Chicken Pilau

This is a very quick dish if you can multi-task as the chicken and the rice can be cooked simultaneously in oven and on hob respectively. This is also a great way to use up any leftover chicken and tired veg in the fridge so either start from scratch or adapt the recipe depending on your fridge contents.

 When cooking the rice, keep checking to ensure there is enough water, brown rice doesn’t need exact quantities and if it is cooked through before the water has all evaporated, you can just drain. Similarly, add more water if not ready. Brown rice should remain ‘al dente’ as opposed to light and fluffy like white rice so be careful not to overcook as you’ll be left with a mushy mess.

 The rice when cooked with cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves creates the most amazing fragrance and leaves the rice delicately flavoured. Really makes a boring brown rice quite special very easily!

 Chicken can be substituted with lamb but of course this lengthens the cooking time so I would suggest using lamb from a leftover lamb curry in this instance (works brilliantly!) For a vegetarian option, you could leave out the meat and add more veg – peas, mushrooms etc or add some tofu marinated in the same mix used for the chicken. 

Serves 4

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil melted
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 bay leaf torn in half to release flavour
  • 500g chicken breast cut into small bite size pieces
  • 1 pepper chopped
  • 1 red onion finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 inch piece ginger grated
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1-2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds crushed
  • Handful of fresh coriander chopped
  1. Put chicken, ½ tbsp coconut oil, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1 (or ½) tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp garam masala into a bowl and mix well. Transfer to ovenproof dish and cook chicken in oven at 200˚C for approx 20 mins or until cooked through.
  2. Meanwhile wash rice well and cover with approx. double quantity of cold water and put on hob to cook with cinnamon stick, bay leaf, cloves and seeds from cardamom.
  3. Bring water to boil on high heat then reduce to medium heat and partially cover pan with lid until rice cooked -approx. 15-20 mins.
  4. In a separate pan heat ½ tbsp coconut oil and add 1 tsp cumin seeds and 1 tsp coriander seeds and heat until they pop. 
  5. Add onion and garlic and fry until golden.
  6.  Add ginger, pepper, 1 tsp garam masala, 1 (or ½ tsp) cayenne pepper.
  7. Add cooked chicken and stir well.
  8. Add chicken and veg to cooked rice and mix well. Ensure your rice is cooked in pan big enough to accommodate the extra ingredients so you can mix lightly without mashing the rice. Using a fork helps to separate the rice.
  9. Season with sea salt to taste if required
  10. Garnish with coriander and serve steaming hot in bowls. Carbs, veg and protein all done in a single bowl - I don’t think it needs anything else!