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Chicken Pulao / Chicken Pilaf

A quick chicken pulao that is kid and adult friendly!
Author Sarah Mir


  • 2.5 cups rice
  • 1 pound chicken little over is fine cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 4-5 cloves/ laung
  • 6-8 whole black peppers
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 green cardamom
  • 2 onions thinly sliced
  • 1 ¼ tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground garlic
  • 1 tsp salt + 1.25 tsp
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ½ to 1 ½ tsp cayenne/red chilli powder


  1. Wash your rice, soak it in cold water and set it aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot (preferably non stick) and add your whole spices - the cloves, black pepper, cardamom, and cinnamon. Fry for two minutes till fragrant.
  3. In go the onions - these will take 6-10 minutes to caramelize. You want a golden to dark brown colour - if you see it start to turn darker then pull it off the heat and add a splash of cold water.
  4. Then add your ginger and garlic, stir fry for two minutes till fragrant
  5. Add salt, coriander powder and red chilli powder. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  6. Then add the chicken and stir fry it well till all of it turns white. At this point I like to cook the chicken on medium low heat for about 6-10 minutes depending on the size of my chicken pieces. The intent isn't to fully cook them, but to give the chicken a head start.
  7. Then add the rice, 3 ¼ cup water and 1 ¼ tsp salt. Stir to combine and bring it to a boil.
  8. Cover and simmer on medium heat for 10-15 minutes - essentially until the water is mostly absorbed.
  9. Cook on low heat for another 10 minutes then check for doneness.

Recipe Notes

Please read the notes right above the printable version of this recipe for little tips and tricks!