Indian Chicken Pilaf or Pulao


  • Chicken (with bone : 500 gm)
  • Basmati rice : 2 cups

for marination

  • Curd : ½ cup
  • Ginger paste : 1 tbsp
  • Kashmiri Red chilli powder : 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder : 1 tsp
  • Salt : 2 tsp
  • Oil : 2 tbsp


  • Cinnamon stick – 1 ; Bay leaves – 2; Cardamom (big and small : 3-4 ; Cloves – 2-3)

Black Pepper corn – 4-5 ; Kebab chini (long tail peppers, optional) : 4-5; Mace : 1

  • Others
  • Tomato puree (use homemade ones : 1 cup)
  • Cumin powder : 1 tbsp
  • Garam masala powder (a large pinch)
  • Cashews (raisins, almonds : a handful)
  • Grated carrots : 1 carrot
  • Julienne beetroot : 1 small beetroot
  • Caramelized onion : 1 cup
  • Minced ginger : 2 tbsp
  • Ghee (desi : 2 tbsp)
  • Sugar : 2 tbsp


  1. Wash and clean the chicken. Marinate it with ingredients listed under marination section. Marinate the chicken for min 1 hour.
  2. Clean and wash the basmati rice. Pour it in a colander with fine mesh and leave aside to drain all the waters.
  3. After that smear the basmati rice with large pinch of turmeric and 1 teaspoon sugar. Spread it on a wide dish and leave aside for 20 minutes.
  4. Dry roast the whole spices (mention under the spice section, except bay leaves) and gently crush them once or twice.
  5. Heat two tablespoon oil in a wide and deep pot. You can use pressure cooker too, but do not use the weight (or whistle).
  6. Fry the chicken pieces till the rawness disappear. Sprinkle the roasted whole spices and continue frying the chicken for two more minutes.
  7. Add tomato puree, keep braising till the rawness of tomatoes are gone.
  8. Next add the spice powders – turmeric, cumin and garam masala. Keep braising it for another 10 minutes on medium low heat.
  9. In a separate cooking pan, heat one tablespoon ghee and roast the cashews, almonds and raisins. Add the basmati rice and lightly saute for couple of minutes. Mix in the minced ginger and keep it separated.
  10. Add the rice to the chicken, add 4 cups water, salt to taste and sugar.
  11. Give a nice stir, cover with a tight lid and let it cook on medium heat till done.
  12. This will take around 20 minutes.
  13. If it has become very dry, sprinkle little water and fluff it with fork. If it is wet and moist, uncover and cook on low heat till it dries up a bit.
  14. Drizzle the chicken pulao with ghee, stir in the caramelized onions, garnish it with grated carrots and julienne of beets.
  15. Serve warm.


I also sometimes serve it with fried boiled eggs.

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