Kala Chana Pulao/Brown Chickpea Pulao

March 30, 2020mayurisjikoni
Blog post



Rice Storage in Olden Days

Long ago, the time of my great grandparents and grandparents, rice was stored in huge earthen pots (that could easily fit a man in it) for the whole year. Back then rice was a seasonal crop and there were no facilities to vacuum pack them or store them in plastic bags. The huge pot would have a hole just about 4-5 inches above the bottom part which would be closed off with a scrunched up cloth. Whenever, rice was required, the cloth was removed only a bit for the rice to pour out. My aunts, at both the paternal and maternal villages would store the rice in a smaller tin or dabba so that they would not have to remove the cloth ever so carefully everyday. When I was in Bangalore, our neighbor showed me a big round basket woven out of bamboo with a small opening on top. That basket is still used by some tribes in India to store rice.

Modern Times

These days hardly anyone one of us store huge quantities of rice. Its so much easier to buy a 1, 2 or 5 kg bag and use it. Rice is available throughout the year so we never think of it as a seasonal crop. But farmers in our village still store seasonal rice. With what the world is facing right now stocking up our pantries or stores has become a must whether we like it or not.  Perhaps, rice was on everyones list as its a versatile ingredient and doesn’t spoil easily. The new term and everyone in the world will not forget the newly coined term ‘PANTRY ESSENTIAL‘. Before, I don’t even think we thought of all the food we bought as essential or non essential. I bet you our forefathers must be laughing at us, they truly were so much wiser than we are.

How To Store Rice

Even if I buy a 2 kg bag, I usually rub the rice gently in castor oil. That keeps the insects away and rice can be stored over a year. For about 2 kg rice, I pour out the rice from the bag into a wide dry and clean basin. Drizzle about 2 tbsp castor oil and gently with your palm, rub the rice around so it gets coated with the oil. Store the rice in an airtight container like a jar or a tin (dabba).

Theme This Week On FoodieMonday/Bloghop

As many countries are experiencing lockdowns, curfews, restricted movement, our theme this week had to be a simple one and Narmadha suggested RICE and asked us to use rice to prepare a rice dish. Keeping pantry essentials in mind I decided to make Kala Chana Pulao/ Brown Chickpea Pulao. And please don’t ask why these delicious beautiful brown chickpeas are called Kala Chana in India. Actually, its only in recent years that Gujaratis have started using Kabuli Chana (White Chickpeas). Most of the Gujarati dishes called for kala chana and we don’t call it that… its just chana for us. Coming back to today’s theme, I have bookmarked Narmadha’s Curry Leaves Rice (Karuveppilai Sadam) ever since I saw it on her blog. However, it will have to wait for a while till I’m able to go to my mamiji’s house to get some fresh curry leaves.


This week you may want to check out the Rice Dishes that the members have come up with limited fresh ingredients in their fridges. I for one was lucky as jut before the social distancing notice came out in Kenya, Esther the vegetable lady had brought some fresh spinach which I used sparingly for the rice… just to get the feeling that I used sometime green.

What varieties of rice dishes can you make?

Here are some suggestions:

  • To start off with Sasmita’s unusual and delicious looking Kathal Dum Biryani (Jackfruit Biryani) is what I’d love to try when I get raw jackfruit.
  • Use White Chickpeas to make Poonam’s Chana Pulao.
  • Sujata makes a delicious corn and peas pulao using fried onion or barista as its called
  • Priya’s  Masala Khichdi is a bit different as she has cooked the dal and rice separately before mixing them.
  • Archana’s Vegetarian Tehri is easy to make and delicious.
  • If you’re a big fan of Vegetable Fried Rice like me then you’ve got to check out Waagmi’s recipe.
  • Make a quick Tomato Biryani in a pressure cooker like Narmadha does.
  • Looking for an Instant Pot Rice Dish? Go on click on Swaty’s Rajma Pulao.
  • Do you have some leftover plain rice? Why not give it a new look and flavour by trying Aruna’s Pepper Rice.
  • Preethi’s Tomato Bath is a good way to use up leftover plain rice.
  • Or you may want to try Kalyani’s one pot Tomato Pulav, by making it from scratch.


Some Of My Family’s Favorite Rice Dishes

Ingredients for Kala Chana Pulao/Brown Chickpea Pulao

Mostly everyone has rice and chickpeas either brown or white in their pantry. Therefore this filling rice dish is very easy to put together.

