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Chicken Pulao

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This chicken pulao is a simple and easy recipe in less than 30 minutes. Morsels of chicken pieces, carrots, and a few spices you probably already have in your kitchen are all you need.

A plate with chicken and rice pulao.
Pulao Rice with Chicken

This is a one-pot dish and is often served as a one-pot meal because it has your protein, veggies, and starch all in one. Often a simple side of papadam, pickle, or raita can take this to the next level.

My friends often ask me if this is similar to chicken biryani but its’ not! While biryani, pilaf, and pulao are cooked with meat, rice, and spices. Pilaf and pulao are very similar. They are much simpler dishes with fewer spices and a slightly different cooking method compared to a biryani. Also, biryani would often be made for a special occasion while this pulao is usually made for a weekend day cooking.

Ingredients and substitutes

  • Rice – when making Indian food I love to use basmati rice but you can also use Colam or similar rice. If you choose to use brown rice please note that the cooking time and water quantity will need to be adjusted.
  • Chicken – my go-to is always boneless chicken thighs and legs cut into bite-size pieces. You can use chicken breast but make sure to saute it for less as breast cooks fairly quickly.
  • veggies – I am using tomato and carrots but peas, chopped green beans are a great addition too.
  • Whole spices – these are whole garam masala spices used to flavor the rice and keep the color of the dish from becoming dark. If you do not have these spices you can use 1/2 tsp of garam masala.
  • Spices – a pulao is usually lightly spiced with a wonderful aroma. And yet, if you prefer you can increase the spices to make a spicy rice pulao.
  • Liquid – we usually use broth or stock to cook the rice but you can also use coconut milk. You can also add 2 tbsp of yogurt to the rice to make it richer.
Pulao with carrots and chicken on a plate.
Pulao Rice with Chicken

Tips for success

  • Wash rice thoroughly until the water runs clear. Soak the rice for at least 20 to 30 minutes as this softens the rice making sure it cooks evenly.
  • Suite the onions and veggies lightly so they become translucent without adding too much color or caramelization.
  • Sear the chicken before adding the rice. This will keep the moisture in the chicken as well as give the chicken some adding flavor from caramelization.
  • Whole spics add depth of flavor as compared to powdered spiced that make the rice hotter. It is recommended to use whole rather than ground garam masala spices.
  • The quantity and ratio of water to rice given below is standardly used for basmati rice. Read the package directions correctly to see the ratio for other varieties of rice
  • Other cooking methods – I made this pulao on the stovetop in a saute pan or heavy bottom pot. 
    • Pressure cooker – Once you add all the ingredients, put the lid and whistle. Pressure cook for 1 whistle on medium heat.
    • Instant pot – once you add all the ingredients, put the lid, seal the valve, and pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. Natural release for 3 minutes then manual release. Rest and fluffy rice. 

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Chicken Pulao

Author: Veena Azmanov
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Resting Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Calories: 447kcal
$10
Adjust Servings Here: 6 servigngs
Chicken pulao is an easy east Indian rice recipe which has some veggies and is flavored with spices. Easy to make and hassle-free, this chicken pulao is perfect when your in a mood to enjoy some traditional lunch

Equipment /Tools

  • Cutting Board
  • Kitchen Knife
  • Suate pan
  • Wooden spoon

Ingredients

  • 300 grams (1.50 cups) Basmati or Colam rice soaked for 30 minutes then drained
  • 450 grams (1 lb) Chicken cut into pieces
  • 2 tbsp Oil canola or olive
  • 1 tbsp Ghee or butter (optional)
  • 1 large Onion diced
  • 2 large Garlic minced
  • 1 inch Ginger grated
  • 2 Tomatoes chopped
  • 1 large Carrot diced
  • ½ cup Cilantro or parsley chopped
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Pepper
  • 3 cups stock chicken or vegetable

Spices

  • ¼ tsp Turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp Coriander powder
  • ½ tsp Cumin powder

Whole spices

  • 4 green cardamom pods hari elichi
  • 1 large Black cardamom pod kali elichi
  • 1 3.-inch ( ) Cinnamon stick dalchini
  • 5 cloves lavang
  • 2 large Bay leaves

Plus

    Instructions

    • Rice – Wash the rice under running water until the water runs clear. Cover the rice with more water and soak for 30 minutes. Then drain and set aside.
      Pro tip – soaking the rice will help it become light and fluffy as well as cook evenly.
    • Saute – In a saute pan over medium heat, add the oil and ghee/butter. Add the whole spices and saute for 30 seconds. Then, add the onions and saute until translucent. Followed by ginger and garlic. Saute another 30 seconds.
    • Spices – Next, add the chopped tomatoes and spices. Saute for two minutes on low heat adding a few tablespoons of water to prevent the spices from burning.
    • Veggies – Add the veggies and chicken pieces. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes on medium-high heat until the chicken is no longer pink.
      Pro tip – cooking the chicken on medium-high will sear the meat and ensure the juices stay in prevent it from becoming chewy.
    • Rice – Add the rice and saute for 2 minutes more on medium heat. Then add stock /broth and season with salt and pepper. Add half the chopped cilantro/parsley and bring to a boil.
      Pro tip – if using commercial chicken stock or broth check for salt as these usually have salt added for preservation.
    • Cook – Once it comes to a boil lower the heat to the lowest settings and cover with a lid. Cook covered for 20 minutes.
      Pro tip – make sure the lid fits well and prevents loss of moisture otherwise the rice will dry out and the bottom may get stuck.
    • Rest – After 20 minutes turn the heat off but, do not open the pan. Let the rice rest for another 10 minutes. Then fluffy with a fork.
      Pro tip – resting helps absorb excess moisture. This will ensure. you have light and fluffy rice that is not sticky.
    • Serve immediately once done

    Recipe Notes

    • Wash rice thoroughly until the water runs clear. Soak the rice for at least 20 to 30 minutes as this softens the rice making sure it cooks evenly.
    • Suite the onions and veggies lightly so they become translucent without adding too much color or caramelization.
    • Sear the chicken before adding the rice. This will keep the moisture in the chicken as well as give the chicken some adding flavor from caramelization.
    • Whole spics add depth of flavor as compared to powdered spiced that make the rice hotter. It is recommended to use whole rather than ground garam masala spices.
    • The quantity and ratio of water to rice given below is standardly used for basmati rice. Read the package directions correctly to see the ratio for other varieties of rice.
    • Other cooking methods – I made this pulao on the stovetop in a saute pan or heavy bottom pot. 
    • Pressure cooker – Once you add all the ingredients, put the lid and whistle. Pressure cook for 1 whistle on medium heat.
    • Instant pot – once you add all the ingredients, put the lid, seal the valve, and pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. Natural release for 3 minutes then manual release. Rest and fluffy rice. 

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    Nutrition Information
    Calories: 447kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 897mg | Potassium: 329mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2340IU | Vitamin C: 10.1mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1.2mg

    The nutrition information and metric conversion are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee its accuracy. If this data is important to you please verify with your trusted nutrition calculator. Thank you

    Did you make this recipe? I’d love to hear how it was.Mention @veenaazmanov or tag me on Instagram #veenaazmanov

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    Recipe Rating




    4 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      I love chicken with rice and this was perfect. The kids really enjoyed it very much. THank you