Chicken Yakhni Pulao

As we close in on 2013, it is time for some soul searching. As far as I am concerned, this year has been a year of mixed feelings. I really don't know what to say, but I definitely like to look it at this way - whatever I have learned this year, are lessons that will last with me for life long. That is for sure... Some times, some matters, some people, have given me such highs this year that I have never felt before, but at the same time, I have reached the bottoms that I had never touched before. So I have seen the heights and the depths... and both have taught me so much, that I want to keep them entrenched in my mind, to carry them tight on till I die, so that I keep practicing the good lessons and holding back from the bad ones, any time I feel like going by that path...

Say, “Are the ones who are blind in respect of the mind equal to those who are endowed with mental perception and understanding? Will you not then THINK & REFLECT?” 
[The Qur'an - Surah Anaam 6:50]

I strongly believe every person, every happening, every blessing, every sadness.... all that come into our life comes as a test - for us to open our eyes, to look at it and reflect, to discover what we are and what Allah has created for us... InShaAllah, wish to stay on the path of self discovery as much as I can, without losing hope, without losing track... :)

Before closing into the new year, I wanted to share a rice recipe and I was confused between a biriyani and a pulao. Having shared so many biriyani recipes in the recent past, I opted to share this yummy pulao instead. I have adapted the recipe from Chef Rakesh Puri's cookbook, from which I had tried the Chettinad Chicken Curry earlier and was satisfied. The pulao was really flavorful, however if you get your water quantity wrong, then you may get a soup! Fortunately, I got it almost 90% right, but I guess as for pulao, to get the water quantity correct especially when you cook in chicken stock needs a lot of experience, right? And I don't think I am an expert. I am still learning to cook in all possible variations and possibilities... hehe... I strongly believe cooking is a process of continuous learning and the time you feel you are the best, you slip into over-confidence and things may take a u-turn... Hmm... OK, so to the way that I made this yummy pulao...

Chicken Yakhni Pulao
Serves 4
Recipe adapted from "The Super Indian Cookbook 1" by Rakesh Puri


900 gm chicken, cut into medium pieces
2 1/2 cups basmati rice
3 tbsp oil
2 medium onions, sliced
2 tbsp ginger paste
2 tbsp garlic paste
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp red chilli powder (increase for spiciness)
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup yogurt, whisked
2 chicken stock cubes
A few strands saffron soaked in 2 tbsp warm milk
4 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
4 tbsp mint leaves, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp kewra water
For the bouquet garni (tie the below into a muslin cloth):
1 tsp peppercorns
1 tsp cloves
4 green cardamom, slightly crushed
2 inch pc cinnamon
3 bay leaf


Wash the rice and keep it soaked for one hour. Heat oil in a saucepan and add the cut chicken pieces. Fry till pink. Remove the chicken out and add the onions in the same oil. Saute till it becomes brown. Add the ginger and garlic pastes and saute till the raw smell goes. Add all the masala powders and saute for around 6 minutes, or till the raw smell goes. Add the chopped tomatoes, cook for a further five minutes. Now add in the whisked yogurt and cook for a couple of minutes. Add in the chicken, crumbled chicken cubes and 2.5 cups of the water, along with the bouquet garni and cook till the chicken becomes tender. Adjust the salt now. 

Dispose the bouquet garni. Add in the rice and the remaining required water. Here is the tricky part! You have to judge how much more water would be required to cook the rice, as normally rice requires 1.5 cups for 1 cup of water. I added another 1.5 cup water. Close the lid tight and cook till the rice is 70% done. Now add in the mint, coriander, lime juice, saffron soaked milk and kewra water and give it a light stir. Wrap the top of the saucepan with aluminium foil and close tightly. Transfer to a griddle and cook on dum on the griddle on slow flame for around 15 minutes. 

Switch off and leave to cool. Open the foil only at the time of serving. Mix well and serve warm!


In the original recipe, the dum was done with dough. If you are able to do it, then do so, I guess it would enhance the flavor.

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