Wonderful, simple and satisfying, chicken pulao never fails to impress at a casual lunch with friends or a family dinner. Unlike a biryani where the meat and rice are cooked separately, in a pulao dish the rice and meat or vegetables are cooked together in one pot.






Skill level

Average: 3.4 (108 votes)


  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2.5 cm piece ginger
  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 450 ml vegetable or chicken stock or water
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 6 cloves
  • 5 cm piece cassia or cinnamon stick
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 6–8 green cardamom pods
  • ½ large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 kg skinless chicken on the bone, cut into pieces (see note)
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsps salt, or to taste
  • 250 g basmati rice, thoroughly washed
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time: 7 minutes 

Using a mortar and pestle, make a fine paste with the garlic and ginger. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the yoghurt and stock or water. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over a low heat. Add the whole spices and fry for 20 seconds, then add the onion and fry for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn up the heat, then add the ginger and garlic paste and fry for 1–2 minutes.

Add the chicken, ground spices and salt and mix together well. Cover with a lid and cook for 8–10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add half the yoghurt stock, stir through, bring to the boil, cover and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Now add the rice and coriander and the remaining yoghurt stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and cook for 16–18 minutes, or until the rice liquid has evaporated and the chicken and rice are tender. Remove from the heat and leave to rest for 5–7 minutes with the lid on. Sprinkle with ground cumin and serve immediately with lime wedges.



• Chicken on the bone releases a more intense flavour to the dish.


Recipes from Indian Made Easy by Amandip Uppal (Murdoch Books, $39.99) Read our review and find more recipes here.