In India, a pulao (or pulav) is a delicately spiced aromatic rice dish that may contain vegetables, meat, chicken, seafood, paneer, dry fruits, nuts or any combination of these delicious ingredients. This tasty rice dish is usually made on special occasions, holidays & festivals.
Many of you may be more familiar with the Indian biryani dishes. But what differentiates a biryani from a pulao is that in a biryani, all the ingredients are cooked separately, then layered together and finally baked. In contrast, a pulao combines all of the ingredients together in one cooking pot - which is then cooked directly on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker or rice cooker.
Although authentic & traditional biryanis are quite labor intensive, most people think making pulaos is also equally complicated. But this couldn’t be further from the truth! My Jhat Pat Chicken Pulao is so simple to prepare & delicious to eat – making this the absolute perfect recipe for a quick, one-pot weeknight meal or for entertaining last minute dinner guests. In Marathi, “jhat pat” means quickly ☺.
JHAT PAT CHICKEN PULAO (Quick & Easy Weeknight Chicken Pilaf)
2˝ cups Basmati rice
1 lb boneless/skinless chicken thighs (trimmed & cut into half)
2 tbsp pulao masala (or garam masala)
salt & pepper, to taste
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick (about 1” in length)
2 bay leaves
2-3 green cardamom pods
2-3 whole cloves
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2-3 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1˝” piece of ginger, peeled & finely grated
˝ cup unsalted almond slices
Ľ cup golden raisins
˝ tsp turmeric (haldi)
1 tsp ground coriander powder
3˝ cups chicken or vegetable stock
1˝ cups thin coconut milk
2 tbsp ghee or oil (vegetable), divided & as needed
juice of ˝ lemon
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
Wash the Basmati rice under cold water, swishing through the grains with your hand & pouring off any cloudy water. Keep repeating this process until the water is clear. Then add enough water to just cover the Basmati rice & let it soak for about 15-20 minutes. Drain well before use.
Generously season both sides of the chicken liberally with pulao masala, salt & pepper. Mix well to combine & refrigerate until needed.
In a large heavy bottomed pan on medium heat, add about 2 tbsp of the ghee. When hot, add the whole spices (cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, green cardamom, cloves). Let the spices cook for about a minute or so before adding in the onions along with the garlic, ginger, almond slices & golden raisins. Stir well & let the onions cook until soft & translucent. Then add in the turmeric & ground coriander powder. Mix well & let cook for just a couple of minutes before adding in the rice. Gently stir, making sure the rice grains are well coated with the fragrant spices & aromatics. Once the rice has a nutty & fragrant aroma, add in the chicken pieces. Mix gently to combine all of the ingredients together & then add in the chicken stock together with the coconut milk. Bring to a good boil, cover & let simmer on low for about 18-20 minutes or until both the rice & chicken are completely cooked through. Then remove the pot completely off the heat & allow to rest for 5-10 minutes for serving. Fluff the rice gently with a fork to separate the grains. Finish the dish with a drizzle of lemon juice over the top & garnish with the cilantro leaves. Serve immediately & enjoy!