Chickpea pilau


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook: 300 Classic Recipes from the Great Regions of India

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook

By Mridula Baljekar

Published 2017

  • About

Basmati rice cooks to perfect, separate, fluffy grains and is considered by many to be the finest rice. In this pilau, Kabooli, the rice is subtly spiced with cinnamon, cardamom and cloves and combined with nutty chickpeas, fresh coriander and mint. Serve with a raita or a vegetable curry for a healthy meal.


  • 225 g/8 oz/1 cup basmati rice
  • 50 g/2 oz/¼ cup ghee or unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 2.5 cm/1 in piece cinnamon stick
  • 6 green cardamom pods, bruised
  • 6 cloves
  • 10–12 black peppercorns
  • 5 ml/1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp ground cumin
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp chilli powder
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 400 g/14 oz/large can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 5 ml/1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp finely shredded fresh mint
  • raita, to serve


  1. Wash the rice in several changes of water. Transfer to a large bowl, cover with more cold water and leave to soak for about 20 minutes. Drain.

  2. Melt the ghee or butter in a heavy frying pan over a low-medium heat. Add the onion and fry for 6 minutes, until well browned, stirring frequently. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving as much oil as possible behind in the pan. Set aside.

  3. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and black peppercorbs to the pan, cook for 30 seconds, then stir in the coriander, cumin, chilli powder and turmeric.

  4. Cook for about 1 minute, then add the tomatoes, chickpeas, rice and salt. Stir, then pour in 550ml/18fl oz/2½ cups hot water. Bring to the boil and let it cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes.

  5. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 9–10 minutes. Switch off the heat, let the pan stand undisturbed for 10–15 minutes.

  6. Add the fresh coriander and mint, and fluff up the rice with a fork. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with the fried onion and serve with raita or a vegetable curry.

Per portion Energy 434kcal/1829kJ; Protein 11g; Carbohydrate 66g, of which sugars 5g; Fat 16g, of which saturates 9g; Cholesterol 35mg; Calcium 71mg; Fibre 1.5g; Sodium 509mg.