Chhola Biryani: Chickpea Biryani

Vegetarian version for all the biryani lovers!!

If you too are a biryani lover like me, you would have surely tasted all possible options of it. Chhola biryani is one of my favorite version when it comes to vegetarian options. I’ve been making this amazing dish from a long time now and is always a hit with my family and friends.

I generally choose to make this biryani for any party when I have more vegetarian guests. It serves both the protein and carb in perfect balance and is so full of flavors and spices (yet not spicy). If you have lots of guests, you can serve along with a main dish like dal or curry. Always make an extra batch to enjoy it as next day lunch 😉

Before we start with recipe, here are a few tips: Always use best quality ingredients and as far as possible use fresh ingredientss over canned, frozen or preserved ones. compromising on quality will be reflected in resultant dish. For rice, pick finest quality basmati and I would highly recommend using dry chickpea (soaked over night and pressure-cooked) over canned ones.


Chickpea (Chhola): 1 cup (dried)

Rice (Finest quality Basmati): 1 cup

Onion (sliced): 2 large (for deep frying) 1 large ( for chickpea gravy)

Garlic: 4-5 cloves

Ginger: 1/2 inch crushed and 1/2 inch julienne for garnishing

Tomato: 2 finely chopped (gravy) 1 sliced ( for garnishing)

Green chilli: 2-3 finely chopped, 2 julienne

Fresh corianderleaves: chopped

Fresh mint leaves: chopped


Whole spices:

Clove: 4

Black pepper: 5-6

Cardamom: 2

Saffron: 7-8 strands

Mace, nutmeg: a little

Bayleaf: 1

Red chilli powder: 1 tsp (or more if you like it spicy!)

Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp

Coriander powder: 1 1/2 tsp

Garam masala powder: 1 tsp

Salt as per taste

Rose water: 3 tsp

Kevra Water: 2 tsp


Soak Basmati rice for 30-35 mins. Pressure cook (soaked overnight or atleast 6-8 hrs) chickpea with some salt for 4-5 whistles till cooked well. Drain and save the stock. Boil 3 cups of water and put rice to coo k. Amount of water depends on type of basmati used. Add a few strands of saffron, 1 cardamom and 2 cloves in boiling rice water. Keep an eye on rice. Remove it from water before Al-dante.

In another pan, heat oil and deep fry 2 large, sliced onions till golden brown and crispy. Keep aside. while onions get fried, crush mace and nutmeg in mortar-pastel and mix in 3-4 spoons of milk. Also, soak saffron in 3-4 spoons of milk separately.


Heat oil in a pan. Add whole spices and add rest of the sliced onions. Saute for few minutes, add crushed garlic and ginger. Saute for few more minutes. Add finely diced tomatoes and cook. Add salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and cook. Add boiled chickpea and half cup stock and cook for 2-3 mins. The final consistency of the gravy should be thick and viscous. It should NOT be watery else chickpea will taste flavorless. Add garam masala powder and mix well. remove from flame.


Take a vessel with heavy bottom, I would recommend a clay pot, (it adds to the flavor subtly!)

Add ghee at the bottom and add half 1/2 the chickpea gravy. Add a layer of 1/2 of basamati rice on it. Put some fried onions, sliced tomatoes, julienne ginger and chillies, some mint leaves, 1 tsp each of rose water and kevra water and 1-2 spoons ghee.

Layer rest of the gravy over it and then add rest of t he rice on it. As done in first layer, add sliced tomatoes, julienne ginger and chillies, browned onions, fresh mint and coriander leaves, 1 tsp of rose and kevra water both, 2-3 spoons of ghee (or more! ;)). Drizzle the nutmeg and mace milk and saffron milk on top.

Cover the vessel and seal it with kneaded dough. Put it on indirect heat. Heat a pan/ tawa on flame and place the sealed vessel on it and cook for 15-20 mins on low-medium heat.

Alternatively, you can arrange everything in a induction cooker and seal. cook it on medium heat for 15mins.

Open only when ready to serve! Relish it with raita!!

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