This gorgeous as well as flavorful cashew & chicken pilaf will make your weekends extra special without much of an effort because this is not only delish but also absolutely easy to make!
I love weekends for one thing among many others and that is I can make something special which I generally skip on busy weekdays and today’s recipe of cashew & chicken pilaf is one such recipe which is best enjoyed over the weekends like we did on last Sunday. Well, I don’t skip the special recipes because they are difficult, but because you may need to pay little more attention on the precision in such dishes. You will get more clarity on what I am talking about as I proceed towards the recipe! But, at this point you must believe me that this cashew & chicken pilaf is anything but difficult! Whatever effort you put in here, it will pay and that too handsomely! Last Saturday turned out to be quite eventful for me. A full day in a sports park with a gang of enthusiastic people can be quite taxing for a lazy bun like me; but along with some muscle pains I also had a lot of fun!
After such sporty Saturday, I had to utilize the entire Sunday to gather my energy back and be ready for the upcoming work-week which was bound to be hectic. Well, in case you are wondering how on earth I could make this chicken pilaf the very next day given that I was not in the best of my energy level, I will have to repeat the clichéd sentence – I am never too tired for cooking and I really live by it! This also proves that this recipe of chicken pilaf is not difficult whatsoever but just need that extra bit of concentration. While boiling the rice, you need to attend it continuously so that you do not overcook the rice at all. (On weekdays, I prefer the one-pot kind of meals or something which I can just shut inside the oven and forget about it until dinner time.) We enjoyed this stunning cashew & chicken pilaf with the best ever home-style lamb curry (recipe coming soon!) that mother-in-law prepared with all her specialty!
This cashew & chicken pilaf is a fluffy rice recipe dominantly flavored with ground allspice and ground cinnamon. Then you have the sautéed chicken cut into bite-sized pieces which not only add taste but good dose of protein; plus, there are specs of cashew nuts which add extra crunch to your chicken pilaf. If you get the rice right for the chicken pilaf, the remaining things are quite a breeze. This chicken pilaf recipe doesn’t even call for lot of chopping which is good news for me. Just fry up the cashew nuts, walnuts or almonds, whichever you prefer. I used cashew nuts in my chicken pilaf; then fry the chicken pieces and finally assemble everything. Just make sure to use a good quality non-stick pot, else the rice may stick and you will end up with all mashed-up pilaf which of course you wouldn’t want!
The spices in this chicken pilaf was simple and not very over-powering since we were serving it with the very exotic lamb curry which had a deep spicy flavor. This chicken pilaf is primarily flavored with an amazing spice which may not be very popular all over India yet, but used heavily in South Indian cooking, especially in Keralian cuisine. This is called allspice which has a deep earthy flavor to it and lends beautiful aroma to any dish it is added to. I have whole allspice which resembles whole black peppercorn but have a smoother outer surface. Best way to ground allspice is to use a mortar and pestle to get the maximum flavor out of it! This combination of mildly spiced chicken pilaf and super-spicy lamb curry proved to be a match-made-in-heaven and rocked our lazy Sunday! Try this easy chicken pilaf on your next lazy weekend and let me know your feedback! Enjoy!
- Boneless & skinless chicken thighs – 500 gms, cut into small bite-size pieces
- Cashew nuts – ½ cup, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil – 4 tbsp
- Onion – 2, medium, chopped
- Garlic – 4 to 6 cloves, minced
- Basmati rice or long-grain white rice – 1 cup
- Cumin powder – 1 tsp
- Ground allspice – 1 tsp
- Cinnamon powder – ½ tsp
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh coriander leaves – ¼ cup, chopped
- Cook the Basmati rice in heavily salted boiling water until ¾ done which will take about 10 minutes. Drain the rice and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside and let the rice cool down.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large non-stick wok or skillet and fry the chicken pieces until golden and cooked through. Season with salt to taste. Once done, take them out and set aside in a bowl.
- In the same wok, sauté the cashew nuts until golden brown. Set them aside too!
- Heat the remaining oil in the same wok and add the chopped onion and garlic. Sauté them on medium heat until soft. This will take about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Now add the cumin powder, cinnamon powder and ground allspice. Season with salt and pepper to taste and give the spices few quick stir.
- Add the rice, fried cashew nuts and fried chicken with all the chicken juices which might have accumulated at the bottom of the bowl.
- Now using 2 forks, mix everything together making sure that all the rice get coated with the spices and seasonings. Don’t stir the rice vigorously as that may break the long rice grains.
- Once all the ingredients mix together well and are heated through, remove the wok from flame. Sprinkle some freshly chopped coriander leaves and serve the cashew & chicken pilaf hot with some spicy home-style Indian curry! Enjoy!