My Quinoa Biryani with Kala Chana has all the flavor of a traditional biryani because it has the same spices and flavor building blocks-- with important modifications to the two main ingredients, the rice and the meat. The rice is replaced by nutty quinoa, a wonder food and one of the best sources of vegan protein, and the meat is replaced by kala chana, a smaller, darker version of a chickpea or garbanzo bean that you can find at any Indian store. Kala chana has more flavor and texture and it holds more firmly after cooking, compared to a chickpea. All of which makes it a wonderful meat substitute in this dish. And being a legume, it's also packed with protein, of course.
You can substitute chickpeas in this recipe, but the flavor won't be as hearty. Be sure to cook your chickpea to a slightly al dente texture instead of letting it get too mushy. And don't forget to rinse your quinoa thoroughly before you cook it to get rid of the saponin, a bitter coating that covers and protects each grain until it's ready for you to eat.