Pakistani Mint, Cilantro, Chickpea pulao

Serves: 8

This is a modification of the [[Pakistani chickpea pulao.]]


  • 4 cups cooked (or drained canned) chickpeas
  • 2 cups basmati rice, washed and soaked in 6 cups water for 1 to 3 hours
  • 6 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
  • One 2-inch piece cinnamon or cassia stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 brown cardamom pods, or substitute 2 green cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic or garlic mashed to a paste
  • 3 tablespoons minced ginger or ginger mashed to a paste
  • 6 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoons regular ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cup diced or crushed canned or fresh tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups water
  • Fresh Cilantro leaves- 1 bunch
  • Fresh Mint leaves - 1/2 bunch


  • About 3 tablespoons melted ghee or butter, or to taste (optional)
  • ¾ cup coarsely chopped almonds (optional)
  • Generous ½ cup coriander leaves, coarsely chopped


  1. If the chickpeas aren’t seasoned, stir in 1½ teaspoons salt before you begin.
  2. If you will be baking the pulao, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F.
  3. Drain the rice and set aside.
  4. Wash 1 bunch of Cilantro and 1/2 bunch of mint leaves. Grind / blend into a paste and keep aside.
  5. In a wide heavy ovenproof pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat the ghee or oil over medium-high heat.
  6. Add the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and bay leaves and stir.
  7. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for several minutes, until aromatic.
  8. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft, 10 to 15 minutes; lower the heat to medium if they start to brown before they are well softened.
  9. Add the ground coriander, cumin, cayenne, and black pepper and stir-fry for a moment.
  10. Add the chickpeas to the flavored onions and oil and stir-fry for several minutes, then proceed as above.
  11. Add the mint-cilantro paste and stir for another 5 ins or so.
  12. Add the tomato, turmeric, and salt and stir, then add the water and bring to a boil.
  13. Sprinkle the rice into the boiling liquid and bring back to a vigorous boil.
  14. Cover tightly (wrap the pot lid with foil if necessary to make a better seal) and place in the oven for 45 minutes. Or, cover the pot tightly, lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 40 minutes, reducing the heat to low after the first 5 minutes.
  15. Remove from the oven or the heat and let stand for 15 minutes


Serve as a vegetarian main dish with a sweet chutney, Zinet’s Young Ginger Pickle (page 346), a raita (see “The Raita Family,” page 67), and stir-fried greens, such as Pea Shoots for a Crowd (page 161).


We often make a half recipe of this chickpea pulao. It’s a good weeknight-supper dish, for once it’s simmering, the cook is free to make a salad or other side dishes. To halve the recipe, just halve the ingredients. Cooking times will remain the same.


Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent


[[Indian recipes]] [[Rice]]

Pakistani Mint, Cilantro, Chickpea pulao