The Ultimate Chicken Pulao Recipe

If you’re a fan of Indian cuisine, you’ve probably heard of or tasted Chicken Pulao. This delicious and aromatic dish is a staple in many Indian households, and for a good reason. It’s a one-pot meal that combines the rich flavors of chicken, fragrant spices, and perfectly cooked rice. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the world of Chicken Pulao and provide you with the ultimate Chicken Pulao recipe that’s easy to follow and will have your taste buds dancing with joy.

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What is Chicken Pulao?

Chicken Pulao is a popular South Asian dish that consists of chicken, rice, and a blend of aromatic spices. It’s often compared to Biryani, but the two dishes have distinct differences. While Biryani typically uses a fragrant and richly spiced sauce, Chicken Pulao is lighter and has a more subtle flavor. The spices used in Chicken Pulao are balanced in a way that enhances the taste of the chicken and rice without overpowering them.

The Versatility of Chicken Pulao

One of the best things about Chicken Pulao is its versatility. You can customize the recipe to suit your preferences and dietary restrictions. Whether you’re a fan of spicy food or prefer something milder, Chicken Pulao can be tailored to your taste. You can also add vegetables, nuts, or dried fruits to create variations of this classic dish. This versatility makes Chicken Pulao a favorite for family dinners, special occasions, and even a quick weeknight meal.

The Ultimate Chicken Pulao Recipe

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of preparing the ultimate Chicken Pulao. This recipe serves 4 and is sure to become a staple in your kitchen.


– 2 cups of Basmati rice

– 500g bone-in chicken pieces (you can use a combination of drumsticks, thighs, and breast pieces)

– 2 large onions, thinly sliced

– 2 tomatoes, chopped

– 3 cloves of garlic, minced

– 1-inch piece of ginger, minced

– 2 green chilies, slit lengthwise

– 2 bay leaves

– 4-5 green cardamom pods

– 4-5 cloves

– 1 cinnamon stick

– 1 tsp cumin seeds

– 1 tsp coriander powder

– 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

– 1 tsp red chili powder (adjust to your spice preference)

– 1/2 cup plain yogurt

– 2 cups water

– 2 tbsp cooking oil

– Salt to taste

– Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

– Lemon wedges for garnish


  1. Start by washing the Basmati rice under cold running water until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in water for 30 minutes, then drain and set aside.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the cooking oil over medium heat. Add the bay leaves, green cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick, and cumin seeds. Sauté for a minute or until the spices release their aroma.
  3. Add the thinly sliced onions to the pot and sauté until they turn golden brown. This may take around 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure even browning.
  4. Once the onions are caramelized, add the minced garlic, ginger, and green chilies. Sauté for a couple of minutes until the raw aroma disappears.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they turn soft and the oil starts to separate from the mixture.
  6. Now, add the chicken pieces to the pot and cook until they turn white and start to brown.
  7. Add the coriander powder, turmeric powder, and red chili powder. Mix well to coat the chicken with the spices.
  8. Pour in the plain yogurt and cook for a few minutes until the chicken is well-coated with the yogurt and the mixture thickens.
  9. Add the drained Basmati rice to the pot and sauté for 2-3 minutes to allow the rice to absorb the flavors.
  10. Pour in 2 cups of water and season with salt. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  11. Once the mixture boils, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the rice and chicken are cooked through. Ensure that the rice is tender and the chicken is fully cooked.
  12. Once the Chicken Pulao is ready, fluff the rice with a fork and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and lemon wedges.
  13. Serve your delicious Chicken Pulao hot with raita (yogurt sauce) or a side salad for a complete meal.

Chicken Pulao is a delightful dish that brings together the flavors of chicken, aromatic spices, and perfectly cooked rice. This one-pot wonder is not only delicious but also versatile, allowing you to customize it to your liking. With the ultimate Chicken Pulao recipe we’ve provided, you can now recreate this classic Indian dish in your own kitchen. Whether it’s a special occasion or a simple weeknight dinner, Chicken Pulao is sure to satisfy your cravings for a flavorful and comforting meal. Give it a try, and you’ll understand why it’s a favorite in many households.


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