Chicken Pilaf

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This is a very delicious and fragrant pilaf/pulao with the flavors of a biryani. Very subtly different from the Biryani is a Pilaf. My understanding of the difference between a Biryani and a Pulao is in its preparation. Biryani is prepared by arranging meat and rice in layers and cooking them together on low flame, or you can also say cooking on “dum”. The pilaf/pulao is a simpler version of this royal dish. Here no pre-cooking the rice and meat, no careful layering, and no “dum” is required. It is a very satisfying one-pot meal and the best part is that it is flavored to the max.

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There was a time when I feared making pilaf but now it’s as easy as breathing ;). This one is the best I’ve tried. I love it when i get recipes that are a hit with my family. U know, its never awesome to work in the kitchen for hours and then end up being the only one eating what you made. But this dish was appreciated by all at home, and so this recipe entered into my hit list. ๐Ÿ™‚

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This recipe might look like it’s lengthy but trust me, it isn’t. You can easily pull it off in less than 45 mins, if you marinated the chicken before hand. So do give this a try and enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Serves 4
Recipe adapted from ecurry.com

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400g Chicken (Use Soy Chunks or Mushroom or Paneer/Indian Cheese for a Vegetarian Version)
1/2 of a large Potato
1/2 Cup Plain Yogurt
1 Very Large Onion, sliced
3 tsp Ginger Garlic paste
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

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2 tsp chilli pdr
3 green chillies
1/2 Cup Fresh Mint leaves
1/2 Cup Coriander leaves
2โ€ณ Stick of Cinnamon
3โ€“4 Green Cardamom pods

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3-4 Cloves
Few Saffron threads
2 Tablespoons Milk
1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric pdr
1/3 cup Ghee

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2 Cups Basmati rice
1/2 Cup Almonds (Soaked overnight & peeled) or Pistachios
Salt to taste
1tsp Black Pepper
3 Cups Water
I chicken stock cube

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1. Marinate the chicken pieces in the yogurt, lemon, salt, ginger paste & garlic paste, chilli pdr for about an hour.
2. Soak the saffron threads in warm milk.
3. Wash the Basmati rice till the water runs clear. Keep it soaked in water for 45 minutes to an hour. Drain & set aside.

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4. Melt the ghee in a pan. Over medium heat, add in the Cinnamon, Cardamom & Cloves and sautรฉ till fragrant.
5. Add the sliced onions & sautรฉ till the onions start to brown. Add green chillies.
6. Separate as much marinade from the chicken as possible. Save the marinade & add the chicken pieces to the pan; Toss well along with the spices & onions & close the lid and cook for 5 mins.
7. Add the potatoes (if you are using them) and close lid and cook for 10 minutes. Add the turmeric pdr, pepper, and coriander leaves. Add in the nuts and the left over marinade. Add the soaked rice stirring so the ghee/fat coats the rice, until glossy, for about 3-4 minutes.
8. Pour in the saffron milk and add mint leaves.

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9. Boil 3 cups water and mix in the stock cube. Check for salt. Pour this mixture into the pan and stir everything together and bring it to a boil, then close the pan with a heavy lid and turn the heat down to very low. Cook like this for about 12-15 minutes, by which time the rice should have absorbed the liquid and be cooked through. Donโ€™t peek.
10. After about 12 minutes open the lid, & check to see if the rice is cooked. It is okay if the rice is slightly stiff, cover it back & switch off the heat. The heat & the steam will cook the rice & the chicken.

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Notes:

โœ”๏ธIf you want more aroma to the rice, While the rice is cooking, in a skillet heat 2 tbsp of oil & add half of a sliced onion & sugar & fry the onions till they are brown & caramelized. Add the caramelized onions to the pan, gently stir them in taking care not to mush up the rice. Cover it back & let it sit for at least 15 minutes for the flavors to infuse. (The caramelized onions will imparts a fabulous aroma to the pilaf). I didn’t do this part.
โœ”๏ธ Be careful while adding salt to the rice as there is salt in the marinade as well as the chicken stock cube. Just check and add accordingly.

