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Chicken Yakhni Pulao (Chicken Pilaf)
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
25 mins

A rich rice dish which is known for its trademark aroma and subtle flavors. Perfect for every occasion, anytime.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Pakistani
Keyword: Chicken Pilaf, Chicken Pulao, Chicken Yakhni Pulao, Gluten free
Author: Heenie
  • 6 cups basmati rice, washed and soaked
  • ¾-1 cup desi ghee or ghee or cooking oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1.25 kg chicken with bones, cut into 12 or 16 pieces
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste or use freshly chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste or use freshly chopped
  • 6 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder (optional)
  • tbsp white cumin seeds, divided
  • tbsp coriander seeds, divided
  • 11 cups water
  • 3 whole black cardamoms
  • 7 whole green cardamoms
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 8-10 whole black pepper corns
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2-3 inch long cinnamon stick
  • 1-2 big green chillies
  1. In a big pot heat desi ghee/ghee (clarified butter) or cooking oil and add onion slices. Fry till golden brown.

  2. Add chicken to the pot and roast well over medium high flame.

  3. Keep stirring to get even color on chicken pieces, about 3-5 minutes depending on the size of chicken pieces.

  4. Add ginger and garlic paste.

  5. Roast well till all water is evaporated, chicken is fragrant with ginger garlic and evenly browned.

  6. Add salt, red chilli powder (if using) and 1½ tbsp of white cumin and 1½ tbsp of coriander seeds. (Crush coriander seeds slightly to bring out more aroma)

  7. Pour in water. Keep flame at medium high.

  8. Put remaining white cumin seeds, coriander seeds along with black cardamoms, green cardamoms, cloves, black pepper corns, star anise, fennel seeds, cinnamon stick in a infuser or tie in muslin cloth. You can add them to the pot as-is too if you wish to.

  9. Add infuser with spices to the pot along with green chillies. Cover the pot.

  10. Bring to a rapid oil, drain soaking water as much as possible from rice and add to the pot.

  11. Cook over medium high flame till almost all water has evaporated, stirring carefully 2-3 times during cooking.

  12. Bring the flame down to lowest, cover the pot and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

  13. Switch off the flame but do not take the lid off for at least five minutes.

  14. Give a good stir to pulao, dish out and serve with kebab, salad, raita and gravy.

Recipe Notes

Meat and rice for pulao are taken as 1:1. I kg rice for 1 kg meat.

Adding red chilli and green chilli aren't very conventional but personally I love the aroma and flavor they bring.

Adjust ghee quantity as you like but remember, richness is the key feature of Pulao.

You can add whole spices directly to the pot too. My family prefers less visible garam masala.