Pakistan – Channa Pulao (Chickpea Pilaf)

by Dahiza Umar


There are a huge variety of rice dishes cooked in Pakistan. All the region of Pakistan has the dish which is cooked by any other ingredients is rice. Rice is the ingredient that is cooked by adding other ingredients of all kinds like lentils, beans, grains, meat, seafood or simple rice is also a very good dish. There are a huge amount of gravies and curries cooked with rice. Simple rice can be cooked also with different cooking methods. Masala rice having many spices like pepper, flakes, green chilies. Simple Zeera rice also known as Cumin rice cooked by simply add salt and cumin. Then pulao of pilaf is cooked by making stock of the main ingredient and cooked with rice. Biryani is world popular dish cooked by making curry or thick gravy sauce of the main ingredient and mixed with rice. Pilaf is very mild in flavors on the other side biryani has a full pack of spices and color.

This dish is the sub-category of dish PILAF. Pulao or pilaf is the dish in which the first stock or broth of the main ingredient either meat, vegetable, or lentils are cooked. Then in this stock rice is cooked so the flavors of the main ingredient are infused together with rice. The pulao can be cooked by adding different ingredients and from that, we can have many varieties.


  • Aloo pulao ( potato rice )
  • Mixed vegetable rice
  • Peas rice
  • Carrot and capsicum rice, etc.


  • Mutton pulao
  • Beef pulao
  • Prawn pulao
  • Chicken pulao
  • Fish pulao


  • Red beans pilaf
  • Chickpea pilaf
  • Black beans pilaf
  • Mung beans pilaf

There are furthermore varieties of pilaf by regional differences :

  • Kabuli Pulao ( AFGHANISTAN)
  • Bulgur pilaf (ARMENIA)
  • Saffron Plov (AZERBAIJAN)
  • Chicken Pulaw (ASIA)
  • Gamopílafo (GREECE)


Punjabi cuisine is very popular in Pakistan because of the taste, varieties, and using fresh spices. This dish is from the Punjab Province of Pakistan. This dish has used many whole spices like whole pepper cones, cloves, nutmeg, etc. The fresh species are prepared and used in this dish to make it more aromatic. This dish has used minimal pepper and hot spices like red chili, chili flakes, etc. This is a very aromatic and tasty dish. Punjab region has a specialty of fresh spices and its aroma. The use of spices like bay leaves, fresh curry leaves, pepper cones makes the dish, even more, better to smell and obviously to taste.


In Pakistan, street food is very popular. All the dishes that can be cooked in homes and in restaurants are served in street food. From the exotic curries and rice dishes to the chat and snacks. The rice dishes like biryani and pulao are also served in street food. This channa pulao is very popular in Punjab, Lahore. There are many hawkers with stalls in those regions to sold channa pulao.

Tawa Pulao is also very popular in Punjab. This dish is very easy to cook and tasty dish. A large flat utensil is used to make this dish, known as TAWA.


There are different types of sauces and salads served with rice dishes.


  • Mint Yogurt
  • Green chutney
  • Zeera yogurt
  • Mint sauce
  • Green chili sauce
  • Tomato Raita


  • Kachumbar salad
  • Onion rings
  • Cucumber
  • Vegetable Pickle
  • Mixed vegetable salad


There are many kinds of pilaf we can cook by adding any main ingredients with the rice. Pilaf can be vegetarian and meaty rice. Some legumes are also added in the rice as the beans rice or beans pilaf. There are some common type of vegetarian and meat pilaf cooked in Pakistan.


When we are talking about meat, it can be added to rice and make it pilaf. Pilaf means first stock isprepared by main ingredient either meat or any vegetable. For meat, stock is prepared to tender the meat because rice takes arounf 15 minutes to cook. So we have to cook or tender the meat before adding into the rice. There are any halal meat which is added into the rice and pilaf can be cooked.

The available meat options in Pakistan to cook pilaf are :

  • Mutton Pilaf
  • Beef pilaf
  • Chicken pilaf
  • Fish pilaf
  • Prawns pilaf


Vegetables can be cooked with rice. We can have only one vegetable put in with rice or some combination of vegetables are cooked with rice. There is very common and famous pilaf of POTATO cooked and loved by Pakistanis. Mixed vegetable pilaf is also very delicious. We have some options of vegetable cooked with rice in the form of Pilaf.

  • Mixed vegetable pilaf
  • Potato Pilaf
  • Carrots pilaf
  • Potato and chicken pilaf


Legumes and beans are added in the rice for making the nice rice with grains. There are many forms of legumes, beans and grains that are cooked in rice in the form of pilaf.

  • Chana pilaf
  • Beans pilaf
  • Kidney grain pilaf
  • Peas pilaf
  • Mung beans pilaf
  • Black grams pilaf


Pilaf was first time invented by the chef in Persia. But now there are many regions around the world where this dish is cooked.


  • Preparation time : 10 minutes
  • Cooking time : 30 minutes
  • Total time : 40 minutes


  • Calories : 280
  • Protein : 30 grams
  • Carbohydrates : 15 grams
  • Fats : 12 grams


  • Rice : 1 kilogram
  • Channa ( white gram ) : 250 grams
  • Onions : 2 large
  • Tomatoes : 2 large
  • Garlic paste : 4 tbsp
  • Ginger paste : 4 tbsp
  • Green chilies paste : 4 tbsp
  • Oil : 1/2 cup
  • Salt : 1 tbsp
  • Red chili powder : 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds : 1 tbsp
  • Coriander powder : 2 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder : 1 tsp
  • Yellow food color : 1 tsp
  • Mint leaves :4 tbsp
  • Coriander leaves : 4 tbsp
  • Chicken stock : 4 cups
  • Yogurt : 1 cup


  • To make the stock of channa we have to put soaked grams in the cooking pan with chicken stock.
  • If you want to make it cook faster, use pressure cooked to cook stock.
  • Add salt and 2 tbsp of garlic paster, 2 tbsp of ginger paste in the grams.
  • In pressure cooker, it will take 10 minutes to cook otherwise we have to wait for 30 minutes.
  • On the other cooking pot, add oil with onion slices and start cooking it.
  • Wait until the inions are brown, and then add garlic ginger paster with tomatoes.
  • Add some water to prevent burning of hte onions.
  • Now with with some water, add all the spices like salt, pepper, cumin, corainder.
  • Drain the cooked grams from the stock and add into the onions mixture.
  • Don’t waste the stock, it will use latter.
  • Now mix the grams with onion mixture so the gravy will formed.
  • Now add stock and soaked rice into the onion and gram mixture.
  • Let the stock dried then cover the lid and cook it for 15 minutes.
  • We have to cook rice in stock that will infuse the flavor of stock with rice.
  • After 15 minutes rice is ready to serve.
  • Serve this rice with mint sauce and some salad.
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