Asian Chicken Pulav

I came across an interesting combination of spices for chicken pulav in The Asian Cookbook. The recipe did not use any green spices such as green chillies, tomato, or coriander and mint leaves. It used spices that are usually available in the Indian kitchen, making it very easy to prepare as a special dish if you have unexpected guests.


Asian Chicken Pulav

This recipe was classified under India though it didn’t specify which part – it is definitely not from South India. I tried this recipe several times with varying proportions of the same spices to make the flavour more interesting and appealing. I have changed the order in which the spices are added and also marinated the chicken which was not in the original recipe. If you still find it mild you could increase the number of dry chillies and the pepper powder used, but to me and my family this recipe has the perfect blend of flavours.

Nutritive Value

Among the non-vegetarian foods commonly consumed in India, chicken gives the greatest amount of very high protein – about 26 g per 100 g – with very low amount of fat in the meat. The basmati rice gives a large amount of energy, and along with the ghee and oil used in the preparation this chicken pulav is a high energy, high protein main dish in a meal.


  • 1 kg Chicken, curry cut, skinless
  • 2 limes, juice extracted
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 3 C Basmati Rice
  • 3 large Onions, sliced
  • 1 Onion, pulsed for 10 seconds
  • ½ C Garlic, minced
  • 1/3 C Ginger, grated
  • 1 C Curds (unsweetened yoghurt), whisked
  • 6 Black Cardamoms, lightly crushed
  • 6 one-centimetre pieces Cinnamon
  • 6 Dry Chillies, with stalk
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper Powder
  • ½ tsp Nutmeg, grated
  • 5 T Ghee (Clarified Butter)
  • 2 T Sunflower Oil
  • 5 tsp Salt
  • 4 C Water


  1. Rub the chicken pieces with turmeric powder, lime juice, and 2 teaspoons salt. Cover and set aside.
  2. Wash and drain the basmati rice in a colander.
  3. Heat the ghee and oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan.
  4. Add the cinnamon and black cardamom.
  5. When the cardamom swells, add the dry chillies, sliced onion, and garlic, and fry till a nice aroma rises.
  6. Add the marinated chicken and fry on high heat. Lower heat and fry till the chicken looks browned.
  7. Add the minced ginger, ground onion, pepper powder, nutmeg, and curds. Blend well. Bring to boil. Lower heat and cook.
  8. Meanwhile, heat the 4 cups of water with 3 teaspoons salt and bring to boil.
  9. When the chicken is cooked, add the rice and stir till all the grains are coated with the masala.
  10. Add the boiling water.
  11. Bring to boil, lower heat, cover tightly and cook without stirring.
  12. When the rice has absorbed all the water, remove from heat and serve with thayir pachadi and brinjal masala.


  1. Black cardamoms should be crushed just enough to crack the skin but not to release the seeds.
  2. Use dry chillies with stalk. If you remove the stalk the seeds will escape and the pulav will become extremely spicy.
  3. I usually use a proportion of 2 cups of water to 1 cup of basmati rice. Here I have used only 4 cups of water (for 3 cups of rice) to adjust the amount of curds used and the water released from the chicken.
  4. Whisking the curds helps make it smooth and blend well.

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