Chicken Pulao Recipe with a Special Paste

Special Chicken Pulao recipe is a delightful twist on the classic chicken pulao, adding an extra layer of flavor and complexity to the dish. It can be served on its own as a complete meal or accompanied by raita (yogurt dip), onion salad, or a side dish of your choice.

There are hundreds of different kinds of chicken pulao in India. This chicken pulao is not region-specific but packs much more of a punch spice-wise. I am sharing the chicken pulao recipe to make it in a pot over the stovetop.

Whether you’re cooking for a special occasion (family gatherings, celebrations, festivities, guests, parties) or simply craving a chicken pulao with a unique taste, try this special chicken pulao recipe.

chicken pulao recipe

What is Chicken Pulao?

Chicken pulao is a one-pot meal that combines the goodness of tender chicken, aromatic basmati rice, and a blend of spices and herbs.

The combination of tender chicken pieces and flavorful and aromatic rice makes it a favorite among non-veg lovers.

Unlike biryani, which incorporates layers of rice and meat, chicken pulao is a one-pot dish where the rice and chicken are cooked together, allowing the flavors to infuse and meld harmoniously.

The process of making chicken pulao involves sautéing the chicken with a blend of spices and herbs which creates a tantalizing aroma. The rice is then added to the pot, absorbing the flavors of the spices and the chicken. The combination of tender chicken and fluffy rice makes each bite a pleasure for the taste buds.

About Special Chicken Pulao Recipe

Special Chicken Pulao recipe is a flavorful and aromatic rice dish that combines tender chicken pieces with fragrant basmati rice and a special paste made from a blend of spices and herbs.

The special pulao paste is made by sauteeing a combination of whole spices, onion, tomato, green chilies, aromatics, and herbs.

Making the pulao paste may seem like an extra step but it is worth the time and effort. It is specifically designed to add an extra burst of flavor to the chicken pulao.

The special pulao paste used in this recipe enhances the flavors, infusing the dish with rich and bold flavors that will leave you craving more. The pulao paste is the key to infusing the chicken and rice with their distinct fragrances and flavors, ensuring that each bite is a burst of deliciousness.

The use of whole spices and green chilies makes the chicken pulao tad spicy. If you’re a fan of bold and spicy flavors, then spicy chicken pulao is the perfect dish to satisfy your cravings.

While the special paste provides a base flavor profile, it also allows for customization. You can adjust the quantity of ingredients to suit your personal taste preferences while still benefiting from the flavorful foundation.

Reasons to try

Easy to make.

Delightful.

No marination is needed.

Wholesome and satisfying meal.

Crowd-pleasing dish.

Customizable.

Easily double or triple the recipe.

Leftovers taste better.

Pro Tips

1. Choose the right rice: Use aged and good-quality long-grain basmati rice for the best results. Basmati rice adds a fragrant aroma and fluffy texture to the pulao.

2. Rinse and soak the rice: Rinse the rice to get rid of excess starch and soak it for 30 minutes to an hour before cooking can result in longer and fluffier grains.

3. Use fresh ingredients: Using freshly ground spices elevates the taste of the pulao.

4. Sear the chicken: Searing chicken at high heat helps to reduce the raw smell of the meat to some extent. It also quickly seals the surface, which means that the chicken will be more tender and juicy when it’s fully cooked.

5. Measure water properly: Use the right amount of water when cooking the rice. The general rule is to use 2 cups of water for every cup of rice.

6. Add coriander leaves and mint leaves towards the end: The herbs are delicate and can lose their vibrant flavor if cooked for too long. Therefore, it’s best to add them towards the end of the cooking process.

7. Cook on low heat: Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and cook on low heat.

8. Let it rest: Once the pulao is cooked, let it rest for a few minutes before fluffing it with a fork. The resting period allows the rice grains to absorb the extra moisture and firm up slightly.

Ingredients

Chicken: I have used bone-in chicken. The bones contain marrow that releases a lot of juice while cooking making this chicken pulao very delicious and flavorful.

Feel free to use boneless chicken breasts or chicken thighs.

Rice: I have opted for long-grain basmati rice which is an ideal variety for any pulao.

Special pulao paste: shahi jeera, cloves, cinnamon stick, green cardamom, star anise, stone flower, green chilies, onion, ginger, garlic, tomato, coriander leaves, mint leaves, and salt.

Whole spices: shahi jeera, cloves, cinnamon stick, green cardamom, star anise, and stone flower.

Cooking Fat: I have used oil and ghee.

Dry spices: turmeric powder and red chili powder.

Water: to cook rice and chicken.

Seasoning & Herbs: salt, coriander leaves, and mint leaves.

How to make Special Chicken Pulao

Step 1: Soaking the Rice

1. Measure 1.5 cups of rice and transfer to a bowl.

2. Pour water until the rice is completely submerged. Gently swirl the rice around with your fingers in the water. This helps loosen any dirt or impurities clinging to the grains. Drain the water from the bowl.

