If you have rice, a can of chickpeas, a few whole spices and onions, this fragrant VEGAN Chickpea Pulao/Pilaf can be your next meal in under 30 minutes!
Disclosure: Special thanks to Calphalon for sponsoring this post and for choosing me as a Calphalon Cook brand Ambassador. All opinions, as always, are my own.
Who would have thought that a global pandemic would have the unexpected side effect of getting the whole world cooking up a storm in their kitchens? More breads are being baked everywhere, and more home cooked meals being served since takeout and eating out has become limited. Me, I feel like I live in the kitchen now, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, since I do love to cook.
But with the husband locked in at home with me, we’ve been cooking together a lot more than usual. Unexpected, but thoroughly enjoyable to cook with those you love.
One pot wonder
Since the husband is a bit of a culinary noob, not overwhelming him was key to getting him to cook with me. And nothing is ever so rewarding as one pot wonder meals like this VEGAN Chickpea Pulao. It also helps that it uses staple ingredients like rice and chickpeas, which we ALWAYS have at home, along with whole spices, also a staple in every Indian home.
Topped with crispy fried onions, cashews, raisins and paired with a dairy-free, cool, cucumber raita, it is decadence without effort.
Make cooking easier with Calphalon
The newest addition, however, that’s made a world of a difference to our non-stop cooking has been the Calphalon Premier™ Hard-Anodized Nonstick 11-Piece Cookware Set. [Buy from Bed Bath & Beyond].
It goes from stovetop to oven (upto 450F) seamlessly, sleek handles stay cool while cooking, 3-layer coating withstands metal utensils and is dishwasher safe. Plus, it looks good enough to go from stove to table! All the fun of cooking, with none of the pain of cleanup!
Also, is it weird that I find the lids extremely sexy? Can something like that ever be said about lids? Hmm…
The thing that takes this one pot meal from ordinary to extraordinary is this crispy topping: fried onions, cashews and golden raisins.
The mellowed out flavors of rice and chickpeas are awakened with the contrast of texture and flavor from this topping. The onions have a mild bittersweet flavor, the cashews are crispy and the raisins burst with sweet, plump juiciness when you bite into them.
Along with the fragrance of the whole spices that the whole thing cooks in, you’ll be heady by the time you’re done with this meal, but I promise you – this is deceptive decadence. You will neither feel bloated or greasy after eating this. It is comfort food, in every sense of the word.
Served with a side of cool raita (Soy yogurt, cucumber, onions, tomatoes, cilantro and salt), this is a 30 minute, effortless, healthy meal that’ll give you more time to spend with those you love.
And isn’t that what everyday should feel like?
When you make this VEGAN Chickpea Pulao / Pilaf (which I really think you SHOULD!), be sure to SHARE YOUR PHOTOS with me through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. I’d love to see what you cook from here!
For the topping
- 1/4 c vegetable oil
- 1/2 medium red onion (1 c), finely sliced
- 1/4 c raw cashews
- 2 tbsp golden raisins
- A generous handful of cilantro, chopped
- 8-10 mint leaves, sliced finely
For the Pulao
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 5 whole cloves
- a small stick of whole cinnamon
- 1 star anise
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1/8 tsp black cumin/Kala Jeera seeds
- 1/2 medium red onion (1 c), finely sliced
- 1" ginger, grated/minced finely
- 2 large cloves of garlic, grated/minced finely
- 1 c cauliflower florets
- 1 medium russet potato (1 c), chopped in bite sized 1.5" chunks
- 1 1/2 c cooked chickpeas (One 15 oz can, drained and rinsed)
- 1 1/2 c Basmati Rice
- 3 c water
- 1 tsp salt, to taste
Make the crispy topping
- Heat 1.4 c oil in a 3 qt. saute pan over medium heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add the sliced onions (1 c) and keep stirring every minute until the onions turn light brown. Add the cashews and continue frying. Make sure nothing burns.
- Remove from heat and add the raisins. Let sit for a minute or so until the raisins begin to plump.
- Drain the excess oil and transfer to a bowl or plate. Set aside.
Make the Pulao
- Wash and rinse the Basmati rice until the water isn't cloudy. Drain and set aside.
- Bring the pan with the residual oil back to medium heat. If there's not much oil left, add some more, about 2 tbsp worth. Once the oil is hot, add all the whole spices: cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, bay leaf and black cumin.
- Once the spices start spluttering, add the sliced onions (1 c), grated ginger and garlic. Saute with a pinch of salt and keep stirring until the onions soften and become translucent and the ginger and garlic turn fragrant.
- Add the chopped potatoes, cover and cook until it's partially cooked.
- Add the cauliflower, cooked chickpeas, washed basmati rice, and saute for a minute or two until all the extra water evaporates and the oil gets a chance to coat everything evenly.
- Add 3 c water, turn heat to high, cover and let come to a rolling boil.
- Once the water is boiling, turn down heat to the lowest setting (I usually turn the knob lower than the lowest setting until the flame is just barely there). Set the timer for 15 minutes.
- Once the 15 minutes are up, turn off the heat and let it rest for 2 minutes.
- Fluff up the rice carefully and pour over the crispy topping of fried onions, cashews and raisins. Add the chopped cilantro and mint too.
- Serve hot with a side of chilled cucumber raita.
- This is a recipe I make when I barely have anything in the fridge. So feel free to skip the potatoes and cauliflower, and just use the canned chickpeas for a quick fix meal w/ almost no prep.
- The whole spices really make this a very fragrant meal, but if you don't have them all, just use 1 tsp of cumin instead.
- Red onion can be substituted with yellow onion or whatever you have.
- If decadence is not your goal, skip the cashews and raisins - although, it really improves on flavor and texture when the occasion calls for it.
- To save time, you can get the pulao cooking, and in a separate pan, fry the crispy topping while the rice cooks.