This vegetarian, rice dish is full of aromatic spices and packed with flavor. It’s a comforting dish laced with caramelized onions to give a beautiful rounded sweetness to compliment the warm spices. Definitely a dish that reminds me of childhood and my moms Punjabi best friends. A Mughal classic that my rice loving toddler approves. In fact, if he's fussy and hasn't been eating well, or if we've been on a trip for too long, this is indeed a go to that I know will satisfy him and a dish he thoroughly enjoys!
So here’s my take on the classic!
1.5 cups Basmati Rice
1.5 cups Boiled Chickpeas (or 1 can)
2 tbsp Ghee or Fat of Choice
1 large Onion Thinly Sliced
1 tbsp Garlic/Ginger Paste
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp Turmeric (optional)
1/8 tsp Red Chili Powder (or to taste)
Salt (to taste)
3 cups of Bone Broth (or water/stock)
Rinse, soak and set aside your rice.
Slice an onion finely and sauté in ghee on medium heat until it caramelizes, softens and turns to a light golden hue.
Now turn up the heat, add your spices and garlic/ginger paste, and give it a mix.
Add your boiled and drained chickpeas and continue to mix.
Now drain your rice and add it to the pot so all the spices distribute evenly.
Pour in your choice of cooking liquid and bring it to a boil.
Once at a rapid boil, reduce heat to low, give it a stir and cover.
Let the rice steam for 10 to 15 minutes until all the liquid evaporates and rice cooks through.
Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and garnish with cilantro and green chilies (optional).
Enjoy plain, with a mint yogurt sauce or with a side of chicken.
If you’re using canned beans: boil the chickpeas in its liquid with a pinch of baking soda for 5 mins at a rapid boil. Then strain, rinse and set aside. This ensures soft and tender beans.
Bulk caramelize your onions and freeze once cooled in ice cube trays. Pop one in whenever you make rice (plain or pilaf style) for flavor packed rice.
My go-to ratio for rice is 1:2. So for every cup of rice I double the liquid to two cups.
My bean ratio is 1:1. For every one cup of rice I add 1 cup of beans.
Salt can be tricky. Depending on what kind of salt you use, since some are strong and some aren’t. I typically do 3/4 to 1 tsp salt to every 1 cup. If you’re using stock or bone broth for your cooking liquid, be sure to check the salt and adjust accordingly.
I hope you give this Chickpea Pilaf a try and love it as much as my boys and I do. Comfort home cooking that takes you back to childhood always! If you give this Chana Pulao or any recipe of mine a try, be sure to tag me @blendofspice. I'd love to see how you enjoyed my dish!