Pakistani Pulau

This is a spicy rice and chicken dish which needs only plain yogurt or a raita – yogurt salad – and fresh chutneys as accompani-ments. If you would prefer a milder tasting dish, seed the chillis before chopping them and reduce the quantity of chilli powder or omit it altogether.


2 oz. ghee or clarified butter

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1-inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 green chillis, finely chopped

1 X 3 lb. chicken, cut into small serving pieces or

8 chicken thighs

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon hot chilli powder

1 tablespoon ground coriander l teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

5 fl. oz. yogurt juice of 1 small lemon 12 oz. Basmati or other good long-grain rice, washed, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes and drained 12 fl. oz. boiling water

In a large saucepan, heat the ghee over moderate heat. When the ghee is hot, add the onion and fry, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic and green chillis, reduce the heat to moderately low and continue frying, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes.

Add the chicken pieces. Increase the heat to moderate and, turning the chicken pieces frequently, fry them for 8 minutes.

In a small mixing bowl or cup, combine the turmeric, chilli powder, coriander, salt, pepper, yogurt and lemon juice. Beat well to mix. Pour the mixture into the pan and stir well to mix. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes or until it is tender.

Uncover the pan and increase the heat to moderately high. Stir in the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid in the pan has been absorbed. Pour in the boiling water and cover the pan. When the water begins to boil again, reduce the heat to low and simmer the pulau for 15 to 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked and all the liquid has been absorbed.

Remove the pan from the heat and serve immediately.

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