Chicken Pulao

Every visit to Pakistan begins this way. Chicken Pulao. It’s the only dish I request my mom to make every time I board an Emirates flight back home. I seldom give mom due credit for her cooking, but for chicken Pulao, it would be atrocious to not award her some laurels. In my attempts to learn to make mom’s Pulao, I would carefully follow her steps but just never had the patience to replicate the exhaustive and involved cooking process. The rice is cooked low and slow in a seasoned broth. Mom makes Pulao with fresh chicken broth. And that my friends takes a bit more patience.

This recipe has no patience so I present to you a version that is almost as delicious as my mom’s if you’re pressed for time. Almost because we’re cheating our way to victory a bit, okay?

Let’s get started!


5.0 from 2 reviews
Chicken Matar Pulao
Cook time
Total time
Pakistani Pulao (pilaf) is a rice dish cooked in a season broth. The rice gets its brown hue from fried onions. This recipe calls for store-bought chicken stock to save time! Results are nothing less than delicious!
Recipe type: Rice
Cuisine: Pakistani
Serves: 5-6
  • ¼-1/2 cup oil
  • 3 black cardamom
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 2 red onion, sliced
  • 2 green serrano chili, slit lengthwise
  • 2 lbs chicken thighs, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 3 cups chicken stock (store-bought)
  • 2 cups Basmati rice, pre-soaked
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup green peas, canned
  1. In a pot over medium heat, add oil and whole spices and let sizzle for 30 seconds.
  2. Next, add onions and fry for 25-30 minutes until brown on low to medium heat.
  3. After 30 mins, add green chilis, slit lengthwise and stir for 30 seconds,
  4. Add chicken along with ginger garlic paste and coriander powder and stir well until chicken pieces are coated in spices and onion, and is no longer pink.
  5. Next, add 1 cup of the chicken stock. Let it come to a boil, then cover the pot for 10 minutes to allow chicken to cook halfway through.
  6. After 10 mins, add rice along with the remaining stock (2 cups), green peas and plenty of salt. (More salt than normal because the rice will absorb the liquid.)
  7. After liquid comes to a boil, cover the pot and allow to simmer for 15-20 mins or until rice has absorbed most of the liquid.
  8. Next, drape the pot with a kitchen cloth and cover with the lid for 10-15 minutes on very low heat. This will seal the aroma and flavor and also finish cooking the rice.
  9. Serve hot with raita or chutney and some pickled onions.


  1. I made pilau fro the first time in my life. Amazing! I’m a busy working woman and always look for quick recipes. This is the best recipe. Do you have more quick recipes?

    1. Hi Fadiah! I’m so happy you tried and love it. A pro tip, if you want to make fresh yakhni, you can use the same recipe but add half of the whole spices to 5 cups of water and boil the chicken for 15-20 minutes. Then add the boiled chicken into the browned onion and proceed as normal (cutting down the extra time I added to cook the chicken because we pre-boiled it.) You will love this 10x more.
      If you like a quick stir-fry, try the 10-min pad thai or beef chili.

  2. I made the pilau for the first time. It turned out amazing. Thankyou for this recipe. I’m a working woman and needs a quick food recipe. I love the pilau I made. 😁

    1. So happy to hear that Fadiah. You can take this recipe and modify to make your own fresh stock as well. I plan to share this soon:)

  3. Hello! In line 3 of the recipe, it’s supposed to be 30 seconds rather than 30 mins right?
    Love your videos btw!

    1. Hi Farheen, 30 mins is right. The brown color of the pulao comes from the onion so it’s critical to let the onions get nice and brown in color. Hope this helps!:)

  4. How is your rice cooked so quickly in 15-20 mins? I have to cook at at-least 30-40 mins and that too at high heat?

    1. Hey Raja, 40 mins seems a bit too much for Basmati rice. The rice I use cooks in about 20 mins but I would recommend that you follow liquid to rice ratio that you have tried and tested. Hope this helps!

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