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Office Lunch Box – Chana Dal Pulao

DinnerLunchMain CourseOffice Lunch BoxIndianRice RecipesVegan

What to make for an office lunch box is a big headache every day. And because of the lockdown, we have become out of touch too. But do not worry. I will share some healthy, nutritious, quick, and easy lunch box recipes to ease your life. Check out all my lunch box recipes here.

You must try this vegetarian rice recipe. It is easy, quick, healthy, and very tasty. Perfect for your office lunch box and also for dinner too. There is minimal chopping involved which is just perfect for busy mornings. Isn’t it? Also, it has rice and lentils both together in one recipe which makes it balanced and nutritious.

STORY TIME

This recipe brings back a lot of memories. My office colleague or a dear friend of mine used to bring this to the office every week. I had it for the first time from her lunch itself and I loved it a lot. She used to bring this with aam ka achaar (mango pickle) and the combination still makes my mouth flood with water 🙂 I wonder, how can something so simple can be so delicious. Whenever she used to bring this, I felt like exchanging my lunch box with her. Literally.

At that time, I was living in a hostel and there was no facility to cook my own food. That’s why I could never try when I was there. After that, I left the office and the city and started a new chapter of my life – Post Graduation. This recipe just vanished from my mind (or maybe saved in some corner of my brain). Now, when I started sharing lunch box recipes, I recalled this delicious meal. I had to try it and share it with all of you. In my first attempt, Jatin just loved this pulao. I didn’t expect that. But I was very happy. Since then we make it quite often.

You must try this recipe over lunch or over dinner. You are going to love it.

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PREP AHEAD!

It is always a rush when you have to leave for the office in the morning. And then we tend to ignore the most important thing – our meals. Now we also have the option to buy food from the cafeteria or any restaurant. But, nothing can match the satisfaction and fulfillment of a home-cooked meal. With home-cooked food, you also know what is going inside your body. And don’t worry, with a little bit of preparation, making lunch box for office can be made easy.

Here are a few things which I follow:

1 – Meal Planning

This is such a Time Saver. I am doing it for years now and my life becomes so much easier when I know what to cook every day. I don’t prepare anything for the entire week but I make sure to plan my meals for the entire week. Obviously, it changes depending on our mood and appetite. But when I have the weekly meal plan list ready, I know what to buy from the grocery stores and I know what to cook the next day.

I don’t make an elaborate plan. Just mention the weekly meals in my Google Keep. Try this. Trust me, it will ease your life.

Lunch Box Recipes
Office Lunch Box – Aloo Tamatar Sabzi with Spring Onion Paratha

2 – Preps a day before

When your meal planning is done and you have the groceries for the week, you can simply check a night before about what you need to cook tomorrow. If there is any preparation that may take some time, do it before going to the bed. You will feel such a relief the next day.

Cut Veggies: If there is an elaborate chopping of veggies needed for any recipe, I try to do that the night before. But in this recipe, you don’t need to do any chopping. Just need to roughly chop tomatoes and onion. It can be easily done in the morning. I am telling you, this recipe is a savior in busy mornings.

Soak Lentils: For dals (lentils), I always prefer soaking them at least for 30 minutes. It ensures faster cooking and better absorption of nutrients. I mostly wake up early so I soak them in the morning. But, if you don’t have time, soak them before going to the bed. This recipe needs chana dal which takes a lot of time to cook. That’s why make sure to soak the lentils the night before.

office lunch box
Office Lunch Box Recipe – Aloo Beans with Mix Moong Dal

IS THIS RECIPE VEGAN?

Yes. Of course.

This chana dal pulao recipe is vegan and totally plant-based. Generally, some ghee is added in pulao at the end for some extra flavor but I don’t add it. Sometimes, I add plant-based butter once the pulao is cooked. It adds a nice touch to the recipe.

This pulao tastes good with some boondi raita on the side and if you are a vegan, you can use plant-based curd. I prefer soy curd.

If you want more vegan recipe suggestions, try our Thai green curryvegan banana walnut muffinsNon-Fried Spring Rolls.

