This one-pot Chana Masala Biryani or Chickpeas Rice is a combination of two delicious Indian delicacies, chickpeas curry called Chana Masala, and an aromatic rice pilaf called Biryani. Enjoy this vegan and gluten-free meal with this easy Instant Pot recipe.
Two Delicious Recipes Rolled Into ONE
This dish is a combination of two amazing Indian dishes- Chana Masala and Biryani!
Chana Masala is a vegetarian Indian curry, in which I cook chickpeas, or garbanzo beans in a tomato-onion gravy. I season it with toasted Indian spices like garam masala, coriander and cumin, and is garnish it with fresh chopped cilantro.
On the other hand, Biryani is a popular rice dish, much like a flavored rice-pilaf, in which I cook rice with Indian spiced meats or vegetables.
In this dish, I have brought the two recipes together, all in one pot. It's a pleasant change from the routine menu, plus the flavor combination is amazing! Try it sometime!
Vegan and Gluten-Free Recipe
Unlike most other Biryani recipes I make, I don't use any yogurt in this one, which makes it perfect for a vegan diet. It's also naturally gluten-free.
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 prepare this dish in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot. Even though this recipe is a two-step process, all the magic happens in the same pot.
Another big plus of pressure cooking this dish is that the flavors in Chana Masala Curry infuse with the basmati rice, and the end taste it pretty delicious.
Step by Step Instructions for Chana Masala Biryani in Instant Pot
Step 1: 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.
Step 2: Make Chana Masala curry
- 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. 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.
Step 3: Cook the Biryani
- Release the pressure manually. You can do that by turning the pressure valve to 'Venting' position in DUO models, or by pressing down the valve in Ultra models.
- After the pin drops, open the lid. Spread the drained rice evenly over the curry. Gently push down with a spatula to submerge the rice in the curry.
- 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.
- Let the pressure release naturally for at least 5 minutes. After that release remaining pressure manually and open the lid after the pin drops.
- Using a fork, fluff the rice. Let is sit in the pot, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes, This allows for the extra moisture to evaporate.
- Enjoy this Chana Masala Biryani with a Garden Salad with lemon Vinaigrette for a Vegan option, or a Cucumber Raita (Indian Cucumber-yogurt) dip.
Using Canned Garbanzo Beans in this Recipe
There are times when I forget to soak chickpeas, or just don't have the time to do that. In that case, I use canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas).
Using canned beans reduces the cooking time by almost 15-17 minutes and 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 only.
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 with dried chickpeas, I increase the cook time of the chickpeas curry to 30 minutes. This way I ensure that the chickpeas are cooked and tender before I add the quinoa.
Make a Meal: What to Serve with Chana Masala Biryani
I love to serve all Biryanis 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 the Indian spices 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.
More Instant Pot Biryani Recipes
Instant Pot Chana Masala Biryani | Chickpeas Biryani (Vegan)
- 1 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 green Serrano chillies Use de-seeded Jalapeños for a milder flavor
- 1 large tomato 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
- 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.