Chicken & Chickpeas Pilau
A tasty, aromatic and nutritious pilau that is best served with a yoghurt/raita dip and mango pickle or kachumbar salad.
Preparing the Chicken (to be done first)
Put the the chicken pieces with all the ingredients and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Drain out the chicken and reserve the yakhni/soup for the pilau. The chicken will cook some more in the pilau so don't be tempted to cook it any longer than 15 minutes on low heat, otherwise it will end up being tough and stringy.
I normally use 1 1/4 cups of yakhni/soup for every cup of rice. Measure accordingly and adjust by adding water if needed.
Take a pan and put it on your stove. Remember that the rice will double after cooking, plus the chicken, chickpeas and potatoes that will go in there, you will need to have enough space in the pan. Turn on the heat and once the pan is hot, add the oil and butter.
Then add the spices you had placed on the saucer. Cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, pepper and cloves.
Allow the spices to plutter in the oil then add your chopped onions. Fry them to a golden brown colour, stirring with a wooden spoon. Then add the potatoes (if you are using them) followed by the turmeric and cumin/coriander powder.
Let these fry for a few minutes, then add the garlic paste and a bit of the chopped coriander.
The aroma should by now be brilliant. Add the boiled chicken and the drained chickpeas now. Stir together for a few minutes, then add the stock/soup/yakhni and some salt. Let the stock simmer and taste for the salt. You should be able to feel the saltiness. If it feels just right, it means you have too little. Remember that the rice will need some salt too, so let the salt be enough that you can taste it to be a bit more than you would want. Not too much of course!
Once the water starts boiling, drain your rice (which should have been pre-soaked for about half an hour) and add this rice to the stock. Sprinkle a bit of coriander on this, and stir a little. Let this cook on high heat for 2-3 minutes then reduce the heat to medium and keep cooking it whilst covered until the water diminishes, giving it a stir every now and then to make sure all the rice is cooked evenly and perfectly.
When you find there is very little water left in the rice, reduce the heat to the lowest point possible. Seal your pan by using a tight lid or by wetting a kitchen towel and placing it over the pan then placing a lid on top of it.
Leave the rice to continue steaming on very low heat for a good 10 minutes. Switch off and serve!