gentler perfume than I typically associate with this potent root. The ginger then becomes part of the base for the ‘broth’ that the rice gets cooked in and just gives the dish a very light, but unusual note that is so addictive that I actually wolfed down two sizable portions in a row and then realized I literally could not move from the couch. Really. The TV remote was far from me too (a whole 5 feet), thankfully my phone was nearby *phew*

Chana Pulao

I really like that this Chana Pulao is easy to make and kid friendly for those times when I don’t want to make a seperate protein. It is also lunch box friendly which is a huge bonus!

Chana Pulao goes well with a chutney like this Sauteed Garlic one or even with a bold raita like this Sabzi Raita. If you try it do rate it below and tag me in your recreations on instagram @flourandspiceblog.

5 from 3 votes
Chana Pulao
Chana Pulao
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins

A Pilaf with Chickpeas

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Pakistani
Keyword: Pulao, Pakistani
Servings: 6
Author: Sarah – Flour & Spice
  • 540 ml Can of Chickpeas
  • 2 cups Rice, washed and soaked
  • 2 inch Piece of Ginger
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 1/2 tsp Whole Black Pepper
  • 1/2 inch Cinnamon Stick
  • 1-2 Black Cardamom
  • 4-5 Cloves
  • Salt to taste
  1. Drain the can of chickpeas into a sieve or a colander and run water over it to wash off the liquid from the can.

  2. Finely slice your onions and then peel and finely slice your ginger.

  3. Heat enough oil in your pot just to cover the bottom

  4. Now add your cloves, peppers, cinnamon, and black cardamom (if using) and stir fry for a few seconds

  5. Add in your pieces of ginger and let those fry until the edges become brown and the ginger loses its raw looking yellowness

  6. Add your sliced onion and cook until the onion gets a light caramel colour

  7. Once the onions are looking good add your chickpeas, and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. If the chickpeas are a little tough then add one cup of water, cover, bring to a boil and simmer for ten minutes before proceeding.

  8. Add your rice and enough water so that it covers your rice and goes a little less than an inch over.

  9. Season your rice well – about 1.5-2 teaspoons depending on how salty your chickpeas are

  10. Bring the rice to a boil and cook on medium till most of the water dries, then cover the pot and cook on low heat till the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked through. This last step takes me 8-10 minutes.

  11. Serve with chutney, raita, etc.

Recipe Notes

The addition of sliced versus grated/ground ginger is unusual but I feel it gives the pulao great flavour. Just please don’t eat it!

For an additional flavour boost you can add chicken stock/ bouillon to the rice when it’s boiling. Just adjust salt accordingly

Chana Pulao - two plates

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