One Pot Chana Masala Biryani or Chickpeas Biryani, is a combination of two super popular Indian dishes, Chana Masala & Biryani. Chana Masala is a vegetarian Indian curry which is made by cooking beans or ‘Chickpeas’, in a spicy tomato gravy. I season it with toasted Indian spices like garam masala, coriander and cumin, and is garnish it with fresh chopped cilantro. Biryani is a popular rice dish, in which rice is cooked with Indian spiced meats or vegetables. In this dish, I have brought the two recipes together in one pot!
Unlike most other Biryani recipes I make, I don’t use any yogurt in this one, which makes it perfect for a vegan diet. I start by making a Chana Masala Curry, with fresh tomatoes, aromatics and Indian spices, and then cook the basmati rice in that curry. The result is a perfect blend of flavors, that is unbelievably delicious!
Instant Pot Recipe for Chana Masala Biryani
I prepared this dish in my electric pressure cooker, the Instant Pot DUO. I prefer to pressure cook this recipe. The reason being, that I want the Chana Masala Curry flavors to infuse with the basmati rice, and vice versa. And pressure cooking helps me accomplish that. Even though this recipe is a two-step process, all the magic happens in the same pot. I prepare the Chana Masala Curry using dried chickpeas. I rinse them and soak the chickpeas overnight, drain them and then prepare the curry. Then, I cook the pre-soaked and drained rice in that curry. Cooking with dried beans requires a little bit of planning ahead, since you have to soak them, but it’s still a pretty hand-off recipe, as you can see in the video.
Using Canned Garbanzo Beans
There are times when I forget to soak chickpeas, or just don’t have the time to do that. In which case, I use canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas). That reduces the cooking time by almost 15-17 minutes! By using canned chickpeas, I can make this Chana Masala Biryani in 30 minutes. All I do is, rinse and drain the chickpeas, and add it to the curry masala. You can make this Biryani more hearty by adding vegetables like carrots and potatoes, along with rice. Since the chickpeas are already cooked, I pressure cook everything together, for 6 minutes.
Using Quinoa Instead of Rice
Sometimes, I make Chana Masala Biryani with Quinoa. I rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. And, instead of adding rice, I add Quinoa and cook on Manual or Pressure cook, for 2 minutes with natural pressure release. If I’m making the Chana Masala Curry from dried chickpeas, I increase the cook time to 30 minutes. This ensures that the chickpeas are cooked and tender before adding the quinoa.
Serving Suggestion for Chana Masala Biryani
Biryanis are traditionally served with Cucumber Raita (Cucumber Yogurt Dip). I love this combination as the cool yogurt and the crunchy cucumber contrast and balance the earthy flavors of garam masala really well. For a vegan option, serve it with a fresh Garden Salad, with cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and lettuce, and dress it with a simple lemon vinaigrette. You’ll love the combination.
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One Pot Chana Masala Biryani / Chickpeas Biryani (Vegan)Print Recipe
- Chana Masala:
- I cup dried Chickpeas / Garbanzo Beans (soaked overnight), OR 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon ghee, or olive oil (vegan choice)
- 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste (1/2 inch ginger + 3 cloves garlic)
- 1 medium onion sliced
- 2-4 green Serrano chillies (Use de-seeded Jalapeños for a milder flavor)
- 1 large or 2 small tomatoes, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- 1 tablespoon Garam Masala
- 1 tablespoon Coriander Powder
- 2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Red Chili Powder or Cayenne Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- 1.25 cups water
- 1 cup Basmati Rice (Long grain)(soaked and rinsed)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup Fried Onions (I use store bought)
- 1/2 cup cilantro & mint, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon Saffron soaked in 1 tablespoon warm-hot water (I pop it in the microwave for 20 seconds or so)
Prep: Rinse and soak basmati rice while you make chana masala. Slice onions and de-seed green chillies if you prefer mild heat. Chop tomatoes. Finely chop ginger garlic or pulse few times in a mini food processor.
Let's start by making Chana Masala. Heat oil on Saute mode in Instant Pot. Add cumin seeds. When cumin seeds begin to sizzle, add onions and chillies and sauté for 30 seconds. Add ginger-garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds. Add chopped tomatoes and all spices listed under 'Chana Masala". Stir well and sauté for 30 seconds.
Add rinsed and drained chickpeas and water. Stir well and close the lid. Set valve to Sealing mode. Cook on Bean/Chili mode or Manual for 25 minutes. If using canned chickpeas, adjust cooking time to 6 minutes.
Time to put together Biryani. After manual pressure release (QR), open the lid. Add drained rice. Sprinkle the remaining salt (listed under "Biryani"). Top with chopped cilantro & mint followed by soaked saffron (with liquid) and fried onions. Press down with a spatula gently. Close lid. Set valve to Sealing mode. Cook on Manual (high) for 6 minutes.
Open lid after natural pressure release. Using a fork, fluff the rice. Enjoy Biryani with a Garden Salad with lemon Vinaigrette for a Vegan option, or, a Cucumber Raita (spicy Cucumber-yogurt) dip.
This Biryani can be made in the traditional stove-top pressure cooker like Hawkins or Prestige too. Follow the procedure to cook Chana Masala on medium-high flame. After 2 whistles, reduce heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes. Manually release the pressure by lifting the pressure weight. Open the lid, follow the steps of layering rice and other ingredients. Close the lid and cook on medium-high heat for 2 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.