Hyderabadi Qubooli Biryani (Chana Dal / Lentil Biryani)

When it comes to Biryani, I confess my knees go weak and my heart starts to pound! If it comes on the husband to impress me, he takes me out to a good restaurant and orders a biryani! Yes, that’s how much I love my biryani. And to top it all, Qubooli falls right under the category that I love to cook and eat. Why?? Because it’s delicate, flavorsome, light and can be prepared in a jiffy. It is a dish that does not take long to cook and prepare, compared to other biryani dishes. Hence take my word – once you try this recipe, Qubooli lentil biryani will be the best of your favorites!!

Hyderabad, popularly known as the “City of Nawabs” in India, is famous for its biryanis. Hyderabadi Qubooli was originated by the Nawabi style of cooking, mainly to cater to their vegetarian friends. But one might wonder – out of all lentils, why Chana dal? Chana dal has a unique meaty and nutty flavor to it, hence it forms a great combination to go with various meats in “meat curries”. Qubooli lentil biryani too has a unique meaty flavor rendered by the Chana dal, yet it’s vegetarian. From the day I learnt about this biryani dish, I never had to look back. It is a super-quick solution to satisfy my biryani cravings on a busy day. And guess what, it’s so good that you won’t even miss the meat!


I had been craving to have some home-made biryani after a long day and Qubooli was the perfect choice. It’s truly a scrumptious, rich and magnificent Hyderabadi meal for vegetarians.It is easy, simple, light, extremely delicious, royal and with every bite of it you will get an “Oh-so-good” feeling, making you jump with ecstacy and self pride! If you are an ardent biryani lover like me, you will definitely love this dish. Without any more delay I will jump on to the recipe, which I have been dying to share with you all. 😀


Chana dal – 1 cup

Basmati Rice – 2 cups

Whole black peppercorns – 1 tsp

Whole cloves – 1 tsp

Bay leaves – 4-5

Cinnamon stick – 1

Cardamom pods – 1 tsp

Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

Onions – 2 large

Ginger-garlic-green chilli paste – 2 tsp

Tomato – 1 large

Red chilli powder – 1 tsp

Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

Ground cumin – 1 tsp

Garam masala powder – 1 tsp

Cardamom powder – 1 tsp

Whisked Yogurt – 2 tbsp

Cilantro leaves – finely chopped

Mint leaves -finely chopped

Spring onion greens – finely chopped

Lime juice – 1 tsp

Milk – 1 tbsp

Orange Food color – (optional)

Rose water – 1 tsp

Ghee – required for cooking

Salt – as per taste


For the rice:

Wash and soak the basmati rice in water for at least 30 mins.


Heat some water in a pot. Add some salt, black peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and few cardamom pods. Let the water come to a boil.


Once the water starts boiling, add the soaked rice. When the rice is done, drain and set aside.


For the Chana dal gravy:

Wash and soak the chana dal for at least 1 hour.

Boil the chana dal with some turmeric and a little water. The dal should be just cooked and not mushy at all, rather it should be able to hold its shape.

Heat some ghee in a pan. Thinly slice the onions and fry until golden brown in color. Set aside the fried onions.

In the same pan that you used to fry the onions, add some more ghee. Then add the ginger-garlic-green chilli paste. Fry until the raw smell is gone.


Then add the finely chopped tomatoes. Add red chilli powder and cumin powder. Saute until oil starts separating.

Take few cardamom seeds and run them in a blender to form a fine powder. Alternatively you can use store-bought cardamom powder.

Now add the cooked chana dal. Add salt, garam masala, some crushed cardamom powder, finely chopped cilantro, mint leaves, spring onion greens and 1 tbsp whisked yogurt. Mix everything well. Let this cook for a min, add some lime juice, mix and then turn off the flame.

Now layer the biryani for dum – 

I use a rice cooker for dum process.

Layer half of the rice at the bottom of the rice cooker.

Top it up with some chopped cilantro leaves, half of the fried onions, some food color and 2-3  tsp of ghee.


Then add the cooked lentils.

Mix Greek yogurt and milk together and pour the mixture on top of the lentils.


Layer the remaining rice on top.

Add chopped coriander leaves, food color, ghee, remaining fried onions, rose water and the yogurt-milk mixture.


Now cook this on dum for 5 mins.

After 5 mins, let the the biryani stand for another 5 mins.

Mix gently with a blunt spatula.


Wallah! A magnificent, elegant and a very royal Qubooli lentil biryani will be ready for your family to relish. I garnished it with some freshly grated coconut and a few more chopped cilantro leaves.



Serve Hyderabadi Qubooli biryani with your favorite curry or raita.

We had it with some lamb curry. It was absolutely a meal to remember!







99 thoughts on “Hyderabadi Qubooli Biryani (Chana Dal / Lentil Biryani)

  1. Another Delicious dish, I loved it!! Another delicious aspect of your posts is the way you introduce the dishes and your association with the same!

    This looks awesome and specially your picture strategy to depict the cooking procedure is really unique!!
    I pray that someone startsup a technique to taste these wonderful dishes online!!☺👍

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess everyone hovering around here wants it as well. Right guys?

        After all Mona cooks so well!! Can we have a poll.

        Guyss If you agree, hit like so that, at least we can get a glimpse of Mona’s delicious dishes more often!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. YUMMMMM. I have been on a bean kick recently and just cant seem to get enough of them. Your dish is beautiful and I am sure equally delicious. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Mona, I love briyani, and this sounds fantastic, with all the spices and flavors. Could you clarify for me: is Chana Dal actually lentils, or is it split chick peas? In the Indian store where I buy vegetables and spices, chickpeas are labeled Chana, and on your photos, it seems that those are split chick peas. Or maybe they are yellow lentils?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Dolly. How have you been doing? You are right Chana dal is split chickpeas. But they fall under the category of lentils too! When you are buying from the Indian store, look out for names as split chickpeas or split bengal gram. Or the pack might be even labelled as chana dal if it’s been imported from India 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for clarifying. Where I buy, it’s being imported from Canada, but I am sure they import from India and package in Canada. Great – I am sending my husband there today for some other stuff so I’ll add it to the list.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Never heard about this biriyani though I have in Hyderabad since last 5 years. As a biriyani lover, I tasted different types of biriyani in different places of this city. But, I never tasted any veg biriyani. Great to know about that. Will try to find it once.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello, hope you are doing good. Just wanted to check with you if you have received our email. Was wondering since we didn’t hear back from you. Looking forward to your reply and let me know in case there are any questions.


  6. This dish looks delicious and I even have all the ingredients except the yogurt. (I have white chickpeas/chana but not lentils).

    I’ve only made biryani once … or was it twice? I can’t recall other than that I remember chicken being involved. I’d love to try it again soon especially as I have a big bag of basmati rice in the house that I have yet to open.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Chana dal is even available at my local grocery store. It has an extensive selection from around the world. I’ve been avoiding the Indian grocery store because I’ll be tempted by the sweets/burfis, jalebi, samosas, pakoras and all the frozen and packaged goodies. I love sev or anything made with besan in general. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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