Chana Biryani

Chana Biryani

I read a similar recipe years ago and found the combination of chickpeas or chana in a biryani dish very different. Usually a vegetarian biryani is made with assorted diced vegetables and I have never seen one with chickpeas served anywhere (or the places I ever ate at). Over the years I have made chicken biryani countless times (even with different recipes) and trying this one out was I guess on a back burner. Lately, I have been using chickpeas a lot – seems like I have found my long lost love for them as I don’t remember making dishes with chickpeas so much. Since these days I always have boiled chickpeas on hand, last weekend I finally decided to make this biryani for a potluck dinner with my family. In addition to chickpeas I also added potatoes as they go very well together. We ate at our neighborhood lake park, and hot biryani with chickpeas on a cool evening just hit the spot!

You need:

3 cups long grain (basmati) rice
4-5 medium onions, sliced
3 large tomatoes, chopped
3.5 cups boiled chickpeas (chana)
3 medium potatoes, diced
2 bay leaves
3 black cardamom
2 green cardamom
3-4 cloves
1/2 tsp cinamon powder
3 tbsp Canola oil
pinch of Asafoetida powder
6 cloves garlic
2 tbsp MDH Meat Masala
2 tbsp MDH Kitchen King
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3-4 tsp salt – or to taste
10 fresh mint leaves
3 tbsp fresh cilantro leaved, chopped
3 tbsp milk

1. Boil 10-12 cups of water in a large pot. Add rice, few mint leaves and some salt. Boil rice until almost done-a rice grain breaks in two when pressed between two fingers. Do not overcook, drain water.

2. Heat oil in a deep pan/karahi. Add Asafoetida powder, bay leaf, cardamoms, cloves, garlic and saute for few seconds.

3. Add onions and fry until golden brown(medium heat). Take out about 1/3rd of onions and keep aside.

4. Add tomatoes, all spices, salt and cook on medium heat until tomatoes are mushy and the tomato-onion mixture start to leave oil.

5. Preheat oven to 350 F

Chana Biryani-cook chana and potatoes

Cook chickpeas and potatoes

6. Add potatoes, remaining mint leaves,1/4 cup water, cover and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add 1 cup water, chickpeas/chana cover and cook on low heat for another 10 minutes. Cook uncovered for couple minutes.

7. Take a large baking dish-9*13″ or larger. Grease its base with oil. Spread a layer of rice. Spread a layer of chickpeas (along with the curry). Sprinkle little fried onions (saved from before)

Chana Biryani-set layers

Chana Biryani prepare layers

8. Alternate layers of rice and chickpeas (number of layers depend on size of the baking dish used). It is up to you whether you want the top layer to be chickpeas or rice. I just had a handful of chickpeas left I spread them on top layer along with some fried onions (saved from before).
Chana Biryani
9. Spread milk all over the top layer.

10. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for about 18 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with some sliced white onions on side and yogurt.

Serves – 8