6 garlic cloves
2.5cm piece ginger
2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
450ml vegetable or chicken stock or water
3 tablespoons oil
5cm piece cassia or cinnamon stick
2 black cardamom pods
6–8 green cardamom pods
4 bay leaves
½ large onion, thinly sliced
1kg skinless chicken on the bone, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin, plus extra for sprinkling
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
250 grams basmati rice, thoroughly washed
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
1 lime, cut into wedges
This recipe never fails to impress at a casual lunch with friends or a family dinner. Unlike a biryani where the meat and rice are cooked separately, in a pulao dish the rice and meat or vegetables are cooked together in one pot.
Using a mortar and pestle, make a fine paste with the garlic and ginger. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the yoghurt and stock or water. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over a low heat. Add the whole spices and fry for 20 seconds, then add the onion and fry for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn up the heat, then add the ginger and garlic paste and fry for 1–2 minutes.
Add the chicken, ground spices and salt and mix together well. Cover with a lid and cook for 8–10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add half the yoghurt stock, stir through, bring to the boil, cover and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Now add the rice and coriander and the remaining yoghurt stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and cook for 16–18 minutes, or until the rice liquid has evaporated and the chicken and rice are tender. Remove from the heat and leave to rest for 5–7 minutes with the lid on.
Sprinkle with ground cumin and serve immediately with lime wedges.
Cook's tip: Chicken on the bone releases a more intense flavour to the dish.