Chicken/ Pakistani Food/ Rice

Hyderabadi Chicken Pulao – Pakistani Recipe

Hyderabadi Chicken Pulao

Jump to the Hyderabadi Chicken Pulao Recipe

Have I ever talked about Bajias Cooking from YouTube here? Hers is one of two Pakistani food channels that I actually follow on YouTube. I say follow, but I mean watch their videos like most people watch sitcoms. Wait – do people still watch sitcoms? Let’s make that “watch like people binge watch Netflix”. I love the little things about her videos and that she occasionally uses phrases my nani did. I also love that while tastebuds can differ by and large I really enjoy her recipes. This recipe for Hyderabadi Chicken Pulao is adapted from her YouTube channel.

I’ve made it a few times, with the original amounts of ingredients and have since edited it to suit our tastes. It is different than it’s milder counterpart i.e. my Kid Friendly Chicken Pulao since it is resplendent with whole spices which give it more depth. It also has two kinds of chillies, my addition of mace and nutmeg, which are optional but have a heady loveliness. 

How do I get my pulao to the right colour?

The one comment I hear often about pulaos is that people will say they struggle with getting the colour right. Folks, it is all about the onions – the darker the onions, the darker the pulao. Here I go for a rich amber to get this beautiful brown rice, sometimes I will go a smidge darker. IMHO the onions are the star of the pulao in terms of their singular contribution so although getting them to the right colour is a little finicky please do watch your pot carefully once the edges start to darken.

This is not a yakhni pulao where you make a broth first, if you are looking for one then I use my Instant Pot to make a heady Beef Yakhni Pulao right here. 

4.34 from 18 votes
Hyderabadi Chicken Pulao
Hyderabadi Chicken Pulao
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Pakistani
Keyword: Pakistani recipe, Pakistani chicken recipe, Pakistani pulao
Servings: 6
Author: Sarah - Flour & Spice
  • 2.5 cups Basmati Rice, washed and soaked.
Pulao Masala
  • 1.5-2 lb chicken (bone in, mixed pieces, see notes)
  • 3 onions diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp whole black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1-inch piece cinnamon
  • 3 black cardamoms
  • 5-6 whole red chillies
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 piece of nutmeg, break/chop into a rough quarters (optional)
  • 2 pieces javetri/mace (optional)
  • 4-5 whole green chillies
  1. Heat a very generous lug of oil in a pot big enough to cook your pulao in

  2. Add the onions and cook on medium heat till amber

  3. Now add the chicken and saute until the pieces are all white

  4. Add all the remaining pulao masala ingredients except the green chillies

  5. Mix well, saute on medium high heat for two minutes

  6. Let the masala come to a boil, then simmer on low until the chicken is done. The chicken releases it's own liquid so you shouldn't need to add any unless the masala seems like it will stick/burn.

  7. When the masala is ready the oil will have risen to the top and the chicken will be tender. This can take anywhere between 25-35 minutes depending on your chicken.

  8. Once the chicken is done add the rice, green chillies, and 3.5 cups of water to the pot along with 1.5 tsp salt

  9. Mix well and taste, it should be just a little salty. 

  10. Bring the pulao to a boil and cook partially covered until almost all the water has evaporated then close the lid completely for 5-8 minutes until the remaining moisture has absorbed and the rice is done.

  11. Gently fluff the rice from the sides and serve with your chutney/raita/achar of choice

Recipe Notes
  • mace and nutmeg are entirely optional, but I do love the rich notes they add. If you don't have them handy don't worry. If you only have nutmeg powder add a level half tsp when the masala is done
  • There is a total of 3.5 tsp of salt in this recipe. I use table salt and in Canada it is far less salty than that in other parts of the world. Please start with less and adjust according to your tastebuds!

If you make this recipe do take a few seconds to rate it! I would love to see your recreations so tag me on instagram @flourandspiceblog !

Hyderabadi Chicken Pulao


You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Sanam Soomro

    When do we add the green chilies?

    • Reply

      Hi Sanam! With the rice – so sorry that was my bad, have corrected the recipe. Thank you so much for pointing that out. Do let me know what you think!

  • Reply

    Just made this recipe yesterday and had leftovers today…so I HAD to come back here and add my two cents of how wonderful this recipe turned out! My late nano made it like this, her secret to the chicken always turning our juicy.

    Sarah, would u think if I kept all the dry masala in a cloth/strainer it’d taste the same? Or maybe I should increase their quantity to get the same taste and aroma?

    Thankyou for this wonderful share! Guess who’ll be trying more of ur recipes soon 🙂

    • Reply

      Ohmigod thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts here – means SO much! My husband always talks to me about putting the masala in a strainer and I think it’s doable to some extent. The cumin seeds just taste better when they’re ‘cooked’ but the rest of it can go in a potli, I’d just increase it all by 25%!

  • Reply

    For the browning effect – The one trick this wonderful afghan lady, Nooria Ali, taught on her YouTube channel is to:
    1. Fry the onions till they are brown. 2 taken them out of the pot. 3 Mash’m/ roughly grind them. Finally, add them back in after you’ve cooked the chicken a bit. So, in your recipe, I would add them back in step 5.

    • Reply

      Thanks Len! We typically do that for Korma and layered rice dishes like Biryani never thought to try it for a pulao!

  • Reply

    Thank you, this is the best recipe I have ever come across. God bless:)

    • Reply

      wow! thank you!!!!

  • Reply
    Pakistan in an RV – Closet Kitchen

    […] chatting back and forth as to what I should prepare. So, Nabila, Bohat Bohat Shukriya. On the menu:Hyderabadi Chicken PulaoMatar KeemaAloo CurryTomato ChutneyStrawberry LassiandAlmond Milk Rice PuddingThis is not a typical […]

  • Reply
    Fitsome Health

    Yummy food…. love to see my Pakistani sisters working so well on internet!!
    Thumbs up!!

    • Reply

      Thanks SO SO much!

    Penny for your thoughts?