WONDERFUL, simple and satisfying, chicken pulao never fails to impress at a casual lunch with friends or a family dinner. Unlike a biryani where the meat and rice are cooked separately, in a pulao dish the rice and meat or vegetables are cooked together in one pot.
6 garlic cloves
2.5cm piece ginger
2 tbs natural yogurt
½ large onion, thinly sliced
1kg skinless chicken on the bone, cut into pieces
2 tbs finely chopped coriander
5cm piece cassia or cinnamon stick
4 bay leaves
2 black cardamom pods
6–8 green cardamom pods
1 tbs garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
450ml vegetable or chicken stock or water
2 tsp salt, or to taste
3 tbs oil
250g basmati rice, thoroughly washed.
To serve: 1 lime, cut into wedges.
METHOD: Using a mortar and pestle, make a fine paste with the garlic and ginger. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt and stock or water. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over a low heat. Add the whole spices and fry for 20 seconds, then add the onion and fry for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn up the heat, then add the ginger and garlic paste and fry for 1–2 minutes.
Add the chicken, ground spices and salt and mix together well. Cover with a lid and cook for 8–10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add half the yogurt stock, stir through, bring to the boil, cover and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Now add the rice and coriander and the remaining yogurt stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and cook for 16–18 minutes, or until the rice liquid has evaporated and the chicken and rice are tender. Remove from the heat and leave to rest for 5–7 minutes with the lid on. Sprinkle with ground cumin and serve immediately with lime wedges.
Note: Chicken on the bone releases a more intense flavour to the dish.
Recipe from Indian Made Easy by Amandip Uppal (Murdoch Books), rrp $39.99. Available now in all good book stores and online.
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