"Chicken Pulao" is a very quick and easy recipe, a one pot meal made with basmati rice, tender chicken flavored with freshly ground aromatic spices, garnished with golden fried onion and fresh coriander.
Basmati Rice - 1 cup
Boneless chicken - 200 gms
Onion, finely sliced - 1 large
Bay leaf - 1
Star anise - 1
Green Cardamom - 2
Cloves - 3-4
Cinnamon stick - 1 inch
Oil - 3 tablespoon
Garam Masala powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
For Masala Paste
Coriander seeds - 1 tablespoon
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Fennel seeds (saunf) - 1 1/2 teaspoon
Black cardamom - 2 pcs
Cloves - 5-6 pcs
Cinnamon stick - 2"
Dry red chilli (whole) - 2
Black pepper - 18-20 corns
Onion - 1 small
Ginger - 1 1/2 inch
Garlic - 3-4 cloves
Fresh coriander chopped - 2 - 3 tablespoon
Fried onion - 1 small
Clean and soak rice. Clean and soak all the whole masalas for the masala paste in a bowl of water for half an hour. Clean and wash the chicken and keep aside.
Drain and grind into a fine paste along with the ginger garlic and onion.
Heat oil in a thick bottom pan and add bay leaf, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick and star anise, fry for a minute and add the sliced onions until they turn slightly brown. Add the ground masala paste and fry till oil starts leaving the sides.
Add the chicken pieces, mix well and fry until almost done and oil starts leaving the sides.
Add 2 1/4 cups of boiling water to the chicken, add the soaked rice and season with salt. Let this come to a boil reduce heat, cover with lid and cook on low flame for 12-15 minutes or until the rice is 90% done add the garam masala powder. While the rice is steaming, heat a tawa or iron skillet on high. Once hot reduce heat to very low, transfer the rice pot over the hot tawa and let it stand for another 10 minutes. (by doing so the rice will cook in its own steam and the indirect heat this will also avoid the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.)
Open the lid and add a tablespoon of ghee, mix gently, ghee not only adds richness to the dish but it also enhances the aroma of the spices.
Garnish with fried onions and chopped coriander, Serve with a bowl of plain yogurt.
While making the pulao if you feel the rice might get sticky just add a tablespoon of fresh lime juice, this will avoid the rice grains from sticking and will also add flavour.
To make really crispy golden fried onions, slice the onion very fine and soak it in water for 10 to 15 minutes, this will help the layers of onion to separate, drain water and let it dry for 5-10 minutes. Heat around 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan and add the sliced onions, fry for 2-3 minutes and sprinkle some salt over it. Salt will help the onions to release the moisture and avoid it from burning. I usually fry a batch of 4-5 onions and let them cool over absorbent paper and store it in an air tight container. These can be used over a period of 3-4 weeks.