Cooked Rice – It can be any white or brown rice and you can easily use up leftover rice. I sometimes purposely make more normal plain rice so that I can use it to make rice dishes.

Boiled Kala Chana / Brown Chickpeas – here you use whichever chickpeas you have, white or brown. Can also used tinned or canned ones. If you’re using dried chickpeas then you need to soak them in warm water overnight or for 6-8 hours. I usually boil them in a pressure cooker with some fresh water and a bit of salt for nearly 3-4 whistles.

Onion – either white, red or yellow – slice it or chop it.

Garlic – peeled and minced or finely chopped

Ginger – peeled and grated or minced

Green Chili – finely chopped or paste

Tomato – if you’re lucky and have fresh one, chop it finely or use fresh tomato puree – homemade or canned. I’ve stored home made puree in small containers.

Spinach – finely chopped, totally optional if you don’t have any, add any other leafy greens like fenugreek or kale. If you don’t have any, omit it.

Spices – whole ones like cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, bay leaf. Powder ones – red chili powder, garam masala, asafetida

Lemon Juice

Fresh Coriander and Mint leaves – as I had both I used them. If you don’t have any, omit.

Oil/Ghee – depends on what you like to use. For vegan version can use coconut oil or normal vegetable oil

Dietary Tips:

  • Gluten Free
  • Vegan
  • For Satvik option omit onion and garlic

kala chana and spinach pulao 2

kala chana and spinach pulao 1

kala chana and spinach pulao 3

kala chana and spinach pulao 4

kala chana and spinach pulao 5



3 cups cooked rice

1 cup cooked kala chana/brown chickpeas

1 medium onion, peeled and sliced

1 tsp ginger paste

1 tsp garlic paste

1 tsp green chili paste

¼ cup fresh tomato puree or 1 tomato finely chopped

2 cups chopped fresh spinach

½ tsp mustard seeds (rai)

1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)

a generous pinch of asafetida (hing)

1″ cinnamon stick

2-3 cardamoms

4-6 cloves

6-8 peppercorns

1 bay leaf

½ -1 tsp red chilli powder

½ tsp garam masala

1-1 ½ tsp salt

2-3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

¼ cup chopped mint leaves

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp oil

  1. Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat.
  2. When it becomes hot, add cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, peppercorns and bay leaf.
  3. Let it sizzle for a few seconds, then add mustard and cumin seeds.
  4. When the seeds begin to sizzle and pop, add asafetida.
  5. Add onion immediately and stir fry till it becomes soft and translucent.
  6. Add ginger, garlic and chili paste. Stir fry for a few seconds.
  7. Add tomato and mix well.
  8. Cover the pan and let the mixture cook over low heat for 3-4 minutes.
  9. Add red chili powder, garam masala and salt. Mix well.
  10. Add spinach and mix till it wilts.
  11. Add cooked chickpeas and lemon juice. Mix well.
  12. Add the cooked rice.
  13. Mix gently till the rice is coated with the mixture.
  14. Add chopped coriander and mint. Mix gently.
  15. Serve hot Kala Chana Pulao with some yogurt, raita and your favourite pickle.


  • If you don’t have chickpeas, use any lentils or beans of your choice.
  • Add diced potato after you’ve stir fried the onion, garlic, ginger and chili. Cover the pan and let the potatoes cook. The add the tomato puree.
  • Add any leafy greens of your choice to replace spinach.
  • Adjust spices according to your taste.

Pin for Later:

kala chana pulao

rice dish collage

A little request:

If you do try this recipe then please either

  • add a comment below,
  • send a picture to my email mayuri.ajay.patel62@gmail.com
  •  tag me as #mayuri_jikoni on Instagram
  • or tag me on Twitter as #Mayuri1962


  • FoodTrails

    April 1, 2020 at 1:21 am

    I make Kala Chana Pulao quite often but in pressure cooker. I liked your version where we can used even leftover rice to make this nutritious meal. Also thanks for the castor oil tip to keep rice safe from infestation.. Our forefathers surely knew great ways to preserve the food for all round the year and use it judiciously. Wonderful share!!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      April 1, 2020 at 3:37 pm

      Thank you so much Swaty, when I don’t have leftover rice, I too make it from scratch. We tend to also oil the toor dal with it.

