Afghani Chicken Pilau

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Average: 4 (4 votes)
Serves 4-5

Quite possibly one of my absolute favourite pilau recipe! I have been experimenting and adjusting this recipe and finally I have found a balance that works beautifully for me, my family truly LOVES this meal and I am sure you will too!

This meal can also be made with mutton/lamb instead of chicken.
Ingredients for Spice Mix
1 tsp
black pepper powder
1/4 tsp
cardamom powder
1/4 tsp
cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp
garam masala powder
1 level tbsp
freshly roasted cumin seeds, powdered
1 level tbsp
freshly roasted coriander seeds, powdered
Main Ingredients
chicken, skin removed and cut into 8-10 pieces
(1-1.5 kg)
3 cups
1/2 cup
onions, finely sliced
1 tbsp
garlic paste
1 tbsp
ginger paste
green chilli, halved
1 tbsp
white vinegar
salt to taste
water as needed
Ingredients for Garnish
large carrots, grated or finely cut into thin strips
1/4 cup
1 tbsp

Combine all the Spice Mix ingredients together and set aside.

Heat the oil in a pan, fry the onions until golden. Remove and drain the fried onions, reserve half of them and crush the other half. In the same pan, with the oil still hot, add the chicken, ginger and garlic pastes and half tsp. salt. Fry the chicken on high heat on both sides until the meat changes color, about 5 minutes. Add the crushed onions and 1 tbsp from the powdered spices. Give everything a stir and then add 1 cup of water. Lower the heat and let the chicken simmer gently, covered on low heat until the chicken is tender. This should take about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the cuts of chicken. Take care to keep the heat on very low and not to over-cook the chicken as it will cook a little bit more during the steaming of the pilau.

In the meantime, prepare the rice. Soak the rice for at least 30 minutes. In a big pan of water, add some salt and the vinegar plus the green chilli. Once the water comes to a boil, drain the pre-soaked rice and cook it in the boiling water until it is about three-quarters done. Drain away the excess water from the rice.

When the chicken is done, turn off the heat. Now take a big pan, pour in half the cooked rice. Then layer the chicken with its masala over the rice, sprinkle the reserved half of the fried onions and the remaining powdered spices. Layer the remaining rice on top of the chicken. Cover the pan with a tight lid. Place on low heat and steam for about 15 minutes or bake in a preheated 180 C oven for the same amount of time.

Whilst the pilau is steaming, prepare the tomato chutney and the carrot/raisins garnish.

Here is my preferred tomato chutney recipe: Tomato Chutney

For the garnish, heat the butter then lightly fry the raisins and grated carrots for about a minute.

When the pilau is ready, serve it in a dish and pour the carrot/raisins garnish over it. You can even serve with raita on the side and the yummy tomato chutney of course.

Enjoy! :)


xcepting for the vinegar this is xactly the recipe of hyderabadi biryani

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Not really actually, hyderabadi uses yoghurt and a lot of other spices which this one does not. The results are completely different in appearance and flavour.

Absolutely yummy...u knw wat i love about fkf is dat de ingredients are local n so easy to work with

salaam, when u say of steaming do u mean to pressure cook it? also when we start the layering in another pan, shoudn't we add some oil to it?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, no it does not mean to pressure cook. It means to put the layered rice in a pot, cover it tight and put the whole thing on very low heat to steam for some time. No oil needed. Keep the heat on LOW!

I made afghani chicken pulao today n we had it for dinner... Superb !!! so light for taste buds yet Tasty !! Thank You Fauzia ... I am new to cooking n have been trying ur recipes n all of them give Very Good results Love xoxoxo

Wow!jst got to knw abt dis site by a frnd. Am so glad coz i luv cookin n experimentin new recipes,now i can learn a lot 4rm u. Will giv it a try,tnx so mch fauzia

Assalamu alayki fauzia. Pls i'l lyk 2 knw if there're cook books available dat i can get other than via dis site?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, thank you! At the moment we have not published a book yet, but hoping to do that soon inshaAllah. :)

I tried this and pulaoo came out absolutely WONDERFUL. Thanks a bunch!

Salaam Fauzia, is it OK if I use the regular roasted cummin powder and coriander powder instead of fresh.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, yes that is fine.

