Easy Chicken Pilaf or Pulav....as the name suggests is an easy one pot meal. A very aromatic and flavorful dish which is mildly spicy and tangy too. The recipe is very simple and easy to follow, made with very few ingredients which are easily available in our daily kitchen.
The best thing is that its a complete meal in itself and does not require any accompaniments, best paired with a light salad. A perfect dish for busy weekdays or a lazy weekend lunch.
Rice,short grain rice - 2 cups
Chicken - 400 grams ( on bones)
Onion - 3 medium
Tomato, chopped - 1 medium
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Green chillies - 2-3
Green coriander, chopped - 3 tablespoon
Fresh mint, chopped - 3 tablespoon
Yogurt - 2 tablespoon
Fennel seed powder - 1 tablespoon
Garam masala powder - 1 teaspoon
Green cardamom - 4
Cloves - 5-6
Black pepper corns - 10-12
Cinnamon stick - 2 inch
Bay leaf - 1 piece
Lemon juice - 1 teaspoon ( optional)
Oil - 2 tablespoon
Salt to taste
Green chillis, slit lengthwise - 1-2
Green coriander, chopped - 2 tablespoon
Ginger, julienne - 1 teaspoon
Ghee ( Clarified butter) - 1 tablespoon
Clean, wash and keep the chicken aside
Clean, wash and soak rice for 30 minutes.
Finely slice the onions and keep aside.
Clean wash and finely chop fresh green coriander and mint leaves.
Make a paste of green chillies along with ginger and yogurt. Add fennel seed powder and garam masala powder and keep aside.
Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan and add the whole spices (green cardamom, cloves, black pepper corns, cinnamon stick and bay leaf), once the spices start popping and release the aroma add the sliced onions and fry.
Fry the onions till they turn pink (we do not want the onions to turn brown), once they are done add the chicken mix well and fry until they turn opaque.
Once the chicken turns opaque add the chopped tomatoes mix well and fry for 2 minutes, until the tomatoes are mushy , add the wet masala paste, salt , mix well and fry until oil separates. (Note - Wet masala paste made with ginger, green chillies,yogurt along with fennel seed powder and garam masala)
Fry well and once the oil has starts to appear on the sides of pot add the chopped coriander and mint leaves,mix well and fry for a minute or two.
Once the herbs blend well add the soaked rice fry for 2-3 minutes and add around 4 cups of hot water, mix well and let it come to a boil. ( I use 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice )
As the pilaf comes to a boil reduce the heat to low, cover and cook, stir occasionally to avoid the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Once the rice is cooked almost 60% add the fresh lemon juice and mix well, cover and continue cooking. (Adding lemon juice at this stage will not only add flavor to the rice but will also keep the rice fluffy and avoid getting sticky.)
Keep checking and once the rice is almost cooked through add the freshly chopped green coriander, ginger juliennes and slit green chilli, cover and cook on high flame for 2 minutes and then turn off the heat.
Let the pilaf stand covered for at least 15-20 minutes, this will allow the flavors to blend well. Once you are ready to serve add a tablespoon of ghee, mix well and serve hot.
This Pilaf was a regular at our home and mom used to make it with regular short grain rice hence I have used the same but you could also use Basmati rice as well. However I suggest you use a short grain rice as we have fried the rice along with the masala and in doing so there are chances that long grain rice would break.
As I have used yogurt in the masala for the pilaf, so its important that the whatever rice you wish to use is soaked well. This will help the rice to cook fast.
You must be wondering why have I used Yogurt, tomato and lemon juice in one dish and won't to be too sour.....well it won't until the yogurt you are using is too sour. If by chance the yogurt that you are using is sour then you could skip the lemon juice.
Usually this Pilaf is made in Ghee but i have made it in vegetable oil, to keep it healthy......Now that does not mean we compromise with the taste and flavor of the dish. So I have added a tablespoon of ghee just before serving.....this adds richness and enhances the flavor as well.