Kala Chana Pilau.

I am a big fan of pilau as there are so many ways you can mix it up and always end up with a tasty and filling dish. It provides one with so many ways to spice up one pot rice, works well for weekday dinner and leftovers are perfect for the kids’ school lunch boxes.

In this specific pilau I used some brown chickpeas also known as ‘kala Chana’ , some cashew nuts and a little chicken too and the result was an aromatic and palate pleasing dish.

Let’s get started.

Our ingredients are a cup of basmati rice, two sliced onions, half a cup of already boiled brown chickpeas, a tbsp of ginger garlic paste, 1 tbsp of ground pilau masala, salt to taste, 1 tbsp butter, and some whole pilau masala spices (1 bay leaf, a small stick of cinnamon, a few black peppercorns, cloves and cardamoms and a tsp of cumin seeds). I also added in about 300 g of chicken breast and a few raw cashew nuts.
Heat your sauce pan and add the butter and a small drop of oil so the butter doesn’t burn. Add the whole spices and let them release their aroma for a few seconds.
Add the sliced onions and let them cook till caramelized.

Add the ginger garlic paste and mix well. Then add the pilau masala and mix well. Then add a few raw cashews. Mix and ensure the spices do not burn.

Add your chicken if using. let cook till browned and coated well with the spicy mixture.
Add in the kala chana. Mix and let it also get coated and absorb the masala mix. Do not forget your salt and pepper. The aroma at this time is amazing!
Add your rice, then 2 cups of water. Cover and let simmer till the water is absorbed and the rice is ready.
The rice is now ready to serve. You can have it with some raita on the side, a curry accompaniment or a simple green salad.

It is a very tasty and filling meal. The chickpeas provide nutrients, colour and an earthy flavour that is complemented well by the pilau spices, the tender chicken and the sweetness of the cashew nuts and caramelized onions.

We had it with a simple vegetable salad and some jeera potatoes. Filling, tasty, easy to make and colourful; all my favorites for a meal I love.

Give it a try and let me know what you think of this dish.

Colourful Beetroot and Pea Pilau.

If you have been following me for a while, you know I love colourful food. This dish is one of my go to dishes when I want something colourful, tasty and healthy. It also features a lot in the kids’ lunch boxes.

Beetroot is an underrated superfood. It is low in sodium and fats, contains vitamin K and Calcium, is full of folates, is anti inflammatory and boosts energy levels which makes it great to add in a post workout smoothie. It helps lower blood pressure, is rich in fibre so great for digestion, and may aid in cancer prevention. Another great thing about beetroot is both the leaves and the root are edible. And, it can be consumed both raw or cooked. In a salad, in soup, a smoothie, in cakes and brownies, as a breakfast hash, as juice, there is so much to do with this amazing vegetable.

I have already posted other recipes I make with this lovely vegetable here in chapati, here as part of breakfast, here in another vegetable pilau recipe, and here in a smoothie bowl. Have a look.

I kept the pilau dish basic with only beetroot and green peas. Peas are another great source of fibre, rich in manganese and essential vitamins and minerals. This is one healthy meal so let’s get started.

As usual, soak your basmati rice for about 20 minutes. In a pan, heat oil and add a teaspoon of cumin seeds and a few curry leaves. Let them cook a while before adding sliced onions.
When the onion has browned, add 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste, mix well then add 1 tbsp of your ground pilau masala spice. Let the spice cook for a while then add crushed tomatoes.

NB: I used one cup of rice, half a cup of peas and one medium red beetroot. For the pilau spice I have already shared it on my vegetable pilau post here.

Once the tomatoes are fully cooked and the masala releases a nice aroma, add the peeled and grated beetroot and peas. Mix well and let cook a while.
Once they have cooked a bit, add the rice, mix well then add 2 cups of water. Cover and let simmer till the water is all dried and the rice is ready.
The aroma is amazing and look how colourful the dish is!
I had some leftover fried onions (birista) which I added on top for crunch and added flavour.
Final plate: Served the pilau with leftover chapati and toor dal curry. Delicious, colourful, healthy and filling, just how I like my food!

You can also garnish it with coriander leaves and serve with raita or kachumbari salad. Still tasty either way. Try it and enjoy.