MORE OFFICE LUNCH BOX RECIPES

  1. Tari Wale Aloo Tamatar with Spring Onion Paratha
  2. Aloo Beans with Mix Moong Dal

Now you are all ready to make this delicious meal for your Indian office lunch box recipe. It is quick, easy, and very tasty. So, grab all the ingredients because you are ready to make a happy meal for yourself.

If you like the recipe, please share the photo on Instagram and tag us too @marriedfriends. We love to see your recreation of our recipes.

Happy Cooking 🙂

Love from us

Richa & Jatin

Recipe

Office Lunch Box – Chana Dal Pulao

Quick. Easy. Healthy.

Servings

2

Prep Time

10 min

Cook Time

30 min

Rest Time

0 min

Ingredients

Pulao

  • 3/4 cup Chana Dal soaked & washed
  • 1 cup Rice soaked & washed
  • 1 to 2 tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 (large) Onion chopped
  • 2 (medium) Tomato chopped
  • 2 Green Chilli chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Garam Masala
  • 3 cup Water
  • Fresh Coriander Leaves chopped, to garnish

Other

  • Mango Pickle as needed
  • Boondi Raita as needed

Steps

  1. Soak chana dal overnight or for at least 6 to 8 hours. It ensures faster cooking. Wash 2 - 3 times with water and keep it aside.
  2. In a pan or kadhai, heat some cooking oil. 
  3. Once the oil is heated, add cumin seeds and let them sizzle till it turns brown in color. It takes around 25-30 seconds.
  4. Add chopped onion and saute till soft and cooked. Do not brown. Just cook until translucent. It takes around 1 - 2 minutes.
  5. Add chopped tomatoes and green chilies. Mix well and add the seasonings - salt, red chili powder, and turmeric powder. 
  6. Mix well and let it cook till tomatoes are soft and mushy. It takes a couple of minutes. 
  7. Once tomatoes are cooked, add chana dal and 1/2 cup water. Mix, cover, and cook till the water is absorbed or evaporated. It takes 7 to 10 minutes.
    Chana dal takes more time to cook than rice. Hence, we need to partially cook it first.
  8. Once the water is absorbed, add rice, remaining water (2.5 cups), and garam masala. Mix and let it come to a boil on a high flame.
  9. Once it starts to boil, lower the flame. Cover, and let it cook till the water is absorbed and rice is well cooked. It takes around 10 to 15 minutes.
  10. Once the rice is well cooked, switch off the flame and let it rest for a couple of minutes for the rice to settle. 
  11. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and fluff the pulao using a fork.
  12. Pack it for the lunch along with some boondi raita and mango pickle. Enjoy your homemade happy meal :)
frequently asked questions

FAQs

What is chana dal in english?
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Chana Dal is Bengal Gram in English. It is related to the chickpea family. Some even call it chickpea but it is not a chickpea. Both are different. Chana dal is yellow in color with one side rounded and another side flat. It takes a little extra time to cook hence try and soak it for 6 to 8 hours, if not overnight.


Which material is best for lunch box?
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These days Tupperware or air-tight plastic lunch boxes are quite popular. But they are not good for health. Stainless steel or glass lunch boxes are good and leakproof. These days you can even get good quality and beautiful bamboo lunch boxes.


What is the difference between pulao and biryani?
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There are a lot of differences between a pulao and a biryani. While pulao is a simple rice recipe with some chopped veggies and some spices, biryani needs a lot of time, patience, and preparation. In Pulao, veggies are simply chopped and added while in biryani, veggies are marinated with a lot of different spices and curd. Biryani needs a lot of different spices – ground and whole – which gives it a spicy and unique flavor. Everything is slow-cooked for hours to develop that unique aroma and flavor. In biryani, rice is partially cooked first with some spices and drained. Then it is layered with the cooked veggies and topped with some milk, rose water, fried onion, and coriander. While in Pulao, after tempering and sauteing veggies, rice is added and everything is cooked with some water.


What is Pulao?
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Pulao is a one-pot recipe generally made with rice, spices, and vegetables. But you can substitute rice with some dalia, quinoa, or millets. You can try with different vegetables and spices and with each variation you get a new recipe. It is comfort food. It is quick and easy to make. It is perfect for lunch or dinner.


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