chickpea biryani done an easier way

The humble chickpea never fails to amaze. On their own, chickpeas are an excellent source of protein. When combined with a grain such as rice, they become a source of a complete protein and can replace proteins acquired from eating meat (only without the fat). But when you make a biryani with them, they bring you to a whole new level.

Chickpea biryani is healthy, packed with flavour and makes for a great meatless
I’ve always been afraid of recipes that combine cooking rice with other ingredients. I would follow the recipe to a T, but still, I’d end up with either mushy rice or under-cooked rice. So I just gave up trying to get this right. I found that cooking the ingredients separately and then combining everything together in the last few minutes of cooking works perfectly. Each time.chickpea-biryanichickpea-rice

And so that is what I do for this chickpea biryani. I cook the chickpeas in a pressure cooker, the rice in a saucepan until they are just done and then combine everything in a tomato-based sauce. For a few more dishes to clean up afterwards, you are guaranteed the perfect biryani. Serve as a light lunch with yogurt, pickles or chutney of your choice or as a side dish.the-best-chickpea-biryani-recipe

Chickpea Biryani

(serves 6-8)

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas (or 2 1/2 cups of canned chickpeas if you must)
  • 1 cup rice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 8-12 curry leaves (fresh preferred, dry will do)
  • 1 small green chili, finely sliced
  • 275 g (about 2 medium) diced onions
  • 10 g (about 2 cloves) minced garlic
  • 175 g (about 1 small) tomato, puréed (or chopped finely if you prefer)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp chili powder (optional, if you like it really hot!)
  • Fresh coriander and mint for garnishimg
  1. Cook chickpeas in 4 1/2 cups water in a pressure cooker for 40 minutes after the first whistle on high-medium heat. When done, remove from heat and let cool completely before removing from pressure cooker (follow instructions for pressure cooker to avoid serious burns). Strain chickpeas and set aside, keeping the remaining water for other uses*. (Alternatively, you can also use canned chickpeas. In that case, you will need 2 1/2 cups of chickpeas.)
  2. Meanwhile wash and rinse rice. Cook with sufficient water until they are just done (do not allow to overcook). Strain and set aside along with the cooked chickpeas.
  3. In a large based pan (think paella pan), on medium-high heat, heat oil heat and then add cumin seeds. Wait for the seeds to start to crackle and allow them to crackle for 30-40 seconds. Add the curry leaves and chili (if using) and let fry for 15 seconds. Add onions, reduce heat to medium and allow onions to soften, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and all salt and spices, stir to blend and cook (covered) for 5 minutes on medium heat.
  5. At this point, there should be no excess water in the pan. If there is, continue to cook without the cover for a few more minutes. Add strained rice and chickpeas, mix everything together. Cover and cook on low-medium heat for 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander and mint. Serve as the main course with yogurt, pickles or chutney of your choice or as a side dish.


* The water left over from cooking chickpeas is called aquafaba or better known as chickpea water. It serves as a good substitute for eggs in many recipes, for example these vegan chocolate chip cookies or these vegan amaretti cookies.

16 thoughts on “chickpea biryani done an easier way

  1. This is fantastic! I’ve had a can of chickpeas sitting in my pantry (and by pantry, I mean shelf #studenthousingproblems) for quite a while now, and I’ve been hesitant to use it because I didn’t have much luck with chickpea recipes in the past. However, this looks spectacular and gave me the inspiration I needed! Love all the ingredients in your recipe as well as your gorgeous photography. Thank you for sharing, and I look forward to future posts!

    1. That’s great! Be sure to scale the recipe down to match the size of your can of chickpeas. The recipe is super easy! BTW, it’s been awhile but I remember those #studenthousingproblems days very well! Hang in there… it gets better!

    1. Yes, you are so right. I keep meaning to buy a slow cooker but haven’t done so yet. If you do turn this into a slow cooker recipe I would love to see it! And maybe then purchase a slow cooker after so many years of being on the fence about it. Cheers!

      1. Hi Annika, So inspired from your chickpea biryani, I made it in my instant pot! It was SO delicious and flavorful. I did not use the slow cooker function, but cook the soaked chickpeas with all the spices first in the IP, then added rice and cooked for more time. Added a 2 large caramelized onions, forgot tomatoes but added 2 big handful of chopped mint and cilantro. SO yummy!! Thank you for another healthy and wholesome recipe!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.