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!
Chicken Matar Pulao
- 1/4-1/2 cup oil
- 3 black cardamom
- 5 cloves whole
- 2 inch cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 5 black peppercorns whole
- 2 red onion sliced
- 2 green chilis slit lengthwise
- 2 lbs chicken thighs boneless, skinless and cut into medium chunks
- 1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 3 cups chicken stock You may need 3/4 cup more stock
- 2 cups Basmati rice pre-soaked
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup green peas
- In a pot over medium heat, add oil and whole spices and let sizzle for 30 seconds.
- Next, add onions and fry for 25-30 minutes until brown on low to medium heat.
- After 30 mins, add green chilis, slit lengthwise and stir for 30 seconds,
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve hot with raita or chutney and some pickled onions.
- I find that for stock, the best ratio is double the amount of rice. So use 4 cups instead of 3 cups as listed above.
- This recipe calls for store-bought stock, but I have now been making it fresh and using the same chicken in the pulao. For fresh stock, add your chicken to 8 cups of boiling water along with a couple cloves, 1 black cardamom, an inch cinnamon, a bulb of garlic, 1/2 an onion. Let simmer for 20 minutes, remove the chicken and continue cooking the stock for another 10 minutes. The stock should have reduced to about 4-5 cups.