One of my mum’s recipes, we served this chicken pulao at O Pedro one Ramzan and it was a big success. It is not like other chicken pulaos – it is more aromatic than spicy and it is lighter on the stomach.

  • Serves


  • Cook Time


    Plus 30 minutes to prep


For Chicken Base

  • 1 kg chicken thighs, boned out and skinless
  • 300 gm potato, peeled and fried
  • 3 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp green chilli paste
  • 1 tsp green cardamom powder, freshly ground
  • 1 tsp white pepper powder (or black pepper)
  • 1 tsp fennel powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala, store-bought or homemade
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cup fried onions
  • ½ cup yoghurt
  • ¼ cup ghee
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 pcs stone flower (patthar ke phool)
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick
  • Salt to taste

For Rice

  • 3 cups basmati rice (or any long-grain rice you prefer)
  • 6 cups water
  • ¼ cup ghee
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 pcs stone flower (patthar ke phool)
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste
  • Splash of rose water

To Finish

  • 4 boiled eggs, peeled, salted and deep-fried in oil
  • 2 tbsp fried onions
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • 2-inch ginger, julienned
  • Juice of 1 lime


For Chicken Base

  1. Wash the chicken under cold running water and pat dry.
  2. Place the chicken in a bowl and rain salt over it. Marinate with all the pastes, fried onions, yoghurt and powdered spices for 30 minutes or for as long as 2 hours.
  3. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat ghee over low heat and toss in whole spices. Let them bloom for a couple of minutes.
  4. Drop in marinated chicken and cook on medium flame for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the chicken is done.
  5. Add fried potatoes and cool. Reserve for layering later.

For Rice

  1. Wash the rice until the water runs clean. Do this gently, making sure not to break the grains. Strain and reserve.
  2. In a wide saucepan (with a lid), heat ghee on medium flame and bloom the spices for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the rice and toast gently for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle in salt and sugar, followed with water. Taste the water – it should taste slightly overseasoned. The seasoning will be absorbed by the rice and be just perfect towards the end.
  5. Set it on a gentle simmer for around 6-7 minutes, stirring every 1-2 minutes.
  6. Hit it with some rose water for that added fragrance.
  7. Cover the pot and cook for around 10-15 minutes on very low flame.

To Serve

  1. Choose a servewear large enough to fit everything (preferably oven-proof). We will make two layers with the rice and chicken, but you can get adventurous and do many.
  2. Place the chicken at the bottom and sprinkle half the coriander leaves, ginger, mint and fried onions.
  3. Top that with cooked rice and garnish with eggs, remaining ginger, fried onions, mint and coriander leaves. Sprinkle lime juice.
  4. Cover the serveware with tin foil or a lid and place over a tava on medium flame or in the oven, so it can steam and all the components get cohesive.
  5. Serve with raita and papad or pickle.
Hussain Shahzad

Hussain Shahzad

Hussain Shahzad, the Executive Chef at O Pedro, a Goa-inspired restaurant in Mumbai, is Scroll Food’s Chef of the Month for October. He started his career with the Oberoi Group of Hotels in Mumbai, before moving to New York, where he worked at the iconic Eleven Madison Park. His culinary adventures have taken him around the world and included a brief stint as a personal chef to Roger Federer. Before taking the reins at O Pedro, he was a part of the team at the award-winning The Bombay Canteen. A dynamic and bold chef, Hussain’s food philosophy is to showcase local produce using contemporary culinary techniques.

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