Chana Pulao

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Often we look for wholesome, simple dishes that can be done quickly when in a hurry or as a takeaway lunch to work.  Chana pulao is one such dish that is so packed with flavors that it does need not even need a raitha or any other side dish as it stays quite moist too. All one has to remember is to soak the chickpea overnight or keep a bowl of boiled chickpeas in the refrigerator for ready use.

      I prefer to use Basmati rice as it adds to flavor but this time  I used ponni rice to if it can work in case one were to use leftover rice from earlier cooking  and the flavor was no less.

Ingredients  (gives 4 servings)

Basmati rice  1 cup

Cooked chickpeas 1 cup (from a handful of dry legume)

Cinnamon 1″ piece

Cloves 3

Onion 1 (big) quartered and sliced to thin julienne

Tamarind  2 or 3 scales (soaked to soften)

Tomato 1 big pureed with tamarind

Grated ginger 1 tsp

Garlic paste  ½ tsp

Turmeric powder ¼ tsp

Chana masala 1 tsp (heaped)

Red chilli powder ½ tsp

Salt 1 tsp or to taste

Oil  1 tbsp

Cumin seeds 1 tsp

Water  1 cup (2 cups if using ponni or sona masuri rice)

Coriander leaves for garnishing  2 tbsp

 

Method

  • Add the cinnamon and cloves to the overnight- soaked chickpeas and pressure cook for 4 to 5 whistles.
  • While the chickpea is getting cooked wash the rice in water, drain off the excess water and leave it for 10 minutes.
  • Dice the onions, puree the tomato and tamarind and keep them ready.
  • As soon as the chickpeas are done, open the cooker, take out the bowl of cooked chickpea. Place the dry cooker on high flame and heat the oil. Add the cumin seeds to the oil and as it starts spluttering, lower the flame and add garlic paste and saute. When the color starts changing add the onion and saute on low flame for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice, chilli powder, and saute well for another  2 minutes.
  • Add the puree, chana masala, turmeric powder, salt, and stir well. Transfer the cooked chickpeas to the mix. Add water, mix well, and cover the cooker with the lid; add weight and cook on medium flame for two whistles.
  • Switch off the flame and leave the rice to cook in its steam for another 15  minutes. Open the cooker 15 to 20 minutes  and fluff it with a fork before transferring to a bowl.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves before serving.

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Chef’s Note

  • For those who prefer the tanginess of lemon juice to tamarind, skip tamarind and add the lemon juice before fluffing up the rice.
  • Those who love the strong flavor of mint to coriander can substitute coriander by mint leaves.
  • In case you were to be using leftover rice, make sure the rice is grainy.  Add a spoon of oil to rice, micro or warm it a bit and fluff it up. Make the gravy as instructed (skipping rice) as a thick mix. Transfer the rice to a plate, add the gravy and mix gently but well.