The chicken in this classic Pakistani pulao recipe cooks in a spicy stock which is then used to flavour the rice.
- 6 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 red onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 tsp crushed or grated garlic
- 1 green chilli, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp Greek-style yoghurt
- 650g/1lb 7oz basmati rice, washed and soaked for 1 hour
- salad leaves, to serve
- raita, to serve
For the chicken stock
- 6–8 skinless chicken thigh and leg pieces
- 1 tomato, quartered
- 1 red onion, quartered
- 5–6 unpeeled garlic cloves
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 5cm/2in cinnamon stick
- 2 black cardamom pods
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 1 tsp black peppercorn
- 4–5 cloves
- 1 large bay leaf
- salt, to taste
To make the chicken stock, put all the ingredients in a large saucepan with 2 pints of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes, skimming off any foam. Turn off the heat, remove the chicken and set aside. Strain the stock and discard all the remaining solids.
Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the cumin. When they begin to pop and turn brown, add the onions, ginger, garlic and chilli. Cook until the onions are brown, but be careful not to burn them. Turn down the heat, then add a ladleful of chicken stock and cover the pan (be careful as it will splutter). Cook for 3–4 minutes. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown.
Stir in the yoghurt and cook for 4–5 minutes, or until all the water has evaporated, stirring all the time.
Add the rice and another 250ml/9fl oz stock (or just enough to cover the rice). If you run out of stock, use water. Any leftover stock can be frozen.
Adjust the seasoning, cover and turn the heat to its lowest setting. Cook for 10–15 minutes, but keep checking. It’s done when all the liquid has be absorbed and the rice stands on end but is not soggy. Take the lid off and fluff up the rice with a fork. Turn off the heat and serve immediately with raita and salad.