ONE POT EASY CHICKEN PULAO RECIPE
This one pot Chicken Pulao is the ultimate easy comfort meal. It’s a mildly flavored dish that is very popular in Pakistani and Indian cooking. It’s the perfect Pilaf with bone in chicken, aromatics, spices and basmati rice cooked to perfection. This recipe is easy and mild in flavor making it the perfect weeknight meal and kid friendly.
WHAT IS PULAO?
Pulao is a type of a rice dish and one of the oldest dishes generally believed to have originated in Persia. There are many different variations and methods of preparations across the region. It’s quite different from biryani, which is layered and heavily spiced.
This pulao is prepared by making the broth of chicken, beef, mutton or lamb cooked with aromatics and spices. The broth is then reserved, and the meat is further seared in oil and more aromatics like onions, ginger and garlic. Finally add in the rice and the broth and let the rice finish off in steam. Each grain of rice is beautifully separated and flavorful. This dish can also be made sweet with the additions of sugar, raisins, dry fruits and variation of nuts.
There is no hard and fast rule with this recipe. There are many variations of ingredients you can use. When I made this dish, it really depends on what I have on hand.
RICE: make sure you are using basmati rice for this dish. Basmati rice is a variety of long-grained rice and is traditionally used in South Asian cuisines. This rice has aroma and in consistency is very light and fluffy. Rinse the rice to get rid of excess starches from the surface of the rice. Follow the instructions on the pack if soaking. Usually, I soak basmati rice for about 20-30 minutes. But I do cook rice without soaking if I am in a hurry. For this recipe I used 1 1/2 cups of rice, if you would like more rice you can use up to 2 cups of rice.
CHICKEN: I have used chicken tenders, breast and thighs for this dish before. But the most flavor you will get by using bone in chicken. But many times, I do use tenders when making it for kids. I used 1 whole small chicken. Always let the chicken come to room temperature before cooking. Cooking cold chicken can result in meat that is tough.
STOCK OR BROTH: Usually pulao’s are made with the stock the meat was cooked in. If you have chicken stock on hand you can add in place of water, just make sure to adjust the salt. How I have shown in this recipe is when I don’t have any chicken stock on hand. Add stock or broth will give the dish so much flavor.
YOGURT: The yogurt gives a subtle tang to the dish. You don’t have to add it. Sometimes I add 1 medium tomato instead. I have also made it with onions, tomatoes and yogurt. Give all these combinations a try and you will seem to find what flavor you prefer.
GREEN CHILI/CHILI POWDER: This dish is not really supposed to be spicy, but I have made this very mild.
ONIONS: The color of the rice will depend on how browned the onions are. If the onions are just translucent you will be missing the flavor and color from the onions. So, make sure you give the onions enough time to brown.
ONE POT EASY CHICKEN PULAO RECIPE
- 1 whole chicken cut into small pieces (about 2.5lb)
- 1 1/2 cups Basmati rice (rinsed and soaked (see notes for soaking rice))
- 2 medium onions (thinly sliced)
- 1/4 cup neutral oil
- 1 green chili (chopped)
- 5 cloves garlic (finely minced or grated)
- 1 inch fresh ginger (finely minced or grated)
- 2 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1-2 small cinnamon sticks
- 4 large brown cardamom
- 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
- 4 cloves
- 2 tsp. cumin powder
- 1 tsp. coriander powder
- 1 tsp. garam masala
- 1 tsp. red chili powder
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 cup full fat yogurt (whisked)
- Water as needed
- Make sure to have all your ingredients ready before you start cooking. This will make your cooking go smoothly.
- Use a heavy bottom pot. Heat oil on medium heat. Add all the whole spices, let the whole spices infuse flavor in the hot oil for about 1 minute. Make sure they don't burn.
- Add the sliced onions and green chili. Let these onions cook till they turn a medium brown color. This can take about 10 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds just to cook its rawness out.
- Add the chicken and sear it for about 3 minutes. Then add powder spices let those sear with the chicken for another minute. Now turn the stove down and add the yogurt so it does not split, mix well with the chicken, turn heat back to medium and let the yogurt cook for 3 minutes. You should notice the water has cooked off from the yogurt and it's a thick sauce.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of water and let the chicken cook for about 15-20 minutes on medium. Once the chicken is cooked there will still be some water left, drain the rice add to chicken and 1 1/4 cups of water. Let it boil uncovered some of water has evaporated about 3 minutes. You will start to see the rice.
- Now cover the lid with clean kitchen towel or foil, cover pot, turn heat to the lowest setting and let the rice cook for 20 minutes. Covering the lid will help keep the steam in pot. Always check on rice towards end of cooking time. Uncover and fluff the rice with fork.