Easiest ever chicken pilaf

Easiest ever chicken pilaf

Anjum's Quick & Easy Indian
Lisa Linder

Sometimes, you just want everything thrown into one pot. This is that kind of recipe and perfect for a midweek family meal. I prefer chicken thighs as they have more flavour and succulence, but use breasts if you prefer. Lovely just as it is, with some yogurt on the side.

Basmati rice is completely essential. No other rice has that wonderfully intense aroma, and the texture is also vastly superior to other long-grain rices. With my recipes, you will always get perfect stodge-free rice without fuss. So never let your kitchen be without a packet.


Quantity Ingredient
300g basmati rice, washed well
2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 smallish onions, sliced
10g root ginger, grated, (peeled weight)
3 garlic cloves, grated
200g plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder, or to taste (optional)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 rounded teaspoon garam masala
a good grinding freshly ground black pepper
400g skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into large pieces
500ml chicken stock
1/2 lemon
2 spring onions, finely sliced
handful coriander leaves, to serve (optional)


  1. Wash the rice, then leave it to soak while you cook.
  2. Heat the ghee or oil in a non-stick saucepan and add the cumin seeds. Once these have darkened, add the onions and fry over a medium heat until turning golden at the edges. Add the ginger and garlic, reduce the heat and cook for one minute, adding a splash of water if the garlic sticks.
  3. Add the yogurt, chilli, turmeric, garam masala, some salt and black pepper. Cook over a high heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil. Continue to cook, still stirring, for another three minutes, then add the chicken and cook until most of the yogurt has been absorbed and the masala releases oil back into the pan.
  4. Drain the rice and stir it in with the stock. Taste the water and adjust the seasoning. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to as low as it goes. Cook undisturbed for eight minutes, then check a grain of rice: it should be cooked. If not, cook for another minute or so. Turn off the heat and leave to steam for five minutes, with the lid on, or until you are ready to eat. Fork in a good squeeze of lemon juice and the spring onions and coriander (if using), fluffing up the rice as you do so, then serve.
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