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Pakistani Chicken Pulao Recipe

Pakistani Chicken Pulao Recipe

Pakistani Chicken Pulao Recipe

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Cuisine Pakistani
Servings 4
Calories 636 kcal


  • cups  Water
  • 565 gm Boneless Chicken
  • ½ small Onion
  • ½ tbsp Cumin Seeds
  • ½ tbsp Coriander Seeds
  • ½ tbsp Black Peppercorns
  • 1-2 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 Bay leave
  • 3 pods Green Cardamoms
  • 1 Black Cardamom
  • 3 Cloves
  • 2 tsp Salt

For The Pulao:

  • 250 g Basmati Rice
  • ¼ cup Oil
  • 2 tbsp Ghee
  • 1 medium Onion
  • 1 Bay Leave
  • ½ tsp Cumin Seeds
  • ½ tsp Coriander Seeds
  • ½ tsp Black Peppercorns
  • 2 Cloves
  • 1-2 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 Black Cardamom (Optional)
  • 4-5 cloves Garlic
  • ¾ Ginger
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 2 Green Chili Peppers
  • 1 Tomato
  • 11/2 tbsp Yogurt


  • ½ tsp Garam Masala
  • 3 tbsp  Cilantro Leaves
  • 2 tbsp  Fresh Mint Leaves


Make the Broth:

  • Place a stock pot or lightweight Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add all of the ingredients listed under ‘Broth (Yakhni)’ and stir to mix. The water should cover most of the meat. Cover to bring to a boil. If needed, use a slotted spoon to remove any large scum that rises to the surface.
  • Reduce the heat to low so that it simmers gently. Cover and allow to cook for 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through but not falling off the bone. Turn off the heat.
  • Use a tong or slotted spoon to separate the chicken from the broth. Cover and set it aside. Place a bowl under a strainer and strain the onion & spices from the broth (yakhni). Discard excess onion and whole spices. Measure out the liquid; it should come to 2 3/4 cups. If not, add water to make it 2 3/4 cups.

Prepare Chicken Pulao:

  • Wash rice: When ready to prepare the pulao, thoroughly wash the rice until the water runs clear. Then soak it in water. Set aside.
  • Heat oil and ghee in a nonstick Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté, stirring often, until golden brown (~10-12 minutes). The onions will determine the color of the pulao so you want them deeply and evenly golden-brown. Deglaze the pan with ¼ cup water. Once the water dries up, add all the whole spices, garlic, and ginger and sauté for a minute or two, until aromatic.
  • Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the chicken and allow to lightly sear, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in the salt, green chili peppers, tomatoes (if using), and yogurt and gently sauté until oil starts to separate, about 3 minutes.
  • Add broth. Taste. It should taste saltier than you prefer because it’ll mellow out once rice is added. Bring to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, drain the rice thoroughly. Once the broth comes to a boil, add the drained rice and stir gently to mix. Bring to a boil again.
  • Once the rice comes to a boil again, reduce the heat to medium. Cover partially with the lid. Allow to simmer, undisturbed, for 5 minutes. The water level will reduce and the rice will rise to the surface

Steaming ('Dum'):

  • Layer the lid with a kitchen cloth or tea towel and seal tightly. Allow the pulao to develop steam for a few seconds. You’ll be able to feel the steam escaping from the sides of the pan.
  • Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, and allow to cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to rest for another 10-15 minutes. (Do not peek or stir throughout this process.)
  • Sprinkle in garam masala, black pepper, cilantro, and mint. Keep covered until ready to serve. Use a rice paddle to transfer the rice onto a serving tray (or your plate!). If needed, stir gently to prevent any clumps. Serve with cucumber raita, mint raita, or plain yogurt.

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