Hyderabadi cuisine stands for rich, decadent and aristocratic food. The wealthy and comfort loving aristocracy of the Nizam State ruled peacefully for a long time which contributed to the development of the culinary art. Home cooks and chefs created food that touched new heights of refinement and luxury.

With other meaty delicacies like Haleem, Reshmi kebab, Muthi kebab, Bhuna Keema and Pasanday, Hyderabadi biryani holds a special place in every meat lover’s heart and is popular world over. But there are a number of vegetarian recipes in the repertoire that are as royal and indulgent as their meaty counterparts. Mirchi ka Salan, khati daal, Timatar ka kut and bhagaray Baingan are just a few of the many delectable treats.

Hyderabadi Qabooli or Chana Dal Biryani sounds simple and unassuming but has layers of deliciousness. It is exotic, aromatic and richly flavored with basmati rice, chana dal, yogurt and spices… when they all are cooked together in dum, the result is a royal feast for senses.

Dum is a slow cooking technique inspired by Persian cuisine and now commonly used in many Hyderabadi, Awadhi, Punjabi, Kashmiri and Balochi recipes. Meat, vegetables or rice are cooked over a very low flame, generally in sealed containers.
This method ensures maximum flavour from spices and herbs as their goodness and aroma are slowly infused into and absorbed by other ingredients.

Some recipes also use black chickpeas in place of chana dal in the recipe. The quantity of salt might seem a lot in the recipe but remember that most of the salt gets drained when we drain rice and dal after boiling. Also the salty, spicy and sour is essential to create the traditional biryani flavour. This vegetarian rice dish can easily give a tough competition to its non-vegetarian counterpart. Serve it with Baingan Ki Borani for an unforgettable culinary experience.


For Rice:

4 cups long grain basmati rice
4 teaspoons salt
1 stick cinnamon
4-5 green cardamoms
4 cloves
1 bay leaf

For Dal Masala :

1 cup chana daal/Bengal gram
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup ghee or olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
1 tablespoon garlic paste
1 tablespoon ginger paste
2 teaspoons red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons garam masala powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 green chilli peppers, chopped
A few threads saffron diluted in milk or 1/2 teaspoon yellow food colour
1/2 cup Fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon rose water or Kewra/pandan essence

This Is What You Do:

Boil rice in lots of water in a wide mouthed deep pan with salt, cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves and bay leaf till they are 80% done. Don’t cook them till they are completely done because we have to steam them again with chana dal/gram lentils masala.

Drain the rice and set aside.

Boil Bengal gram/chana dal in the same pan with 1 teaspoon salt till tender but don’t let them get mushy. Drain and set aside.

Heat oil in a deep pan, add onions and fry till golden brown and crisp. Remove half of the onions from oil and set aside for garnishing.

Add ginger, garlic paste to the onions in pan. Add all the spices, red chilli powder and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Sauté for a few seconds.

Mix yogurt and lemon juice, add to the pan. Cook till the masala separates from oil. Stir in gram lentils and mix. Remove from heat.

To assemble Qabooli or Chana Dal Biryani, grease the bottom of a deep pan. Add half of the rice, then spread the dal masala over it. Then layer the remaining rice.

Pour the diluted saffron and milk mix or sprinkle the food colour over.

Add a few drops rose water or Kewra. Sprinkle mint leaves all over.

Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and seal all around with dough or wrap the lid in a clean cotton towel to keep the steam inside. Cook on Dum over very low heat for 15-20 minutes.

Mix the biryani carefully. Serve hot garnished with green chilli peppers and crispy fried onions.

Serves 6

15 Replies to “Hyderabadi Qabooli, Chana Dal Biryani”

  1. This is our all time favorite biryani and I often make it. So delicious and flavorful chana dal biryani.

  2. I have never had Chana daal biryani although I sometimes add in Khichdi. This Hyderabadi biryani sounds so delicious I must make soon for daughter and hubby as they both love biryanis 😍

  3. If I am saoking kabuli chana then at least this combination surely cooks in my kitchen. Though I use less spices as compare to biryani. A great rice dish must say. You have many hydrabadi recipes.

  4. I do make chana dal pulao and that’s my family favorite, but never made chana dal biryani. Next time it won’t be pulao but biryani for sure…bookmarking

  5. Qabooli is in my to do list since a long, dunno why i have tried dishing out this flavoursome rice biriyani yet at home. Bookmarking to make some soon. Love Hyderbadi style of biriyanis very much.

  6. Qabooli Chana Dal biryani looks so flavourful and delicious rice variety. Yes I agree with you Hyderabadi cuisine are famous for their own rich, decadent food varieties, they added dry spices more into their dish which gives nice flavor and aroma to the dish. I love all of the ingredients you have used in this rice! It looks perfect for my weekend lunch or dinner😊

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