  • Preethi Prasad

    April 1, 2020 at 10:43 am

    Kala Chana Pulao is a delicious one pot meal and perfect to cook in the current situation.Perfect for lunch box too.Mint adds on a nice refreshing taste.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      April 1, 2020 at 3:33 pm

      Thanks Preethi and yes mint does add a wonderful taste and aroma.

  • Sapana

    April 1, 2020 at 10:28 pm

    Whenever I have leftover kala chana curry , I make pulao with it. It is so healthy as it has protein and carbs both. Lovely post.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      April 2, 2020 at 9:22 pm

      Thank you so much Sapana. Good idea to use leftover chana curry.

      1. The Girl Next Door

        April 3, 2020 at 12:50 pm

        The Kala Chana Pulav looks so flavourful! I love this idea of using leftover rice to make it.

        Back in Ahmedabad, we used to store about 50-70 kg of rice and wheat in huge drums, for the entire year. Like you said, they would be meticulously cleaned and oiled with castor oil. Your post brought back all those fond memories. 🙂

      2. mayurisjikoni

        April 3, 2020 at 8:45 pm

        Thanks Priya, in both the maternal and paternal villages, rice, tuvar dal and bajra is still stored as its still grown on the farm. They don’t buy any. If they visit my mother in Law in Mumbai, that’s what they bring for the family.

  • themadscientistskitchen

    April 3, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    I knew oil was put to store rice but did not know it was castor oil. Is it safe , will it wash off? Anyway like you say I buy very little rice. 2 kgs because I feel ashamed of asking for 1.
    I have kala chana. Will make it for us. Its delicious.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      April 3, 2020 at 8:43 pm

      Thanks Archana hope the family enjoys the pulao. As for the castor oil in rice, yes it washed off when you rinse the rice. If you add too much it will take longer to wash off. Anyway, castor oil is not harmful.

  • Vasusvegkitchen

    April 5, 2020 at 5:48 pm

    Kala chana pulao looks amazing, firstly nice write up di, very good information. I prepare Kala chana curry , chaat and pulusu but pulao never tried. Bookmarking this in my to do biryani list🤗.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      April 5, 2020 at 9:39 pm

      Thanks Aruna, am sure you’ll enjoy kala chana pulao.

  • poonampagar

    April 6, 2020 at 6:32 am

    I make pulao using kala chana , chole, rajma in pressure cooker. I loved how we can use even left over rice tomake kala chana pulao in your version. A filling and nutritious meal with some raita.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      April 6, 2020 at 8:46 pm

      Thanks Poonam, I too make the one pot version but always tend to boil the chana separately. Will try out your way next time.

  • Sasmita Sahoo Samanta

    April 7, 2020 at 8:34 pm

    I love the chana pulao means the white chickpea ones.
    These black ones I will surely try to use in pulao next time. Love this type of one pot meal always 🙂 Thank you for including my link …

    1. mayurisjikoni

      April 8, 2020 at 6:08 pm

      Thanks Sasmita.. its a nutritious meal.

  • waagmi

    April 8, 2020 at 7:57 pm

    As poonam posted chickpea pulao, here is kala chana pulao, i just love this pulao, when boiled chana’s taste is simply awesome. my favorite share dee

    1. mayurisjikoni

      April 9, 2020 at 12:14 am

      Thanks Waagmi.

  • Batter Up With Sujata

    April 10, 2020 at 5:19 am

    Loved reading about rice storage. Kala chana pulao looks mouthwatering. Made many types of pulao but never made kala chana pulao. I will soak kala chana today to make this delicious wholesome pulao.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      April 11, 2020 at 8:40 pm

      Thank you so much Sujata, my aunt makes it so often.

  • namscorner18

    April 11, 2020 at 8:10 pm

    Loved reading your entire post and very handy tip for storing rice. Kala chana is more healthy than white chickpeas and so flavorful and delicious pulao. Love the addition of spinach.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      April 11, 2020 at 8:33 pm

      Thank you so much Narmadha.

  • sizzlingtastebuds

    April 12, 2020 at 11:32 am

    you are right, mayuri.. the olden days’ wisdom is what we seem to be discovering slowly now. .the one pot meal with the kala channa looks scrumptious.. perfect for weekday / weekend lunches..

    1. mayurisjikoni

      April 12, 2020 at 5:11 pm

      Thanks Kalyani, and yes hope the new generations learn about life values while going through these trying times.

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