JazakAllah khair, could you please add the recipe for cooking plain rice so it's fluffy and separate and not mushy? Do you use the rice cooker or do it the standard way? In the recipes you only say 'to cook the rice' but I always have problems with making delicious fluffy rice. Thank you!

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Actually I always have a description on how to cook/prepare the rice. I never use a rice cooker. Please read through the instructions once more and see if you have any questions. :)

JazakAllah khair will have a look at more recipes inshaAllah!

salam sister, how many people would this recipe serve?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, serves 4-6.

I made this yesterday for iftar, and everyone loved it. I used lamb instead of chicken and i ended up roughly mixing the rice and meat because I needed to add more salt. But really glad i tried this! JazakAllah for the recipe!

salams dear aww shukran alot for this lovly yummy recpy i try today n it was wow it turn super yummy we are enjd alot thnkx dear <3

A salami aleikum fauzia hope u doing k.i have u deleted ur rid Britain recipies?plz put them back coz I wana try em.thanku.

Sori for spelling mistakes .I meant eid biriyani recipies

afta we layered it....slow cooked we mix ALL the ingredients in the pot?...then serve?

Fauzia&#039;s Kitchen Fun's picture

Yes you can mix it all up before serving.

which rice shud we use is it the ghee rice or the brown rice

Fauzia&#039;s Kitchen Fun's picture

Plain rice.

assalamu alaikum Fauzia. If we were using goat meat instead of chicken we would need to boil it beforehand before adding it to the pan in which we fried the onions, right? Jazakillah alfa khayr for your recipes, ameen

Fauzia&#039;s Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, no...use the meat raw and follow the same procedure. Simmer the meat until done after having fried it in the onion. It will take longer than the chicken though.

Salaamualaikum.. JazakAllah khairan for this lovely recipe. Cooked couple of times already and it became my families favourite..
I used Sella Basmati rice and it makes the taste 10 times better!!

Asalam aleikum sis, if am to use powdered coriander and cumin is it still 1 tsp of each? I want to try this tonight inshaallah. Shukran.

Sorry just realised its says powdered!!

i made it today and was really tasty and quite different and easy to make thanks for sharing this

samia's picture

mashalla fabulous recipe thank you so much

assalamualaikum.was this is like afghani namkheen?and also plz let me know whether we can add apple cider vinegar?

Fauzia&#039;s Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam. Not sure what Afghani namkheen is. And yes apple cider is fine.

Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu. My question is this: I have a big family and three cups of rice wouldnt be enough to feed us. If i used more rice wouldnt it skew the recipe or the chicken masala would be unaffected during the layering process? Jazakillah khayr.

Fauzia&#039;s Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, you can use more rice but the chicken may end up being too little. If possible, check how much rice you plan on using and then multiply the rest of the ingredients accordingly.


I was wondering should there be any water remaining in the pan or completely dry...., when you say when the chicken is done...after those 20 minutes?

and when i add the chicken to the rice ...if there is water remaining in the chicken..pan should i add all that to the rice to steam....?

What do you mean with "Then layer the chicken with its masala over the rice" ???'s masala that the spices that are used previously?

where do you get your ginger paste i've seen some in the chineese shops are there good and which brand do you use?

Fauzia&#039;s Kitchen Fun's picture

Hi! Yes there should be a bit of liquid in the pan after the chicken is cooked. This is what I called the masala. You add all this onto the rice when you layer. I grind my garlic and ginger at home, I never buy the ready made stuff.

I cooked this yesterday-first time. Very yummy. Thank you :)

This looks like a great recipe; can't wait to try it!
I don't like raisins, so can I use something else instead?

Fauzia&#039;s Kitchen Fun's picture

You can leave the raisins out. :)

Hey Fauzia , Can u plz tell me how can i make plain afghani pulao rice (without chicken)?
P.S- Your recipies are really nice and helpful :)

Fauzia&#039;s Kitchen Fun's picture

Hi, just omit the chicken, you can use vegetable stock as the liquid base for cooking the rice.

Salam Fauzia....wanna try this pulao for eid. Just wanted to know, can I prepare the chicken a day before and then proceed with the remaining part on the actual day? Waiting for you reply.