Boneless Chicken Pilau

Servings : Serves 4-5

My husband always insists that using boneless cuts of meat makes eating any meal quite a lot easier. I believe he has a good point! Thus, my boneless chicken pilau recipe, a delicious meal that doesn’t take long to prepare and is equally as fast to devour! I prefer chicken thighs for this recipe as they retain their moisture better than boneless chicken breast, but the option is entirely yours on which cut you prefer. You could also add in some mixed veggies with the chicken to elevate the nutrition factor of this meal.

Whole Spices

  • 1 tbsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp whole black pepper
  • 2 cardamom
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 small cinnamon sticks


  • 3 cups basmati rice (approx 500gm)
  • 500gm boneless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed (optional)
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste (optional)
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube like maggi or knorr (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder (optional)
  • water/stock, as needed
  • salt to taste
  • chopped fresh dhania/coriander


First, put the chicken chunks in a bowl and add the yoghurt plus half the ginger and garlic pastes, half a tsp of salt and pinch of pepper. Mix well, cover and set aside or refrigerate. This can be done up to a few hours ahead, it will help keep the chicken super moist and tender. While it marinates you can prep all the other ingredients.

Wash and then soak the rice for about 20-30 minutes.

Heat oil in a pan, add all the whole spices. When they splutter, add the onions and fry until they are golden brown. Next add ginger and garlic pastes, stir for a few seconds and then add the tomato paste, powdered spices and crumbled chicken cube. Mix well then add the marinated chicken chunks and fry them in all the ingredients over high heat, stirring regularly for about 5 minutes until all excess moisture evaporates and the chicken is no longer pink (if the mixture begins sticking to the bottom of the pan too quickly, add a splash or two of water).  Next add the potato cubes if you are using them.

Then add water or stock (I normally require 1 and a quarter cups of liquid per cup of rice, so adjust as per your brand of rice). Cover and allow the water to come to a boil. Add salt and then the rice. Cook on high heat for a few minutes then lower the heat to medium and cook giving an occasional stir until most of the water has evaporated. Then add the chopped coriander, stir one final time and then lower the heat completely. Level out the rice and then seal your pan by using a tight lid or wetting a kitchen towel and placing it over the pan then placing a lid on top of it.  Allow to steam on very low heat for about 15 minutes. Switch off and serve. Remember to garnish with a little fresh coriander. Serve with yoghurt, kachumbar and tomato chutney.

Enjoy! 🙂

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