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Chicken pilau-style rice

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First part of the dish
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 small potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 4 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger root
  • 0.5 tsp chilli powder
  • 0.5 tsp ground black pepper
  • 0.5 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 0.5 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 piece cinnamon stick
  • 3 boneless chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • 3 cups basmati rice
Second part of the dish
  • 2.5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 medium onions, diced
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 5 cardomom pods
  • 10 whole cloves, peeled
  • 1 piece cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 4.5 cups boiling water
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • Cooking Time
    30 minutes
  • Serving
    Serves 10
  • Skill Level
    Not that bad


The long awaited,  highly requested Nosaiba-style chicken pilau-style rice. I found this recipe years back, and have adapted it slightly according to how I like it (mainly increasing the quantity of onions and garlic). 
  1. To make the first part of the dish, place 2 tbsp of the vegetable oil in a large skillet, and fry the potatoes until brown. Drain and reserve the potatoes on the side
  2. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil to the skillet and fry the onions, garlic and ginger, until the onions are soft and golden
  3. Add the chilli powder, black pepper, turmeric, cumin, salt and tomatoes to the skillet, and fry stirring constantly for five minutes
  4. Add the yoghurt, mint, cardamom and cinnamon stick to the skillet. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes are cooked to a pulp (you may need to add a little water if the mixture becomes too dry and sticks to the pan)
  5. When the mixture becomes smooth and thick, add the chicken pieces and stir well to coat them with the mixture. At this point, I also add the potatoes so they can become coated too. Cover and cook over a very low heat until the chicken is tender, which takes around 35-45 minutes. By the end, there should be very thick, small amount of gravy left (so if there is lots of gravy, cook uncovered for a few minutes)
  6. Meanwhile, wash the rice very well (washing under cold water and draining roughly 5-6 times) and drain, setting it aside for at least 30 minutes (or until ready to be used)
  7. Start making the second part of the dish once the chicken is nearly cooked (has 5 minutes remaining). In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil and fry the onions until golden
  8. Add the saffron, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, ginger and rice to the onions and stir continuously, ensuring the rice is well coated
  9. In a separate bowl, add the boiling water to the chicken stock cube and salt, mixing well. Then add this to the rice and stir well
  10. Add the chicken and potato mixture to the rice, and gently mix. Bring to the boil, then cover the saucepan tightly, turning the heat to very low and steaming for around 20-30 minutes (do not lift the lid or stir whilst cooking)....then serve :)

Well, there you have it! Chicken pilau-style rice! Had to take quick pictures - as food needed to be served, so not the best shots! It isn't the quickest or easiest of dishes, but it is something tasty to make from time to time. The dish requires you to multi-task, so my advice would be to read the recipe beforehand very well, and if you are the slow type, prepare things pre-hand so work doesn't over-load and you end up burning the onions for example :)

Serve with a salad, yoghurt etc... I know I have made this many times before, but if I could do it....yes...you guessed right, anyyyyone can :D enjoy :)


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