Turn your weeknight meal into one that’s satisfying and delicious with this Instant pot Chana Dal Pulao. This one-pot meal is a no-fuss, flavorful dish that comes together in less than 40 minutes and uses pantry staples.
Naturally vegan and gluten-free too! Stovetop method also included.
So, today I am sharing with you an extremely easy-to-make Chana dal pulao recipe that is nothing fancy.
It’s a perfect dump-n-go kind of a light dish that is the perfect solution to your busy nights. Everything from lentils to rice is cooked together in one pot with minimal effort.
This Instant Pot chana dal pulao was a staple meal during my childhood. I loved and still love the –
- Vibrant colors
- Refreshing taste, and
- The earthy flavor of this pulao.
So, try this Instant Pot Chana Dal pulao tonight along with some cucumber raita and sit down to a mouthwatering meal.
What makes up this Chana dal pulao
» Long grain Basmati rice – for pulao and biryanis, I always use long grain rice. This fragrant rice holds its shape well during cooking, and that’s the reason it is commonly used in Indian cuisine.
» Chana Dal – Indian Split Yellow Chickpea Lentils – the star ingredient.
» Whole spices – cloves and bay leaf. These spices lend a nice deep flavor to the pulao. Therefore, don’t omit these spices as, without the whole spices, pulao will lack in taste and flavor.
» Staples – Onion, and garlic – add a delicious flavor
» Spices – cumin seeds, salt, red chili, garam masala powder. Combined, it gives the pulao just the right amount of flavor.
» Liquid – Use water or vegetable broth to cook this chana dal pulao.
» Cilantro leaves – flavor booster. No Indian pulao is complete without a garnish of cilantro leaves.
How to make Chana Dal pulao?
1. Rinse and soak chana dal for 30 minutes in lukewarm water. Set aside. After the resting time is over, drain the dal and rinse again. Set aside.
2. Start the Instant Pot in ‘SAUTE’ mode and heat oil in it. Once the oil is hot, add cloves and bay leaves. As they start to crackle, add cumin seeds.
3. Cook the cumin seeds for few seconds.
4. Add chopped garlic to the insert. Cook for a minute.
5. Add diced onions to the Instant Pot insert.
6. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Chana Dal Pulao
7. Stir in the rinsed chana dal and cook for another 2 minutes.
8. Stir in all the spices – salt, red chili powder, and garam masala powder.
9. Sauté the spices for a minute.
10. Stir in rinsed rice. Cook the rice with the rest of the ingredients for a minute.
11. Pour in water. Chana Dal Pulao
12. Mix to combine.
13. Seal the lid of the Instant Pot with the vent in the sealing position. Cancel the saute mode. Select the ‘PRESSURE COOK OR MANUAL’ mode. Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes.
14. After the instant pot beeps, let the rice rest for 4 minutes in its own steam then release the pressure (QPR – quick pressure release). When the pin drops, carefully open the lid.
15. Fluff the rice with a fork. Chana Dal Pulao
16. Serve hot with your favorite raita.
Cooking tips to make the most fragrant Chana dal Pulao
» Chana dal takes longer to cook, therefore, do soak the dal for 20 minutes in lukewarm water.
» Don’t skip the garlic. It lends a lot of flavor to this Instant Pot Chana dal pulao. You can substitute chopped garlic with minced garlic.
» To increase the spice level, feel free to add a small chopped green chili to this pulao. Chana Dal Pulao
» Once the rice is added to the Instant pot, do cook the rice with the rest of the ingredients for a minute or so. This way, you will end up with non-sticky, separated, fluffy rice.
» For non-sticky pulao, always follow the rice to water ratio. I have used long grain basmati rice. Therefore the ratio for long grain basmati rice is 1:1. If you add extra water, you will end up with mushy rice.
» Do not release the pressure right away, after the Instant pot beeps. Let the rice rest for 4 minutes in its own steam then release the pressure (QPR).
» No vegetable stock on hand, no worries, use tap water instead.
» Like to add a royal touch to your chana dal pulao, sprinkle some toasted cashews on top.
Now for some faq’s
» What rice should you use to make this chana dal pulao?
Always use long-grain rice to make pulao. This kind of rice usually turns out non-sticky if the water ratio is balanced.
» What is the ideal rice to water ratio?
Every recipe is different. So, follow the instructions, as mentioned in the recipe. For the Instant pot, I always keep my tested and tried the ratio of 1:1 with long grain rice. This ratio works like a charm for me.
» How to store chana dal pulao?
Once prepared and cooled, Chana dal pulao will store for 5-7 days in an airtight container. Chana Dal Pulao
» What can I serve with Chana Dal Pulao?
This pulao is typically served with homemade pickles, cucumber raita, and green chutney.
» Can you cook this pulao on a stovetop?
Absolutely! To pressure cook chana dal –
- Wash and clean dal, pressure cook it by adding salt and turmeric powder for 2 whistles.
- Once cooked drain and save its water – use it for cooking pulao. Why let all the protein go waste by draining its water.
- Heat oil in a saucepan.
- Add cloves, bay leaves, and cumin seeds.
- Add the garlic along with onions. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- After sauteing onions, stir in the spices, add water, rice, and then mix in the dal.
- Bring it to a boil. Let it cook for 3-5 minutes.
- When rice rises to the surface and water is somewhat reduced, cover it with a lid. Chana Dal Pulao
- Lower the flame and allow it to get it to cook in its own steam for another 2 minutes. Take it off the heat.
- Sprinkle dried mint leaf powder and cover it again. Let the pulao soak in all the flavor of dried mint leaves. The aroma of dried mint leaves added at the end will add more flavor to this recipe.
This is the kind of food my family loves – quick, simple, and packed with protein richness and unique flavors.
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe. Feel free to contact me with any questions or inquiries, and I would be happy to answer them.
CRAVING FOR MORE, TRY MY OTHER FLAVOR-PACKED MEALS LIKE –
Chana Dal Pulao
SOAK CHANA DAL
- ½ cup Chana dal Split Yellow chickpea lentils
- 2 cups Water
- Rinse and soak chana dal for 30 minutes in lukewarm water. Set aside.
- After the resting time is over, drain the dal and rinse again . set aside.
- Start the Instant Pot in ‘SAUTE’ mode and heat oil in it. Once the oil is hot, add cloves and bay leaves. As they start to crackle, add cumin seeds.
- Cook the cumin seeds for few seconds.
- Add chopped garlic to the insert. Cook for a minute.
- Add diced onions to the Instant Pot insert. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in the rinsed chana dal and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in all the spices – salt, red chili powder, and garam masala powder.
- Sauté the spices for a minute. Stir in rinsed rice. Cook the rice with the rest of the ingredients for a minute.
- Pour in water. Mix to combine.
- Seal the lid of the Instant Pot with the vent in the sealing position. Cancel the saute mode. Select the ‘PRESSURE COOK OR MANUAL’ mode. Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes.
- After the instant pot beeps, let the rice rest for 4 minutes in its own steam then release the pressure (QPR – quick pressure release). When the pin drops, carefully open the lid.
- Fluff the rice with a fork.
- Sprinkle some lemon juice and serve hot with your favorite raita.