Chana Biryani…how my plan failed!!

MM's Kitchen Bites
Chana Biryani…I can be a very mean person when I want to…like nasty mean…this biryani was made to torture someone who has been showing up demanding food every week for the past month…this time the request was pretty simple though…“Biryani”…since he didn’t specify, this is what he got…this was supposed to discourage any further visits for at least a couple of weeks but unfortunately it turned to be quite good…result, another self-invite for the coming week!!! Lesson learnt – I need to get “the mean me” some practice sessions a.s.a.p.

Chana Biryani


For the rice:

  • Basmati Rice, 1 cup
  • Bayleaf, 2-3
  • Cinnamon, 1 “stick
  • Black Cardamom, 1
  • Green Cardamoms, 2-3
  • Cloves, 2-3
  • Fennel seeds, ½ tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Water

For the marinade:

  • Safed Chane/Chole/ Chickpeas, boiled/canned, 2 cups
  • Plain Yogurt/Dahi, 1 cup
  • Fresh Ginger, grated/ paste, 1 heaped tbsp
  • Red chili powder, 1 tsp (less or more to taste)
  • Kashmiri Red chili powder, 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder, ½ tsp
  • Fresh Green chilies, split into two, 2-3
  • Mint leaves, finely chopped, ½ cup
  • Coriander leaves, finely chopped, ¼ cup
  • Salt, to taste

For the Biryani:

  • Cumin seeds, 1 tsp
  • Onion, finely sliced, 1 cup
  • Coriander leaves, a handful
  • Saffron, a few strands
  • Milk, ¼ cup
  • Fresh Green chilies, a few
  • Ghee/Oil, 2 tbsp + more for brushing the container
  • Kewra water/ Screwpine essence, a few drops (optional)


In a bowl, whisk the yogurt and add in the boiled chickpeas, ginger paste, red chili powder, kashmiri red chili powder, turmeric powder, green chilies, mint leaves, coriander leaves and salt. Mix well and keep aside.

Wash the rice till water runs clear. Soak in cold water for about 20 minutes. Drain and boil the rice with bayleaf, cinnamon, black cardamom, green cardamoms, cloves, fennel seeds and salt till they are about 60-70 % done. Drain the rice in colander. Keep aside till cool.

Soak saffron in warm milk, add in Kewra water (if using) and keep aside.

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the sliced onion till turn golden brown. Add in the cumin seeds. Once they start sizzling, add in the chickpeas with the entire marinade. Stir well and let it cook on low flame for about 5-7 minutes. Switch off the flame.

Time to assemble…

Take a heavy bottomed pan and brush the base and sides with oil.

Place the chickpeas mix at the bottom and then layer on top with the boiled rice. Sprinkle saffron infused milk and coriander leaves on top.

Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook over low indirect heat (pan placed over tawa) for about half an hour or so, until it steams and it’s done.
If making it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 175 C and bake covered with a tight fitting lid for about half an hour.

Let it rest for about 5 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff up and mix the rice well with the chickpeas at the bottom with a fork.

Important: In spite of coating the pan with oil, keep you fingers crossed and hope that some rice do get stuck to the sides and bottom of the pan, IMO the crusty crispy bits are the most delicious part of the biryani. You can either keep it all aside for yourself or if you are generous sort, sprinkle it on top of the serving plate!

Serve hot, garnished with some chopped green chilies, coriander or mint leaves.



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