 

Chicken Pilaf
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INGREDIENTS
  1. 400g Chicken (Use Soy Chunks or Mushroom or Paneer/Indian Cheese for a Vegetarian Version)
  2. 1/2 of a large Potato
  3. 1/2 Cup Plain Yogurt
  4. 1 Very Large Onion, sliced
  5. 3 tsp Ginger Garlic paste
  6. 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  7. 2 tsp chilli pdr
  8. 3 green chillies
  9. 1/2 Cup Fresh Mint leaves
  10. 1/2 Cup Coriander leaves
  11. 2โ€ณ Stick of Cinnamon
  12. 3โ€“4 Green Cardamom pods
  13. 3-4 Cloves
  14. Few Saffron threads
  15. 2 Tablespoons Milk
  16. 1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric pdr
  17. 1/3 cup Ghee
  18. 2 Cups Basmati rice
  19. 1/2 Cup Almonds (Soaked overnight & peeled) or Pistachios
  20. Salt to taste
  21. 1tsp Black Pepper
  22. 3 Cups Water
  23. I chicken stock cube
DIRECTIONS
  1. Marinate the chicken pieces in the yogurt, lemon, salt, ginger paste & garlic paste, chilli pdr for about an hour.
  2. Soak the saffron threads in warm milk.
  3. Wash the Basmati rice till the water runs clear. Keep it soaked in water for 45 minutes to an hour. Drain & set aside.
  4. Melt the ghee in a pan. Over medium heat, add in the Cinnamon, Cardamom & Cloves and sautรฉ till fragrant.
  5. Add the sliced onions & sautรฉ till the onions start to brown. Add green chillies.
  6. Separate as much marinade from the chicken as possible. Save the marinade & add the chicken pieces to the pan; Toss well along with the spices & onions & close the lid and cook for 5 mins.
  7. Add the potatoes (if you are using them) and close lid and cook for 10 minutes. Add the turmeric pdr, pepper, and coriander leaves. Add in the nuts and the left over marinade. Add the soaked rice stirring so the ghee/fat coats the rice, until glossy, for about 3-4 minutes.
  8. Pour in the saffron milk and add mint leaves.
  9. Boil 3 cups water and mix in the stock cube. Check for salt. Pour this mixture into the pan and stir everything together and bring it to a boil, then close the pan with a heavy lid and turn the heat down to very low. Cook like this for about 12-15 minutes, by which time the rice should have absorbed the liquid and be cooked through. Donโ€™t peek.
  10. After about 12 minutes open the lid, & check to see if the rice is cooked. It is okay if the rice is slightly stiff, cover it back & switch off the heat. The heat & the steam will cook the rice & the chicken.
Notes
  1. โœ”๏ธIf you want more aroma to the rice, While the rice is cooking, in a skillet heat 2 tbsp of oil & add half of a sliced onion & sugar & fry the onions till they are brown & caramelized. Add the caramelized onions to the pan, gently stir them in taking care not to mush up the rice. Cover it back & let it sit for at least 15 minutes for the flavors to infuse. (The caramelized onions will imparts a fabulous aroma to the pilaf). I didnโ€™t do this part.
  2. โœ”๏ธ Be careful while adding salt to the rice as there is salt in the marinade as well as the chicken stock cube. Just check and add accordingly.
Savory&SweetFood https://savoryandsweetfood.com/

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21 thoughts on “Chicken Pilaf

  1. What a gorgeous recipe, love biryani or pulao or pilaf. I never knew the difference before. This dish is one I will have to make. You can totally see how flavorful it is. I love marinating the chicken in the yogurt, aromatics and spice.

  2. This recipe has so many ingredients… I bet it is worth the work. It sounds and looks outstanding. This is something that I will try. Especially with the cardamom and saffron. Do you think that I could use almond milk in place of the cow’s milk? Beautiful job! How do you make your photos so large? They are gorgeous, Sadia. Best regards – Shanna

    1. Hey shanna! Even though there are many ingredients, i promise it is very easy to make.
      Yeah i guess you can use almond milk as you are using just 2-3tbsp of it, it wont make much difference.
      Photos, when i click itself i like to zoom in and take pictures of food. Mayb thats how it appears big. Thankyou so much for taking the time to comment. Tc. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Sadia – I am never intimidated by a long ingredient list, especially regarding a gorgeous, flavorful international recipe. I bookmarked the recipe to try this week. I have most of the spices. Thank you for sharing! Warm regards, Shanna

  3. This pilaf looks so incredibly delicious! I never have the patience to make one properly, tempering the spices and all, but it really does make such an incredibly difference. Thank you for including vegetarian options- This would be a snap to veganize now. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks a lot Namrata! I simply loove dark/moody pictures. But not familiar with how to create that look. This was my first trial. Thanks a lot for the encouragement. ๐Ÿ™‚

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