Chicken Pulao

This one originally fronted as a biriyani. After a bit of study I reckoned it was more accurately described as a pulao.

There is a subtle difference between a biryani and a pulao. A biryani consists of layers of rice, meat, sauce, rice, meat, sauce, etc. In a pulao, the rice, meat and sauce are stirred together for the final cooking. My own preference is for the pulao style, as I have found that in my less experienced hands, the layered rice often cooks unevenly.

That said, it is difficult to characterise them much further: every town and every district to which they have migrated has modified the dish after its own style, and to confuse matters further, many dishes which are properly pulao are styled biryani by their wannabe originators.

Typically a biryani will incorporate relatively more expensive ingredients such as basmati rice, saffron, and cardamom. It was a dish for elaborate and special occasions. This one incorporates saffron and cardamom to be sure, but I still reckon it's a pulao. It's not a layered dish.


500g Cubed, Boned Chicken Meat
60g Ghee
200g Onions, chopped
1 clove Garlic chopped
1 - 2 tablespoons grated root ginger
To taste, Chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Salt
100g Tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or Tomato Puree
1 tablespoon Sour Cream or Yoghurt
1 tablespoon Chopped Mint Leaves
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
2-3 teaspoons ground Cardamom
250g Basmati Rice
1.5 tablespoons Ghee
200g Chopped Onion
1/4 teaspoonground Cloves (scant)
1/4 teaspoon Cardamom Seed
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground Ginger
3/4 teaspoon Salt
Pinch Saffron
1/4 cup warm water
2 teaspoons Maggi Chicken Stock
2 cups Boiling Water

Cook the onions in the ghee until transparent

Add the garlic and the rest of the first group of spices, and cook a little longer, then add chicken pieces and tomato.

When sauce is considerably reduced, add Sour Cream or Yoghurt, and set aside. Preheat oven to 180C

Dissolve saffron in warm water.

Melt ghee and add onion, rice and spice and cook a minute or two. Add saffron and water, and stir to combine.

Dissolve Chicken Stock powder in 2 cups boiling water.

Combine rice mixture and chicken mixture in a large casserole, pour chicken stock over and stir briefly, then place lid on casserole and bake for 30-40 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.







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