Chicken Pulao

Chicken Pulao
Chicken Pulao. Image © Joff Lee/ Getty Images
    45 mins
Ratings (15)

Strapped for time and still want to turn out a delicious, hot, cooked meal? Look no further! Chicken Pulao is so easy to make. Pulao is a rice-based dish which often also includes ingredients like vegetables and/ or meat. Long-grained rice varieties like Basmati are often used to prepare Pulaos. Sometimes the rice and other ingredients are cooked together in spices and broth, while other times the rice is par boiled and the vegetable and/ or meat are cooked in the spices and the rice is then added and stir-fried with them. You can use any cut of chicken for my Chicken Pulao, but I find that boneless, skinless thigh/ breast is the best for this dish. I cut the chicken into small 1.5" chunks so it soaks up the marinade well. Yes, there is a marinating step in the recipe but before you get put off thinking this is all too hard, let me reassure you, it's only 15 minutes... while you are preparing the other ingredients and frying the onions and spices, viola, your chicken is marinated to perfection! Serve Chicken Pulao with a green salad, yogurt or a Raita and pickle and you're in business! Enjoy!

What You'll Need

  • 1 kg/ 2 lbs approx chicken - I use boneless, skinless thigh cut into 1.5" chunks
  • For the marinade: 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • The rest: 3 tbsp of vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil
  • 3/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 6-8 cloves
  • 6-8 black peppercorns
  • 1" stick of cinnamon
  • 4-5 green cardamom pods
  • 2 small/ 1 large bay leaves
  • 2 large onions chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 3 large tomatoes chopped finely
  • 1.5 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened yogurt
  • 2 cups rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
  • 3-4 tbsps finely chopped fresh green coriander

How to Make It

  • Put the chicken and all the marinade ingredients in a large, non-metallic bowl an mix them well so that all the chicken is coated. Cling-wrap or cover the bowl and keep in the refrigerator for the chicken to marinate for 15-20 minutes while you prepare other stuff for the dish.
  • Put a large, deep, heavy-bottomed pan up on medium heat. When it is hot, add the cooking oil. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and all the other whole spices and fry till aromatic.
  • Now add the onions and fry till the just begin to turn golden.
  • Add the garlic and ginger pastes and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and the powdered spices and sauté until the cooking oil appears to start separating from the spice mix. This is a sign that the spices are well browned.
  • Now add the chicken and brown well. Stir often while browning to prevent burning.
  • When the chicken is browned, add the yogurt and stir to mix well. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Now add the rice and stir.
  • Now add the chicken stock and stir well.
  • Bring the water to a boil and then simmer the heat. Cover the dish and allow to cook till the rice and chicken are done and the water has almost fully dried up.
  • Turn off the heat and let the dish rest for 7-10 minutes.
  • Garnish with the finely chopped fresh green coriander and serve Chicken Pulao with a green salad, yogurt or a Raita and pickle