My husband loves meat. While he never makes demands and always compliments my vegetarian creations, most of the time I assume they pass under the radar. Occasionally there will be something’s that make his eyes widen and he starts nodding in approval while he tells me how good what he’s eating is. This dish is one of those creations… Chana Paneer Pulav. Don’t let the name fool you… this is no ordinary pulao/ pilaf/ pulav… it’s a crafty creation that easily steals the show. So I hope you try out the dish and get a similar encouraging answer… because that’s why I cook… to give the ones I love a few moments of pleasure and the satisfaction of meal well eaten.
Chana Paneer Pulav
What You Need:
Basmati Rice – 1 cup
Chana / Garbanzo beans/ Chickpeas – 1 cup (Uncooked or you can use 1 tin of cooked beans)
Cubed Paneer – ½ to ¾ cup
Tomatoes – 3 – blanch and puree
Coconut Milk – 1-¾ cups
Peeled Pearl Onions/ Sambar Onions – ½ cup
Peeled Garlic – 8 cloves
Oil as needed
Coriander Leaves – ½ bunch
Green chilies – 4
Kasutri Methi (dried fenugreek)– 1 tablespoon
Garam Masala Powder – ½ teaspoon
Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
Cardamoms – 2 to 3
Cloves- 2 to 3
Bay Leaf – 1
Ghee – 2 teaspoons
Grind to a paste:
Peeled Small Onions 10
Red Chilies – 8
Cumin Seeds – 1 teaspoon
Garlic – 5 flakes
Grated Fresh Coconut – 2 tablespoons
Fry the ingredients in a teaspoon of oil. Don’t add in the coconut except whilst grinding.
To Garnish: (Optional)
Chopped coriander/ cilantro leaves
Fried or roasted Cashews
Fried Onions (I used the regular supermarket kind)
Whole Green Chilis
Getting Down to Business:
Soak rice for 10 minutes and drain well. Sauté the rice in a teaspoon of ghee for 2 to 3 minutes (to dry out the rice). Keep aside.
If using dried chana, Pressure the soaked chana for 15 to 20 minutes. Keep aside. Otherwise drain the can of chana and rinse once. This removes any additional sodium and gives you better control of salting the dish.
Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan and add in the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and bay leaf. Add garlic and fry till it starts browning. Don’t let it burn!
Then add in the slit green chilies and small onions. Fry for a minute. Follow in with the ground masala paste. Fry on a medium flame, till you start getting a good aroma. Add in the pureed tomatoes, kasoori methi, salt, a pinch of sugar, and garam masala powder. Let it all boil for a few minutes. Then add in the chana and the coconut milk. Again let it come to a boil, add in the rice and stir well to ensure the rice is well incorporated. Add in the cubed paneer.
Reduce the flame and cover the pan with a either a heavy lid or add a heavy weight to the lid to ensure that the lid is airtight. Let the whole thing cook on a low flame for 20 minutes. Do not open the pan in between.
Once its all done, garnish as you wish and serve with some crispy potato wafers or chips and lemon wedges. (I used the cashews and fried onions).
Coconut milk: I used a light version of the coconut milk. If you do not have access to getting light coconut milk, merely dilute a cup or a cup and quarter of coconut milk to get the required 1 ¾ cups.
If you don’t have paneer on hand, that’s fine. I’m sure boiled potatoes would also work well in this recipe.
Regarding the spice, I’ve listed the number of chilies required by the original recipe but you can easily halve the whole thing and not loose out on flavor. I’ve cut back on the chilies many times successfully.
If you wish, you could even fry the paneer ahead of adding it into the pulav.
As this is one of my favorite pulavs, I'm sending it out to The My Legume Love Affair hosted by Simona of Briciole that was originally started by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook!
But that's not all… my pulav is also going to be visiting Nithu of Nithu's Kitchen started by Kiran of Sumadhura!
Adapted from a recipe by Mallika B