Repeat 2 to 3 times or until the water runs clear.

3. Pour enough water (4 cups) into the bowl to fully submerge the rice.

Allow the basmati rice to soak in the water for at least 30 minutes. If time permits, soak it for up to 1 hour for best results.

Step 2: Make the Pulao Paste

4. Heat oil in a pan over medium flame. Once the oil is hot, add shahi jeera, cloves, cinnamon stick, green cardamom, star anise, and stone flower. Saute for a few seconds until they are aromatic.

5. Add green chilies and saute for 10 seconds.

6. Add thinly sliced onions and saute for 10-20 seconds.

7. Add garlic and ginger. Continue to saute for a few minutes until the onions turn soft.

8. Add sliced tomatoes and salt. Saute until the tomatoes turn soft and mushy.

9. Add coriander leaves and mint leaves. Saute until the leaves wilt. Turn off the flame and let the mixture cool completely.

10. Transfer the mixture to a blender or grinder jar.

Grind to a smooth paste by adding little water.

Step 3: Making the Chicken Pulao

11. Heat oil in a deep pan over medium flame. Swirl the oil around to coat the bottom of the pan evenly.

Once the oil is hot, add shahi jeera, cloves, cinnamon stick, star anise, and stone flavor. Saute until they are aromatic.

12. Carefully add the chicken pieces. Let them cook undisturbed for a couple of minutes to sear and develop a golden-brown color on one side.

13. Use a spatula and flip them over. Stir fry the chicken continuously, allowing all sides to cook evenly, with no pink color remaining, and the juices run clear.

This usually takes about 5-8 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken pieces.

14. Add the salt, turmeric powder, and red chili powder. Stir well until the chicken pieces are coated well with the spices.

Seasoning the chicken is important at this stage.

15. Add the freshly ground masala paste to the pan. Mix well with the chicken and saute for 5 minutes or until it releases its flavors and becomes fragrant.

This step helps to enhance the aroma and taste of the spices.

16. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid. Allow the chicken to simmer in the masala for about 15-20 minutes or until it is cooked through and tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

Chicken will release water while cooking which is enough for it to cook. If water is not released, add little water and continue to simmer.

17. Add 3 cups of water and give a good mix. Turn the flame to high and let the water come to a rolling boil.

Add the same water in which the rice was soaked.

18. Add the soaked rice and give a good mix.

Be gentle when mixing the rice with the chicken to avoid breaking the rice grains.

19. Continue to cook on a high flame until the water reduces. Add coriander leaves, mint leaves, and clarified butter. Give a good mix.

The leaves add a freshness to the dish and enhance its flavor.

20. Once the water level is reduced and rice grains are visible, turn the flame to low, cover the pan, and simmer on low flame for 10-12 minutes.

For me, it took exactly 10 minutes. The time will depend on the quality of the rice and the intensity of the flame.

21. Once the pulao is cooked, turn off the flame and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Open the lid and gently mix from the edges.

Chicken Pulao is ready. Serve hot or warm with raita or your choice of side dish.

Serving Suggestions

Chicken pulao is often served as a main course meal that does not require additional accompaniments. However, you can also pair this rice dish with various side dishes and condiments to enhance the dining experience. Below are a few suggestions:

1. Raita: Serve chicken pulao with a side of refreshing raita (yogurt dip). The cool and creamy yogurt-based dip complements the flavorful and spiced rice, providing a refreshing contrast.

2. Salad: Accompany the special chicken pulao with a crisp and vibrant salad. A simple mixed green salad with cucumber, tomatoes, and onions dressed with tangy lemon juice adds a refreshing element to the meal.

3. Lemon wedges: Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the chicken pulao just before serving. The tangy citrus flavor adds a refreshing element that cuts through the spiciness of the dish, balancing the flavors.

Storage Suggestions

If you have leftover chicken pulao, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Allow the pulao to cool down to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container.

Before serving, reheat in a pan or microwave.

1. Stovetop Method:

i. Transfer the pulao to a pan. Add a splash of water and ghee to the pan to prevent the rice from drying out.

ii. Heat the pulao over medium heat, stirring occasionally to distribute the heat evenly.

iii. Continue heating until the pulao is thoroughly heated

2. Microwave Method:

i. Place the desired portion of chicken pulao in a microwave-safe dish.

ii. If the pulao appears dry, add a splash of water and ghee to add moisture.

iii. Microwave the pulao thoroughly heated. Pause and stir the pulao halfway through the reheating process to ensure even heating.

spicy chicken pulao recipe

Variations & Substitutions

1. You can add vegetables like potatoes, carrots, peas, or drumsticks to make the pulao more nutritious and colorful.

2. Can add boiled eggs just before covering the pan with a lid.

3. You can skip adding whole spices in the tempering and add 1/4-1/2 tsp of garam masala powder or chicken masala powder at step 19.

