This truly delicious and easy Indian chicken pulao recipe gets ready in under 20 minutes. It is an effortless, pressure cooker-friendly chicken recipe. Be sure to watch the video!
Chicken Pulao is a cheat version of chicken biryani. Unlike biryani, there is not much layering or extra effort in making the pulao. It is a delicious Indian-style one-pot chicken and rice casserole.
It is also known as chicken tahari or murgh pulao in Northern India.
Pilaf or pilau is a one-pot dish where the rice is cooked with other ingredients such as vegetables, mushrooms, or meat, seasoned with spices, and served as a one-pot meal.
Traditionally pulao is cooked over the stovetop in a heavy-duty casserole or a pressure cooker. But I love using my instant pot for cooking various Indian pulao. One, it saves me a lot of time. Second, the texture of the pulao turns out too good.
More Reasons To Love Chicken Pulao
- easy to make
- one pot main course
- meal-prep friendly
- highly customizable
- gets ready in under 20 minutes
Making Chicken Pulao
It is a simple, fuss-free, two-step process.
Step 1 is to marinate the chicken for the pulao. The marination process makes the chicken tender, juicy and the flavor of spices is penetrated deep within.
Step 2 is to pressure cook the pulao. The rice, chicken, and masala, all are cooked together to make a delicious bowl of pulao.
For Chicken Marinade:
Chicken: The bone-in chicken pieces like leg pieces and thighs are the ideal meat choices for making pulao. You can use the boneless chicken pieces as well.
Paste A: This is a dry spicy mix of – black cardamom, green cardamom, cloves, and mace.
Paste B: This is a wet paste of – ginger, garlic, green chili, and water.
Curd: It tenderizes the chicken. Make sure to use plain, thick curd or yogurt.
Spices: Red Chili Powder, Coriander Powder, Salt
Rice: If you are making any kind of Indian pulao or rice dish, then long grain basmati rice is the best choice. It is light, less starchy, and yields perfectly fluffy/non-sticky pulao.
Cooking Oil: Ideally ghee (clarifying butter) is the best choice. But if the aroma and taste of ghee are too over-powering for you, use unsalted butter, coconut oil, or vegetable oil.
Spices: For this pulao recipe, you need minimal whole spices – bay leaf, cinnamon, and star anise.
Other Ingredients: Onion, Salt, Mint Leaves, Fresh Coriander Leaves, Green Chili, Water
How To Cook
Step 1) Start with making Paste A and Paste B. Set them aside in two separate bowls.
Clean, wash and pat dry the chicken pieces. Marinade the chicken pieces with curd, Paste A, Paste B, red chili powder, coriander powder, and salt. Let the chicken sit in the marinade for at least 1 hour. And maximum overnight.
Step 2) Clean, wash, and soak the basmati rice in water for 30 minutes.
Let’s Cook: Set the SAUTE mode for 10 minutes. Add oil and whole spices to the inner pot. Fry for 10 – 20 seconds to release their aroma. Add sliced onion. Fry till the onion turns light golden.
Next, add marinated chicken and fry till chicken pieces turn pale white (image 5).
Add spices, salt, and the soaked rice without any water (image 6). Stir to combine. Saute for a minute.
Add 1 ¼ cups of water, mint leaves, coriander leaves, and green chili. Stir to combine. Close the lid of the IP. Cancel the SAUTE mode.
Set PRESSURE COOK Mode for 5 minutes. After the set timing, do the NPR. Open the lid, fluff the rice using a fork, cover the IP with a lid, and serve the pulao after 5 minutes.
Watch Pulao Video
Here are a few side-dish suggestions that compliment chicken pulao:
Pickled Onion or Kachumber Salad
Indian Style Curry or Gravy Sauce
FAQ Related To Chicken Pulao
The method of cooking is the difference! Biryani is basically a draining and layering method of cooking, whereas pulao is done through the absorption method. Pulao is easy to cook and requires no layering of ingredients. In a biryani, the chicken is marinated and cooked along with parboiled rice using a dum or slow cooking method. Whereas a pulao is usually cooked using a pressure cooking technique.
The basmati rice is best suited to make chicken pulao. The long grains and aroma of the rice add that extra flavor to the pulao. People in down South also prefer using jeerage samba rice that tastes absolutely delicious too!
Yes, you can make this pulao on the stovetop. Use a heavy-duty casserole with a tight-fitting lid or a traditional pressure cooker. In a stovetop pressure cooker, the chicken pulao gets ready in two whistles over medium heat.
The best choice would be bone-in meat pieces. The chicken bones lend a delicious flavor to the pulao. You can use a combination of chicken thigh, and leg pieces. Or boneless chicken breast and thigh.
Store pulao in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 – 3 days. You can reheat it in a microwave before serving.
More Pulao Recipes
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Instant Pot Chicken Pulao Recipe
- Instant Pot
Ingredients For Chicken Marination:
- 250 gram skinless, bone-in chicken pieces
- 1 black cardamom (badi elaichi)
- 4 cloves (laung)
- 1 blade of mace (javitri)
- 1 tablespoon ginger
- 1 tablespoon garlic
- 2 green chili chopped
- 2 tablespoon water
- ¼ Cup plain yogurt or curd
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 1 tablespoon red chilli powder
Ingredients For Pulao:
- 1 Cup basmati rice
- ¼ Cup ghee or cooking oil
- 1 star anise
- 1 bay leaf (tej patta)
- 1 cinnamon stick (dal chini)
- 1 Cup sliced onion
- Salt to taste
- 1 ¼ Cup water
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
- 2 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
- 2 green chili sliced
- Make Paste A. Blend cardamom, cloves, and mace to a coarse spice powder. Keep aside in a bowl.
- Make Paste B. Blend ginger, garlic, and green chili to a wet paste using two tablespoons of water. Keep aside in a bowl.
- Clean, wash and pat dry chicken pieces. Marinate the chicken with curd, salt, red chili powder, coriander powder, Paste A, and Paste B. Mix nicely to coat each piece with the marinade. Let the chicken sit in the marinade for 1 – 2 hours.
- Wash and soak basmati rice in water for 30 minutes.
- Set the SAUTE mode for 10 minutes. Add cooking oil, whole spices to the inner pot. Fry for 10 – 20 seconds to release their aroma.
- Add sliced onion. Fry till the onion turns light golden.
- Next, add marinated chicken and fry till chicken pieces turn pale white. This takes 2 – 3 minutes. It ensures the flavors of the chicken are sealed and the pieces are seared nicely. Do not skip this step.
- Add soaked rice without any water and salt. Stir to combine. Saute for a minute.
- Add 1 ¼ cups of water. Stir to combine. Taste, if required add more salt. Add mint leaves, coriander, and green chili. Close the lid of the IP. Cancel the SAUTE mode.
- Set PRESSURE COOK Mode for 5 minutes. After the set timing, let the steam release naturally from the pressure cooker. Open the lid, fluff the rice using a fork, cover the IP with a lid, and serve the pulao after 5 minutes.
- Use long-grain basmati rice or any other variety of rice with less starch for making the pulao.
- The ratio of rice to water that works for me is 1: 1 ¼ Cups. Adding too much liquid to cook rice always results in a mushy and sticky pulao.
- Juice chicken thighs, breast, or leg pieces are the best for making pulao. Make sure all the pieces are of the same size for even cooking.
- Marinating the chicken makes it tender, more flavorsome, and reduces cooking time.
- You can make this pulao in a stovetop pressure cooker, electric pressure cooker, or an instant pot.