This Instant Pot Pakistani Chana Pulao is easy, flavorful, and it takes less than 20 minutes of total prep time! Perfect for a weeknight dinner yet elegant enough for guests. Naturally gluten-free and vegetarian!
What? Making this Instant Pot Chana Pulao (Chickpea Pilaf) in your Instant Pot, Rice Cooker, or Stovetop (unless you’re like me and forgot how to make rice on the stovetop).
Where? In your kitchen. Or anywhere there’s an outlet plug. #InstantPot
When? Hmm..you probably have onions, some whole spices, rice, and a can of chickpeas lying around in your pantry right now…so possibly tonight?
Why? Because it is incredibly easy, so tasty, and the texture of the rice is PERFECT!
How? You’re about to find out!
Instant Pot Chana Pulao
Chana Pulao seems to be influenced by the Mughals. The use of whole spices and ghee-laced golden onions to flavor the entire dish is a giveaway. The taste is so subtle, yet earthy and rich. Tantalizing aromas and hearty comfort. This is homestyle Punjabi cooking at its best.
For years, I used to prepare the onion base on the stovetop and then transfer it to my rice cooker (for which I’ve included the instructions). After many a trial, I was able to get the Instant Pot to yield rice cooker status results. And that’s saying a lot because I love my Zojirushi.
Of course, this recipe is super adaptable. Omit ghee for a vegan version. Use whatever whole spices you have on hand. Add tomatoes for tartness or throw in a green chili pepper for some heat, but the best part about this dish is its simplicity. It’s easy enough to whip up (takes 20 minutes!) on a weeknight yet elegant enough for guests. Serve it with potato cutlets or kababs, crunchy vegetables, and raita for a lovely meal.
For more Pakistani & South Asian Instant Pot Recipes, check out my 10+ Easy Pakistani Instant Pot Recipes Roundup!
Instant Pot Pakistani Chana Pulao (Chickpea Pilaf) – 20-minute prep!
- 1 ½ cups aged long grain basmati rice
- 2 tbsp neutral oil such as grapeseed or avocado
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 1 medium onion thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 1/3 inch piece ginger crushed
- 2 small bay leaves or 1 large
- ½ tsp whole black peppercorns
- 1- inch piece cinnamon stick
- 1 small black cardamom optional
- 5 whole cloves
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 15 oz can of chickpeas rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 tsp heaped salt or to taste
- 2 cups water
- Thoroughly wash the rice and soak it in water. Set aside.
- Turn Instant Pot to high Sauté Mode. Once hot, add the oil, ghee, and thinly sliced onion. Sauté, stirring often, until the onions are golden, about 8-10 minutes. The color of the onions will determine the color of the rice so you want to get them even and golden.
- Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another minute or until the raw smell disappears. Deglaze the pan with 2 tbsp of water and continue to sauté.
- Add the whole spices and drained chickpeas and stir to combine.
- Drain the soaked rice and add it to the Instant Pot along with 2 cups of water and salt. Mix gently and press down the rice and chickpeas so that they are submerged in the water. Taste the water – it should be saltier than you would normally prefer. If it's not, add a bit more salt. Scrape the sides to remain all the rice is within the pot.
- Cancel sauté. Cover and pressure-cook on high for 6 minutes. Let naturally release for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.