This flavorful chicken pilaf will make your weekend lunch extra special without much of an effort because this is not only easy but also absolutely delish!
I love weekend for one thing and that is I can plan something special which I generally skip on busy weekdays. Well I don’t skip them because they are difficult but because you need to pay little more attention on the precision in such cases. You will get clarity on what I am talking about as I proceed towards the recipe!
But at this point you must be convinced that this chicken pilaf is anything but difficult! Whatever effort/attention you put in, it will pay and that too handsomely!
This 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!
I had to utilize the entire Sunday to gather my energy back and be ready for the upcoming week which seems to be quite hectic. I had to skip my weekly supermarket trip as I was way too tired; but was blessed to have my sweet mother-in-law who made my Sunday with the best ever home-style lamb curry (recipe coming soon!)
You must be wondering how on earth I could make this chicken pilaf given that I was not in the best of my energy level. Well, in case you are really wondering, 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 in any sense 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 stuck in the oven and forget about it until dinner time.
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 a good news for me. Just fry up some nuts – cashew nuts, walnuts, almonds whichever you prefer. I used cashew nuts in this instance. 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! I recommend the Alda ceramic coated casserole which is perfect for such stick-prone recipes and I use it almost all the time!
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! I guess that gives you some context on the allspice!
This combination of mildly spiced chicken pilaf and super-spicy lamb curry proved to be a match-made-in-heaven! Try this easy chicken pilaf on your next lazy weekend and let me know your feedback!
- 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 saucepan or stockpot and fry the chicken pieces until golden and cooked through. Season with salt and set aside in a bowl.
- In the same saucepan, sauté the cashew nuts until golden brown. Set them aside too!
- Heat the remaining oil in the same saucepan 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 coasted 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 saucepan from flame. Sprinkle some chopped fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with some spicy home-style Indian curry!