4. Infuse your pulao with the creaminess of coconut milk. Replace a portion of the water with coconut milk to create a creamy and subtly sweet flavor profile.

More Related Recipes

Coriander Vegetable Pulao

Masala Vegetable Pulao

Tomato Pulao

Soya Granules Pulao

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Recipe Card

Chicken Pulao Recipe with a Special Paste

Author: Santosh Allada
Chicken Pulao Recipe with a Special Paste is a delightful twist on the classic pulao. It is a flavorful and aromatic rice dish that combines tender chicken pieces with fragrant basmati rice and a special paste made from a blend of spices and herbs.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 3 people

Ingredients
  

Pulao Paste

  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 2 numbers Cloves
  • 1 inch Cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp Shahi jeera (or cumin seeds)
  • 1 small Star anise
  • 1/2 tbsp Stone flower
  • 2 numbers Green Cardamom
  • 1 medium Onion (thinly sliced)
  • 6-7 cloves Garlic (with or without skin)
  • 1 inch Ginger
  • 1 medium Tomato
  • 3 tbsp Coriander leaves
  • 2 tbsp Mint leaves
  • 5-7 numbers Green Chilies (as per your spice preference)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Chicken Pulao

  • 250 grams Chicken (bone-in or boneless)
  • 1.5 cups Rice (basmati or long grain)
  • 3-4 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tbsp Clarified butter (ghee)
  • 1/2 tsp Shahi jeera
  • 2 numbers Bay leaf
  • 2 numbers Cloves
  • 1/2 inch Cinnamon stick
  • 1 number Green Cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 3 cups Water
  • Salt to taste

Instructions
 

Soaking the Rice

  • Measure 1.5 cups of rice and transfer to a bowl.
  • Pour water until the rice is completely submerged. Gently swirl the rice around with your fingers in the water. This helps loosen any dirt or impurities clinging to the grains. Drain the water from the bowl.
  • Repeat 2 to 3 times or until the water runs clear.
  • Pour enough water (4 cups) into the bowl to fully submerge the rice.
  • Allow the basmati rice to soak in the water for at least 30 minutes. If time permits, soak it for up to 1 hour for best results.

Make the Pulao Paste

  • Heat oil in a pan over medium flame. Once the oil is hot, add shahi jeera, cloves, cinnamon stick, green cardamom, star anise, and stone flower. Saute for a few seconds until they are aromatic.
  • Add green chilies and saute for 10 seconds.
  • Add thinly sliced onions and saute for 10-20 seconds.
  • Add garlic and ginger. Continue to saute for a few minutes until the onions turn soft.
  • Add sliced tomatoes and salt. Saute until the tomatoes turn soft and mushy.
  • Add coriander leaves and mint leaves. Saute until the leaves wilt. Turn off the flame and let the mixture cool completely.
  • Transfer the mixture to a blender or grinder jar. Grind to a smooth paste by adding little water.

Making the Chicken Pulao

  • Heat oil in a deep pan over medium flame. Swirl the oil around to coat the bottom of the pan evenly.
  • Once the oil is hot, add shahi jeera, cloves, cinnamon stick, star anise, and stone flavor. Saute until they are aromatic.
  • Carefully add the chicken pieces. Let them cook undisturbed for a couple of minutes to sear and develop a golden-brown color on one side.
  • Use a spatula and flip them over. Stir fry the chicken continuously, allowing all sides to cook evenly, with no pink color remaining, and the juices run clear.
  • Add the salt, turmeric powder, and red chili powder. Stir well until the chicken pieces are coated well with the spices.
  • Add the freshly ground masala paste to the pan. Mix well with the chicken and saute for 5 minutes or until it releases its flavors and becomes fragrant.
  • Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid. Allow the chicken to simmer in the masala for about 15-20 minutes or until it is cooked through and tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Add 3 cups of water and give a good mix. Turn the flame to high and let the water come to a rolling boil.
  • Add the soaked rice and give a good mix.
  • Continue to cook on a high flame until the water reduces. Add coriander leaves, mint leaves, and clarified butter. Give a good mix.
  • Once the water level is reduced and rice grains are visible, turn the flame to low, cover the pan, and simmer on low flame for 10-12 minutes.
  • Once the pulao is cooked, turn off the flame and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Open the lid and gently mix from the edges.
  • Chicken Pulao is ready. Serve hot or warm with raita or your choice of side dish.

Notes

Use aged and good-quality of basmati rice.
The special paste is the key ingredient that adds a unique flavor to the chicken pulao.
Adjust spice level as per your preference. If you prefer a milder pulao, reduce the quantity of whole spices, green chilies, and red chili powder.
To achieve perfectly cooked rice, follow the recommended rice-to-water ratio.
The cooking time for chicken pulao may vary depending on the type of rice used and the size of the chicken pieces. Ensure that the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender.


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