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  • Writer's pictureSheetal Jandial

Chole (chickpeas) Biryani

Updated: Nov 25, 2021

chole biryani recipe, chana biryani recipe, chickpeas biryani recipe, vegetarian vegan dum biryani recipe, indian food recipe blog whiskmixstir, traditional indian recipes, chickpeas curry recipe, sheetal jandial

No, it’s not chole pulao :)

Chole / Chana biryani is made using methods similar to that of dum biryani… birista (fried onions), adding yoghurt to semi-cooked chole masala for flavour, semi-cooked rice, layering and finally cooking on dum.

To reduce the cooking time of this recipe of chole biryani, you could fry the onions and make the tadka for chole while pressure cooking the chickpeas… a little multitasking goes a long way here.

Or you could simply upcycle leftover chole masala !

Like any other beans, chickpeas are a good source of plant based protein and healthy carbohydrates... there's really no reason to not try this recipe of chickpeas biryani. And I'm sure you know that beans and rice make for a wholesome, complete meal... a superfood combination! There's really no reason for anyone (vegan / vegetarian or not) to not try this recipe of chickpeas biryani!

Chole (chickpeas) biryani is naturally gluten free and vegetarian. Make this recipe of chole biryani vegan by skipping the yoghurt or substituting it with vegan yoghurt.

Serve chickpeas biryani with a refreshing cucumber raita or a garlicky burani raita. And always with these pickled onions (sirke wale pyaz). You could also serve this instant carrot pickle on the side... this carrot pickle is usually served with pindi chole up North in India.

If you're new to Indian home-style cooking, I do recommend you try these recipes from my Indian food recipe blog WhiskMixStir.

Sukha Moong (dry whole green moong dal)

Thalipeeth (multigrain flatbread)

Tomato Chutney

Rustic Palak Chicken

Punjabi Kadhi Pakoda

Connect with me on social media for (errrmmmm) not-so-regular updates! Yes, I’m not going to be on your screen all day every day!

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Serves 4

Time taken:

Soaking chickpeas: minimum 4 hours, preferably overnight

Cooking chickpeas: 15-20 minutes + cooling time

Birista / beresta: 10-15 minutes

Cooking rice: 5-7 minutes

Dum: 20 minutes

Ingredients to make Chole (chickpeas) Biryani

For beresta / birista

4 onions – medium size, sliced

Cooking oil for frying

For chole / chickpeas curry

1½ cups chickpeas / kabuli chana

1 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped

3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 green chillies, finely chopped

1 onion, largish size, roughly chopped

5-6 cloves / laung

8-10 black peppercorns / kali mirch

2 inch stick of cinnamon / dalchini

1 black cardamom / badi elaichi

1 bay leaf / tej patta

2 tsp black tea leaves, tied in a muslin cloth – for colour*

Salt, to taste

3 cups water or as required

*Indian Gooseberry powder / amla powder (alternative to tea leaves)

Tadka for chole / chickpeas curry

1 tbsp cooking oil / ghee

½ tsp asafoetida / hing

1 tsp cumin seeds / jeera

1 tsp carom seeds / ajwain

5 tomatoes, medium size – finely chopped / puréed

1 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped

1 tsp red chilli powder

½ tsp turmeric powder / haldi

2 tbsp garam masala or chole masala

1 tbsp dried mango powder / amchur#

# skip if adding amla powder

For biryani rice

1½ cups basmati rice / biryani rice

3-4 cloves / laung

1 inch stick of cinnamon / dalchini

1 black cardamom / badi elaichi

2 green cardamoms / choti elaichi

½ tsp turmeric powder / haldi

Salt, to taste

Water, as required

For chole biryani

Semi-cooked chole / chickpeas

½ cup yoghurt

Semi-cooked rice

Beresta / birista

2 tbsp ghee

A handful mint leaves

A few ginger juliennes

Method of making Chole (chickpeas) Biryani

For chole / chickpeas curry

Soak the chickpeas overnight, or for a minimum of 4 hours. If you’re short on time, simply soak the chickpeas in warm (closer to hot) water for 30 minutes to an hour.

