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 Indian Rice Recipes
- Achari Paneer Biryani
- Vegetable Biryani
- Egg Biryani
- Quinoa Vegetable Biryani
- Lamb Dum Biryani
- Chicken Dum Biryani
Chana Masala Biryani (Indian Chickpeas Rice)
- 2 tablespoons ghee divided, or olive oil (vegan choice)
- 1 teaspoon cumin Seeds
- 1 large onion thinly sliced (about 1½ cups sliced)
- 2 serrano chillies or Jalapeños de-seed or skip for mild flavor
- 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste ½ inch ginger + 3 cloves garlic
- 1 large roma tomato chopped
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch baking soda (optional) helps tenderize chickpeas
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 2 teaspoons coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder or 1 teaspoon paprika + ¼ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- ¾ cup dried chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) soaked overnight, or 1 (15oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1½ cups water
- Rinse and soak dried chickpeas in enough water for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
- Rinse and soak basmati rice for 15-20 minutes, while you start the curry.
Make Chana Masala
- Turn on Saute mode in your Instant Pot, adjust it to high or 'more'. Add oil and wait for it to heat up, about 30 seconds. Add cumin seeds and let them sizzle.
- Add sliced onions and serrano chilies along with ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring regularly in between, until the onions begin to caramelize.
- Add ginger and garlic paste, and sauté another minute.
- Add chopped tomatoes and all spices, including salt, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cumin and Kashmiri red chili powder. Stir well and sauté for 30 seconds.
- Add rinsed and drained chickpeas, baking soda (if using) and water. Stir well and close the lid. Set the vent to sealing position. Select Pressure cook or Bean/Chili mode and set 30 minutes. Once the time is up, manually release the remaining pressure. (If using canned chickpeas, refer to the notes for cooking instructions.)
Assemble Biryani and pressure cook
- Stir the curry to ensure nothing is stuck at the bottom. Now layer the drained rice evenly over the curry. Add ¼ cup water and ½ teaspoon salt. Gently push the rice under the liquid, adding more water if needed.
- Spread the chopped cilantro & mint all over the rice, followed by soaked saffron (with liquid). Close the lid, setting the valve to sealing position. Select Pressure Cook or Manual for 6 minutes at high pressure.
- Once the time is up, wait 5 minutes and then manually release the pressure. Open the lid after the pin drops. Using a fork, gently fluff the chickpeas rice.
- Enjoy chana masala biryani with cucumber raita (cucumber & yogurt dip), or a garden salad for a vegan option.
- Soak rice: Soaking helps get rid of excess starch in the rice. This helps the rice turn fluffy after cooking.
- Add veggies: You can make this Biryani more hearty by adding vegetables like carrots and potatoes.
- Use cooked chickpeas to save time: You can make this biryani in 30 minutes by using cooked chickpeas or canned chickpeas instead of dried beans.
- Make it with brown rice: If making this biryani with brown basmati rice instead, assemble the chana masala as per instructions, but reduce the pressure cooking time to 15 minutes. After layering the brown rice, pressure cook for another 22 minutes.