In a pressure cooker, add chickpeas, ginger garlic, green chillies, onions, whole spices, salt and tea leaves potli along with approx. 3-4 cups of water to fill the pressure cooker about 2 inches above the chickpeas.

If you want to add a potli of tea leaves to your chole, you could simply boil tea leaves a a cup of water and add the water while pressure cooking the chickpeas. Tea leaves water does not alter the flavours of chole masala, it only adds a nice darkish brown colour.

To skip the tea leaves water completely, simply add a teaspoon of amla (Indian Gooseberry) powder while pressure cooking the chickpeas. Now, amla (Indian Gooseberry) powder isn't easily available to everyone, so tea leaves water is the commonly used and talked about "colouring agent" for chickpeas.

Mix well and bring to a light boil. Secure the lid and pressure cook for 1 whistle on medium high heat and then 4-5 whistles on low heat – to cook the chickpeas about 50%, they should still have a firm bite. We are semi-cooking the chole as these will be cooked for an additional 10 minutes with the tadka and then 15-20 minutes on dum.

Let the steam in the pressure cooker settle naturally, i.e. without manually releasing the steam.

Meanwhile, prepare the tadka for chole masala. Heat ghee in a pan, add cumin seeds, carom seeds, asafoetida and tomatoes. Cook this mix, stirring occasionally, till the tomatoes are done and the oil separates. Add garam masala or chole masala, amchur (if using) red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well and add the chickpeas.

There should be about a cup of water in the pressure cooker, add that too.

Cook this mix on high heat for a few minutes, bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat. Let the chole masala / chickpeas curry simmer for 8-10 minutes, allowing the flavours to blend.

Once cooked, leave the chole masala aside to cool to ambient temperature or to a warm temperature.

For beresta / birista

Fry the sliced onions in cooking oil until light brown on medium high heat. Drain and keep aside to cool.

For biryani rice

Wash the basmati rice / biryani rice well and soak it for about 30 minutes.

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, with the whole spices. Add the soaked rice, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well and cook the rice till about 80% done – “do kanni” as a Hindi reference. Drain and keep aside.

For chole / chana (chickpeas) biryani

Stir in yoghurt to the cooked and cooled chole / chickpeas curry. If your chole masala is still hot, the yoghurt may separate / curdle. That's why either warm chole masala or ambient temperature. Skip this step to make vegan chole biryani or replace with vegan yoghurt.

Add a layer of chole to a heavy bottom vessel (choose one with a lid), add most of the birista (keep some aside for garnish) along with the mint leaves. Place the semi-cooked rice as the final layer.

Drizzle 2 tbsp ghee all over the rice. Sprinkle the remaining birista, ginger juliennes and a few mint leaves on the top.

Seal the vessel using dough or by placing a heavy object on the lid. Cook on high heat for 3-4 minutes to heat all the ingredients and generate steam. Then, lower the heat and cook for a further 12-15 minutes, until the rice is done.

Turn off the heat and leave the chole (chickpeas) biryani to rest for about 10-15 minutes before serving.

Serve chole biryani with poppadums and kachumber salad / cucumber raita, burhani raita or another Indian condiment of choice.

The perfect vegan / vegetarian side to go with this recipe of Chole (chickpeas) Biryani would be these Lobia ki Shami or black-eyed bean kebabs.

Or take your pick from the small plates / appetisers section.

chole biryani recipe, chana biryani recipe, chickpeas biryani recipe, vegetarian vegan dum biryani recipe, indian food recipe blog whiskmixstir, traditional indian recipes, chickpeas curry recipe, sheetal jandial

Do take a look at the other big plates / mains recipes and other traditional Indian food recipes.

Feel free to share WhiskMixStir recipe links / Indian food recipe blog with your family & friends! Remember to give credit where its due :) Pls do not publish my content, recipes and / or photos as your own.

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